Observation Deck

Living in the Micro-Moment

In an age all the answers at clients' fingertips, how do you ensure your HME business is 'in the moment' with today's consumer?

Do you remember a time when we didn’t have all the answers right at our fingertips? What year did this song come out? When is the Memorial Day parade? Where is that new greenhouse located? How can I stop my husband’s snoring? Back in the day, we had to phone a friend, look at the newspaper or go to the library to find the answers. But today, the solution to the majority of our inquiries rests comfortably in the palm of our hand, and we’ve been trained to find answers on impulse, taking immediate action the moment curiosity strikes us.

This action we’re describing is commonly referred to as a micro-moment; the reflex of turning to a device to act on an impulsive need to know, go, do or buy. But how does this shift in consumer behavior affect your business? Plainly put, you may be the best choice for a specific product or service, but if your business isn’t popping up in these micro-moment searches, you will not be selected by this growing number of impulse-driven consumers. Consumers want to buy local while supporting their community, but they also want to buy right now, choosing a vendor based on digital criteria such as proximity, price and reviews.

Here are a few of the latest statistics from Google which describe this ongoing shift in behavior:

  • The term “near me” grew 146 percent year over year from 2014-2015.
  • 80 percent of consumers now use a search engine when looking for information about a local business.
  • When searching “near me,” 1 in 3 phone users purchased from a company other than the one they planned on because of which business appeared in the moment.
  • 76 percent of people who search on a device for something nearby visit the business within a day.

To understand a micro-moment better, Google breaks them down into four categories based on what is being searched for. We’ll examine these four needs and what steps you can take to be sure your business is chosen in a click.

“I Want to Know” Moments

In the health care industry, this looks like potential consumers searching for answers to new diagnoses. Perhaps their spouse snores and they want to know what could be causing it. During this “I want to know” moment, they inquire further about the dangers of untreated sleep apnea.

Your golden opportunity in this moment is to be the helpful resource. You can achieve this designation by displaying industry-related blog articles showcasing your knowledge of the subject. Your goal is to answer the questions that the consumers want to know, before they search the question.

“I Want to Go” Moments

These “I want to go” moments consistently occur when the consumer wants to travel somewhere. Continuing with our story of the snoring spouse, perhaps he or she discovered that a trip to the sleep lab is a need and he or she would like to investigate which sleep lab will work best for them after they obtain a prescription.

The opportunity here is simple. You must actively manage your reputation in online directories. For local businesses, this is often one of the first and most visible search results consumers see. To check your listing, visit www.gybo.com and check your business’s Google My Business Listing for accuracy and effectiveness!

“I Want to Do” Moments

When we’re talking CPAPs, those “I want to do” moments look like how-to or instructional steps on cleaning your CPAP mask or changing the tubing. Your opportunity? If you play your cards right by providing these great instructions on your site, you just might end up in Google’s answer boxesat the top of search listings. The techniques used to display in those position zero listings all pertain to content structure, proper keyword phrase usage and accuracy.

“I Want to Buy” Moments

When it comes to purchase decisions, today’s consumer is more educated than ever.They are savvy shoppers, searching for the best products to meet their needs. When they find the businesses carrying the product they want, they’ll move forward with price comparisons, business reviews and proximity.

The opportunities to display in “I want to buy” moments depend on your business model.As the most competitive micro-moment, you’ll need to jump into online advertising through Google AdWords. If you’re an e-commerce, your best opportunity lies in Google Trusted Stores to show you’re a reliable business, Google Merchant Center to display in shopping results and Google Shopping to run campaigns about your products.

Micro-moments on mobile devices are simply where business starts today. As recently as a year ago, web agencies were preaching about a mobile-first approach to web marketing, but soon we’ll be approaching a mobile-only environment.

Earlier this year, a team of VGM Forbin Web Marketers, including myself, attended the Search Engine Journal Summit in Chicago with some of the nation’s top web marketing professionals. What were they planning their future marketing around? Screen-less conversions. Microsoft Senior Training Manager Purna Virji predicted that 30 percent of all web browsing will be screen-less by 2020 due to intense growth and refinement of hybrid tools such as Siri, Alexa and Cortana. If this prediction scares you, take the opportunity to learn more. Immerse yourself in the data and new free tools. Find a trusted guiding partner (like VGM Forbin) and get onboard!

This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

With more than a decade of experience focusing on content strategy and online marketing, Cassi Price brings a unique perspective to her role as manager of marketing strategy at VGM Forbin. Price is certified in Google AdWords and oversees a team of copywriters that create unique, optimized content for websites, social media campaigns and online advertising campaigns. In addition to these responsibilities, she also is charged with developing Forbin’s internal marketing strategy. For more information, visit www.forbin.com.

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