By: Richard Rutigliano, PriMedia, Inc.
In an industry that was built on family values and neighborhood service, energy marketers are used to going the extra mile. Whether your customer base is made up of single family homes, commercial properties, agribusiness or Oilheat professionals, a robust mobile presence lets them know you go the extra mile to offer the utmost convenience and service. But what exactly is meant by a “robust mobile presence” and what does your business need? Let’s dig in.
If my website is mobile friendly, do I need an app, too?
We hear this question quite often, and it opens up one of our favorite conversations. The client who asks this is already looking at the cultural landscape for ways to expand the company’s reach to current and prospective customers. And with forecasts of more than 5 billion smartphone users by the end of this year, that’s a lot of prospects!
The answer to this question is yes and no and maybe.
First, what’s the difference?
A mobile website is just that, a site designed to display properly on smartphones and other devices. Mobile websites were originally smaller, secondary sites with less content, but today most websites are developed on device-responsive platforms that automatically adjust the layout, navigation, font and images, so that the content on a desktop and the content on a smartphone are one and the same.
Mobile apps are developed for a specific platform and must be downloaded from an app store, usually iOS/Apple App Store or Android/Google Play. To reach both Apple and Android users, you will need to create two unique apps. Apps can offer additional functionality and enable customers to reach your company even when they are offline. Apps also let you send push notifications and can utilize phone features like scanning for biometric log-ins, click to call or click to text for greater security and easier communications.
Your company must have a mobile-friendly website:
- Consumers spend more than 5 hours a day on their smartphones;
- More than 57% of online traffic in the US comes from smartphones and tablets;
- 69% of consumers are more likely to buy from companies with mobile sites;
- 51% of consumers discovered a new company or product from a mobile search;
- Google ranks mobile sites higher on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) and will not display a non-mobile site at all for searches from mobile devices.
We’ve discussed the absolute need for every company to have a mobile-friendly, device responsive website. If your site is not mobile-friendly, then potential customers are bouncing off rather than zooming in to learn more, and current customers are complaining about your lack of functionality.
Do you need an app?
The answer to this depends on the features you offer on your website. Do you have a customer portal, e-store, online payment gateway or a lot of dynamic content? If so, the answer is probably yes. PriMedia supplements many of our clients’ device-responsive portals and e-stores with custom native iOS and Android apps, because:
- 90 percent of users’ mobile time is spent in apps;
- Biometric and stored log-ins make access easier;
- Company branding is visible on the phone screen;
- Customers reach their applications with fewer clicks;
- Easy in-app purchasing/ordering and payments drive sales;
- Integration with CRM reduces staff workload;
- Sales personnel access CRM data while in the field.
When speaking with a marketing or programming provider about your new app, be sure to get a clear outline of what your app will do. You need to be confident that they can create the features you require, have produced apps for both Google and Android systems, and can walk you through the registration process to get your app listed on the app store platforms. Will they develop the app to your business requirements, or are you going to be forced to change your practices to meet their pre-made programs? Ask also if they will be able to integrate data from third-party vendors to give your customers a single log-in for full-circle services. PriMedia has developed customized apps for lead tracking, online ordering, and granular data and operations analysis for companies of all sizes.
To find how to move your mobile presence forward with an app, contact PriMedia today. Our account services and web development teams will be happy to take you through the options available during your free, no-obligation consultation.
PriMedia has been providing fuel dealers and home service contractors with innovative websites and cloud-based solutions since 1993. For help with your company’s mobile presence give us a call at 1-800-796-3342 or contact us online at goprimedia.com.