Most businesses these days already have a website, they already have a social media presence and already know that to win more business you need to have a website that ranks highly on search engines.
But did you know that mobile, mobile apps and smartphones are fast becoming the go-to way to surf for local businesses.
Indeed, smartphones have already become ubiquitous and is predicted that by 2015, “65% of all Internet access will be from mobile devices by 2015” (Mary Meeker, Morgan Stanley).
However, most small businesses still do not have a website that will work effectively on a mobile device or have a firm understanding of mobile marketing.
What is mobile marketing?
Mobile marketing is a set of practices that enables small businesses to communicate with their customers through a mobile device or network. Typically, this can involve:
- SMS (Text messaging)
- MMS (Mobile messaging)
- In-game mobile advertising
- Mobile web advertising
- Location or Geo based services, or geo-advertising
- App store
- Mobile Search Engine marketing and optimisation
The key differences offered by mobile’s are smaller screens, less real estate to showcase your business and a user that has less tolerance for slow loading websites or a lack of immediacy of information.
The options for mobile are;
- Make a mobile template for your existing website
- Make your existing website “responsive”
- Make a standalone mobile website
- Make a mobile app, or a hybrid mobile app
Typically most small business websites can either go responsive or have a mobile ready that is standalone.
Case study: Pizza shop
A pizza shop has a website, it does not work on mobile; so produces a mobile ready website that is standalone. Would the shop opt for a standalone mobile ready website, or a responsive website?
In this scenario, my solution would be a standalone mobile ready website because it can give;
- ‘Call to action’ – The shop only needs to provide calls to action, such as telephone number, a map, opening times; and other contact information
- ‘Fast turnaround’ – A simple mobile ready website can be produced very quickly
- ‘Limited info’ – Things like menus, prices, opening times
A responsive site can be useful, but in the above case study a simple one-page mobile ready website that has plenty of “calls to action” would suffice.
Apps and Mobile Websites – Whats the difference?
The main difference is that mobile websites are simply mobile versions of your business; whereas Apps are usually sold in app stores such as Google Marketplace, the Apple App Store, etc.
Other more subtle differences are things like the ability to work online and offline, the reduced barrier to use a mobile website (whereas an app has an app store barrier) and the need to deliver content, user experience or a product or service.
It is clear that mobile marketing for small business can garner results and is an effective marketing strategy for any new, or existing small business.