By J.T. Ripton
Evolution has always been a mark of successful business-management, and as the role technology plays in everyday life continues to expand, it has never been more fundamental.
In the past five years, mobile devices have become a major tool in almost all areas of life for the average user. Checking and updating our social media feeds is second nature for many of us, and if we want to check a fact, we can just hop onto our smartphones to access a world of information. This is demonstrated by the revelation that 75 percent of people across the US take their phones to the bathroom, and spend an average of 158 minutes on their mobiles and tablets per day.
Mobile marketing is a major force in establishing a powerful online presence. To ensure success in the years ahead, your business must learn to adapt to generational advancements and to optimize your sites for mobile users. At any one time in almost any public place, smartphones are never far away, and everybody glued to their screens is a potential customer.
Your company needs a solid mobile strategy to compete with the biggest brands. Here’s why:
Google Favors Mobile-Optimized Sites
On April 21, 2015, Google released its “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update, which targeted websites that failed to offer users a satisfactory experience on mobile devices. At the time, only 10 percent of small-business owners ran a mobile-optimized website – meaning 90 percent were potentially costing themselves customers.
Since this update launched, websites optimized for mobile are given priority. Google is now basically forcing companies to adapt on demand, and while the resultant drop in rankings was problematic for a myriad of businesses (to say the least,) this update is for the better: sites that run better on mobile devices will now stand an improved chance of climbing rankings. It’s a change that cannot be argued with – your business must adapt and embrace the latest trend to compete.
“Sticky” Apps Convert Users Into Regular Customers
As vital as mobile-optimized websites are, apps suit today’s users even more. Eighty-five percent of mobile owners prefer to use apps rather than mobile web.
Apps are versatile, providing customers with a wide variety of functions and features: prices, order forms, account settings, news, and much more. Regardless of a company’s sector or mission, a bespoke app is a direct marketing channel installed on your customers’ smartphones – effectively putting your brand into every part of their day. Whenever they search through their apps, your logo will be there. It’s effortless brand-reinforcement.
Whether you choose voice or video, the faster and easier customer service is, the better a user’s quality of experience will be and the likeliness that your users will keep and use your app increases. You’ll also make more sales! In fact, 31 percent of online shoppers claimed they are more likely to make another purchase after enjoying a friendly live chat.
Online Shopping Has Shown Staggering Growth
Total digital commerce (across PC and mobile) reached $69 billion between November 1st and December 31st last year, with mobile-based purchases accounting for more than $12 billion of this.
Your business must provide a convenient, user-friendly buying experience on your app or mobile-optimized site. Any frustrations during the browsing and buying process (slow loading times, poor basket layout, meager payment options, etc.) can chase customers away, so keep the number of steps to a minimum. Remove intrusive pop-ups and streamline the process as much as possible.
Process streamlining technologies like the ones built within Amazon’s “Mayday” button for example, which allow customers to directly and visually connect with customer care reps with a single touch or click, is no longer only available to big businesses. According to Tony Zhao, the CEO of Agora.io, a video chat company:
“There are new, inexpensive and easily integrable SDK’s (Software Development Kits) which allow businesses of any size to be able to have the same click-to-call, live video streaming functionality like Amazon has with their “Mayday” button, which I think is really exciting.”
Various major e-commerce brands (such as Amazon) offer apps that condense a customer’s entire needs into one place. As discussed above, apps offer businesses a direct marketing channel, and by being logged into their account at all times a customer can make purchases even with the touch of a button.
Using Digital Coupons Adds Real Incentive
Coupons have long been a powerful marketing tool, giving customers incentive to buy a product or try a service. Printed coupons have declined in use by 10 percent each year since 2013, but digital coupons have multiplied by five during the same period.
68 percent of all users claim they generate loyalty to a brand, which demonstrates the power a simple offer can hold for a business. Offering these through your mobile vehicles, be it your app, mobile site, or via text, assures they will always have your coupons in their pockets and are more likely to use them.
A Generation Is Growing Up on Their Smartphones
- 90% of 18 – 29 year olds sleep with their smartphones
- 80% use theirs in the restroom
- 43% use them while at a red light
Social media is a major contributor to such use, with check-ins, status updates, viral content, and more creating a constant stream of content offering user-specific value. With more than 1.65 billion social accounts active around the world, businesses must target the younger generation to maximize their appeal to tomorrow’s customers.
Checking social media is almost instinctual today, and using smartphones is integral to the average Millennial’s lifestyle: music, movies, television shows, and games have transformed phones into entertainment hubs and essential everyday tools.
Every company must define a clear mobile strategy that will boost your rankings, increase user-satisfaction, and engage a wider demographic across social channels and apps. With mobile searches overtaking those performed on a computer in more than 10 countries last year, a mobile strategy is no longer an option in the online marketplace – it’s an integral component for every successful brand.
J.T. Ripton is a freelance writer out of Tampa, who focuses on topics relating to business and technology. Follow him at @JTRipton.