10 Crucial Questions to ask when optimizing your Company’s website for Mobile Users:

1. My website looks okay on mobile devices now. Is it really worth it just to make it look and feel as slick as possible on smartphones and tablets? 

Yes, without a doubt, says Brian Alvey, “chief scientist” at Ceros, a cloud-based real-time web content authoring platform. Global fashion, auto and retail brands look to Ceros to publish interactive marketing experiences that are designed to “work flawlessly” on all types of devices, and smartphones and tablets are no exception.

“Mobile used to be the future of business,” Alvey says. “Mobile used to be a trend. Now it’s the norm.” The bottom line: If you don’t adapt to mobile and quick, you could miss out on a prime revenue-generating opportunity, or even lose customers to competitors who already embrace mobile.

2. Should I have a dedicated mobile version of my existing website or simply make my existing website responsive to mobile? 
You have two choices. You can either opt for a single website that displays content responsively for different device and browser types, otherwise known as responsive web design. Or you can create a standalone dedicated mobile website separate from your main website. If your main site is www.examplesitehere.com, then your dedicated mobile site would likely appear as m.examplesitehere.com. The .m signifies mobile.

Alvey prefers an all-in-one responsive site. He says he’s heard that Google and Bing prefer them as well.

3. Should I try to mobile-optimize my website myself or delegate it to someone on my staff?  
Particularly for small businesses that are light on resources, it’s best to leave it to the pros. The mobile optimization process is generally too cost-prohibitive, complicated and time-consuming to go in-house.

“Most SMBs can’t justify even a single full-time designer, so in-house isn’t an option,” Alvey says. “Unless you have the time and experience to directly manage freelance designers, I’d hire a company [to do the job].”

4. What are some of the best mobile optimization options available and what do they cost?
Luckily, there are a wide variety of solutions available for every budget. Alvey suggests deciding what you’re willing to spend, then choosing the best available option from there.

Alvey’s favorite mobile services are from popular website hosting companies like WordPress(free hosting, plus premium upgrades), GoDaddy (hosting costs $4.99 to $7.99 per month) andSquareSpace (free 14-day trial, hosting costs $8 to $24 per month). Each offers a broad array of automatically mobile-friendly, attractive prefab website designs, features and themes, plus premium add-ons.

Another is b Mobilized, whose slogan is “mobilize any website… instantly.” This can be a smart option if you simply want to add mobile responsiveness to your existing website. The service’s software mobilizes your site with the click of a button. Pricing is monthly and reasonable at $15.20 per month annually or $19 month-to-month.

5. Should I just hire a contractor? 
Hiring a contract web designer for the job is also an option, though it could cost you more in the end than using an online solution. Alvey says web designer fees are generally charged hourly and vary quite a bit from city to city. If you do go the contractor route, he advises that you hire locally and carefully check customer references before committing.

6. What are some key, must-have mobile site features?
Required mobile features vary, Alvey says. “Obviously, if you don’t have e-commerce, then a shopping cart is useless.” But if you do sell goods online, you should definitely include one in your mobile design. Or, if you own a brick-and-mortar retail business, be sure to prominently display your store address and hours, and perhaps a link to driving directions as well.

Another essential feature all businesses should position front and center is a “click-to-call” phone number. All mobile users have to do is click the number and their smartphone will call you, allowing them to instantly and directly engage with your business.

“Never forget that a customer who is checking out your business on their phone — is holding a phone.”

7. What about social media integration?
Social media integration is like free advertising. It lets users generate a buzz around your brand. In most cases including social elements is a must. For example, on the mobile site for a free online deal-tracking service called Hukkster, first-time users can sign up to use it by entering their Facebook (and Google) credentials. Hukkster’s Facebook integration makes it easier for its users to share their favorite product discounts with their friends on the popular social platform, while simultaneously broadening Hukkster’s marketing reach on Facebook.

Alvey points out that, because they’re so inherently visual, hotels and fashion companies thrive on Instagram and Pinterest, so those particular platforms make sense to integrate into their mobile sites. Whereas Twitter integration is a better fit for airlines and TV shows, which tend to experience high engagement on the microblogging service, he says.

Whichever social platforms you settle on, it’s wise to limit yourself to only two or three social media sharing buttons, not a dozen, Alvey says.

8. What’s the best way to test my mobile site before launch?
Test-driving your site helps you discover and weed out bad links, confusing navigation and a host of other potential functionality issues. Be sure to test yours on as many devices and browsers possible, “not just the ones your team or your CEO uses,” Alvey says.

Interestingly, he also suggests swinging by Best Buy, which he cheekily calls a “free mobile testing lab,” or a similar consumer electronics retailer to check your site out on as many of their sample smartphones and tablets as possible. You’ll get a hands-on feel for what works and what doesn’t — at zero cost.

9. How can I track the success of my mobile strategy? 
The most popular, user-friendly website traffic and usage tracking option available is Google Analytics. The free self-service tool shows you how many people visit your mobile site, from which devices and how often, along with where they live, how they found your site and much more. It also tells you which social channels drive people to your mobile entity and what content they share from it. Use what you learn to fine tune your mobile strategy over time.

10. What are some common mistakes to avoid?
One of the biggest blunders is poorly targeting which devices users will view your content on, Alvey says. “If you send my Android phone to a desktop version (of a website) or my iPad to a smartphone version (of a website), you’ve lost me as a customer.”

Other common mistakes on Alvey’s list of mobile mistakes to skip include: crowded designs with links that are too close together for people’s fingers to accurately click, not optimizing image sizes for mobile bandwidth, making people fill out complicated forms and “harassing me to download your app.”

This blog was taken from:

https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/10-questions-ask-optimizing-website-mobile-users-110000724.html

 

Lets Make a Deal

Price sensitivity is increasing amongst consumers. they want the best price and they are willing to trade in convenience if it will keep dollars in their pockets.  This is a harsh reality that retailers must grab by the horns. Remaining idle is not an option in this lagging economy.  Consumers regardless of their income will seek out the most value for their hard earned dollars!  Shoppers perceived purchasing power has decreased, and as a result price sensitivity has increased.  With the growth of smartphones, tablets and other mobile computing devices, searching for and finding the best value is a practice that is now cemented in a consumers path to purchase.  This make a deal mentality can be met by retailers investing in their own mobile loyalty app.  An app is where marketing and customer service can come together by;

1)  meeting your customers changing needs

2) providing customers the ability to connect with you

3) provide a consistent experience, whether it is in store, online, phone or your app

4) being available to your customers on their schedules

An app is  very cost effective and gives the price sensitive customer a positive experience. By offering high value cash back in the form of loyalty rewards or other incentive based systems that add value perceived by the customer reflecting the interests of the business. Since the attitudes of the majority of consumers have changed to a more “deal seeking” variety,  it is essential that your customer feel valued.  Even Forbes magazine listed ist Business Essentials to include, a Website, a phone number, and a Mobile App.  Mobile Apps are the most current and easiest way to connect with people on an intimate basis.  A mobile message or push notification is opened 98.7% of the time, while an email gets an open rate of 20-25%.  The mobile market is far too big to ignore, so get your mobile strategy in place now!

5 Things you must know about the future of Mobile Marketing

1. The future of mobile started yesterday

The future of mobile marketing has started, and it is exploding.  If your business does not have a mobile strategy in place today, you had better have one soon! Most of the world’s biggest retailers and corporations have not jumped on the bandwagon yet either, but that landscape is changing everyday.  The Apple app store is adding 20,000 apps per month, and no they are not all angry birds wanna be’s.  More and more companies are launching mobile apps for their businesses.  Whether it is an online shopping app, or simply an app that contains relevant company information, mobile apps are definitely the way of the future.  The mobile app will be for businesses in the future what the website was for businesses in the past.  One of the fastest growing segments within the corporate appesephere is the mobile loyalty app.  This is a great way for companies to reward their customers, and have the access they so desperately desire to market to them as well.  Now with the explosion of smart phones, a tech savvy company that develops their own app will have the ability to reach their customers in ways that they have not had in the past.  Hits from mobile devices more than doubled from January 2011 to January 2012. In 2013, mobile web searches were expected to eclipse searches from desktop for the first time in history. Don’t wait until next week, next month, or next year to start thinking about mobileget started today!

2. Mobile users are social users

If you are using social networks to market your business, you are likely already engaged with the “mobile majority, over 80% of smartphone users use their mobile devices to connect to sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. On Facebook, 600 million of its 1 billion users are logging onto the site via a mobile device, and 70% of those users return to the site on a daily basis (compared to 40% for desktops).  That means, whether it’s at home, work, or at your place of businessmobile users are among the most engaged members of your social communities.  How can your business extend your brand and further your corporate goals by connecting with customers that are already in your social network?  By exploring the most current and latest technology that is available, that’s how!

3. Your Customers are accessing more information in more places than ever before

Mobile’s influence can already be seen on the life of your customer.   Consumers today are ahead of the mobile curve.  A recent study found that over 65% of all smartphone users had used their mobile devices to assist them in making a purchase, with more than 35% of those customers using their devices to research products and services while in a retail environment.  Google released a forecast for shopping projecting that four out of five smartphones will rely on mobile devices for help during the shopping season. These users are checking prices, reading reviews, and researching  your competition.  The Bottom line? The mobile consumer is an informed consumer, and it’s never been more important to have your brand up-to-date and accurate across all of your online channels.

 4. Mobile will redefine customer service

If you haven’t been monitoring your social networks for customer comments, questions, and complaints you may want to add it to your list of resolutions for 2014.  Nearly three-quarters of all companies are now using social media as a channel for customer service,  One in five consumers is already using sites like Facebook and Twitter to have their voices heard. Expect mobile to send that number skyrocketing and for social costumer service to become the norm for businesses of all sizes.

5.  Content creation is going mobile

The mobile revolution isn’t only having a profound influence on the lives of consumers, it’s also changing the way business ownersespecially small business ownersare marketing their business.  This is especially true when it comes to content creating. Coming up with content ideas for Facebook, Twitter, or an email newsletter is one of the biggest pain points facing small businesses. While smartphones aren’t guaranteed to alleviate all your content creating anxieties, they do make it easier than ever before to capture content ideas and turn everyday work experiences into engagement posts on Facebook and active-worthy articles for an email newsletter.

Here are 5 ways small businesses can use smartphones to create fresh content.

Start small, think big, and get ready

Today, less than 1% of marketing budgets are being allocated for mobile.  That’s a huge miss for business owners and, more importantlya huge disappointment for their growing mobile customer base.  But preparing your business for its mobile future doesn’t have to break the bank.  You can start by giving the channels you are already using a closer look.  Does your social media marketing strategy fit a mobile world? Does your website offer the type of experience you want on smartphones and tablets? Is your business easily discovered by online searches.  Start small, think big, and begin to plan for a bright future in mobile marketing.

How has mobile impacted your marketing strategy? We would love to know, tell us in the comments

Interview with the founder…

Q.How do you increase customer loyalty with a mobile app?

A. Today consumers are extremely tech savvy, with the explosion of smartphones, people are able to research for products and services right from the palm of their hands.  Often times they will come into your place of business and already researched the details of the product before purchasing.  Our products give business and their customers the ability to interact with each other on a level like never before. With an app tailored for a specific business, customers are able to have access to that business on their terms.

Q.  How much does it cost to implement a custom mobile app?

A.  Our products are extremely cost effective.  We have eliminated all the barriers that a business would face, the costs are minimal. You can get your app up and running for approximately $750.  With Mass Mobile Apps, there is no reason for a business owner not to adopt a mobile app for their business.

Q.  What content should be included to make an app successful?

A.  The main thing that is necessary for a successful launch is adoption.  It is imperative that businesses get their customers to not only download their app,and to keep it from being deleted off their phones.  That is where the loyalty portion kicks in, once a customer has downloaded the app, they are not likely to delete it if they have points or dollars within it.  Content is also a great tool to keep your customers engaged.  Make sure to update the gallery at regular intervals, send Push notifications, and encourage sharing of images, and marketing messages with your customers.

Q.  If a business owner implements one of your apps, are they able to tweak it to meet their needs?

A.  Absolutely!  We are a custom mobile app developer, we are able to do what ever a customer would need.  With that being said, it is important to note that our products were designed by people on the front lines, and not by techies.  We have members on our team that have worked in various areas of industry, and they have brought their experience and expertise to our platform.

Q.  Does a business owner need to be tech savvy to implement an app?

A.  Great question!  Again, going back to the last answer, we have designed this app from the perspective of a business owner.  It is extremely user friendly, and easy to understand and master.  So the answer is No, they do not have to be a programmer to use our products.

Q.  Why do you think that a loyalty app is key for a business today?

A.  Studies have shown that businesses with a loyalty program generally preform 20-25% better than businesses that do not have one in place.  And the loyalty app is the most current means of implementing that program.  Customers do not want another plastic card in their wallets.  By having your own app, you are further extending your brand.  You have the instant credibility of being on the “App Store” and you are also now able to reach your customers in a way that was not available in the past.  Traditional marketing tools like email are becoming less and less effective.  Business owners today need to know that their marketing efforts are being channeled effectively, and that their resources are being used wisely.  Today their is no better way to do that, than with your own mobile app.  The mobile app will be for business in the future, what the website was for business in the past!

Not just Loyalty, Customer Engagement

It is of utmost importance when acquiring new customers and when keeping existing ones that you develop a deep brand affinity and ultimately loyalty to your brand.  This can be done in a variety of ways that will give you measurable results and produce feelings of engagement necessary to achieve your goals for your business. Since, when most customers are offered compelling rewards that they find valuable, they will choose to follow the cues necessary to retain the reward offered. As a result, true loyalty can be defined as something that rewards both the brand and the customer.In order to propel your business forward and become more competitive, a business must have a strategy in place before it can execute and implement a program that will deliver results.  First you must define the goal you have in mind for your business e.g. increase traffic flow, increase profitability, and retain new customers…

You must know exactly what you are trying to accomplish with your loyalty program. In today’s high tech fast paced world, consumers are not interested in spending more time then they need to, to get what they came for.  So you as a business owner need to tailor your program around your customers. A smart phone mobile loyalty app would be a great way to do just that.  Early adoption would give your company and your brand the credibility of being the first in your industry to launch such an innovative way to engage with your customers.  It is critical however that you choose the right platform when launching your program.  Make sure your app has features your customers would find of value, for example your app may feature a gallery displaying images of new arrivals thus, increasing engagement with existing customers or your app may feature accumulative point system that customers will find appealing, as well as rewarding.  It is also very important that in order for this program to be not only engaging with your customers, it is also effective for you as a business owner to achieve what you want to do.  Platforms with built in marketing tools, like push notifications, customer analytics, and sharing features are the way to go.

It is important that during the process of implementing your loyalty program that you not only invest your money but your time as well so that your strategies are being implemented properly. The less complicated, and user friendly your program is, will determine how successful your loyalty app will be.  It is a process, that you can fine tune accordingly until your loyalty program is to your satisfaction. A loyalty app should set you apart from your competitors by being a reflection of the image that you want for your business.  The value that your customer will find in your loyalty program is based on the value that is perceived by that customer. Trend setting businesses are in the “Know.” They are the ones that are able to deliver to the needs and wants of their customers. The advantages of knowing what your valued customer preferences are, and by ensuring those demands are met are two fold; the first being loyalty and the second being engagement both of which are key to further your business. It is the merchant’s knowledge of its customer that will determine brand affinity and ultimately its success at achieving engagement.   Mass Mobile customizable loyalty app can help get you to where you want to be!

Will your app survive the cut?

No more plastic loyalty cards, coupons or receipts, punch cards or even key fobs.  Customers want more, and expect more. Fumbling through a mega wallet is not an ideal situation when you are trying to locate the right loyalty card in sufficient time, it can be daunting.  Most customers feel defeated even before they attempt to accumulate their rewards and would rather decline another punch or stamp, than attempt to search through their purse or wallet and hold up the line, and risk further embarrassment…sound familiar? The frustration customers feel is real and there is a stress free solution.  A smart phone loyalty app.

Based on results from an online survey of 1,000 Canadian adults conducted earlier this year, the report estimates that 56 per cent of the population uses a smartphone, up from 33 per cent in early 2012. With an average of 26-40 different apps consumers spend at least 2 hours a day on their mobile devices, the loyalty app for a business has the potential to deliver high rewards by increasing revenues considering the relatively low cost to implement.  The development of the loyalty app is the most influential marketing tool to be made available to SME, (small and medium enterprises).  It allows businesses to create direct personal links with its customers, in the most current and up to date channels available.  Brands/businesses must push themselves forward, to meet the demand of its customers, so  the goal is to create an app that is repeatedly useful and keeps them coming back.  Since approximately only 22% of mobile apps are used only once, it is essential that it provides a service or function that is original and valuable.  Consumers will download apps that they find personally relevant and would like to use on a regular basis.  Currently consumers are still reluctant to use a mobile device or app for payment transactions, but have fully embraced the technology of a mobile loyalty app.  If the loyalty apps fail to meet the customers needs, it will most probably be deleted.

The standard procedure in today’s market place are loyalty apps that bring a business into their environment, where they will promote that app, and not their brand or business.  This system places businesses under the same umbrella as their competition, and does not distinguish their business or allow them to differentiate themselves from others.  It is critical when building a brand that a business promotes their message uniformly across all platforms.  For example, “Joe’s Pizza”  would be better off with a “Joe’s Pizza”  app, that allows him to be original and further his brand, instead of being included in a loyalty program that promotes many other businesses. The point of a loyalty program should be to keep your customers loyal, by not sharing them with your competition, right?  Mass Mobile Apps provides a customizeable loyalty app that allows the business to promote and push their own brand across what is the largest growing segment in technology today, the mobile device.  Weather it is a smartphone, or tablet, mobile devices are now out selling the traditional desk top. More consumers are also now accessing the internet via a mobile device.  It is therefore imperative that a business has a mobile strategy in place, or are in the process of implementing one.

5 Tips to Help Launch your App

5 Tips to help you Launch your App


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Loyalty programs can help you stimulate repeat business, attract and retain new customers, and boost your sales.  But it is important to get your customers to adopt your program. Make sure you kick-start things right. Here are 5 tips from Mass Mobile’s most successful merchants that will help get your new loyalty program off to a strong start:

1.     Sell your staff on the idea first.

Get your staff excited about your loyalty program, and they’ll talk it up frequently with customers.

 2.     Get the word out early.

Let your customers know via existing marketing methods, like facebook and twitter….Use professional point of purchase signage.  Your existing customers are already in your store making purchases, why would they not want to join your loyalty program.

 3.     Offer a juicy first-time signup special.

Trying anything new can be daunting, so your first offer should be an extra-enticing one. Customers should feel it’s a no-brainer to clear the hurdle of signing up or learning, just to earn that juicy starter reward. Once they see how easy and fun it is to use, you’ll hook them for good.

4.     Demo it live!

Seeing is believing. Offering a tablet version of the app would help customers see how easy and fun it is to use.. Once customers see your program is simple to use, it’s a snap to keep using it.

 5.     Promote, promote, promote.

There are plenty of ways to spread the word about your new loyalty program. Different customers pay attention to different channels, so make sure you’re trying to reach them every way you can. This is not something you are not already doing, include the app store logos in any marketing material you use going forward. Remember adoption is the key.  Here are a few venues to remember:

  • Display signage about your program at the counter, or tables, or where customers pick up their orders.
  • Prompt your staff to ask customers if they are already a member with each transaction, and make sure they can explain the program benefits clearly. (Better yet, incentivize your staff to make this happen.)
  • Add an app store, and google play logo button to your website, Facebook, and Twitter pages – and talk up your program on social media often.

.A smart customer loyalty program can move the needle for your business – but a strong launch is key to unlocking the full benefits. If you’re a Mass Mobile member (or curious about becoming one), don’t hesitate to contact us for more pointers on getting started right.

Loyal Customer or Frequent Customer?

There is a distinct difference between loyalty programs that reward for loyalty or those programs that reward for frequency.   It is of utmost importance to differentiate between the two;  since a customer may repeatedly purchase from a retailer because he/she may have no other options available to them.  This is a key distinction because when competitors become an option for a customer, loyalty is critical to whether or not a business will be successful.  Therefore a business must strive to create loyal customers not just frequent customers.

An ideal program would reward the existing loyal customer and include the future potential loyal customers.  Since as many as 45% of first time buyers do not revisit a small business to purchase a second time.  As a result the goal should be to acquire those customers that are likely to purchase for a second time, even if there is an initial cost for the business owner.  The focus of the marketing dollars should be directed towards customers that fit the profile of existing loyal customers.  A loyalty program can retain existing customers by offering higher rewards through the accumulation of points.  Most retailers notice  positive feedback from their customer when they redeem the points accumulated, thus connecting the retailer and customer in a positive way.  By providing a higher level of service, with the introduction of a loyalty program, offering extended hours during holiday periods, or having no hassle exchange and return policies a business owner will attract a loyal/frequent customer.

The acquisition of new customers through a loyalty program is largely dependent on how valuable and exciting the rewards are perceived to be by potential customers.  New customers should be targeted by demographic profiles and be executed based on the history of existing loyal customers.  However not all customers are beneficial to a business owners bottom line.  Some customers can actually cost more to keep then the amount of purchases that they generate. For example when a retailer offers an incentive to bring customers in, i.e. door crasher,  the customer that comes in only for that item actually costs the business money.

The recovery of an existing customer is 3-4 times more likely than acquiring a new one.  Since there are advantages in knowing their purchase history and ways to reach them, a business owner should be vigilant in knowing when a customer may have been lost to a competitor.  It is important to recognize this early enough to entice them back.  By rewarding them for their loyalty most customers feel appreciated and recognized.  Customers that are pleased with the product or service, are more likely to share their experience with others.  This type loyalty cant be beat; creating brand advocates for your business.

How to Increase your Company’s Customer Satisfaction Rate

The businesses that rank extremely high in customer satisfaction, implement a strategy called “implementation of intentions”.  This is “if then planning.”   For example if a business is late with the delivery of an item to its customer, it can offer a token gift to reset that customers internal clock.  Most customers are more sympathetic when a solution to their problem is trying to be reached, and therefore becomes more accommodating.  By being proactive many complaints could be avoided.  This approach also can be used if the circumstance is less then ideal for the customer; i.e. A salesperson must, especially in smaller retail environments, be able to assist their customers, helping them find sizes, staying past closing times… A sales person must always use good judgement in all customer interactions.

Sometimes the sales staff may have to be innovative, to show what lengths they are willing to go for their customer to have a satisfying experience.  By being attentive to a customers needs, staff should develop practices for meeting those needs.  If a customer is unable to find an item that the outlet usually stocks, then that customer should be contacted when those items are re stocked.  The customer now feels his needs have been acknowledged, and is pleased with the service he has received.

There are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going.  Companies that seize their opportunity to deliver outstanding customer service will likely earn customers for life.  If a business is just as concerned about the next transaction, as it is with the current one, they are likely on the right track.

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