In the mid- and late 2000s, a new kind of phone began to appear. It was seen mostly in the hands of Japanese and American businessmen and women, and it was a strange and futuristic sight to most of us. When Apple released the first iPhone in 2007, it was like nothing that had come before. Everything about it was fascinating and new: a touchscreen, internet capabilities, and programs called “apps.”
Fast-forward to this year, and things have changed dramatically. It has been barely more than a decade since early smartphones like the Apple iPhone found their way into consumer hands, but the devices are nearly ubiquitous. More than three quarters of Americans — 77 percent — own a smartphone. That’s up from just 35 percent in 2011!
The change has been dramatic. Smartphones are a way of life now, and it’s easy to forget, sometimes, just how recently this has happened and just how big the change is. It’s a change that has significant implications for the business world. Here’s what modern-day business owners need to know.
Mobile search matters
Digital marketing experts have been stressing the importance of search engine optimization for years. It is well known that internet users — including your business’ customers — search for a lot of things on Google and Bing. If your business is higher on the search results, you’ll reach more customers.
Smartphones have made SEO even more important — and they’ve changed it, too. Local search was already transforming SEO, especially for local businesses, and mobile searches (which are very much on the rise) are making it more important to have good local and mobile SEO. Customers on the go are going to head to the nearby businesses that are at the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
Businesses need a mobile-friendly web presence
Even if your business is high on the SERP for mobile results, you’ll still need customers to respond well to your website. Smartphone and tablet screens are getting larger and larger, but they remain much smaller than laptop screens and desktop monitor screens. And that means that websites are displayed differently.
It has never been more important to have a website that displayed properly on mobile devices. Business websites need to be readable and menus well-organized on all different sizes of screens, so that they can provide the proper user experience in all cases.
Of course, no mobile website is perfect. The best way to use a smartphone screen as a business is to develop an app.
Apps are essential
Americans love their apps. Smartphone users use about nine apps per day and about 30 apps per month, studies say. Opening an app is second nature to smartphone users, and savvy businesses are taking advantage.
If your business has online tools, accepts online orders or reservations, or just wants to reach customers online, then it should have an app. And if none of those things are true of your business, well, they should be.
A good app is well-organized and uses simple navigation to make the user experience frustration-free. And once your app is downloaded, it will be on your customers’ home screens to remind them of your business.
You don’t need to know anything about apps yourself, of course: just as with SEO, this is something that can be outsourced. Mobile app development companies can help your business create an app that provides real value to your customers, helping you meet the needs of the smartphone age.