Are you reading this blog on a computer or on a mobile device? Even if your answer is the former, it may not be that way for long.
Between March and June or 2012, the number of people accessing Facebook solely from their mobile devices jumped from 83 to 102 million. That's in line with an international trend. In August, China revealed that its citizens accessing the Internet via mobile devices (72.2 percent) now surpassed those using desktops (70.7 percent) and laptops (45.1 percent).
Simply having a website is no longer enough. Whatever type of business you own or manage, it's absolutely crucial that a multi-faceted plan is in place for your mobile outreach and marketing. Now and in the future, it's through their devices that our customers communicate with us.
Have you ever noticed that websites you frequent online may look slightly different on your smartphone? Oftentimes, you'll notice the letter 'M' before the URL on your phone or device, identifying your location as the mobile version of the site.
Whether you create a mobile version or simply optimize your existing site to work on both desktop and mobile browsers, it's important to check that your site is compatible on all types of devices. Flash content is the big culprit here with Apple products. Online website templates that include Flash may look great on your computer, but if mobile users can't access your site than you're clearly not reaching much of your target audience.
Most online website creators now include mobile-friendly sites, and developers are knowledgeable about options as well. Check your site on a variety of phones and tablets. If anything on your site doesn't appear as it should take action immediately.
All those people accessing their accounts solely from mobile devices create a problem for Facebook. You can't fit nearly as many advertisements on a smaller screen, but it's an asset for businesses. With your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest posts literally in your customers' hands, you should prioritize efforts to create daily engagement. Instead of just posting info about new products, services, and specials, use your social media feeds to ask questions and provoke conversations.
For actual advertising, Facebook's Sponsored Story paid posts enjoy a click-through rate as high as 13 times that of its regular sidebar ads on the desktop browser, and these reach mobile users within their news feeds.
A growing trend within social media marketing is deploying loyalty apps, like PunchTab and Perkville. These tools integrate across social media accounts, operating much like the classic deli sandwich card (buy seven sandwiches and get one free) except that progress is kept track of on users' accounts via their phone.
Companies like Google's latest acquisition, Wildfire, even offer customized social media outreach across every thinkable platform. Although the times are always changing in the fast-paced world of online marketing, loyalty apps and social media integrated contests and campaigns mimic traditional marketing methods and appear to have staying power.
Some business owners erroneously think that creating an app is the fundamental key to effectively engaging customers on smartphones and tablets.
An app should provide a service that can be offered more efficiently than on a mobile website. For example, if you're a pizza shop, an app that lets you choose toppings and order delivery by tapping a button on the screen will have obvious appeal. Creating an app simply to put your menu online, however, is relatively pointless. People will still gravitate toward your website. Don't create an app simply to duplicate information already offered on your site.
If you do have an idea for an app, many online website creators now offer app services as well, utilizing templates that can be customized to your liking.
Don't let the mobile age of the Internet overwhelm you. Although it's a fast-changing world, it's simple to keep up with the basics. Make sure that your website works on any phone and device. Utilize your social media accounts as a conversation tool and reputation builder. Consider taking advantage of the growing array of tools, including loyalty apps, to promote your business.
The beautiful thing is that all of your outreach to mobile customers can be done from your own mobile device. Enjoy the freedom and grow your business.