5 Ways Small Businesses Can Capitalize on Micro-Moments

Optimize your mobile strategy to make sure your brand is front and center when a customer is most receptive to your message.
A 'micro-moment' is the moment people turn to a device for information or entertainment. Learn to use these moments in favor of your small business. (Photo: goodlutz/Shutterstock)

According to Google, micro-moments occur “when people reflexively turn to a device increasingly a smartphone — to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something.”

These golden marketing opportunities have been dubbed I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, and I-want-to-buy moments. Google thinks of them as magical instants when a customer is particularly receptive to your brand and your message, and the search engine giant says the trick to capitalizing on them is to “be there, be useful, and be quick.”

How do you do that? Experts offer these five tips.

Cater to mobile users

“Mobile has been a game changer when it comes to micro-moments,” said Bob Bentz, president of digital agency Purplegator. “When people search for something on mobile, it’s often because they are out and about and want something now.” It’s that combination of immediacy and locality, Bentz contends, that lets you compete with much larger businesses.

Being mobile starts with a mobile friendly web design. It’s increasingly easy to develop a responsive site that renders just as well on a phone or tablet as on the desktop.

But you also need to ensure you turn up in searches for local businesses. Betz advised having an accurate listing in Google My Business and also acquiring local citations — that is, getting mentioned, with links to your website, on sites such as that of your local Chamber of Commerce and any local professional organizations you belong to.

Be discoverable

Diane Dye Hansen, business coach and marketing consultant at What Works Coaching, sees micro-moments as a new twist on old ideas — one that boils down to being searchable.


“Most businesses fail to post enough, especially on Twitter.” – Diane Dye Hansen (Photo: Diane Dye Hansen)

She recommended placing new emphasis on content such as blogs to enhance your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). “They have to be written in a way that not only relays the information but helps someone find a business if they are using a search engine.” Incorporating highly searched keywords that are relevant to your business will help users find you. Blogs also generate inbound links, which are critical to search engines.

Frequent posts help keep your site closer to the top of search results. “Search engines catalog a site as ‘old’ after only a few days of not making an update,” said Hansen.

An active social media presence also helps. Bentz said, “Most businesses fail to post enough, especially on Twitter where your message is so rapidly fleeting. As a small business, you don’t have the time to post several times per day.”

The solution? Invest in a social media posting tool such as Buffer. That way, you can set up all of your planned posts for the week at once and forget about social the rest of the week (except of course for spontaneous posts in response to trending topics or events).

On your website, position important elements up front. These include your physical address, phone number and, if you operate a restaurant, the menu. “If consumers have to dig too much, they go elsewhere,” said Hansen.

Nurture your reputation

Jon Eyre, director of content at Podium, an online review management platform, says your online reputation matters a lot to a customer during the micro-moment in which they find you. To make sure your reputation is up to par, Eyre said you should actively seek out positive reviews, likes, shares and comments on Facebook and elsewhere.

“You can spend countless hours optimizing your site for local search so your business pops up in search results during these micro-moments, but if you have a low rating or a small number of reviews, you might drive customers to click on the competition.”

Anticipate micro-moments


Renee Tarnutzer, a product marketing specialist at Understory, says that businesses can anticipate micro-moments to stay ahead of the game. (Photo: RenÇe Tarnutzer)

You can use knowledge of your business to anticipate micro-moments. Renee Tarnutzer, a product marketing specialist at Understory, explained: “If a small business is dependent on a weather-driven micro-moment, they can capitalize on communicating with customers immediately before the customer is in the I-want-to-know moment and after the customer is in the I-want-to-buy moment.”

For example, before a storm, small businesses can build loyalty by messaging customers in the storm’s path to advise them to protect their property and stock up on supplies.

Likewise, in the spring, businesses can anticipate micro-moments by providing how-to tips for lawn care, camping, fishing and more. Said Tarnutzer, “When a small business can stay on top of these events, they can easily capture these customers.”

Attract attention

Trending events, especially on social media, are frequently the catalyst for micro-moments. Look for ways to make them work for you.

“We have had a lot of fun with micro-moments, and often have been able to utilize them to our advantage,” said Bill Kingston, CEO of online T-shirt company CrazyDog. “If something is trending that day, we can throw together a carefully keyworded blog on our website that shows off a funny T-shirt or hoodie that covers the subject. We can promote it on social media for free. If it gets enough shares, people start to notice and we’ll make sales.”

A few years ago when Kim Kardashian tried to “break the internet” by posing nude, the meme “relax, we’re from the internet” (as in, “we’re here to fix it”) circulated online. CrazyDog published a blog promoting a shirt that read, “Relax, I’m From the Internet.”

“It became our most shared post, and led to a lot of sales.”

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