It took some time but small businesses are finally seeing the power in going mobile. A new infographic from Constant Contact shows that over three-quarters (77%) of small businesses are now using mobile technology, an 11% jump from 2013.
One of the biggest areas of growth is the mobile optimized website. Last year, only 34% of SMBs were mobile ready. This year, it’s 60%. And additional 32% say they’ll have their site optimized within the next six months.
It’s a huge mind-set change and you can see it in these two numbers.
- In 2013, 28% of small business owners said they had no plans to optimize their website for mobile.
- In 2014, only 8% said no to mobile optimization.
What changed in a year? I think the whole concept of the mobile shopper became a little more real. Also, there was a fear factor a year ago – what’s involved in optimization, what’s it going to cost, is it going to disrupt my current revenue stream. Now, the switchover is not so intimidating.
Still, 36% of non-mobile owners say it’s a lack of knowledge that’s holding them back. 40% say their customers aren’t interested in mobile solutions – those people are lying to themselves. 58% of American adults own a smartphone and that number is growing. You may not have many mobile-oriented customers now but if you want to grow your business you’ll have to accommodate them in the future.
Ads are Up, Location is Down
Another large area of growth is mobile advertising. Last year, only 10% of SMBs were advertising through mobile channels. This year it’s 21% with an additional 23% saying they’re planning on advertising before the end of the year.
Two areas that have slowed are location-based check-ins and text message marketing.
Text message marketing actually lost some ground dropping from 15% in 2013 to 13%. I’m not a big fan of text marketing myself but I do get messages from two local businesses and I find them to be effective reminders to shop.
Location-based apps like Foursquare don’t have the punch they used to have. There was a small amount of growth in this area but it’s a poor showing, given where we were with this technology a few years ago.
More than Marketing
Marketing is important, but small business owners have latched on to mobile in a variety of ways. 61% use some kind of mobile storage app. 58% use a mobile device for scheduling and 51% for financial management. 36% are using their mobile devices as a cash register. I regularly visit two small businesses who use a Point of Sale app on an iPhone so they can take my credit card. Sure, they get hit for a fee but my check-out totals are three times what they would be if I had to pay cash so it’s a win-win for both of us every time I shop.
Are you a small business owner? Was the transition to mobile hard for you? And how are you using it to grow your business?