The secret is out: Mobile is here to stay. As more and more Americans begin to rely on their mobile devices for more and more uses, it becomes increasingly evident that businesses must master the ins and outs of mobile technology. Mobile marketing takes more than having a website and social media profiles. As a small business owner, it’s important to know what it does take and what tools are there to help.
How to Be Ready for Mobile Traffic
As of January 2014, 58 percent of American adults own a smartphone, and 42 percent own a tablet. What’s more, 60 percent of consumers say they use mobile devices exclusively to make purchase decisions. This increasing dependence on mobile devices poses a serious opportunity for small businesses, which have long struggled to compete with national chains in the offline world. To make the most of mobile, though, business owners need to be prepared for mobile customers in the online world.
The first step to harnessing the power of mobile is to have a mobile-friendly website. Mobile devices have smaller screens and different proportions than traditional devices, making traditional websites ill suited for mobile use. Mobile websites require smaller graphics and simpler navigation. They often consist of a single, all-encompassing menu and few pop-up windows.
To make your website mobile-friendly, there are a few options. You could start all over with a new website that is created with “responsive web design” in mind from the outset. Responsive web design means that the site is designed to fit screens of all different sizes. This is a good option if you’re looking to redesign or improve your site as a whole, but a responsive web project could cost several thousands of dollars at a web design agency. A second option is to use a mobile site creation tool on your own. For example, Mobify lets you take your existing e-commerce site and adapt it for mobile. It’s simpler than an entire redesign through an agency, and Mobify also offers tools for app creation. If you have a WordPress.org site, you can use one of WordPress’s plug-ins, like the WordPress Mobile Pack, to create your mobile site. Finally, if you don’t have a website at all or just don’t know where to start, try PagePart, a service designed for small businesses that turns your company’s Facebook page into a mobile-friendly site.
How to Make Mobile Traffic
If creating a responsive website is winning a battle, then getting customers to use that site is winning the war. Fortunately, research shows that when consumers search for local businesses on mobile devices, they typically intend to make a purchase. Eighty percent of mobile phone searches result in a purchase – and those aren’t just online transactions. Nearly 75 percent of those searches brought customers into a brick-and-mortar, proving the conversion rate even more valuable.
To make sure that consumers find your business in their mobile searches, it should be included in mobile directories and maps. All Independent We Stand members are automatically included in the IWS mobile app directory. If you’re a member, make sure the information in your listing is accurate and up-to-date. You can always email email@example.com if you need help with your listing.
You can also place your business on Google Maps with Google My Business and on Apple Maps with Apple Maps Connect. These platforms automatically transfer your listing from web to mobile, making them valuable across all devices.
To encourage repeat business from mobile users, consider reaching your existing customers via email. Checking email is by far the most popular daily activity for mobile phone users, with a striking 91 percent of smartphone users checking their email at least once a day from their devices. This makes for a good opportunity to reach customers directly when they’re not already actively searching for something. If you collect customer email addresses at point-of-sale, try an email-marketing tool, like Constant Contact, to send customers an exclusive deal and encourage them to click through to your new mobile site.
As mobile technology continues to develop to help consumers, small businesses must develop tools of their own to keep up. For now, a responsive website, mobile search listings and some friendly email marketing are all steps in the right direction.
This post is part of a twelve-month series by Independent We Stand. Each month, we’ll feature a new way to promote your small business. If you have a tip or tool that you’d like to share with small business owners, please leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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