These days, when small businesses hear about mobile, it’s typically about the way customers, or potential customers, are using these devices.
But if you’re like 65 percent of Americans who own a smartphone, mobile plays a role in your life as a small business owner as well.
You may even be reading this post on your phone or tablet right now.
In addition to searching the internet, checking email, and making calls — there are plenty of ways you can use these devices to get things done for your business.
This week I sat down with Jim Garretson, Senior Product Manager for Mobile at Constant Contact.
I asked Jim for his advice for business owners who are new to mobile, or aren’t sure how mobile activities could fit into their busy schedule.
Jim has some great tips for business owners who are getting started on mobile, and offered insight into the ways mobile can help you save time, stay organized, and get things done for your business.
What would you say to someone who isn’t “tech-savvy” and isn’t sure if they could use a phone or tablet to do marketing activities?
Mobile devices are amazing productivity tools for small businesses because they turn wasted time into useful time. We’ve all spent a few minutes standing in line browsing the internet or tapping out messages on a smartphone. Imagine turning those minutes into a post on Facebook, a quick report on a marketing campaign, or even an email announcement for customers.
It’s one less thing to do later!
Do you have any advice for people who are just getting started?
An easy way to get started is to think about all the small tasks that tend to accrue over the course of a day.
The question to ask is, is it easier to just do this now than to write it down for later?
Are there customers to call back? Status updates to write or read?
Identifying a few small, but crucial communications tasks that could be performed with a smartphone or tablet are a great way to understand how grabbing a minute or two here and there with a mobile device could add up to hours saved at closing time.
Could you provide some examples of activities a business owner might want to consider trying on a mobile device?
Small, quick tasks are a great fit for a spare minute with a mobile device.
For example, grabbing a quick report on the open and click rates for a recent campaign, or the comments on a Facebook post, is quite popular. Similarly, using an app to add a new contact to your mailing lists while the person is fresh in your mind is a great way to avoid lengthening your to-do list.
We’ve also found that creating newsletters and other content is getting pretty popular on mobile.
Writing Facebook posts, tweets, and even newsletters is quite easy to do on tablets and phones, so we’re seeing small businesses start to use these devices to create communications as well.
What are some of the benefits of using a smartphone or tablet to create content?
We hear from customers that a lot of time spent on marketing is just figuring out what to write.
Mobile devices are a great way to easily pull together interesting content — instead of writing about an upcoming event, just pull in a picture from the last one from the photos on your phone. And instead of firing up the computer, just copy your last newsletter on your tablet and concentrate on what’s new with your business.
When used carefully, mobile devices can be real timesavers, and content creation on mobile can be a great way to streamline your communications and get more time in a day.
Are there any mobile tools you would recommend?
For reporting on newsletters, Constant Contact’s own Quickview app for iOS is tough to beat.
Beyond that, there are lots of interesting options for creating content on mobile.
Facebook’s Paper is a great new addition, and the Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram apps are all strong as well. Our own Quickview app also makes it easy to send a simple newsletter from an iPhone or iPad.
We also have a collection of app partners in the Constant Contact MarketPlace.
Think about the tasks you’re already doing everyday and look for ways to make mobile fit in. There may be some things that mobile isn’t right for, and that’s ok!
Try things out and see what works. You’ll be surprised at how much going mobile can help your business.
Do you have additional questions for Jim? Post them in the comments below.