Small Business Marketing: Mobile-Friendly Website vs. App

With somewhere around half of all web traffic originating from people using mobile devices, it’s certain that small businesses need to engage in mobile marketing. Then there’s the question: should you have a mobile-friendly website or an app?

I’ll make that decision easy for you. In almost every case, small businesses should focus on developing mobile-friendly websites instead of apps.

Why Mobile-Friendly Websites are Better than Apps in (Most) Small Business Marketing

  • Customers are more likely to find your website than your app. Search engines like Google search websites, not apps. Apps require marketing campaigns just to build awareness that they exist– let alone to start building your brand.
  • Apps are expensive to develop and maintain. Unless you expect thousands of users, app ROI will be lackluster.
  • A website is more universally accessible. All customers need is the website address and their favorite browser. For accessibility, you’d have to develop both an Android and Apple version of an app, which creates more complexity and expense.

Undoubtedly, there are lots of cool and useful apps available. And there are lots of companies building businesses around apps. But if the goal of your mobile marketing is to communicate information and engage customers, skip the expense and hassle of developing an app. A mobile-friendly website will work better for you.

 

Keep Mobile in Mind: Small Business Marketing Tip

More than 50% of customers view email marketing communications or social media marketing campaigns on a smartphone. This means every message you share must keep mobile in mind or risk being ignored by half of your customers.

Keep Mobile in Mind

Here are some tips for designing mobile-friendly marketing messages:

  • About 500 pixels wide will display beautifully on smart phones. Minimize the amount of horizontal scrolling required to see the content.
  • Try to keep file sizes as small as possible. Smartphones load content more slowly than desktop computers, and customers are ever more impatient. Also, you need to be mindful of how much data you are asking customers to download.
  • If you have fairly sophisticated abilities, design elements using responsive design that adapts with the customer’s screen size. One good option for email marketing are services like Mail Chimp that have responsive templates.
  • If you have to send your content as an image, use a PNG, GIF or JPG format. Avoid PDFs, as that format usually won’t display automatically like other file formats.

Designing mobile-friendly messages can be more challenging than designing for print or desktops, because screen sizes are different among devices. But if you embrace the challenge, you’ll have the marketing advantage over your competitors who stay stuck in the past.