When talking to small business owners, I hear a lot of reasons as to why they haven’t added mobile to their marketing mix …
“I don’t have time to manage one more thing … ”
“I’m not sure where to start … ”
“I feel like my competition has already done that … ”
“I can’t keep up with how fast the technology is advancing … ”
“I can’t afford to use mobile for my small business … ”
These excuses illustrate why it’s important to educate folks on the benefits and use cases of mobile and to demystify how it all works in order to eliminate the fear and uncertainty that prevent businesses from moving forward with mobile.
As those businesses begin to understand that mobile is just a piece of the puzzle they become less confused and you hear more of …
“OK, well. There are so many options. So how can it work for MY business?”
Well, I can tell you that if you’re asking yourself that question, you’re already two steps ahead of most business owners.
And you know what? It’s OK to be confused. The truth is, it’s overwhelming.
Mobile websites, responsive design, SMS marketing, MMS marketing, mobile optimized email, QR Codes, location-based services, augmented reality, smarpthone apps, tablets, NFC, the mobile wallet, mobile commerce …
Warning: If you try to jump into all of these areas at once, you will most definitely fail.
If you break down your mobile strategy into smaller parts, integrating one aspect at a time, it will become less overwhelming and you’ll be in a position for a successful mobile program without disrupting the rest of your business.
Remember … mobile is just one part of your marketing strategy. Take it one step at a time:
1. Start by planning how it will play a part into your existing initiatives. Mobile is the most dependent marketing channel to-date. You can’t view it as a solo initiative.
Plan accordingly and make sure it will play nice with your other channels, meaning there is one voice and one message. Chasing the “latest shiny object” thinking it will save your business will get you nowhere fast.
2. Focus on what works and what will delivers results to your business.
You’ll most likely start with your mobile site.
The most important thing to work on is making sure your mobile website is friendly. You’ve probably heard people say that having a mobile-friendly website will give you a competitive advantage.
To some degree, this is true—if your competitors are slow to execute. But, to be honest, a mobile-friendly website is now a cost of doing business.
As a small business owner you’re foolish if you don’t have a mobile friendly site. Let’s say you own a restaurant … A recent Google study stated that 88 percent of total search volume for the keyword “restaurant” comes from mobile devices. Do you own a bar? About 97 percent of search volume for the keyword “bar” is coming from mobile devices.
In fact, “restaurants near me” receives 10,000 searches a month from desktops. Guess what? It’s four times more on mobile devices.
This is the reason that you see restaurants and bars listed in the top of search results in Google from your mobile device but not from your desktop.
Small business owners seem slow to adopt mobile. Surprisingly, a restaurant study stated that 95 percent of independent restaurants do not have a mobile website, and only about half of chain restaurants have some sort of mobile site.
This means a lot of unhappy mobile searchers and no repeat visits.
3. You see, mobile searchers have a different intent than those on a desktop. They are looking for different things. When it comes to local locations like a restaurant or bar they most often look for your location, hours, directions and how to contact you.
4. What’s the cost of not offering these folks a mobile friendly version? That’s easy … a whole lot of sales.
The same Google study found that 94 percent of U.S.-based smartphone users look for local information on their phones and 90 percent take action as a result, such as making a purchase or contacting the business.
90 percent take action …
Read that again.
Basically, if your site is not mobile friendly when a prospective customer is looking for you, the odds of you losing a sale are close to 100 percent.
5. Speaking of being more “findable” … If you list your business in the various directories AND location-based services, such as Google Places, Foursquare, Yelp, Facebook, etc., you’ll put yourself in a better position to be found. It’s like adding your listing to the Yellow Pages.
6. OK. So you built a mobile-friendly website. Now what?
Your mobile website is what many would consider a “pull” channel. This means that it doesn’t offer you the level of outreach that other channels do, but allows you to be right there when your customer needs you.
So next time, we’re going to dive into the second aspect of your mobile strategy to put in place. It’s actually the most overlooked part of mobile, in my opinion.
Seeing as how you are going to start mobilizing your website right now, you have time to prepare for the second part of your small business mobile strategy … mobile-friendly email.