With the rise of smartphones, mobile usage among consumers has soared. People want information and they want it quickly. This post by Online Marketing Trends shows just how important reaching mobile consumers will be. Here are a couple of points of which we should be aware from that article:
- Over 500 million smartphones are expected to be sold in 2012
- Research by Morgan Stanley estimates that the sales of smartphones will exceed those of PCs in 2012
- Coda research predicts that mobile Internet use between 2010 – 2015 will increase 50-fold by the end of that period.
These statistics should make savvy business owners question how their target demographic uses their mobile device(s). The intention for mobile is not just to have a presence, but for that presence to work. This means an increase in exposure, lead generation, and increase sales.
Reaching Mobile Consumers
Our always-connected culture is entering a new phase. The emergence of the iPhone in 2007 brought the online and mobile world to the masses. It was the Internet. All of it. We weren’t prohibited with the clunky screens and awkward navigation on screens less than half the size of our pinky finger. The Internet on our phones was just as accessible as if we were sitting at our computers.
For the past few years, Internet Marketers have been claiming that mobile was going to be the next big thing in their New Year predictions. Slowly but surely, mobile has been gaining traction. Instead of waiting for it to happen and following the herd, be proactive and ensure you’re not left behind. Here’s how:
A Mobile-Friendly Website:
Your website is the face of your company; it represents your business. For it to work for your business, it needs to function both as an informational resource and a revenue-driver for your company. The easier it is for consumers to spend their money on your website, the more money you’re likely to make.
With that being said, you don’t need a slick user interface with all the bells and whistles, but you do need to take into account that the feature-rich website you have for regular PCs isn’t going to cut it for users on mobile devices. Mobile users should experience a different, but similar, interface.
Take into account the website of domain registrar GoDaddy. Purchasing a domain through GoDaddy has to be one of the most convoluted and unstreamlined shopping cart processes on the Internet today. It’s even worse on a mobile device. Contrary to this, one of the masters of online shopping, Amazon, provides a much more efficient shopping process. Within two clicks of a smartphone screen or button, a user can purchase an item. If it takes more than five clicks for someone to purchase an item on your site, it’s time to re-evaluate your shopping cart.
If your website runs on WordPress, there are many plug-ins to help you transform your current site into a layout designed for smartphone devices. Otherwise, a separate style-sheet should be designed specifically for smartphone devices.
Apple and Google (Android) are currently in a head-to-head to claim the title of largest app store. While this doesn’t have a direct impact on consumers alone, it does offer an insight into where two of the largest Internet powerhouses are headed.
Apps on smartphone devices offer untapped opportunities for the savvy business owner. When you go to the gym, a local restaurant, coffee shop, etc. how many people do you see with smartphones? If you’re the owner of a health club or gymnasium, creating a nutritional guide or workout schedule for your consumers would be a massive opportunity. Just recently, Starbucks enabled consumers who frequent its stores to pay for their drinks via their smartphone devices.
Additionally, when thinking about creating an app, consider that smartphone devices are GPS-enabled. This means that with an app, you can give customers turn-by-turn directions to your location.
Create an app for people who frequent your business, make it user-friendly, and offer a simple mechanism for purchasing.
QR Codes, or Quick-Response Codes, are a unique way of storing and displaying information, and they’re becoming increasingly more mainstream. They’re now in shop windows, on plant pots, on the covers of medicine like Tylenol®, Advil®, Zyrtec® and more. You scan the QR code with an app on your phone, your device reads the code, and it displays information. So how can you make these codes work for you?
Anyone who’s ever gone to industry conferences knows just how many business cards you can accumulate. A unique way to display your contact information would be to include a QR code on your business card. If you hand your business cards to potential clients, you could include a specific landing page which offers a certain discount percentage.
A nature reserve could display a QR code which contains information about all the different species of animals; a restaurant could display a QR code with its different menus for breakfast, lunch or dinner; a coffee shop could display the unique variations of coffee it offers. The opportunities for QR codes are endless.
QR codes also have the incentive of turning a passive viewer into an active one. Our always-on-the-go society is becoming increasingly capable of tuning out information. A scan of a QR code with a smartphone device has just become an interactive experience in a matter of seconds.
Location-based services offer the opportunity for users to connect with others based on their locations. In most scenarios, people use their smartphone devices to check into locations, whether it be the coffee shop, a restaurant, the gym, or a sporting event. These locations are then made available and sent to their online contacts.
As well as being a very cool service, location-based services are incentivized with rewards such as badges, allowing users to compete against each other.
One of the major players in location-based service is Foursquare. Foursquare enables businesses to run specials which are unlocked by users when they reach a certain requirement. This can be a discount for a first time check-in, a free dessert for checking in five times, or a free round of drinks when you check-in over ten times. This kind of incentive encourages and establishes a consistent behavior which hopefully will lead to an increase in business (or repeat business). Other opportunities with location-based services can be free word-of-mouth marketing (friends checking in to a certain place) or reviews (other users can read reviews of a certain place when they check into these locations).
Twitter / Facebook
Some of the most popular applications on smartphone devices are those for social networking, such as Facebook and Twitter. Since these two websites are becoming ubiquitous with everyday life, they should become more and more integrated into how you reach the mobile consumer.
Facebook pages and Twitter accounts offer certain advantages. For example, you could offer unique special offers on your Facebook page for users who ‘like’ you. You could then link to it from your website with something such as Like us on Facebook for special offers not seen anywhere else!
Twitter offers a similar opportunity. Post photos, videos or links to sneak previews of an upcoming product release which only your followers on Twitter will see. Incentivize your Twitter followers to take a survey by offering a discount code for their next purchase. After all, there’s a reason for their following or liking you, right?
Online marketing will continue to evolve and mature, and your business needs to evolve and mature along with it. Reaching mobile consumers is just one of a number of opportunities worth exploring. Are you ready?