Today’s business world is moving at near light-speed when it comes to new communication technology. This is especially true with mobile commerce.
Just a few years ago there were not many companies that had a mobile presence. And in a few years from now you may not be able to run your business without one. Building it starting today can help you gain a competitive advantage and sustain your business survival in years to come.
The fact is mobile marketing is still in its early stages of development and that many of its components – banners, pop-ups, short message service (SMS) and push notifications – have not yet been perfected, according to a report in Mobile Marketer in May 2013. So there is no prototype for your company to model after and to extend your reach into mobile territory. Nonetheless, here are six ways you can build your mobile presence and capitalize on the growing trend of customers that use mobile devices.
#1 Develop a Mobile Website
Having a mobile friendly site is the most vital strategy and the first way you can enter the m-commerce space. Having this type of site can enable your business to connect with your target audience that are on the go and have tablets and/or smart phones.
A mobile site is a website optimized for viewing through mobile devices. It can do most or all of the functions that a regular website can do. Yet because the screen size is much smaller on a smartphone or tablet than a desktop, your content must be less too. Your mobile site can have a product gallery, shopping cart and a payment gateway. Plus you can also add special features such as “click-to-call” to entice viewers to talk with your sales representatives when they shop on the go.
Here are a few tips on how you can develop your mobile website.
The first thing you should do is take a look at how your current website looks on smart phones and tablets. Focus on how readable the content is, how the site’s layout appears and how usable the various functions on your site are. Ask yourself what you need to improve.
The next step is to decide what you want on your mobile site and who should design it. The most cost effective way is to recreate your website with a WordPress theme design that is responsive for mobile devices. This way you can develop and manage only one website that users can view from multiple devices including desktop, smartphone, tablet and laptop.
Test your new site before you publish and promote it.
#2 Develop a Mobile App
Mobile apps are applications that your audience can download and install on their mobile devices. The purpose of each app may differ according to the business, but it can simplify your business process and increase your profits, according to a report in YFS Magazine in September 2013.
A mobile app can provide a customized solution that generates sales, develops brand loyalty, and helps you retain customers. Your app can have tools for messaging, SMS automated promotions and push notifications. It can also feature a way to update your customers with new products and discounted offers at specific days and time.
A mobile app can also enable your business to increase and quicken production while at the same time cut the amount and cost of processes.
There are two ways your business can get a mobile app. The first way is to purchase an “off-the-digital-shelf” application in an app marketplace. This is a standard product that you’ll need to customize according to the developer specifications.
A second way you can get a mobile app is to design a custom app. You’ll need to invest money and time to hire an app developer to create a custom app for your business.
No matter which path you take, the most important step is planning ahead. If you do not have the technical team in-house to consult then it would be wise to talk with an app consultant to decide your strategy.
#3 Promote Your Mobile App in Digital Stores
You can expand your customer base and increase your sales by promoting your mobile app. One way to do this is through app stores like Google or Apple. App stores not only give you additional distribution channels, they also make it easier for prospective customers to discover your app. Nonetheless the more aggressive you are in promoting your app, the more noticeable you’ll make it to prospective users.
Increasing your distribution of apps can in turn build your mobile presence. More smartphone and tablet users can find your business in more places.
#4 Promote Your Mobile Site and App via Social Media
One of the fastest ways you can build your mobile presence is by promoting both your mobile site and apps through social media. It’s not enough to just have Facebook and Twitter accounts. You need to make your social media sites mobile friendly according to Social Media Examiner.
You can do this in the following ways:
- Create valuable content that offers significant value to your audience so you receive positive feedback. The more feedback over a long period of time can keep your posts at a higher ranking for more visibility.
- Post your comments at the right time of day. That’s the time most of your fans are online. In Facebook you can find this in the “Post’s tab listed “When Your Fans Are Online.” Posting then will increase exposure of your post to a greater audience than at other times.
- Post daily. To make an impact on social media you need to show up every day. The more often other users see and hear from you the greater your impact will be. You also need to respond to your audience’s comments. Don’t expect people to watch your social media account for content updates if you don’t create traffic and respond to comments.
#5 Mobile ads
Advertising to a mobile audience can build your mobile presence. This type of ad can provide better results than traditional web ads according to the early figures on Facebook. Consider advertising your mobile site and/or app on Google and Facebook. Google has over 50% of the mobile advertising market whereas Facebook has over 15%.
#6 Reward Mobile Visitors
Reward your mobile visitors with a free gift or coupon for your products or services. Offer incentives for your visitors to refer their colleagues, friends and family to your mobile sites. You’d be surprised how quickly this strategy can build a presence for your mobile site and app.
As part of this strategy collect information about your visitors and track their behavior. This way you can follow-up with customized responses and promotion campaigns.
The time to start to grow your mobile presence is right now. Ask your customers about their mobile usage. If they are there now you need to be there or you can lose them to competitors. The customers that may not use mobile media today will likely do so tomorrow or soon thereafter.