The Last Word: You Don’t Need an App for That

The Last Word: You Don’t Need an App for That


No one could argue very convincingly that mobile isn’t one of the most disruptive, transformational factors in business—and in life—today. Consumers are armed 24/7 with ever more powerful smartphones and tablets. But most aren’t dying to download the app you paid handsomely to develop.

Most consumers are using their mobile devices to access the web while away from home and from the couch. They’re using them to read your opt-in e-mails, clicking on your links and forwarding your offers to friends. They’re comparison shopping, pitting brick and mortars with online stores, and reading reviews as part of their decision-making process. They’re relating their experiences with ratings and photos in real time with their social networks.

Anyone competing today for consumers’ hard-earned income, loyalty or even just their attention simply must embrace mobile. And they must develop a multifaceted strategy to take advantage of it.

Building your own mobile app is hardly ever a best first step. Building a useful app is a considerable investment in time and money. Instead, these four strategies can make you immediately mobile friendly. Plus, they can actually inform your future app development process.

1. Make your website mobile friendly.
More than half of your customers are searching for your information using their smartphones. Three-quarters of them won’t come back if your site isn’t optimized for mobile. More than 90% of websites are not optimized for mobile, so optimizing yours becomes a competitive advantage. What’s more, your mobile site can incorporate features unique to mobile devices, like geolocation, tap-to-call and others.

An easy way to make your site mobile friendly is to create a dedicated mobile website, separate from your main site. This site would be served up automatically when people navigate to your site using a smartphone or tablet. The drawbacks to having separate sites are that the branding between the two can be limited and there’s a need to coordinate the content between the main site and the mobile version.

Responsive design is a set of web technologies that enables developers to change the visual appearance of specific elements of your website depending on the screen size the site is displayed on.

2. Collect customer and prospect contact info with a tablet in your store.
People love to have insider access to special offers, flash sales and seasonal discounts. While they’re in your store or interacting with you at an event, use a tablet to collect their e-mail addresses for exactly those purposes. Never use paper forms—they send the wrong message in this age of mobile and require someone to input the data after it’s collected. Offering a coupon or chance to win in exchange for contact information will significantly increase the volume of contact details you collect.

Even if you don’t yet have a structured e-mail marketing process in place, you can start collecting this info to build this very strategic asset for future marketing activities.

3. Use mobile to grow your social following.
People engaged with a personable employee in your store or at an event are great candidates to become Facebook or other social media followers. All you have to do is ask. Why not have them—right then and there—use their personal mobile to like your FB page or follow you on your other social outlets?

4. Engage event attendees using mobile.
Event attendees can be easily engaged with a mobile survey at your booth or out on the floor of the event. You can survey in real time via a QR code or offline with a tablet-based survey that will upload survey results the next time the tablet connects to the Internet.

This real-time interaction with your audience yields a gold mine of fresh insights and opinions you simply won’t be able to capture days or weeks later—assuming you even have their e-mail addresses.

Mobile has changed everything, and you can leverage it to your advantage. Use some of these quick-strike strategies to begin creating a more well-rounded mobile strategy.

Stefan Debois is cofounder and CEO of Survey Anyplace. Survey Anyplace Mobile Surveys allow for the capture of real-time customer insights without an app or need for an e-mail address. With 15 years in Enterprise Software with IBM and CSC, and with hands-on project management and consulting expertise, Debois oversees development as well as internal and external functions related to Survey Anyplace.