tips for small businessThis post by guest blogger Dawn Wentzell appears in our series Small Business 500.

Over the last year, mobile has become the hottest topic in marketing. Mobile payments, mobile ads, location-based marketing, QR codes, mobile websites … And you don’t have a mobile site yet? Here are 5 reasons you should:

1. Your users are mobile

With about 82 million smartphone users in the US, and another 8 million in Canada – chances are at least one of your customers has tried to access your website from a mobile device. You can check your website analytics to see how many mobile visitors you’re currently getting, but expect that number to increase as smartphone adoption increases.

2. No flash support

Flash is widely used on websites for animations, videos and effects. However, mobile devices have limited support for the technology. Apple has refused to support Flash on iOS devices, and the browsers on BlackBerrys and Windows Phones don’t support it either. In fact, Adobe, the creator of Flash, has decided to stop development of mobile Flash. If you use Flash for anything important on your company’s website, mobile users won’t be able to see that information. By creating a mobile-optimized website without flash, you'll open the door to a whole new marketplace.

3. Mobile users have different expectations

Mobile users are frequently looking to get information quickly. They’re late for an appointment with you and need to find your phone number. They’re heading to the airport and need to check the status of their flight. Mobile websites should focus on the information that mobile users need to access immediately, and reduce or remove extraneous information.

4. Mobile users are unfaithful

Mobile users expect a comparable experience to viewing desktop websites. That’s not to say they want the same website, but they do expect sites to load quickly and give them the information they’re looking for. If your site doesn’t provide that, one third of users will go to your competitor instead. Serving your desktop website to mobile users won’t cut it.

5. Integrate with your offline marketing

Mobile is a great bridge between online and offline marketing. Seventy-one percent of smartphone users search for a product after seeing an ad for it, and usually immediately after seeing the ad. You no longer have to hope that person who saw your ad on the bus remembers it until they get access to a computer. Information retrieval is instant, so be sure you're keeping up.

Fortunately, getting a mobile website doesn’t have to be difficult. There are agencies that specialize in mobile website design, or your current website provider may be able to help you out. Sites built on popular frameworks like WordPress or Drupal can download plugins and templates that will make them accessible to mobile users.

5 reasons you need a mobile website

-- Dawn Wentzell is a project manager at SpeakFeel Corporation. SpeakFeel is a Toronto-based agency that specializes in mobile app development for BlackBerry, iPhone and Android, as well as mobile marketing and website design.

5 reasons you need a mobile website

 

 

 

 

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