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December 18, 2012

Yes, Virgina, You Need a Mobile Website

It didn’t take long, but mobile technology has become so commonplace today that it can no longer be considered a fad or a trend – it is here to stay, and has already been established as a dominant technology for how we communicate, consume information, and conduct business.

If your small business isn’t already using mobile as a marketing channel, it’s definitely time to start planning a strategy. You may not need weekly SMS campaigns or real-time mobile coupons, but you do need some type of plan for mobile, and you need it now. Click to see the difference between mobile sites and desktop sites.

Mobile use has grown so quickly that many businesses are now trying to catch up to new consumer behaviors. Some big retailers are blazing a trail with mobile apps that not only recognize your phone when you walk through their doors, they can send you special announcements, direct you to your favorite department, or deliver in-store deals to your Smartphone as you walk around the store. Your small business may not need something that complicated, but a mobile website at least gets your business in the hands (literally) of mobile users, which at last count is approaching one billion people and growing.

Good Opportunity for You

Since the majority of small businesses are still behind the curve with mobile, you have an enormous opportunity to not only meet a growing need for your customers (mobile capability), but to also get a jump on your mobile-impaired competitors who do not yet have mobile strategies (or websites) in place. Mobile users won’t tolerate non-mobile sites, they will simply move onto sites that work with their devices. Be the business with the great mobile experience and win the customers who abandoned those other guys.

Bad News for Your Competition

Recent studies show the majority of mobile users routinely leave non-mobile websites to search for mobile sites that will work on their devices. In fact, 61 percent of users who don’t find a mobile site will immediately leave to keep searching for one. Fifty percent of users said that even if they liked a business, they would use it less often if the website doesn’t work on a mobile device. So if you have a mobile site and your competitors do not, how much more business could be coming your way?

Good for Your Reputation

Customers get frustrated and annoyed if a site doesn’t work well on a mobile device, with more than half of users surveyed saying that a bad mobile experience makes them less likely to engage with the company at all.

The message here is that a good mobile experience can translate into positive reactions from visitors, boosting your likeability and reputation. In contrast, 48 percent of users said it made them feel as if the company didn’t care about their business if the site didn’t work well on their mobile devices.

Show your customers that you do care and that you want to meet their needs by providing a great experience for them on their mobile devices.

As the switch to mobile moves forward, users will continue to abandon non-mobile sites in favor of mobile sites while forming opinions and attitudes about the businesses that provide them. Having a mobile site is no longer just about making a few extra sales; it is now an important marketing channel that small businesses must consider if they want to reach consumers and meet customer needs in an increasingly mobile world.

Lauren Hobson is president of Five Sparrows, LLC Five Sparrows provides professional website and marketing services to small businesses and non-profits.