Unless you’re from another planet, you realize that we’re in a mobile revolution , with mobile devices and mobile technologies taking over our lives. Mobile is blending into nearly everything we do, as we carry smartphones and tablets by our side at all times and interact with mobile websites, apps, games, and text message campaigns on a regular basis. And this is only the beginning of the potential for mobile. If you’re smart, you recognize the need to figure out what may or may not apply to you and your business, then get going. If you don't, you risk getting left behind like many people who still don’t see the value in social media . (And you’re not one of those types, are you?)
Below are four steps you can take to jumpstart your business' mobile presence .
1) Mobilize Your Website
Most websites will technically display on mobile devices such as smartphones, but how do they look? Most smartphones have 3-5 inch screens. Chances are, unless you have “mobilized” your website to specifically fit a smaller device's screen, you are missing out on many potential customers. Biggest reason? Too much information and too many graphics jam-packed into a small area.
We, as humans, are not conditioned to squint our eyes for that long at a tiny area, nor do we want to pinch/zoom our way around a bloated website. When most people interact with a mobile website, they are seeking very specific pieces of information (e.g. physical addresses, directions, contacts, phone numbers, or email addresses).
Truly mobile people don’t want the whole dog ‘n pony show with your website; they'd rather find an answer to a question, and they want to find it fast! Mobilizing your website should be your top priority for mobile, and it should be the only step you take if you only take one. There are plenty of companies that can help you here depending on your budget, including Movitas , Netbiscuits , and Mobify .
2) Set Up a Text Message Campaign
Virtually every mobile phone has text messaging capabilities, and the vast majority of people toting a mobile phone have sent and received text messages and understand the technology by now (again, it’s a mobile world we live in). With that in mind, if your profession is sales, marketing, or recruiting, the effective use of text message campaigns can increase your numbers and productivity ten-fold, if done right. To be clear, text message campaigns must be done ethically with 100% opt-in by the end user. People that opt-in are telling you “please send me your updates” straight to my mobile phone. Ideas for text message campaigns can include special offers, rewards programs, or VIP content not found anywhere else. Those ideas usually grab attention as well as legal opt-ins for you to work with. Take a close look at the following companies who make their hay with SMS/text messaging campaign set-up and development: Hipcricket , Impact Mobile , and Textmarks .
3) Implement a QR Code
QR just sounds technical, doesn’t it? It stands for "quick response," and I’ll bet the farm you’ve come across a QR code in a magazine, in an ad during TV commercials, on a product box sitting in your house, or in a display on a building. Once a very niche technology, QR codes have now become very commonplace for business. Some smartphones already come with pre-installed QR or 2D barcode readers, and there are several free, downloadable barcode reader applications available for use on others. These readers use the camera lens inside phones to scan the QR code (which is filled with information and mobile website links). After it reads the QR code, you are usually taken to a custom, mobilized website with a special promotion, exclusive content, or the like for you to interact with. One good idea for using QR codes would be if you have a small space to place an ad and wanted to share more content (kind of like an extension of an ad), or another idea for us would be if you wanted to capture information from your audience (such as attendees to your booth at a trade show), asking them fill out a form. Check out the following companies in this space for more: ScanBuy and JAGTAG .
4) Get an App (For Smartphones and Tablets)
An entire industry is being built around applications alone this very moment. Apps are essentially software and programs made available for smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. They range from productivity tools to condensed news sites to social networking utilities. Major brands have caught on that people are spending more time interacting with apps than mobilized websites and have decided to build apps that replicate the important features and information for their business. Whether you should move forward with app should depend on your business. If you’re a big, well-established brand, chances are, people are already looking to interact with you through an app, whether it be for sales, recruiting, or customer support. For others, apps open a creative and cutting-edge channel to promote your business. In some cases, the app CAN be your business. Either way, explore apps further with providers such as: AppMakr , GENWI , and SwebApps .
So what does all this really mean to you? In short, you need to get into mobile now to stay ahead of the curve. Start slow. Adopt just one of the four ideas mentioned above, and see how well it fits into your business before moving forward. And again, if you do just one thing, mobilize your website and watch the extra traffic and potential leads you pick up from that alone come rolling in. You’ll thank me later!
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Photo Credit: Justus Bluemer