Having a good web presence is vital today to help stay one step ahead of the competition. However, a good website does not help you to manage your work and if you are often away from the office your customers may feel disconnected from your business.
If you are like most traders and businessmen you only sit at a computer to do your accounts and read your emails, your website is really just an advert for your business that is managed by your designer or marketing guy.
However, when a potential client finds your website, they assume that there is a person sat on the "other side" waiting to reply to their questions. Well, with a smartphone that is now possible.
To help explain here is an example. Pete is Essex Man With A Van and he wanted a website to help promote his delivery services and to provide a platform for happy clients to leave reviews for others to read.
Although the phone number was prominent, many people would send an email first using the contact form to ask for a quote. The problem was that Pete would only get to read his emails once he got back to the office after a busy day driving, by which time he had lost some customers to the competition.
The solution was to get Pete set up with a smartphone. An Android based phone was chosen as Pete was already using Google mail and calender. The website contact form feeds through to the Google Mail account. Having a Google phone in his pocket means he can now reply to emails as they come in. This greatly increases his business as he can provide quotes and most importantly, engage with his customers at all times.
Other Smart Uses For the Smartphone
Other useful tools on the Smartphone is the free Sat Nav. Although Google Maps and the GTS is not as good as a dedicated GTS Navigation System, it is still invaluable for anyone on the road.
For a delivery driver this is also handy for calculating distances to provide quotes while on the move. Before having a Smartphone Pete would have to guess a distance and fuel usage but now he can calculate it more accurately and keep his quotes competitive.
Social Networking on the Move
Smartphones also allow you to read and update Social Networking sites Facebook and Twitter. More and more businesses are now moving to Facebook Pages as a way to promote their services and update clients on changes and trends.
Being able to alert people to important updates can help to keep customer loyalty. If you need to shut shop in an emergency, a quick post to Facebook and Twitter can save a few customers from being disappointed.
Updating Your WordPress Blog
I talked about how I used to use my Android phone to update my blog while on the train when I was still working in The City. Having a smartphone means that you can make use of any spare moments you have in your working day to write your blog which can help to increase awareness of your website. It is also possible to moderate and reply to comments so that you can keep your community alive at all times.
Never Turn Your Back On Internet Marketing
If you are travelling on business and waiting in the departure lounge, waiting for a meeting to start, staying in a hotel overnight or just have a great idea in your lunch hour, you can get to work right away if you have your smartphone in your pocket.
In fact, I still refer to my phone as "email in my pocket". Now that I work from home I use my phone much less than I used to. However, all business emails are fed to my phone, so I can address any urgent issues wherever I am.
Be Really Smart, Use Paper Too
One word of caution, Smartphones can be temperamental at times. Pete did learn the hard way not to rely on his Smartphone to store delivery details after it decided to reset while en route to a drop off point. So from then on every job was written down on his trusty old dairy in the van. Always have a backup, never store any data only on your phone that you cannot afford to lose.
Smartphone Business Management
We have talked about how smartphones can be used to drive more business to your website, however, there is little discussion on how smartphones can help you to manage your business day to day.
Android and iPhone are always bringing out new apps for their phones, and the new WebOS is on the horizon which will open up a whole new area of mobile computing and communications. We are now seeing some interesting CRM solutions coming out for mobile too that provide a platform to fully manage client relations via a mobile device.
Good customer services is a core skill in any business and if there is one thing that annoys a customer more than anything it is being ignored. If you have a business website then this helps your customers to connect with you, and a smartphone helps you to keep that connection alive at all times.