This is a guest post by Carrie Powers, contributor to ChamberofCommerce.com.
Your customers can be divided into an almost infinite number of categories. In fact, they probably should be. If living in the age of Google™ Analytics has taught us anything, it’s knowing that where customers come from, why they’re interested in your services, and what sparked their interest is invaluable information. Without a doubt, you should be collecting such information in order to benefit your small business as best you can.
However, sometimes it’s appropriate to take a step back and look at your customers in a much broader sense. In this case, that means looking at how many of your customers use smartphones (hint: a lot) and how you can take advantage of mobile technology. With a record-breaking 56% of American adults currently using smartphones, it’s time for you to take a look at the big picture and reap even bigger rewards.
Optimizing Your Website for Mobile Use
One of the best ways to entice mobile customers to your business is by making sure they can quickly, easily, and effectively access your website directly from their smartphone. In the early days of the mobile Web, it was perfectly acceptable for the mobile versions of even the most popular websites to be glitchy, aesthetically unappealing, and disorganized.
Times have changed, though, and I’m not just talking about the fact no one tries to access Myspace from their flip phones anymore. Smartphone users want nothing but the best from each and every website, which means it will be well worth your time, energy, and effort to optimize your business’s website for mobile use.
To do so, consider using responsive web design to achieve a smooth, streamlined website that can be easily accessed from all kinds of devices. Responsive web design is entirely centered around the idea of flexibility — in layout, organization, and sizing — all specifically engineered to automatically mold to the needs of each customer and their respective mobile device.
This may sound impossibly complicated, but what it really boils down to is implementing a few key components into the structure of your website. Some careful coding and calculation is involved, which you can either complete by following guidelines and tutorials or by hiring seasoned professionals who can get the job done quickly. No matter which route you choose, the experience customers have when visiting your website will improve considerably.
Creating an App
While optimizing your website for mobile use is an excellent method for drawing in prospective customers, nothing will help convince existing customers to stick around like your very own app. People who already know about your business probably won’t need to visit your website on their mobile device more than a few times, but when you offer them an easy-to-download app, you’re giving them instant access to all the great services you provide, without requiring them to actively seek out your site.
Instead of typing your company’s name into a search engine over and over again, they’ll be able to tap on a little icon on the home screen of their smartphone and have all the information and products they desire—right at their fingertips.
When it comes to the actual creation of your app, keep in mind you’re not trying to follow in the footsteps of Plants vs. Zombies. Your goal isn’t to create an app so addictive millions of people can’t help but fork over the ninety-nine cents required to own it. Instead, your goal is to create a convenient, attractive, and accessible (read: free) method for your customers to connect with your business in an entirely new way.
In order to do so, your app should include a few key elements: information, shopping, and exclusive deals. Information about your company’s mission, schedule, and services will allow your customers to find out everything they need to know. In-app shopping (or a link to your online store) will make it a cinch for your clients to make purchases on the go, and exclusive deals will generate an incentive for your shoppers not only to download your app but also to keep using it well into the future.
Once you have the fundamental elements of your app written and laid out, you’ll already have the hard part behind you. App creators such as TheAppBuilder and ShoutEm take the intricacy and confusion out of designing your app and leave you with complete creative freedom. Knowing this, it’s up to you to create the best possible app for your smartphone-savvy customers.
Tracking Through CRM Software
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can help you reach mobile customers more effectively in two very important ways. Not only can CRM-based tracking let you see exactly which mobile features your customers are and aren’t responding to, it can also turn the tables and allow you to access everything that’s great about CRM from your mobile device.
First, let’s look at tracking. When it comes to your customers, you’ll want to be on top of many different details—which emails they open and which emails they ignore, how many links they click, how long they stay on your site, what they search for on your site, how they can best be reached, and how they’re all related to each other. Instead of fitting into a simple hierarchical chain, your network of customers will resemble something closer to a spiderweb.
A good CRM system will allow you to remain in touch with each and every strand of that web. Such a system will allow you to manage every piece of vital information, which means noting how many people are taking advantage of the mobile features you’ve implemented. For example, every time a customer uses a discount code that’s only available through your company’s app, you’ll be able to add another mark to the tally of people who have taken interest in your exclusive mobile offers.
Once you have an intuitive CRM system under your belt, you’ll want to make sure you get the most out of your system’s features. Using an app for CRM on your iPhone™, AndroidTM phone, or other smartphone, you can manage your web of contacts and resources, and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble. You may soon find having the ability to view and update every aspect of your network, no matter where you are or what you’re doing, will quickly kick things into high gear.
As an added bonus, working from your smartphone will also show you what using your site is like for your mobile customers. Being able to understand the wants, needs, and tiny little annoyances of your customers is priceless, and using your CRM system through your own mobile device can be a great way to do so.
Any one of these strategies on their own would be extremely handy in helping you to target your mobile customers, but by combining all three of them you’ll be crafting a recipe for success. Make the time to optimize your site, create a knockout app, and track your customer data, and you’ll soon find your small business is thriving like never before.
About the Author
Carrie Powers is a college student, writer, and lipstick enthusiast. She is currently earning her bachelor’s degree in English while simultaneously pursuing a career in writing and marketing, and has previously worked as a content writer for BlueGlass Interactive. She is now a contributor to ChamberofCommerce.com.