Remember when mobile phones used to be about..making a call? Neither do I. The explosive growth of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices over the past few years has drastically and permanently changed the way we socialize, work, and do business. The net-net? It’s imperative to travel with your customers and prospects wherever they go.
In fact, a recent report revealed that 28% of smartphone users and 55% of tablet users shop online: That means they are searching, evaluating, or making purchases—possibly all three in one fell swoop. That’s why small businesses—whether a consultant, online site, or retail—are now expected to serve up discoverable, easy to navigate, and actionable content on mobile devices. If not, there is a gaping hole of awareness, customer and prospect interaction, and the opportunity for your competition to grab business.
Consider these recent mobile device statistics:
- Search is sizzling: 56% of Americans now search from their phones and 1 in 3 is local. In fact, mobile search is forecasted to take over desktop search this year.
- Email viewers are increasing but picky: 43% of email is now opened on a mobile device, up 138% from 2010; however, a recent email marketing report showed 70% of consumers delete a mobile email when it doesn’t look good, and 18% of them even unsubscribe. Ouch.
- The tablet market is expected to overtake PCs: Tablets are forecasted to outsell notebook computers in 2013 and exceed 100 million purchases.
Even though you know it’s the “right” move for your business, thinking about the effort required can be overwhelming, or perhaps you don’t even know where to start. The good news is that it’s easier than ever to position your business in the mobile marketing game without reshuffling your plans, allocating a huge budget, or calling yourself a tech-genius.
Depending on whether you have a store-front, are a consultant, ecommerce site, or other business model, you will have one or more content areas to mobile-ize. Additional factors to consider will be your overall marketing goals, tools you use to promote your business, and how often you communicate with your customers and prospects.
Let’s start making your content mobilicious:
- Wow them with your website: Think how annoying it is when you’re on your smartphone looking at a website—zooming in and out to find key information, long load times, or touching the wrong navigation—don’t be one of those businesses-—make it easy for mobile hunters and gathers to get what they want quickly.
- Optimize your web site for mobile viewing by making some simple tweaks, or hiring a vendor (some are even free).
- One of the biggest and helpful trends for mobile marketing this year is Responsive Web Design, which means that no matter what size the screen is—from a laptop to a tablet to a smartphone—the design “knows” and responds to accommodate the size. Check out how this works. Pretty cool. There are plenty of free templates.
- One of the biggest “gotchas” of mobile can be how your site will look on different devices: Test out how your your site looks.
- Bring them a beautiful blog: Chances are if you’re reading this article, you have a blog to support your business. Make sure it’s easily viewed on mobile devices.
- WordPress and Blogger—the largest blogging sites—WordPress in particular, can arm you with free and low-cost mobile tools as well as for tablets to ensure your readers get a great viewing experience, no matter what size screen they are on.
- For a more polished look, use the free version of WPtouch, or for adding kapow, go with the pro version. Blogger.com offers a templatized, simplified approach with mobile viewers or check out this video tutorial.
- While you’re at it, when blogging from your phone, don’t forget about the WordPress mobile app or Blogger for Android or Blogger for iPhone.
- Entice with easy-to-read mail: The great thing about optimizing email for mobile devices is that you’ll get a two-for-one: Not only will your email be easier to read, visually pleasing, and clear on what action to take, it will result in a better promotion on any size screen. Here are some rules of thumb:
- Keep the text short and punchy: Edit. Edit. Edit. What email wouldn’t benefit from that?
- Use time and space wisely with your Call-to-Action (CTA): Think discounts, free offers, and new services you want to promote.
- Have few images but make them clickable: Streamlined but effective graphics can pull double duty by being touch-friendly to navigate and also prompting action, such as pointing to social media icons, or click to buy, to name a few.
- Let the fingers do the walking: With virtually all smartphones using a touchscreen these days, make sure your email is “finger-friendly” to open, navigate, and zoom around the content.
- Consider getting help: If email marketing is a big part of your business, think about hiring a vendor to do the heavy lifting for you, such as Movable Ink or BrightWave Marketing.
So is your small business ready to join the mobile majority? Yes, it will require some initial work, but taking these steps today will put you front and center with your customers and prospects wherever they are, now and in the future.
Once you get on the mobile marketing train, I recommend that you stay up to speed on the trends: Because it’s a growing and ever-changing technology, being ahead of the curve will help improve your chances for mobile marketing success. Check out resources on all aspects of mobile marketing. There are tons more online.
What’s next? Start thinking about blinging out your presence with apps, QR codes, video, texting, advertising, search widgets, which will be covered in my article next month.
Image credit: Bigstock