What is your small business mobile strategy?

It’s not enough to just have a website for your small business. You want to be sure you have a site that can be viewed on popular mobile devices, since more and more traffic is going to come your way from iPhones, Androids and tablet PCs.

A Web.com Small Business Report from this past spring reports that more than 61 percent of small businesses have no mobile strategy at all. They aren’t yet thinking about how to appeal to customers and potential customers who use their smart phones for browsing the internet and interacting with companies on social media.

At the same time, small business owners are realizing that they’ll have to do something, and soon.

  • One popular restaurant we work with has more than one-third of traffic coming from smart phones and tablets. That makes sense, because when you’re downtown and trying to decide what to have for dinner, you’re using your phone to look up options and review menus.
  • A downtown retail store has more than 20 percent of its website traffic coming from mobile. Customers want to know their hours, the brands they carry and what events they are putting on.

It’s not just the upper crust using mobile these days. A mobile device is cheaper than a computer, internet line and phone service and so may be the least expensive choice for those on a tight budget. And even those without much disposable income eat out sometimes, buy presents for their kids or need a plumber – so they need to be part of your overall marketing plan, as well.

The ways customers find you can vary depending on your business and industry, but it’s clear that people use mobile devices to look up companies and make purchases (either in-store or online). Global Smartphone Users report from February found that 1 in 5 people who search for local businesses on their phones made an online purchase; over half called the business; and 49 percent looked up the business on a map.

So what can you do to make your efforts more mobile friendly? We offered some hints in a previous blog post, When Do You Use a Smartphone?. Here’s some expanded thoughts.

  • Check your website on smart phones and tablets. Even if you don’t use one, borrow a few different types from your friends or customers to review. Does it look OK? Can you use it to find a product, a menu, or your business phone number? Do you have to scroll from side to side to read?
  • Think about usability. For example, drop-down menus are great on websites, but we’ve been steering people away from using them because they can be a pain to navigate with smart phones. (More tips on this in the aforementioned Smartphones blog post.)
  • Consider building a “responsive” site instead of having a separate mobile site. You want to minimize the number of things you have to update; two different sites don’t make a lot of sense for most time-crunched business people. Responsive design takes into account whether the user is viewing your site on a computer monitor, a tablet or a smart phone and adjusts the site accordingly, on the fly. You only have to update one website, and it looks fine wherever it is viewed.
  • Make sure people can find your business when they search. While a full explanation of search engine optimization techniques for mobile is worthy of a separate series of blog posts, you can start by making sure your business website can be found locally when people Google your name or your industry. Make sure you claim your Google Places page and that you list your business location prominently on your website, just for starters.

Give thought to your mobile strategy before 2013 hits, and get ahead of the curve. Give us a call at 541-752-9922 if you have any questions!

Note: If you have Google Analytics, you can check to see how much of your traffic is currently coming from mobile devices. See marketing expert Christopher Penn’s short YouTube video on GA Mobile to learn how to find this information. Or ask us for more information about all your website stats and how to use them to form a comprehensive internet marketing strategy.

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