These days it’s next to impossible to do anything or go anywhere without a mobile device be it a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. With 77% of adult Americans now own a smartphone, and 51% own or have home access to a tablet, chances are you have at least one mobile device yourself. One in 10 will use those devices as their only means of accessing the internet.

All of those stats mean one thing: your business must cater to the mobile market. If you have begun that process, fantastic. You have a head start. If you’ve just started to think about mobile, now is the time to take action. Below we go over the three key ways you must improve your business to appeal to the mobile customer.

Is Your Website Mobile Compatible?

Chances are you already have a website. You know that it’s important to have a place on the web where people know they’ll find up-to-date information about your business and services. Now you need to make sure that your website works on smartphones.

With the advent of HTML5, improved browsers, and easy to use tools like WordPress, you may not have to do much to update your website- it may have already changed itself to be mobile compatible. Either way, make sure you test it. When you do, consider these things:

  • Do pages resize so that they can be viewed on a number of different screen sizes?
  • Does the text wrap or run off the page?
  • Are images scaled down?
  • Does the page load within 3 seconds? Any longer and it may be abandoned.
  • Are pop-ups able to be dismissed? Do they scale?
  • Do all of your forms still work?
  • Does your mobile checkout process check these boxes?
  • Does it work for Android, iOS, and Windows-based phones?

To answer these questions, you can test your site on a number of devices or use a free online tool, like this one offered by Google. Beyond basic usability, you need to determine if your page is optimized for mobile, too. Optimized may mean you need a new, mobile-specific layout. The best mobile websites, when first viewed, are simple and straightforward. What’s the least amount of information someone looking up your website needs- especially from a smartphone? Contact information and directions, if you have a physical location, are a good thing to have.

Though there is no “fold” in the mobile realm, do make sure to put the most pertinent information first. Use button sizes that people can actually press, too. How frustrating is it when there are three buttons in a row, and they’re all the size of a tic tac? To succeed with a mobile site, you must make things easy. Mobile and convenience go hand in hand.

Do You Have an App?

This question applies to more businesses than you might think. From retailers to restaurants, nonprofits to schools, just about everyone that has a repeat customer base could use an app. They offer a direct marketing opportunity, allowing you to send out notifications to the right people at the right time. They also offer new ways of connecting with customers. For instance, mobile loyalty programs are more likely to result in repeat business. They can also contain tools that will help your clients or keep them entertained.

You might even need more than one app. More and more businesses realize the power of building an app that connects their employees and helps them keep track of their workday. These apps can facilitate communication, allow a quick reference for the status of projects or people, and solve a number of day-to-day issues. In fact, if you aren’t using any apps for business right now, you’re missing out. Currently, both free and paid apps can help your business. They can do everything from organizing your scheduling to keeping track of inventory and even replace some of your office equipment.

If you have no interest in developing your own app, do make sure to list your business in a variety of them. Many mobile users will go to an app for recommendations before they search online. That means that your business must be listed in that particular app for you to get their business. On the upside, you should only have to sign up for a handful of different apps, and the whole process should take less than an hour.

Apps are a broad topic. There are so many benefits, and they can be used in so many different ways that no single article can do them justice. But one underutilized and overlooked benefit of a mobile app is mobile marketing.

Every business needs a strong marketing plan, and mobile offers the tool to do just that.

  • Loyalty programs invite customers back to your business.
  • Push notifications keep clients in the look.
  • Geofences allow you to segment and target your audience.
  • Social media integration allows customers to interact with you.
  • Mobile ordering offers clients convenience.
  • Mobile coupons offer brand loyal customers discounts, which keeps them brand loyal.

This is not to mention how you can use in-app messaging and mobile features to engage with clients. The list is as long as your imagination and creativity will make it. But the bottom line is clear; mobile opens up marketing channels that did not exist ten years ago. And, your business needs to be on those channels.

Today there are a few top app makers that offer every feature you need and the opportunity to expand later. App makers come with the added benefits of better security and support at a price point even the smallest businesses could afford.

Have You set up Mobile Advertising?

Like the app-specific directories mentioned above, mobile customers respond to different kinds of advertising. Further, if you make the most of what mobile offers and pay attention to your client data, any informed advertising efforts you make will be more efficient.

With mobile there often isn’t space for banner ads and pop-ups are even more annoying. In this space, tactics like contextual marketing and native advertising are the clear winners. Being specific is important. Instead of casting a wide net, look for apps your customers like to use and advertise there. Create an offer that would be appealing to that person using that app at that time. To your client, it will feel like individual attention, and that is exactly what mobile users are looking for.

Just because you’re on mobile doesn’t mean you should ignore social media, either. It may just be more important. Snapchat and Instagram don’t actually work from a PC; Twitter could have been made exclusively for smartphones, too. Sponsored social posts, and those offered up to potential customers by influencers, are increasingly valuable in the mobile market.

Advertising within mobile apps creates additional opportunities. You could create a marketing ad and let it play during a loading or unlock screen. The same can be said of an instructional video placed in an app with a similar theme. Combining mobile with video in this way can increase the success of your campaign by as much as 64%.

Beyond the Stats – Why Mobile is Important for Growth

Mobile gives you a direct link to your customers. With data collection and evaluation, it can show you the exact problems they’re having with your online services. If you add a new tool or section, you can get a more accurate picture of who is taking advantage of which piece of content.

Mobile is great for your customers, too- that’s why it’s become so popular so fast. By implementing any or all of these methods, your brand becomes more valuable to them. Why? Because it’s more convenient and you, as a business, have taken the time to make it that way. It will also, if you choose to take advantage of all mobile has to offer, become more personal.

With all of these benefits, can your business afford to steer clear of mobile? If you do choose to invest in these technologies now, you still have some time left to stand out from the competition. However, in as little as a year, not having a mobile strategy will be considered “lagging behind.” Mobile is, without a doubt, where the future of marketing is headed. It has to- because that’s where your new customers are.