Making It Mobile

By Carl Weiss

Garmin-Asus A10 GPS Android smartphone review
NEWSFLASH: There are 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide.  This is surprising, considering the current world population is just a little over 7 billion men, women and children.  More surprising is the fact that mobile has jumped more than 1 billion during the past three years alone. Of that, more than one billion subscribers are now Smartphone equipped. 

What this means to business owners and managers is that if they have yet to embrace mobile marketing, they could be missing the boat.  The problem for many is the fact that it took them nearly twenty years to learn how to add the Internet to their marketing mix.  Now many are reluctant to jump on 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 Smartphone users can and do surf the web, most websites created before 2012 rely on code that forces most people to squeeze many websites down to size in order to read them.  This is
 not only inconvenient. It usually means that most people will choose to surf elsewhere almost immediately.  What HTML 5 does is create a site that can detect and reconfigure itself to make it easier for tablet and Smartphone users to view without having to manipulate the site to make it fit their particular platform.  Better still, HTML 5 works with most browsers.  Plus, it makes embedding video on html 5 as easy as embedding images was with HTML 4.

Of course, it can still be a chore for Smartphone readers to view a site if it 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 spends a few bucks to create a .mobi site that uses video to showcase their business in a size that anyone can view.  Add to this the fact that there is at least one other advantage to creating a .mobi site, since many prime urls are still up for grabs that can help your business generate more traffic.

There’s an App for That

Image representing TiVo as depicted in CrunchBase
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 a 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 4-minute commercial breaks. (Darn TiVo.)

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 interact with customers and prospects. 

·         Unlike standard email, 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 
English: is an online mobile c...
English: is an online mobile coupon app to find local businesses in the area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
scratch.  This makes many apps unapproachable for smaller businesses.  There is also the added factor that taking 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 2 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.”

Before you plunk down a wad of cash to develop an app for your business, you need to consider several factors, including:
1.      What is the app going to do for your business to give you an edge over the competition?
2.      How big is your anticipated audience?
3.      How long of a shelf life will your app have?
4.      How are you planning on distributing your app?
5.      Is there a third-party app available that can do a similar job?

English: Graph showing global smartphone marke...
English: Graph showing global smartphone market share for Q2 2011 When updating this graph, please check its usage and update the captions and refs in articles which link to it. Thanks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
With two million apps on the shelf it is highly probable that someone has already come to market with
 an app that can do the same or similar job.  Why pay retail when you can access many of the same benefits for pennies on the dollar through a developer?

Speaking of old-school marketing, mobile can enhance virtually every form of print marketing you currently employ.  Have a business card or brochure?  Add a QR code.  Spending money on a newspaper or magazine ad?  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 lived 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 4pm Eastern when he airs his radio show on Blog Talk Radio.
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  1. I think I need to learn how to take better advantage of my smartphone; I'm not doing a lot of web-based apps with it at the moment.

  2. If your not using the mobile web for your business your really missing lots of business!

  3. I use my phone for search almost exclusively.