Mobile first for small business | A Marketing Podcast

Mobile first for small business

Mobile first for small business

Mobile first is not a new concept. In fact at the inception of smart phones mobile first was being discussed. However, now that we have totally adopted the use of smart phones in our day to day life, the idea of mobile first for small business is something to be seriously considered.

What does “mobile first” mean?

Depending on who you’re talking to, and the context of the discussion, mobile first will refer to  either a web design/development approach, or a marketing theory. Below is an overview of how these two mobile first theories differ.

Mobile first: From a development point of view

Mobile first when referring to development means to design and develop a mobile site version of your website first. But, I just can’t buy into this one.

My reasoning behind this is that it’s easier to trim down your website content and design from your desktop version, than it is to build on top of your mobile site. This assumes you’re not starting from scratch.

However, the other reason I struggle with mobile first as a development approach is that the majority of your website traffic is still desktop heavy (depending on your business type of course). I’ve been keeping an eye on the ratio between mobile and desktop for several years now by looking at my clients’ website analytics.

To this day the majority of website traffic is from desktop. Now I’m sure the industries and clients I work with effect the averages, but they also happen to be pretty standard small businesses. So for all intense and purposes of this article it’s actually a good results set. To give you a specific stat, the average right now for my current clientele is 19.35% mobile as of March 2016. So still not 20%. If we were living and dying by the 80/20 rule, we wouldn’t even build a mobile site (or responsive version).

Responsive design is still advised

Even though I’m not 100% in on the mobile first development approach, with the ability to produce responsive sites much faster implementing a responsive design for your website just makes sense. Not only does it provide a better experience to your mobile visitors but the SEO value of having a website built for mobile, is greater than it’s ever been (Thanks to Googles “Mobilegeddon” update).

Mobile first: From a marketing point of view

Now mobile first as a marketing theory is something I can get in to. The theory here is that you develop the entry point to your marketing and sales funnels from mobile in. Understanding the pure volume of smart phone usage and how people are connected at all times throughout the day to their mobile device, there is a strong and compelling reason to focus on mobile first with your marketing.

The stats are astounding and cannot be denied.

87% of millennials always have their smartphone at their side, day and night. tweet

78% of millennials spend over 2 hours a day using their smartphones. tweet

68% of millennials consider their smartphone to be a personal device. tweet

*March 2015 –

Although these are specific millennials numbers you can see just how much time is spent on the mobile phone. So it only makes sense to start targeting your audience where they are most.

Mobile first for small business (some tactics)

Before diving into executing any mobile first tactics make sure you spend the time developing your marketing strategy. Once you get to your marketing mix development then it’s time to consider these tactics as part of your marketing.

Some tactical approaches to pursuing mobile first for small business:

  • Mobile specific Facebook advertising
  • Instagram advertising
  • Google Adwords SEM and Display advertising to mobile devices
  • Organic content through specific social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc)
  • Although not specifically mobile first – email marketing is a great way to get your message into the hands of potential customers on their mobile device
  • Specific geo fencing advertising which targets mobile devices in the vicinity of certain hot spots

A couple stats to support these tactics:

  • 78% of Facebook users are mobile-only (
  • E-mail is the most popular activity on smartphones among users ages 18-44 (Markthemarketer)

Mobile first not just for retail

Mobile first for small business as a strategy is not specific to retail, cpg, or online shopping businesses. The ability to get in front of potential customers and develop their desire to find out more about your service by way of your website or even calling is viable for any industry. Obviously the messaging and creative directions will have to match your business and industry, but users are just as likely to search for the nearest laundry mat as they are the nearest Starbucks (well maybe not as much, but you get the point).

So if your target audience and marketing objectives can be fulfilled by using a mobile first for small business approach, it’s a great place to start!

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