We all have witnessed a phenomenon where people have come to a point in their lives that they are spending more time with their mobile phones than their laptops or PCs. In fact, many offices have now adopted a free-form way of working where people are no longer holed up in their cramped offices with window panes overlooking the city.
Everything can now be accessed through a mobile phone; from banking online, shopping, social networking, doing mobile research, mobile TV, right on down to doing business transactions.
Because customers are looking for a more convenient way to do their business through an easier platform, this becomes a perfect opportunity for small businesses to expand their presence with a mobile website.
Other reasons why small businesses should go mobile include:
Competitors are already doing it. It has always been a dog-eat-dog endeavor in the business world; and much like animals, small businesses should learn to adapt in order to survive. Sweeping through mobile technology changes is a necessity no one should ignore. Perhaps even a local competitor across the street from one's business is already using a mobile website to gain more potential customers, and missing out on this may cause a business to be left behind.
Customers expect it. Customers have also adapted to this change for a new lifestyle and a need to go mobile, and what better way to cement customers' perception that a business cares than giving them what they want and need.
Engage customer support and service. Since everything is now available at the touch of a finger, customers prefer a different level of engagement with the businesses they trust, something real-time and convenient. If an issue arises, they want to feel that their concerns are important, and when their issues are resolved, they will feel valued and will be more likely to keep coming back for the business' products and services.
Having a mobile website also makes it easier to reach out to customers for promotions and discounts, which could keep them loyal and encourage them to make additional purchases.
The opportunities are endless. Another way to get the business on the front-line of mobile apps is through social media integration, fan walls, push notifications, and user incentives. Through these applications, customers are guarded down towards upcoming promotions and advertisements, and are more likely to be engaging.
Mobile websites can also encourage customers to participate in surveys as well as customer reviews and forums, which could benefit both parties. Here, customers can extend their concerns about the business, and businesses can get valuable feedback to make their business better. Hearing from the customers creates the illusion that the business is willing to give its 100% commitment to provide quality services.
Maximize business presence. With mobile websites, customers will have access to the business for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and from just about anywhere in the world. Through this, buying decisions of customers become easier. The same holds true when they have concerns that need an immediate response.
Sales can be heightened. Customers' interest in the business' product or services is the aspiration of any marketing strategy, but any unfulfilled curiosity may decrease potential revenue. When customers are able to reach and gain access to a business through a mobile website, this may lead to a participated sales conversion. In fact, studies show that about 20% of sales from business revenue are actually generated through mobile purchases. Combined with these statistics and the need of customers to have everything on their mobile phone, this makes it a no-brainer explanation as to why businesses should engage in mobile websites.
Build a partnership with similar business ventures. If a business wants to grow, they will more than likely need help from other supporting businesses, and this is where mobile websites come in handy. Sponsor applications can help small businesses branch out during their start-up phase. By allowing hopping into their established mobile application, small businesses will have higher chances of going independent as their new mobile website gets online. It would also help small businesses acquire more potential customers through the existing customers that sponsor applications have.
The only drawback of mobile websites that small businesses should have to consider is the cost it would take. There are many companies who are willing to integrate current business pages and websites to a mobile website application, but the cost of it can be a bit pricey. Depending on how much a small business is willing to shell out, the prices charged would vary by the type of business the clients have, their requirements, and the value they want to attain for their customers.
Prices can start from around $300 and may go up to as much as $1,500 to $2,000, depending on how intricate the mobile design would be. Why? One reason for this is that websites on low budget usually have designs that view pretty badly on mobile devices. Another problem is that it may take a fairly long time for the website to load. Also, the fonts on the pages become pretty small when scaled down to that size, and customers might end up going through too much effort trying to zoom and pinch in pages in order to navigate the site. And if the mobile website does not have Flash, it becomes relatively boring and plain.
Studies show that customers who had bad experiences on mobile websites usually turn to a competitor for their business and may even think twice whether or not they would ever come back again to the original company. On this note, there are still small businesses that have not come around and optimized or improved their mobile websites. For this reason, right from the start small businesses should begin thinking about how much commitment are they willing to give, knowing that the budget for a mobile website requires a little bit more.
More and more are adapting new technologies for marketing, and going mobile remains a profound means that could benefit any small business on a long-term basis. With higher customer expectations and a crowded marketplace, small businesses will be more equipped, more accessible for all customer entities, more comprehensive, and will have more leverage among competitors when they go mobile.
Craig Corbel is the Vice President of Marketing for Solution Web Designs, a top NYC web design firm that specializes in web design and online marketing for small and mid-sized business.