Any edge your small business (SMB) can gain to stay in the ring with your heavy weight competitors is crucial.  In a world full of millennial customers, your advantage is your mobile presence.  Bottom line—if your business is not set up to serve the mobile population, look for a knock out punch to come from the competition.

It’s no secret that SMB is the backbone of the American economy.  It’s also no secret that technology is a major factor in a SMB’s success.  You would think that as technology continues to evolve that SMBs would have greater opportunities to compete with their larger competitors.  This is the case on some occasions, but for most, modern technology is evolving faster than businesses can keep up with, thus leaving many scrambling to understand the changes they need to make.

There are two basic approaches that SMBs can use to begin entering the mobile market, apps or mobile websites.  Both options have pros and cons, and depending on your business, you will need to do some research.  One thing remains certain, if you can afford to build both, you will certainly come out on top with more avenues to reach customers on the platform that they use the most.

Mobile Customers

Small Business App Stats

In a recent study conducted by BuzzBoard, researchers learned that approximately 47.3% of SMB across the nation were not prepared for the shift to mobile.  The study further reported that 49% of consumers looking for information about local SMB use their smart phones to do so, and of that 49% of consumers, 18% of those searches resulted in customers arriving at a brick and mortar store to make a purchase.  Simply put, customers shopping and searching techniques are evolving faster than SMBs can keep up with.  What that means to you as a SMB owner, is that you cannot afford to postpone developing a mobile presence.

Smartphones have dominated the mobile market as of lately.  In fact, 64% of Americans or 2/3 of the population own smart phones, and 19% of those people rely on their smart phone as their primary means of staying connected online.  Again, as a SMB owner, you have no choice but to begin developing your mobile presence.  By putting it off and assuming that people will just find your website, you are easily loosing 19% of the population as potential customers.

Additionally, 68% of all emails are read on smart phones or tablets, so not only do SMBs need to reevaluate their websites and their app market existence, they also have to begin creating mobile friendly emails.

Because Google Says So…

Google-says

Due largely to the giant shift towards mobile, Internet giants such as Google have begun revising their business strategies.  Google recent announced that it would begin changing its ranking criteria by awarding sites with a stronger mobile presence higher rankings.  The bottom line is when Google says you need to change your online presence, you have to follow suit; otherwise, any ground you’ve gained developing your digital existence will be lost.

Your business cannot afford to ignore the rules that Google sets for search criteria.  It will end up costing you way more money in the long run.  If you wait, not only will you have to spend money developing a mobile website and/or a mobile app, you will also have to pay marketing and advertising experts to help you regain the ground you lost by holding off development.  It’s one of those penny smart dime stupid scenarios where businesses often find themselves struggling to make decisions.

In the case of developing a mobile presence, the decision is abundantly clear.  You need to find the budget to get yourself a smart phone friendly existence.  There are many open source websites options you can use such as Joomla or WordPress that offer built in responsive capabilities for a mobile site that can come at a very low cost.

In fact, open source content management systems are simple to learn to use of you have some technology skills.  They require no coding skills, and they offer many step by step tutorials that you can use to begin building.  The same is true with app development.

There are also many “build a mobile app” options that can help you cultivate an effective and affordable app without any coding knowledge.  With a little legwork, you can have your business competing in the mobile market for relativity low cost.

Apps as a Mobile Option

 

Apps As Mobile Options

Without a doubt, you have to have a mobile friendly website.  First of all, a mobile friendly website offers a much simpler screen experience potential customers.  When a page is easier to navigate on a mobile device, customers are less likely to abandon the page and find one that is easier to view on a mobile platform.

If you don’t begin developing your mobile existence with a device responsive website, you are loosing out on opportunity after opportunity.  You need to be able to contend with your competitors, and without a mobile presence, SMBs in your niche will steal your customers.   But in most cases, the mobile website is simply not enough.

As more and more technology platforms shift focus towards apps, it is in your business best interest to invest in app development as well. Apps offer mobile capability, but they also offer many additional innovative possibilities.  Because an app can work directly with the device on which it is downloaded, it has the potential to allow customers and clients a more interactive mobile experience.  Customers like simplicity.  The like to go to the app to, book appointments, order supplies, get reminders, check status, etc.  Simply put, an app offers a much more user-friendly experience.

Additionally, apps engage users more.  If your SMB niche offers or requires any of the following, and app is most certainly the mobile market you want to begin using:

  • Regular customers like coffee shops, hair salons, nail salons
  • Extensive research before purchasing like car dealers, real estate
  • Continued communication like contractors, event planners
  • Vacation or entertainment like a casino or a resort
  • Location reminders like a restaurant or a concert venue
  • Valued reminders like a car garage or a dentist.

Studies indicate that 90% of media time is spent using apps instead of browser technology .  Again, what that means to you as a SMB, is that you need to invest in app technology.

Conclusion

A mobile existence is going to be your SMB’s next life line, and if you wait too long to invest in the shift, you are going to end up spending more money trying to rebuild the online presence you’ve already built.   Watching how the trend unfolds is no longer an option for your SMB.  You have to begin adjusting to the change.

Works Cited
Sterling, Greg. Mobile: Ready-or Not? Why Small Business Must Adapt Now to the Mobile-First Consumer Marketplace. 1-14: Local Search Association, 2016. Print.

Article written by Andrew CEO at Business Apps

Entrepreneurs should consider building their business around mobile apps—data shows that nearly 45% of all Americans own a smartphone, plus 2 billion users worldwide. Compared to local business and marketing strategies, there is no denying that the potential clientele base of mobile far exceeds that of any other area or industry. Mobile apps have surpassed the desktop and laptop; 89% of consumers use their smartphones to make purchases. Entrepreneurs should take this information as a core indicator of where their business should be grounded.

Mobile apps are always within reach

People spend nearly 37.5 hours per month on their phones now. By having an app, you are literally putting your business’s services in their hands. Where the normal person does not carry a computer everywhere they go, about half of the American public does carry a smartphone around. Availability and accessibility are crucial parts of building up your company.

Build your brand with mobile

In 2015, Google implemented a mobile friendly algorithm into their SEO that benefits mobile websites more than desktop only sites. If you’re building a website, having a mobile site is a must. Start where the market is dominant.

Mobile media builds your brand not only by providing you with great SEOs and SERPs when coupled with a webpage and mobile app, but also because mobile apps are easily shared. To explain: If you have a mobile app that is downloaded onto a phone or offered on Instagram and a person likes that app (Person A) then they are more likely to share that app with someone else (Person B) or to post that app to their social media (infinite market possibilities).

SEO

Mobile apps optimize and target your clients better

If you build your mobile app with targeting and marketing in mind, you will quickly be able to adjust your marketing strategies to fit those which are actually interested in your product. If you have the intention of selling your product to one demographic, but find that another prefers the app, you can easily view this information and adjust your marketing accordingly. Mobile apps are 100% data driven and make branding/marketing strategies simpler and better.

Desktop-Mobile-Ipad

Should you abandon it all?

Mobile apps are not a magic lamp. You will have to conduct regular business and marketing strategies in order to be successful. Social media integration, email marketing, promotional materials and other forms of brand promotion will be needed. The market does show, however, that 46% of smartphone users cannot live without their device and that 86% of all people shop through a mobile app.

Start with making your mobile app, collect data, revise, redevelop and update. The same concepts for business can be applied here, the only difference is that mobile apps are proven to be effective while traditional business marketing is dwindling. Should you as an entrepreneur build your business around a mobile app? The real question is: what are you waiting for? Let’s show you the possibilities contact us.

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