For the first time ever in 2011 smartphone and tablet shipments exceeded those of desktop and notebook shipments, in fact smartphone shipments grew 60% from 2010-2011. Furthermore, the daily amount of time spent in Mobile Apps surpassed desktop and mobile web consumption. What this means is that Mobile Applications are quickly over taking web browsers for internet traffic, and that traditional websites are now beginning to become overshadowed by mobile app usage.
So, how do businesses adjust? By no means do we suggest that you do away with or ignore your current website. However as Pete Cashmore, Founder of Mashable.com has said; “We’re living at a time when attention is the new currency. Those who insert themselves into as many channels as possible look set to capture the most value.”.
Here are three tips for brick and motor businesses, like restaurants, to leverage this growth in Social and Mobile Media.
1. Mobile Check-Ins
As we've covered extensively in our Check-Ins Management workshops, rewarding social media check-ins on platforms like Facebook and Foursquare are a great way to build customer loyalty and encourage social sharing. Setting this up is simple and the ROI can be very powerful. Promotions can be as easy as offering 10% off for the first check-in and what better way to persuade your customers to recommend your business to their friends? According to Foursquare's published statistics, the "Food" Category is by far the most popular venue type for check-ins, but shopping, travel, and nightlife are not far behind by any means.
2. Be Friendly
By this we mean, be mobile friendly. Having your own branded app is probably the pinnacle of being mobile friendly, and the most powerful. If you're not quite ready for a full blown custom iPhone App and Android Application, you should at least be creating alternative landing pages of your web sites critical data that are formatted for mobile optimization. For example one of our clients, Lola's Mexican Cuisine, uses a mobile friendly site to offer special discounts and promotions to smart-phone users.
3. QR Codes
QR Codes, or Quick Response Codes, are emerging as powerful a way to reach potential customers. When mobile users scan this funky looking bar code with the camera on their smart phone and a reader app, free for downloading and rapidly growing in popularity, the code basically tells the phone to perform an action. Typically this means redirecting the phones web browser to a special landing page with exclusive information just for those that scan the code.
For restaurant owners, and other brick and mortar businesses, it's a great way to direct phones to either your Foursquare Venue or Facebook Page and drive a "Check-In" at your venue. If you are mobile browser friendly already it's also a great chance to point your customers to your mobile site or app. Best of all, generating a code is absolutely free at websites like qrstuff.com.
No matter what you choose to do in the mobile marketing sphere, understand what you are telling your customers. You are telling them that you understand and care about their preferences. Consumers want to connect with you, in fact many today expect it. By demonstrating the willingness to adapt your habits and business practices to them and their needs, you will build a strong foundation for business success for years to come.