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May 23, 2014

Make Mine Mobile

NEWSFLASH: There are 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide.  This is surprising, considering the current world population is just a little over seven billion men, women and children.  (Are they making blue tooth baby rattles?) More surprising is the fact that mobile the number of mobile users has jumped more than one billion during the past three years alone. This means there are now more people surfing the Web via  Smartphone then there are using computers.

What this also means to business owners and managers is that if they have not yet embraced mobile marketing, they could be missing the boat.  The problem for many is that it took them nearly 20 years to learn how to add the Internet to their marketing mix.  Now many are reluctant to jump onto the mobile bandwagon since they believe it will require the expenditure of yet more time, energy and money.

HTML 5 to the Rescue

While it is true that Smartphones can and do surf the Web, most websites created before 2012 rely on code that forces those employing mobile technology to squeeze many websites down to size in order to read them.  This is not only inconvenient, it also means that many Smartphone users will choose to surf elsewhere.  What HTML 5 does is create a site that can reconfigure itself to make it easier for tablet and Smartphone users to view the site without having to scrunch the site down to size.  Better still, HTML 5 works with most browsers.

Of course, even with HTML 5 it can still be a chore for Smartphone readers to view a site that has a lot of text.  I know I need a 12-inch tablet to make reading practical. That’s why I still recommend that every business owner and manager spend a few bucks to create a .mobi site that uses video to showcase their business in a size that anyone can view.  There is at least one other advantage to creating a .mobi site that recommend it to businesses looking for added visibility.  Many prime ,mobi urls are still up for grabs that can help your business generate more a bigger presence.

There’s an App for That

Some businesses have embraced mobile marketing in a big way by having mobile apps created that not only allow them to get a jump on the mobile craze, but also allows them to do some pretty sophisticated things online.  Whereas in the past many businesses relied upon radio and TV ads to generate buzz about their products and services, today it is all too easy for someone to change stations or filter their TV viewing to eliminate all those annoying four-minute commercial breaks. (Darn TiVo.) This means that much of the airtime you are buying is going to be dead air.

This is where mobile apps are changing the way in which businesses engage their customers.  Offering everything from interactive coupons and contests to games and built-in customer appreciation programs, many businesses are capitalizing on the public’s infatuation with Smartphones by developing apps designed to engage customers and prospects.

  • Unlike standard e-mail, a text message is more likely to be read right away.
  • Using push technology an app can deliver relevant information to individual prospects.
  • Apps can also take advantage of GPS technology to geotarget customers.

Of course the downside is that it can be fairly pricey to develop a sophisticated app from scratch.  This makes many apps unapproachable for smaller businesses. There is also the added factor that bringing an app to market can take months.  Even once in the marketplace you are forced to compete with millions of other apps.

“It’s no accident or surprise that more than two million cumulative apps are in the Apple App Store and the Google Play store. While creating an app has been a great gateway into mobile, and still is a valuable tool to deliver content, reach is limited by the number of people who download and use the app.”

— RetailCustomer

Before you plunk down a wad of cash to develop an app for your business you need to consider several factors, including:

  • How is the app going to give your business an edge over the competition?
  • How big is your target audience?
  • How long of a shelf life will your app have?
  • How are you planning on distributing your app?
  • Is there a third-party app available that can do a similar job?

With two million apps on the shelf it’s highly likely that someone has already come to market with an app that can do virtually the same thing as the one you are going to develop.  Doing some online research can save you a bundle.  I mean, why lay tracks when you can hitch your caboose onto someone else’s train?

Speaking of old-school marketing, mobile can also enhance virtually every other form of print marketing your business currently employs.  Have a business card or brochure?  Add a QR code.  Are you currently spending money on newspaper or magazine ads?  Add a QR code.  Quick Response codes allow you to send any prospect with a Smartphone to a website or video.  When you consider the fact that a QR code takes up less than one square inch of space, not adding one to every print ad is tantamount to throwing money away.

Far from being reluctant to add mobile marketing to your current marketing mix, once you consider all of the benefits that mobile has to offer, you will soon wonder how you ever managed to do without it.


Carl Weiss is CEO of Working the Web to Win, a digital marketing agency in Jacksonville, Florida.  You can interface with Carl every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern when he airs his radio show on Blog Talk Radio.