If you’re running a business, chances are, you’re always “on the run.” These days, it’s easy to be a mobile entrepreneur and still effectively manage your company, thanks to advances in mobile technology that are seeing more business owners and their customers using smartphones or tablets. Here are a few apps and ideas for getting your work done and making connections, regardless of whether you’re waiting for a flight or sitting at Starbucks.
Work From Anywhere
Now that everything from Word, Excel and PowerPoint have excellent mobile apps, getting some work done while you’re waiting for an appointment or sitting on the train is a breeze. Make the most of your time by reviewing spreadsheets or proofreading a document, and when it’s ready to go, you can even share it in the cloud with Google Drive or Dropbox. And if you’re collaborating on a project as part of a larger team, Basecamp now boasts a fully-featured app that will keep you up to date wherever you’re at. After you’ve completed all that work, you’ll want to account for your time and, best of all, get paid! Apps like Office Time track your billable hours and generate invoices so you don’t have to lose momentum or play catch up later.
The best way to reach out to customers in 2014 is to make your company easy to access, regardless of what type of device they’re using. It’s surprising how many businesses still don’t have mobile-optimised websites, as they really are vital. There is nothing worse than annoying a potential client with a site that just doesn’t function on their iPad or Samsung Galaxy, resulting in them going elsewhere rather than waiting to sit down at the computer and place their order. Once your site has been made suitably mobile-friendly, you can delve into other ways to connect with your customers on the go. Google Hangouts are ideal for hosting meetings, question and answer sessions and more via audio and video, and they work very well on tablets and smartphones. Similarly, Skype is great for face to face meetings from anywhere on the planet. Regardless of where you’re meeting, when you connect with a client to provide a product or service, you can make collecting payments much easier with apps like Paypal and Square. The Paypal mobile app now supports using it like a wallet and paying in-store at participating businesses, while Square turns your device into a mobile point of sale. With Square, you can even attach a physical card reader to your phone or tablet and swipe cards from wherever you are.
What better way of marketing on the go than reaching out to your target audience on social media? Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google Plus and virtually every other social network you can think of (plus a few you’ve probably never heard of!) can be accessed via mobile apps where you can promote your company, share your blog posts and handle enquiries. If you’re juggling several networks, the likes of Tweetdeck and Hootsuite can manage posting and monitoring across the board, reducing the need to download and go through multiple apps. If you’d like to add to your business blog, both Tumblr and WordPress have easy to use apps that offer you the ability to post on the move. You could then take those posts over to Hootsuite and send them out to your contacts!
Target Via Location
There are a number of different apps available that target users based on their specific location; from LivingSocial and Groupon, which offer deals based on city, to FourSquare, which encourages companies to reward those who “check-in” at their place of business frequently. Other location-based services include Yell.com and Google Places, which promotes your business in relevant search results when would-be customers are in the general area. Make the most of these opportunities by posting local photos (especially if you have multiple locations in different areas), filling out your profile in as much detail as possible and keeping your contact information and hours up to date. Location-based targeting is also popular and effective for paid search campaigns.
Advertise On The Move
Just like you’re on the go as you’re conducting business, so are the people you’d like to be offering your products and services to. It’s estimated that by 2017, greater than 68% of people will be using smartphones, and at the moment, smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 44 spend at least 132 minutes a day checking social media on and otherwise using their mobile phones. 80% of those smartphone users check their devices within 15 minutes of waking up in the morning. With stats like that, it’s safe to say that a large chunk of your target market are online on their phones, making them prime targets for mobile advertising.
While banner adverts on mobile versions of games and websites are nothing new, social media sites are starting to increasingly support in-stream advertising that shows up across platforms. Facebook was among the first major social sites to make the leap, while Twitter now does “promoted tweets” and Instagram even has sponsored in-feed ad campaigns.
Mobile paid search is also on the rise – with lower cost keywords, it’s expected to be a force for the future, with mobile to drive 50% of paid search clicks on Google by 2015. As mobile marketing becomes more popular, it’s estimated that videos will soon replace traditional banner ads on websites, which these days are oft-overlooked.
Bring Customers Online
If you’re keen to encourage customers to interact with your business via smartphones or tablets, there are a few different ways to approach it. Besides making your Internet presence more mobile-friendly and offering incentives for Facebook or FourSquare check-ins, you could use other mediums to draw attention to your business online. QR codes are a great example of this, as they easily draw customers to your company’s website, video or social network through the use of their smartphone. They’re highly effective when included on business cards and flyers.
Depending on the type of business you operate, you may also wish to have a custom app created. Though more budget-intensive, they are fantastic for trade shows, conference organisers, motivational speakers and businesses that sell a range of bold, attractive products online.
Target Wearable Tech
It’s not commonplace yet, but numbers of people wearing their technology through devices like Google Glass and Galaxy Gear smartwatches are only going to increase. Get in now and discover ways to target early adopters with adverts and promotions just for them. Discounts for Google Glass wearers who check in on Facebook or FourSquare users who become Mayor via their smartwatch are just the tip of the iceberg. The more people begin to use wearable mobile technology, the more opportunities will be presented to market directly to them.
Do you run your business from various locations, or would you like to do so? We would love to hear your thoughts on being a mobile entrepreneur.
Print Your Own Flyers With QR Codes:
You can link QR codes on print materials to your website, Facebook page, or even a YouTube video!