Micro-moments are a new concept on consumer mobile device behavior.
Google’s Sridhar Ramaswamy first introduced the concept as the moments or instances when consumers turn to a mobile device — often a smartphone — to take an action on whatever they need or want at the moment.
According to Ramaswamy, he said that “Micro-moments are critical touch points within today’s consumer journey, and when added together, they ultimately determine how that journey ends.”
In an Internet Trends Report by KPCB, people interact with their phones about 150 times per day. Google internal data shows that in many countries — including the United States — more searches occur on mobile devices than on laptop and desktop computers.
People sometimes look at their smartphones just to kill boredom by browsing social sites like Facebook, or to check their text messages. However, they often look at their devices to conduct their daily errands or for work. Almost all of these moments can be summarized into four categories according to marketing consultant Scott Poniewaz. They are:
- I want to do something – This is when a user searches for activities they are interested in.
- I want to buy something – This type of a moment happens when users search for products and services on the internet.
- I want to go somewhere – An example of this type of moment is when a user searches for business or public places near their location.
- I want to know something – For example, this is a moment when a user searches for news stories on the internet
“These are essentially moments that sit at the crossroads of content, immediacy, and intent.”
When customers search the web for an answer to a specific question, it pays off for any SaaS company that has a specific answer to that question. The real-time dimension of micro-moments is disrupting the digital marketing playbook, with in-the-moment needs overriding long-term strategies.
According to Google, the proportion of mobile devices in web sessions increased by 20% over the past year, while the average time spent per website visit has dropped by 18%. Though users are spending less time on a website when they are on it, an increase in mobile traffic is also playing a factor. Though people are spending less time on a website, they also have a clear intent or need in mind. Therefore, it is not necessarily a bad thing if a user spends a short time on a website if they get what they want quickly. The consequences of these visits during micro-moments can be immediate with direct impact on the bottom line, especially in retail.
As Google’s retail statistics confirm, 82% of smartphone users consult their phones while they are standing in a store deciding which product to buy.
In addition, one out of 10 customers decides to buy a different product based on short mobile research. That is a significant impact for a few seconds worth of engagement in a brief moment
How can SaaS marketers get in on this latest trend? Here are 10 ways “micro-moments” can provide better insights and fine-tune a SaaS company’s marketing strategy:
1). Provide Quick and Accurate Information
Consumers have access to a large amount of information on the internet. When they turn to their mobile devices to learn, watch, or buy, they do not want or have time to perform detailed research or have to question the validity of the source. They simply want accurate information immediately.
A SaaS company’ website’s content and SEO are deciding factors of whether or not your website provides relevant results during a consumer’s micro-moment, and whether consumers will stay engaged.
It is imperative to make sure that all information is quick and accurate.
2). Find out who ranks high in mobile-centric searches and what they do
Look at consumer demand by search topic and device type. Then, examine mobile-centric searches for your brand or category. Who is ranking the highest in the mobile search results? If your company is not ranking highly, what are the top competitors doing that you are not? The answers to these questions reveal powerful consumer insights about what your audience wants when smartphones are their device of choice.
Essentially, mobile users are always on the go. The fact that they are conducting a search using their smartphone could be an indication that they want to buy a product or service quickly. This is even if they move onto another different type of search very quickly for a variety of reasons.
3). Know the answers to your customers’ most common questions
What are the most important questions to your customers about your company (or your competitors)? And more importantly, what sets you apart from the competition?
People are not searching by stringing keywords anymore. Instead, they ask questions as if that search bar was a human being. Talk to your agency or SEO team to get help figuring out what people are asking when it comes to your product, brand or industry.
Many customers ask questions with the Five Ws: “Who, “What,” “When” and “Where.” They also ask questions beginning with the word “How” and “How to.” By understanding the questions people ask, you can learn how to create relevant content that answers those questions.
4). Reframe consumer surveys so you can get open-ended answers
Many companies in all sectors use surveys to gather feedback from their customers. However, no survey is truly 100% reliable — hence, the need to reframe the questions you ask. For example, asking a close-ended question that prompts only a yes or no answer might limit the recipient from providing in-depth responses.
Here are some examples of close-ended questions you should avoid if you want in-depth answers:
- Is your favorite color red?
- Do you like tea or coffee?
- Do you earn $100k or more per year?
In these questions, you’re giving recipients options to choose from. Worse, they could even answer “Yes” or “No” as the case may be — which may not provide the ideal depth of consumer insight. However, open-ended questions like:
- What is your favorite color and why?
- What meal do you enjoy in the morning?
- How much do you earn per year after taxes?
ask for something quite similar but will get a different type of response. These questions allow the user to answer more in-depth than answering “yes” or “no” to a specific data point you want. Online surveys still work, and with the right questions, you can uncover useful micro-moment insights.
5). Go through the customer journey with your entire team
Consumers demand a fast and seamless experience as they move between mobile devices and even marketing channels. As they jump from micro-moment to micro-moment, they expect everything to connect and be efficient.
If only part of the journey is optimized for micro-moments, some prospects are not going to like the experience. They may feel disengaged and no longer want your products and services.
You have to meet customer expectations based on their behaviors and needs, not just based upon a touch point you’re pushing on them.
If you want to go through the customer journey with your marketing team, here’s how we do it:
i). Walk through the customer experience: Taking a walk in your customer’s shoes is essential. It’d guide you in knowing what their preferences and core behaviors are.
Start by identifying the touch points where your target audience interacts with your business. It doesn’t matter how major or minor the experience is, take note of it.
The Behavioral Flow Report on Google Analytics will show you how users navigate from one event or page to another. The beauty of this is that you’ll discover where your customers are having bottlenecks — which prevents them from reaching their goals (more on this later).
For example, in the car buying path, potential customers who take a test drive have made a major touch point. On the other hand, walking around the car lot is a minor touch point but important as well.
As a SaaS business, your marketing and customer service team should recognize when potential customers interact with your website. It could be when they sign up to try your product for 14 days (or 30 days as the case may be) when they had a chat with your chatbot and the like.
ii). Determine if customers are reaching their goals: Customer personas show you what, customer journey reveals the “how.”
Once you’ve mapped out when the customer starting interacting with your business, it’s time to determine if they’re actually reaching their goals. A few questions to address:
- Which obstacles do they encounter?
- Are people abandoning their shopping cart?
- Do people click through to your lead magnet download page but are unable to sign up to download your offer?
All of these questions and more must be addressed by your marketing team. At the end of the day, you want to help your customers get exactly what they’re looking for on your page. That’s the easiest way to build a successful SaaS marketing strategy that works both in the short and long-term.
6). Interview your customers and find their journey
There is a significant benefit to having real conversations with customers to see how and why mobile is used in real-world scenarios, like retail, hospitality, entertainment or automotive.
Talk to some of your customers about what they did to reach you. Find out what they are doing while using their smartphones so you can learn what they were seeking at various points in their buying journey.
There are various ways to get feedback from customers. You could send a quick survey using SurveyMonkey to customers via email or embed on your Facebook page where your target audience can find it.
If you prefer to interview customers one-on-one, you can invite customers to have a quick Skype call with you. Or better yet, Google Hangout tends to work well for digital marketers because it’s easy to sync with your Gmail account.
Dustin Walker shared some tips on how to do customer interviews that reveal priceless insights about their journey, goals, and challenges.
To save time, you could hire a researcher to interview your customers. For example, A researcher helped P&G to interview their customers on how they used P&G’s product (i.e., Febreze). One housewife was interviewed and here’s her response:
“I spray Febreze as part of her room-cleaning habit.” “It’s nice, you know? Spraying feels like a little mini-celebration when I’m done with a room,” she told the interviewer.
As a result of this interview and many others that P&G conducted through the help of a research, the company added perfume to the bottle, improved overall quality and increased sales by 52%.
7). Offer guidance to your customers with how-to guides and videos
Today, few people read long print manuals. They may be informative, but they are not engaging. In addition, many step-by-step guides are online and are more engaging.
People want experiences that address their unique needs in real-time, especially when it comes to getting the best out of the products and services they use.
The real-life impact is enormous: 62% of smartphone users are more likely to tackle an unexpected problem or start a new task because they feel empowered by their smartphones.
SaaS companies by their very nature often put their instructional guides online. However, instead of a text-only manual, an online video can boost content marketing ROI. Over 100 million hours of “how-to” content have already been watched on YouTube this year and counting.
8). Make sure your website loads quickly and your content is organized logically
How often do you visit and spend time on a snail-loading website?
Most of the time, a user will leave a site that is slow. Even in a brick-and-mortar business, solutions have to be delivered as quickly as possible.
With mobile service’s data speeds increasing, users expect their sites to load up quickly. According to Google, 29% of smartphone users will promptly switch to another website or app if it fails to satisfy their needs.
Of the users who do switch to another site or app, 70% do so because the first site took too long to load. 67% switched because the first site required too many steps to purchase or gain the desired information.
Here are simple ways to speed up your website:
i). Use a CDN: Content Delivery Network (CDN) is one of the easiest ways to host your media files, and save up to 60% bandwidth and reduce the number of requests your website makes.
Once you host your files across a large network of servers around the world, it becomes easier for users who visit your site to download files directly from the server that’s closest to them.
This approach reduces load associated with one server—it also protects your websites against DDoS attacks and influx of traffic. You can try your hands on Cloudwatch, MaxCDN, Cloudflare, among many others. Cloudflare is good, and it’s free to get started.
All the plugin does is to store parts of your website so that every time a user visits your web page, the stored parts are loaded once — thus, cutting the loading time by half.
You can find more ways to speed up your website speed here, and improve micro-moment conversions.
9). Use micro-moments to anticipate your customer’s needs
An exceptional customer experience requires a company to anticipate customer needs. One of the concepts behind micro-moments is that they allow companies to meet their customer’s needs before they happen.
These needs lie within the data of their micro-moments. Your target audience may not be able to say exactly what they want or need. However, they will recognize it once you anticipate and provide the right solutions at the right time.
According to Google, 90% of smartphone users are not absolutely certain of the specific brand they want to purchase when they begin searching online. And 51% of mobile users discovered a new company or product when performing a search on their mobile devices.
Here are simple ways to anticipate your customer’s needs:
i). Study: Take some time to study your customers — you will learn a lot as you observe their behaviors, questions, and approach to your message.
ii). Ask questions: This is simple. Send a short and quick survey to prospective customers and ask them what their biggest challenges are.
10). Optimize your website so you can sync your visitor’s mobile and desktop behavior
Of all the strategies we listed, we saved this one for last. This is the most important thing you need to do with micro-moments.
It’s essential to understand how your website’s user experience holds up across multiple channels. Is it a seamless journey across screens, covering various points in the conversion funnel?
And are you able to track how the same users — especially your leads — interact with your site on multiple platforms?
Remember that the purpose of your SaaS marketing strategy, with respect to using micro-moments is to sync user behavior on multiple devices. HubSpot and other CRMs can help you see how users access content on mobile devices.
Essentially, you can use CloudKit to sync user data across iOS devices. Google Analytics is great when you want to know the exact mobile devices that users are coming from, including the mobile segments.
Turn your micro-moments into actionable insights
The most important thing is to have ready relevant content across all channels for these I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, and I-want-to-buy moments on a mobile-optimized platform.
However, it is just as important to track how those moments translate to their desktop or laptop computer behavior, and ultimately, whether they convert into leads and sales.
At 99MediaLab, we work with SaaS companies, tracking individual user buyer behavior and analyzing their use of mobile and desktop devices. Contact us today for a free consultation to see what we can do for you.