Mobile – Customers Are There – Businesses Should Be Too

Ross Miller, Director,
Illinois Small Business Development Center

According to PewResearch, the technologies American adults are using are changing rapidly:

  • 90% have a cell phone.
  • 58% have a smartphone.
  • 32% own an e-reader.
  • 42% own a tablet computer.
  • 56.7% use cell phones to go online.
  • 19.3% go online mostly using cell phones.
  • 45% download apps.
  • 44.1% get directions, recommendations, or other location-based information.

This means that businesses need to get mobile and quickly. Here are a few ways to be found in the mobile space:

Google+ page – Get the business on Google+. This is the mapping and location based search function in all Android phones. “Claiming” the business allows you to add more information about the business, including the hours of operation, products and services.

iPhone maps – This is a lot more difficult. Apple draws information about a business from a number of different sources, including Yelp!, Localeze, Acxiom, and TomTom. Search on an iPhone to attempt to find your business. If your business in not found, click the “report a problem” button and report the business location. There are varying reports on how long it will take to get listed. Recent reports suggest it is updated on a daily basis.

Make a mobile version of your website – Use goMobi.info, moovweb.com, or mobify.com to make a mobile version of the business website. By designing specifically for the mobile device, the communication will be easier to read and navigate. It will not require the mobile user to zoom in on the page and scroll right or left to read the text.

Build an app – With overcrowding of the email in-box, this is a more effective way to grab the attention of a community. Create an app that will provide dedicated customers what specials are available, which products they own from the store, provide reminders about tune-ups or warranty information, or provide product support instantly. The next real estate that businesses will fight for will be space in the customer’s smart-phone.

Use texting – Text reminders of appointments or a text to a specific group of customers. This is a great way to get instant attention. Services such as grouptexting.com or eztexting.com are ways to get text messages out to a large customer list.

The goal of marketing is to get in front of a customer when the customer is interested in your product or service. Mobile is that next great medium to reach a customer where and when they prefer. Contact Ross Miller at illinoissbdc@bradley.edu or 309-677-2992 to explore new ideas to market your business.