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Is Your Small Business Missing Out on the Mobile Crowd?


As much as I hate to admit it, if you see me, there’s a good chance you can also see my cell phone. Or at least hear it if it rings. I was a late bloomer, not getting my first cell phone until I was in college and only getting my first smart phone about two years ago. I’m still a little resistant. I like a phone that makes calls and allows me to send text messages from time to time.

But even as a new media lover but a cell phone hater…well, I have to admit that my cell phone comes in super handy when I’m not at home. I can use it to set alarms. To check Twitter and Facebook. To take pictures. To send quick emails. To look up product prices to see if I’m getting the best deal. If you have a small business in a physical location (or locations), cashing in on utilitarian cell phone users like me can boost your profits more than you think. Let’s face it – you might be cutting edge, but most smart phone users are still pretty new to the whole new media thing. So how can you grab their mobile attention?

  • Create some kind of very useful free app. 
The likelihood that I’m going to pay for any app is slim to none. Seriously, I think to date I’ve purchased three apps…and I’ve had my phone for over two years. Of course, other users may be more likely to shell out a few bucks for an app, but if you create something useful and FREE? I’m there. Maybe you’re a restaurant that creates an app allowing me to order online. Or maybe you’re a bakery that creates a simple game I can use to win free cupcakes. Whatever. Be creative and get people downloading!
  • Give me a mobile version of your site.
Nothing annoys me more when using a cell phone than trying to look up something on a business’ website on my cell phone and there is no mobile version of the site. Half the time, some ad pops up on the screen making it impossible to click on anything. Yuck. Creating a mobile site is actually extremely easy (WordPress users have their choice of plugins that create it automatically for example). So no excuses!
  • Reward loyalty. 
People are still kind of figuring out location based mobile apps, but there are already likely thousands of Foursqaure and Gowalla users in your area. Reward their loyalty when they check in to your business’ location. An easy way to do this is to give a free item or discount to anyone who shows a waiter/clerk/etc. that they’ve checked in. You can also give a bigger reward to the person who is the mayor on the first of every month – it encourages coming in often to compete with other users.
With more and more people embracing their smartphones every day, your small business will really miss out if it is ignoring mobile altogether. This crowd will only continue to grow and it doesn’t take much time or money to reach out to these consumers and get them spending more money with your business.


  • MarieWiere

    Allison is a great blog post, which I think many small businesses could learn a lot from.
    I think some small business owners fall into the trap of thinking technology is too expensive and too complicated. They wrongly assume technology is just for big companies or tech start ups. While they may not have the skills to create mobile apps, there are plenty of companies out there that could help them.
    As you show in your post there’s great business potential available in the mobile market.  

    • allison_boyer

       @MarieWiere Thanks for reading, Marie! Mobile is just one aspect of new media that small businesses think they “can’t” do – but they totally can!

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  • mobilebooth

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  • georgegijo

    A mobile version of the website is now something unavoidable considering the fact that more and more people are now turning to smartphone users. A mobile version is not that complicated with various frameworks out there. I found Jquery mobile very interesting with its ease of implementation to make a website mobile compatible. Small business owners should ensure that their mobile version is simple and load faster making more business for them.

    • allison_boyer

       @georgegijo Luckily, there are good plugins that can help business owners with little technical knowledge. I also recommend business owners who hire designers hire people who know about mobile design.

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