For over a decade, it’s been predicted mobile would eventually overtake desktop usage. You might have slept through that exact moment when it occurred, but most analysts point to the end of 2016. It was at that time, mobile web browsing tallied more traffic than our office and home computers. According to StatCounter:
The global mobile and tablet share of web traffic hit 51.3% versus desktops’ tally of 48.7% in October 2016.
Aodhan Cullen, chief executive at StatCounter, says:
This should be a wake up call especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly. Many older websites are not.
Mobile compatibility is increasingly important not just because of growing traffic but because Google favors mobile-friendly websites for its mobile search results.
Optimizing Your Website on Mobile Devices
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics have been key for business websites to get in front of their online customers. The higher your company ranks in a Google search, the greater the opportunity for potential customers visiting your sites. For the last fifteen years or so, optimizing one’s website became not only a best practice, but a priority for SMBs.
Not only does your website need to be optimized for computers, it also needs to be responsive to mobile devices.
As Google watched the trend shift from desktop to mobile, the search giant addressed this change with search that now favors smartphones and tablets over stand-alone computers.
Google started by ranking sites within its search index by mobile accessibility in 2015 — and most recently made a decisive move to add more enhancements to mobile versus desktop search.
For small business owners, this new focus encourages spending more resources on mobile-friendly versions of your websites than in the past. We’ve already seen some of these nuanced changes with increasing text size and clickable links on smartphone touch-screens.
Developing a Mobile App
In addition to a website, you might also consider developing a mobile app for your business. You will more than likely need to outsource mobile app development for your business, and there are many companies and resources out there to research. Try starting with this list of App Builders via SmallBizTrends.
Without writing a single line of code, you can create native apps for iOS and Android for less than $100 per month, depending on the features you consider important for you company.
GoodBarber is one option that has been reviewed for their ease-of-use, and claims to have a user-friendly and robust platform with several themes and features you can customize.
As Sébastien Simoni, CEO at GoodBarber says:
With GoodBarber 4.0 we want to toss away the old concept of websites, making the user start directly from the app-the only reference needed for one’s online presence.
The app builder give you 70 themes to choose from, and an app editor to plug in content from different sources. This includes, your own photos, videos, and podcasts as well as WordPress, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter and others.
Product Manager Lesia Pietri adds that:
Over the past 10 years, applications have changed the way we browse the web. The limited space and touch navigation have prompted designers to invent a new mobile UI…It has managed to shift its presence to larger screens.
Similar to an SaaS platform like Telzio, app builders like Good Barber can take the challenges out of building and managing software systems, so you can dedicate those resources elsewhere all while taking advantage of the most modern tools and designs out there.
Accepting Mobile Payments
Consumers are increasingly adopting mobile pay services like PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Wallet. Accepting mobile payments provides your customers with a streamlined means to purchase your products and services. Make it easy for customers to pay you with a simple tap on their mobile device, whether they are in your store or shopping online.
By minimizing the friction between deciding and buying, you can increase customer spend and broaden your customer base.
Getting Exposure through Popular Apps
Apps like Periscope, Instagram, Snapchat and virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri are rapidly growing in popularity and should be explored to see how they can best be used by your business.
On Snapchat, big names like Coca-cola and Budweiser sponsor filters, which enable them to get millions of users to instantly promote their brand.
These filters are also known as “geofilters”, because they’re based on location. When you visit a different city, you’ll notice a different Snapchat filter promoting your current location, whether it’s a national park or a business establishment. On different holidays, you’ll notice a temporary Snapchat filter celebrating that holiday, whether it’s Cinco de Mayo or the Fourth of July.
You don’t need a multi-million dollar budget to advertise through Snapchat. With Snapchat filters starting at only $5, even small businesses can partake.
You can sponsor a Snapchat filter for less than $10 total, depending on how big of an area you want to cover and how many days you want it to last. The wider you cast the geographic area where the filter will be available, the more your total cost will be. You can easily design your own filter using Snapchat’s templates, or upload your own graphic.
With the large amount of investments dedicated to AI, VR, and AR, 2018 will undoubtedly offer new and creative opportunities to market through apps.
Creating Informative Videos
As small business marketers seek out new strategies to capture the attention of potential customers, they’re beginning to take a closer look at online video promos. Digital analysts note that online videos tend to have a higher impact than TV ads — and according to research by Nielsen, they’re less expensive.
Consumers prefer to receive content-based marketing messages versus ad-based ones. While TV ads are part of the old-world of ‘push marketing,’ content-rich videos are informative and exceedingly more engaging.
When you consider that approximately 60 percent of your customers prefer to watch content, instead of investing time to read it, the power of video marketing becomes apparent. According to Adweek:
Video content will continue to build momentum and audiences will be looking for it more in 2017.
85 percent of small businesses now fall into the “very small business” (VSB) category, with fewer than 5 employees and effectively a smaller marketing budget.
With self-serve tools and straightforward pricing structures — vendors are opening themselves up to a much larger market.
Mobile strategies should be a priority going forward. According to SmallBizTrends Andrew Gazdecki:
Everything that comes after mobile is just icing on the small business cake.
Think how often you and your customers are affected by mobile. In many instances it’s your main source of communication. With the death of landlines, smartphones for most of us are now our only phones. With VoIP technology, we use the internet to place calls to our customers and business partners around the world — and we no longer have to be in a physical office to do so.
Mobile devices are attached to our hips in most instances, 24/7. We use mobile to check our email, catch the current news, watch videos, engage on social media, and hold virtual conference meetings on-the-go. And that’s only the short list.
Gazdecki best sums it up this way:
When it comes to providing value to consumers and retaining them as long-term, brand loyal customers, it all starts with how mobile-centric your small business is.
If you haven’t started, there is no time like the present. Don’t see today’s blog as an overwhelming amount of additional job responsibilities to tackle. Simply break it down and prioritize what you see here into digestible steps and then work on each initiative (that you’re missing) over the course of the next quarter. If you have any additional tips for others going mobile-centric, please comment below and share with our readers.
Ron is a blogger at Telzio, covering business, technology, and mobile trends. Previously a Director of Advertising and Public Relations at Marriott International, Ron has published several books including the award-winning graphic novel Facebucks.