A smartphone is as close to a magic wand or lightsaber as exists outside of the dimension of fantasy.
Recent research by eMarketer indicates that more than 130 million Americans will own one of these in 2013. The same group is projecting that number to grow by a third – to almost 200 million smartphones – by 2016. That’s just about every American who isn’t a small child or nursing home resident. Here’s another way to say that: Essentially every one of your prospects and customers. Allow me to spell it out for you: If your business isn’t ready for mobile prime time it’s a dinosaur waiting to become extinct. Any questions?
Here are two important first steps so your business will avoid extinction by mobile:
1. Get your online information optimized for local search. This is critical for a comprehensive online strategy, but mandatory for mobile prime time, because mobile searchers are often trying to literally find a business. If I’m in Peoria and hungry for pizza, you want me to find you in my local mobile search for “pizza in Peoria .”
2. Decide whether to invest in a mobile site or a mobile app; either one will get your business ready for mobile prime time. Here’s the difference:
Mobile app: A software application that downloads to and resides on a customer’s mobile device.
· Advantage : Downloaded information, like an article or podcast, that can be used later without an Internet connection.
· Disadvantage: Updated information, like today’s menu or discount, has to be downloaded and will likely take longer to present than a mobile page.
Mobile site: Your website condensed for the smaller mobile screens. When your regular URL is requested from a smartphone, the mobile site presents automatically with the most important elements and less graphics. In other words, form follows function.
· Advantages: Most mobile sites cost less than most apps to create, update and maintain, and a mobile site icon looks just like a mobile app icon.
· Disadvantages: Most mobile sites aren’t as sexy as most mobile apps. And just like your regular website, a mobile site cannot be used unless the device is connected to the Internet.
Here are Blasingame’s Ready for Mobile Prime Time Rules of Thumb:
1. Not all businesses need a mobile app, but every small business needs a mobile website;
2. Get ready for mobile prime time or get ready for extinction.
Write this on a rock…The Age of the Customer is being driven by customer expectations, and nowhere is this truer than with mobile.
Jim Blasingame is one of the world's leading experts on small business and entrepreneurship. He is the creator and award-winning host of the nationally syndicated radio program, The Small Business Advocate ® Show. In addition to his weekly columns, Jim is the author of two books; Small Business is like a Bunch of Bananas and Three Minutes to Success .