The quick answer is … YES.
As my first blog post, I thought I would answer a question I get all the time. A lot of business owners and executives ask me if the mobile internet is really something they need to include in their interactive marketing strategy. I always respond with a series of questions that lets them come to the same conclusion as me:
Does your business have a website? … their typical answer is “YES.”
Why? … their typical answer is that “we need it because so our customers can easily get information on our products, services, location, etc. It is our primary business card.”
What happens if your customers want to get info on-the-go? … their typical response is “hmm, can’t they just load my existing website on their phones?”
That’s when I tell the owners and executives, “probably not” and have them try accessing their website on their phones in front of me. Within a few minutes, they come to the realization of why they need a mobile internet strategy. They realize that a mobilesite is not the same thing as their website. Your website is generally the first impression you establish with your customers, and I’m sure you spend a lot of money making sure that your website is an accurate reflection of your business. It’s the online face of your company.
Now what do your customers see when they access your website using their mobile phone? Do they get the same impression? Probably not. Forget about branding, your website is most likely unreadable and/or unusable which leads to frustrated customers and lost business. Considering that more and more consumers are using the mobile internet, you need to create a mobile face for your company.
Don’t smartphones like the iPhone and Blackberry solve this problem? They do let your customers see your website but for a small screen, it’s too much information. On-the-go customers want access to a finite set of info, services, and content, so you need to tailor your mobilesite for quick and easy access to what your users want. In addition, there are a large number of users that don’t have an iPhone or Blackberry but still use the mobile internet and you won’t be able to interact with them effectively.
I’m sure by now you are thinking that the mobile internet sounds like a real burden. On the contrary, I like to think of it as a marketing opportunity. With the large variety of mobile phones, operating systems, and browsers, it opens the door to a new opportunity for branding based on demographics, market segments, etc. Each phone represents a specific market segment for you to target and you can uniquely tailor info, services, and content for each user giving them an optimized mobile experience they desire.
To make it easy for you to manage your mobile initiatives, there are companies (like us) that provide a platform that automatically extends your existing website into the mobile environment with support for the different phones, operating systems, and browsers.
The mobile internet is absolutely worth the hype and will become a requirement for any business that has a website today. It’s time for your business to go mobile!