Commentary: Making your business mobile

June 22, 2011 

You created a website so shoppers can find you when they are at home but by going mobile, you can reach shoppers everywhere! In a recent ComScore survey, it was found that 33 percent of mobile phone subscribers used downloaded apps, 35 percent browsed the web and 67 percent sent a text message. Those are impressive numbers and represent an amazing opportunity to reach your customers in new ways.

Your first step to achieving mobile success is making sure your website is usable on a mobile phone. Take any smartphone and browse to your website. It should be easy and intuitive to navigate, fill out any forms and checkout. If your website doesn’t look like you expect, consult with an experienced mobile design company and have it give you some suggestions. They may have you do anything from creating a custom style for mobile phones to having a completely different mobile website. Screens are a lot smaller on your phone, so you may not be able to give as much detail as your full website.

Mobile coupons are a great way to encourage customers to check your newly mobile-optimized website or to visit your store. The retail store Target gives their customers the ability to receive mobile coupons every couple of weeks. Like any of the mega-retail stores, part of Target’s business model is encouraging you to visit their store and buy more stuff, so their coupons are only redeemable at a local store. Based on your business model, you can decide if you want to direct customers to your physical store or your mobile website.

Another very trendy mobile coupon option is advertising on one of the popular local deal sites. These sites give you the ability to offer a coupon through their websites and mobile applications. The advantage of using one of these channels is that they already have a large audience and will give you immediate results. Groupon and Living Social have the largest audiences, but do your research to find the company that offers the most for your business. If you decide this is right for you, make sure you work with the company to understand the potential traffic to your store and how to best handle the new demand.

Besides coupons, you can reach smartphone customers from within their downloaded apps. Mobile app developers will display ads from within their apps in order to make the app free to download. Most major website advertising companies have a division that focuses on mobile apps. Like most of today’s web advertising, you can optimize your mobile advertising budget and restrict your mobile ad to certain demographics.

The key to your success is to understand your customers and how they want to be reached best.

Stephen Jaynes, vice president of sales at xByte Technologies, can be reached at www.xbyte.com or (941) 358-9770.

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