Mobile strategies? What are you talking about? My “mobile strategy” so far is to ignore mobile devices and hope they go away. They’re going away soon, aren’t they?
Nope. Not by a long shot.
In fact, in many ways, they are replacing desktops entirely. And for the first time in history, a majority of all Internet activity this year is expected to come from mobile devices. Indeed, many of the most popular apps and web companies are now reporting that most of their users are connecting via mobile devices. And this trend shows no signs of slowing down as the capabilities of mobile devices continue to increase.
So, what do small businesses need to know to stay competitive going forward? Below are five clear trends that each small business owner should keep in mind when charting a course through an increasingly mobile world.
1. Mobile will be more local
Mobile users frequently perform local searches. That is, they’re looking for something, but only in their local neighborhood or zip code. This means that a small business’s mobile strategy should cater to local users as much as possible.
Optimize your mobile website text for your local zip codes and neighborhood names, and make sure that your information on popular geographical search results (Google Maps, Yelp, etc.) is always accurate. Also, don’t forget to make your address, a local map, and directions to your location easy to find!
2. Mobile will be more visual
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When people are on their mobile devices, they’re usually not looking for text-heavy content. Video, on the other hand, is quite popular, and is becoming more popular by the day, due to increasing mobile video quality and data connection speeds. To the extent that video content can be made relevant to your business, you should seek to have simple videos made and uploaded for mobile consumption.
At a minimum, a simple introductory video should be playable from your homepage. Even better, produce a series of videos that are tailored to common searches in your industry. For an attorney, this might include short video lectures regarding what to do when pulled over or arrested. For a realtor, it could be videos about the top ten signs that a house is a bad buy. For a restaurant, it could be videos taken on trips to local suppliers to demonstrate the high quality of the ingredients in use.
When it comes to video quality, you don’t have to use a New York ad agency to get good results. An aging webcam, however, is probably not good enough to get the job done. Decent equipment is available to anyone nowadays. Find the right balance of quality and cost, and don’t be afraid to dive right in. (Just try to avoid going viral for the wrong reasons!)
3. Mobile will be more constant
Mobile devices are always with us. For many users, they’re the first and last screens seen each day, and they’re a constant go-to tool for a huge variety of functions. For that reason, it’s good to think of the increasingly 24/7 nature of mobile usage when designing your mobile strategy.
Make sure that all of your mobile channels are open as much as possible (your mobile website, your app, your social platforms, etc.), and keep in mind that users will be accessing them at all times of the day and from all locations.
4. Mobile will be more social
The vast majority of users use their mobile device for social activity at some point each day, and a majority of Facebook users now connect via mobile. When you publish content to your social media profiles, make sure that the content is mobile-friendly (i.e. a link to a site that has a mobile version, an image that isn’t too big, a reasonable amount of text). The more mobile-friendly you are, the more successful you will be with the biggest user base.
5. Mobile will be more promotional
Mobile is already a great tool for generating sales, but as users gain comfort with makings sales via mobile devices (already hugely popular, especially for retail consumer goods), mobile coupons, push notifications, and more, the promotional power of mobile will only increase. For small businesses, this means strongly considering having a mobile storefront tab in your company’s app, investing in mobile ads, and offering a variety of promotions to mobile users through the various platforms available.
It’s already a mobile world, and users are making it more mobile every day. For small businesses, the message is clear: it’s past time to go mobile. Longer delays will have far-reaching consequences that businesses simply can’t afford.