There Doesn’t Have to Be an App for That: 4 Way to Leverage Mobile Without Building an App
Note: this article was originally published as a guest post on betanews.com
No one could argue very convincingly that mobile isn’t one of the most disruptive, transformational factors in business today. Consumers are armed 24/7 with ever more powerful smartphones and tablets. But most aren’t dying to download an app you paid handsomely to develop.
Most consumers are using their mobile devices to access the web while away from home and from the couch so they don’t have to get up and fire up the home-office computer. They’re using them to read your emails that they signed up for, and clicking on your links and forwarding your offers to friends. They’re comparison-shopping, pitting brick-and-mortars with online stores. They’re using their GPS to guide them to new places, and reading reviews as part of their decision-making process. They’re relating their experience with ratings and photos in real time with their social networks.
Who could have conceived any of this just a few short years ago? Yet anyone competing today for consumers’ hard-earned income, loyalty or even just their attention simply MUST embrace mobile. And they must develop a multi-faceted strategy to take advantage of this major market force.
Building your own mobile app is hardly ever a best first step.
Building a useful app is a considerable investment of time and money. Especially compared to these four things you can get started implementing immediately. These four strategies can jump start your taking advantage of mobile’s impact on your business. Plus, they can actually inform your future app-development process. Knowing what percetage of your target can be reached via mobile, and what platforms they use most will yield a more valuable, more utilized app.
1. Make your website mobile friendly
More than half of your customers are searching for your information using their smartphones. And three-quarters of them won’t come back if your site isn’t optimized for mobile. Because more than ninety percent of websites are not optimized for mobile, optimizing yours becomes a differentiating competitive advantage! What’s more, your mobile site can incorporate features unique to mobile device like geolocation, tap-to-call and others.
An easy way to make your site mobile friendly is to create a dedicated mobile webite, separate from your main site. This site would be served up automatically when people navigate to your site using a smartphone or tablet. The drawback to having separate sites is that the branding possible between the two can be limited, and involves your having to migrate and keep coordinated the content from your main site to the mobile version.
Responsive design is a set of web technologies that enables developers to change the visual appearance of specific elements of your website depending on the screen size the site is displayed on. For example, a left-side column displaying on a large screen can be moved to the bottom on a phone when there is not enough place to display it on the left. Compared to a dedicated mobile site, responsive design offers more options to adapt to different device and browser types, the dozens of different screen sizes and allows all content to be centrally maintained.
2. Collect customer and prospect contact info with a tablet in your store
People love to have insider access to special offers, flash sales and seasonal discounts. While they’re in your store or interacting with you at an event, collect their email address for exactly those purposes. This tactic lets you harness the portable power of a hand-held tablet, or one mounted to your counter or on a stand in your retail or event space. Never use paper forms—they send the wrong message in this age of mobile and require the separate step of inputting the data after it’s collected. Offering a coupon or chance to win in exchange for their contact information will significantly increase the volume of contact details you collect.
Even if you don’t yet have a structured email marketing process in place, you can start collecting this info to build this very strategic asset for future marketing activities.
3. Use mobile to grow your social following
People engaged with a personable employee in your store or at an event are great candidates to become a Facebook or other social media follower. All you have to do is ask! Why not have them—right then and there—use their personal mobile to like your FB page or follow you on your other social properties. This deceptively simple practice can really add up over time. And now you can even add an engaging, real-time clock that tracks your Facebook likes.
4. Engage event attendees using mobile
Event attendees often represent a unique sub-set of your customers or prospects. They can be early adopters at an industry event to see what’s new. They can be at a training, striving to stay ahead competitively. They can simply be prospects, too. All of whom you can easily engage with a mobile survey at your booth or out on the floor of the event. You can survey in real time where there is internet access, or offline with a tablet-based survey that will upload survey results the next time the tablet connects to the internet.
This real-time interaction with your audiences is a goldmine of insights and opinions that you simply can’t capture days or weeks later—assuming you even have their email address. With click-and-build mobile surveys, you can create a survey today that you can use at an event tomorrow, making event surveys one of the quickest mobile strategies to implement.
Mobile has changed everything, and you can leverage it to your advantage. Take advantage of some of these quick-strike strategies to begin creating a more well-rounded mobile strategy. Mobile strategies aren’t things of the future. They’re here today, and here to stay.
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