Preparing for a Mobile Internet World

It seems like only yesterday when the world discovered the Internet. Businesses saw a golden opportunity to set up a virtual space where people can log in and find everything they need without leaving their homes. Now SMS marketing and mobile apps are the rage, for people who still want an online connection to their favorite businesses without being tethered to their computer.

Soon it will not be enough just to have SMS-based mobile marketing. In fact, it won’t be long before conventional Internet marketing becomes insufficient. Studies indicate we are only a year away from mobile Internet usage eclipsing the old computer-and-mouse method. Now is the time to prepare for a smartphone and tablet-dominated market. Don’t worry; it’s not as intimidating as it sounds. But there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to make a smooth transition.

Mobile compatibility is worth it. Mobile web browsers are able to navigate virtually any website. Still, this is not ideal. Pressing buttons and reading windows can be difficult, especially on handheld smartphones. Fortunately, great strides are being made with mobile compatibility. If you own a smartphone or tablet, visit some popular websites (newspapers, social networking sites, photo albums, etc.). Chances are these businesses redesigned their websites in such a way that it integrates perfectly with smartphone limitations. “Pull-down” boxes and tabs turn into scrollable menus. Extraneous background is removed. The website almost acts like a web-based “app.” Hire a specialist who can reformat your page in such a way that it’s still attractive to computer users but fully-functional on a smartphone.

The copy gets tighter. If reading too much off a computer screen causes eyestrain reading text off a smartphone or tablet screen is an absolute nuisance. Make sure your web copy is kept as concise and essential as possible. Try to make your buttons and icons do the talking. There are still plenty of ways to deliver your text-heavy messages. But for mobile internet audiences, ease and speed is preferable to a deluge of information.

In-Store WiFi is a good investment. If yours is the type of business where customers tend to linger (coffee shop, restaurant, bakery, etc.) it’s time to bite the bullet and encourage hanging around with wireless Internet access. Create an environment where people feel encouraged to bring their iPads to catch up on work, study for school, or just unwind for a while. It will keep your shop full, showing passers by that your business stays busy for a reason, and eventually those who hang around will make other purchases. Whether you make the password for your in-store WiFi contingent upon purchasing something is up to you, but always keep your network secure.

There’s always room for SMS. No matter how convenient a mobile-compatible, text-light website is, useful SMS marketing messages will always been more convenient. After all, what better way to deliver coupon codes, reminders, and the occasional humorous thought than through SMS? No matter what the future holds, we can’t see a development that will render simple text messages obsolete.

Mobile Internet preparedness isn’t something you need to drop everything for right now. There are still kinks, compatibility, and affordability issues the greater smartphone/tablet market needs to iron out. But if you want a reputation as a business that stays on the cutting edge, it would be in your best interest to start imagining a world without laptop and desktop computers. Take care of it now and you won’t be alarmed when we remind you in 2014.

Eric Duncan

Eric Duncan writes about Marketing for TextMarks--The industry leading SMS Marking & Communications platform.

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