Mobile Websites for Small Business: What do you need?

Posted by | June 08, 2011 | articles | No Comments

Reports say that by 2014, over half of the internet connections around the world being devoted entirely to mobile devices; it is hard to turn away from the facts, and ignore mobile as an important marketing outlet. Even more-so for small businesses, having clear and concise mobile website can distinguish you from your competition, and become a useful sales tool.

For most people the mobile web will be their primary, if not their only, way of experiencing the internet. For a lot of business, that’ll mean designing for the mobile web first and for the regular web second.

Peter Rojas, co-founder of Gdgt, co-founder of Engadget and Gizmodo

Important Features

The people using mobile devices are much different than those using desktop, or non-portable computers- they are a crowd that is most likely on-the-go, with very little attention span, and have a very specific reason to be visiting your mobile website. Having the right features on your mobile website is important to satisfy the needs of mobile users, and here are some of the “core” ones to think about:
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  • Get a phone number
  • Get directions
  • Find your hours
  • Understand what you do
  • Get in touch with you
[/arrow_list] The priorities on a full website are much different than those on a mobile website. On your full website, it may be okay to tuck the phone number in the footer or on a secondary page, because it is unlikely a person wants to call from their computer; however, if you are on a mobile device, like a cell phone, calling with a single touch (or “click”) may very well be the only thing you want to do! Similarly, your hours of operation are not as important on the desktop computer, but for someone driving who needs to see if you are open, it is important to make them a forefront.

The most important thing to keep in mind, is that a mobile website is a sales tool for small businesses, it is something that should entice, inform, and engage users. In “The ROI of Mobile”, Julie A. Ask identifies the benefits of a mobile presence, and lists those for “Increased Consumer Purchases” as the following:
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  • Offering an additional channel for sales
  • Guiding consumers to physical locations
  • Influencing sales
  • Increasing the number of store visits, transactions, or purchases
  • Driving a larger basket size
  • Helping you acquire new customers
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Hidden Features

Basic features are no the only thing that will help you turn a mobile website into dollars, sometimes it is the special features that can separate a good product from a bad one. Some features that fit in this category are the following:
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  • Analytics to track website usage
  • Sufficient branding and visuals
  • An easy way to find your mobile website
[/arrow_list] There is nothing worse than not knowing if your hard earned money is going towards something that is working or not, so it is really important that you have a strong analytics tool to keep track of it. Also, as many mobile strategies somehow believe that just because you are on a mobile device, it is okay to make your brand look like garbage- we disagree! Your mobile website should carry over the same brand experience as the full website, as it is not a very effective marketing tool if it doesn’t. The final mentioned feature is about discovery (how do people get onto my mobile website?), and because it is such an important topic, we have dedicated an entire article to that topic- Tips for Discovering your Mobile Website.

Retail vs. Virtual Small Business

Owner of Solid Grounds Coffee House in Northville, Teresa Berent, agrees that mobile devices will continue to play a bigger part in the future of her commerce.

With the barcode scanning apps coming out for everything, it will all go paperless- all discounts or coupons will be digital. I do have many parents or older customers who prefer paper, but that too will go away soon.

Teresa Berent, Owner of Solid Grounds Coffee House

[frame title="Small Business Mobile Website" href="" src="http://landr.co/wp-content/uploads/landr-small-business-mobile-website.jpg" width="580" height="" type="center" target=""]

However, we often run into people who say, “I am not a retail shop, is a mobile website going to help me?”. This is completely valid, because most of the features we have mentioned suggest that someone is either walking by, or driving to your location. However, lets consider some other situations where a “virtual”, or work-from-home small business might find themselves in:

1. You are at a networking event, and want people to remember you.
If you hand out a business card with a QR code, or link to your mobile website, people are now enticed to find out more about you. There are a lot of benefits to being instantly engage-able from a mobile device at large events that offer some down time. If you can capture a lead “right here, right now”, and not get lost in a pile of business cards for later sifting, then job well done.

2. Because you are not a place people can walk into, you must be more accessible.
A mobile website broadens the amount of people who connect with your small business, because your brand is now at the fingertips of all mobile device users. With a mobile website, people can feel safe that if they need help, or need to contact you, they always have that connection to you in the palm of their hands.

Overpriced and Complex- No Thanks

The last thing you or your small business need is another over-priced tool, that becomes too complicated to manage. There are a lot of tools to help with mobile out there, but it is important to evaluate their features, their uses, and the quality of not only the product, but your experience with it. On the other side of the fence, there are some people who can talk some pretty high priced jargon with you when it comes to mobile solutions, so if your ever having questions, we are happy to field a phone call or email, just get in touch with us.

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