Why Small Businesses Should Have Mobile Website

In the present business scenario, if you are not leveraging mobile to grow your business then you are missing out on a huge opportunity to promote your products and services. The first step in leveraging mobile is to have a mobile website, starting with your own business mobile website. Your website is the online face of your company, representing your brand and all that it stands for.

With its 35+ million mobile internet users India ranks No. 2 in the world. On the global front, of the 4 billion cell phones in the world, 1.08 billion are smart phones and more than 50 per cent of local searches are done on mobile devices.

It is estimated that 22 per cent of all searches in 2012 will be on mobile phones and it is predicted that in 2014 mobile internet will overtake desktop usage. It’s time SMEs took a look at mobile websites as a revenue generator.

A new study has revealed that 43% of people searching for a product or service on their mobile phone visit a local business after finding them online. More importantly, 22% of these searchers actually go on to make a purchase. SME owners would be wise not to miss out on this window of opportunity and learn how to grow local business using one of the most powerful marketing tools available in our lifetime – mobile websites.

If you are a local small business and finding it increasingly difficult to compete against the national high street stores there is one incredibly powerful tool at your disposal to give you the visibility you need among a broad and captive customer base: the mobile website.

It’s little wonder that, fueled by the prolific sales of smartphones, marketers have identified mobile as a critical communication channel for their brands. With reports out recently indicating that online sales growth has hit an 18 month low, it has never been so important to ensure that all communication channels are optimized and effectively integrated to maximize customer conversion rates.

From a marketing perspective, smartphones are game-changing technology and businesses that successfully integrate mobile marketing into their communication strategy will steal a march on the competition.

At the very least, small businesses need to seriously consider optimizing their websites for mobile platforms, if not they risk alienating their existing consumer base and leaving them wide open to the competition.

Here are the key reasons why your small business should have a mobile website in 2012.

  1. Google indexes mobile content differently than regular search. Ranking on mobile is easier because Google has a much smaller index of content under mobile, as this segment is still in its infancy. People who are first to market have a significant advantage. Therefore, if small businesses get a mobile website today, they can be ranked quicker than their competition. If for no other reason than to Rank High on Google, you should build your mobile site before your competition does.
  2. In a country like India, mobile is the first point of Internet access. Mobile Internet in India is growing at a rapid pace. In India mobile phones now outnumber landlines 14:1 and are used by about 45 percent of the population. The sparseness of landlines, particularly in rural areas, coupled with the expense of PCs, has kept Internet use very low, with less than 6 percent of Indians (age 12 or above) accessing the Internet once a month. Mobile internet traffic has grown 233% yoy and will touch 250+ million by 2018. 15 billion web pages were viewed by Indian mobile internet users in March 2011. Mobile tele-density will reach 97.4 per 100 persons by 2014  from current 65%.
  3. FMCG brands are hugely interested in mobile, as they recognize how important the mobile channel is to consumers – for many consumers, the mobile device is now their most valued device, above television and PC. Companies such as Unilever and P&G have shown innovation and leadership in their mobile campaigns.
    For brands that struggle to reach the hundreds of millions of Indians that live in rural areas mobile provides great potential for penetrating this untapped market. According to Bharti Airtel’s Kapoor, India’s rural markets remain under 20 percent penetrated by big brands.
  4. The next frontier of the internet is the mobile web and some say it will even overtake the desktop. In the near future, most of the visitors to a website will be through mobile. Mobile devices such as the iPhone and Android have revolutionized web surfing, enhanced the experience dramatically, and continue to drive more consumers to use mobile devices for browsing the Internet.

Do You Need a Mobile Website?

According to Ted Schadler, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research who covers enterprise issues, you can determine if your organization needs a mobile website by asking the following questions:

  1. The organization currently have a website that is regularly used by customers?
  2. Do the people you are trying to reach use smartphones or tablets on a regular basis?
  3. Can mobile provide opportunities that a traditional web presence — or other channels — can’t or doesn’t do as well?
  4. Would customers (or employees or partners) benefit from having information at the moment of decision?

If you answered “yes” to two or more of these questions, you should probably (if not definitely) have a mobile presence (either a mobile website or a native app, or possibly both).

Think of mobile as “a system of engagement,” as a way to improve the way you engage with customers, employees and partners, explained Schadler.

For example, let’s say you run a real estate company, or are a developer. Prior to mobile, if a customer wanted information about a house, she’d have to call the real estate agency or developer or look up the information on her computer. With mobile, however, you can provide prospective buyers with the information they need on their smartphones, when they are right in front of the house.

How to Develop a Mobile Marketing Strategy

One of the biggest mistakes organizations make when developing a mobile website is making it a standalone project. That is, not integrating your mobile website –i.e., your mobile strategy — into your broader marketing, sales and customer (or CRM) strategy. Instead of just thinking mobile, think in terms of multi-channel, where mobile is just one channel.

When developing a mobile website you need to understand your customers’ goals — and what devices they are using. What looks good on a large monitor is not going to work on a smartphone. Similarly, don’t assume that what looks good on an iPad is going to look the same on an Android device or a BlackBerry.

Unlike traditional websites, with mobile it’s all about streamlining information. So figure out what are the five or six items that are the most vital to your customers and get rid of all the extraneous stuff that could slow them down or distract them (e.g., Flash, large graphics or pictures, audio).

Finally, make sure to test your mobile website before you release it publicly.

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