Today’s consumers are becoming more mobile than ever, accessing information on-the-go using their mobile devices. In fact, according to the International Data Corporation of Framingham, Massachusetts, more U.S consumers will be accessing the Internet through their mobile devices than through computers. Some experts are warning that business owners could be losing market share if they are not developing a mobile strategy for their company. “It’s the preferred method of consumers to engage businesses and brands, especially small businesses,” says Dan Giacopelli, CEO of Skoop!, Inc.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Developing a mobile strategy means knowing your audience’s preference for accessing content through mobile devices. There are several ways of using mobile for business, including: mobile websites, apps, loyalty programs and contests, mobile coupons, text messaging campaigns, location-based marketing (e.g. Foursquare), and QR codes. However not all of these methods work for every business. It’s about understanding your customers and facilitating their needs with what works best for them. It’s important to know who you’re targeting, and know their demographics and how they receive information.
Another important part of deciding what type of mobile features to provide to your consumers is cost. Mark Simmons, co-founder of consulting group Mixed Digital, explains how a custom mobile app could range in price from $5,000 to $50,000-plus to develop and implement, versus $500 to $2,000 to build a mobile website. For many small businesses, creating a mobile app simply isn’t in the budget. However at the very least, consumers today expect to be able to easily and readily access a company website with a simplified navigation, using their mobile device.
While mobile websites are gaining popularity for their convenience of delivering information on-the-go, many shoppers are reluctant to make purchases using them. Some may feel that buying products through a mobile site is too simplified or too easy to actually work properly. Others might think that shopping on a mobile website is somehow different from making purchases through a standard website, leaving them with a feeling that their order never processed and that they may have paid for something that they will never receive. Having said this, it’s still very important to develop a mobile site, because it can “act as a springboard for capturing additional information,” explains Simmons of Mixed Digital. For example, customers may sign up for a newsletter, contest, or giveaway, directly resulting from using your businesses mobile site.
FIND YOUR TARGET
Developing mobile apps and websites is not the only way to appeal to your target audience. Geo-targeting using the GPS function in mobile devices has become a popular way for businesses to deliver incentives and offers to consumers based on their location. For example, if a customer downloads a company’s app and comes within a certain range of their the business, they may receive a notification of on their mobile device with a coupon or offer attached.
Mobile strategies are changing the way that companies market their products and services. No longer do businesses have to market to the masses in hopes that interested patrons will find them. Instead, they can now cater to and target those who are specifically looking for their products, services, and offers.
Source: Jamie Herzlich for Newsday.com