What if I told you that seven-of-ten of the prospects and customers in your market can’t find your business? You’d be very disturbed by that, wouldn’t you?
Now, what if I told you that three-fourths of the calls your prospects and customers want to make to your business are not getting through? Would I be able to see the veins in your neck as you raise your voice to declare that such a thing would be impossible?
Well, in the past year or so, addressing small business audiences around the country, I’ve asked this simple question: “How many of you have a website that conforms to the small screen – a mobile website?” I’m sorry to report that the number of attendees who raised their hands – across multiple industries – was in the vast minority.
To dramatize how unfortunate this response is, let’s go to the research: During 2018, well over 200 million Americans will use a smartphone. And that number is projected to grow to over 80% in three years (Statista).
So what are all these people – very likely, including you – doing on the tiny screens of these magic wands we hold in the palm of our hand? Besides making calls, texting and sending emails, they are:
1. Shopping online – making decisions about what they want and who to buy it from.
2. Navigating to businesses – like the previously unknown business that popped up in a local search.
3. Buying stuff – and paying for it by touching their index finger to one tiny button on the screen. It’s called “One touch” and customers l-u-u-u-v it. Whether they know the business or not, they can one-touch with PayPal and Amazon, plus other preloaded credit/debit financial sources.
You may be saying, “Well, duh!” Everybody knows that.” But your protest doesn’t count unless you would’ve raised your hand when I asked about who has a mobile site.
And I can hear you further protesting that customers can do all three of those things on your regular site. But, again, no points. Customers don’t want to do either one of those three things on your regular site while looking at the small screen of their smartphone. And they don’t have to because there are hundreds of competitors – from Amazon to Amy’s Boutique – whose mobile site conforms to the small screen while delivering a one-touch payment option.
If you don’t have a mobile site – not a mobile app, which you’ll probably never need – the news gets worse: when a hungry person speaks these word into a smartphone, “pepperoni pizza in east Peoria,” search engines know what kind of device the request is from, and move non-mobile-ready sites way down the search results. This person wants a hot phone number, big directions on a small screen, and one-touch pay. (Re-read the first two paragraphs.)
It’s been 25 years since you and I first had access to the Internet, and a decade since we’ve had smartphones. In the Age of the Customer, where being relevant to customers is trumping being competitive, a big part of relevance is being fully accessible and high-functioning when a prospect or customer wants to connect with you based on their expectations. And every day, that expectation is increasingly manifesting in the palm of a hand.
Finally, if you don’t have a mobile site, I have good news: You can get one in a few days for a few hundred dollars. You must be ready for mobile primetime. Your prospects and customers expect it.
Write this on a rock ...
Mobile computing wasn’t any part of your past, but it will dominate your future.
Jim Blasingame is the author of the award-winning book, The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance, and host of the Small Business Advocate Show. firstname.lastname@example.org.