I was recently interviewed by Stacey Soble from Salon Today, for their July/August 2013 issue, which focused on ‘going mobile’ – admittedly one of my fave topics! If you missed the article, here is a quick recap of my contributions on how mobile sites are essential for businesses in today’s fast paced digital world. 

For those who crunch numbers before joining in on the ‘trends,’ here are a few facts to solidify my position.

 -According to Mobile Marketing Association, as of 2011, of the 7 billion people on the planet, 4.8 billion owned a mobile phone. Only 4.1 owned a toothbrush. WOW!

 -By the end of 2013, there will be more mobile devices on Earth than people, (Cisco, 2013).

 -By 2014, mobile Internet usage is predicted to takeover desktop Internet usage (Microsoft Tag, 2012).

 -Also more than 50 percent of smartphone users search for local, service-based businesses every week (Google).

Pretty powerful stats, right? So now what? Here’s my answer to that question, directly from the Salon Today article:

Playing In The Mobile Web SpacePlaying in the Space

There’s no doubt that mobility is the wave of the future. “It’s the fastest-growing online space—millions are using smartphones to browse the web and connect with brands, including salons, on the go,” says Kelly Ehlers, founder of the social media consulting firm Evoke Brand Strategies and the online social media training program stylesync.me. “Let’s face it, most of us roll over in the morning, shutoff the alarm, grab the phone and start looking for news and information.”

And if a potential client happens to be seeking a new salon and you don’t have a mobile website that’s been optimized for mobile browsing, you might as well not exist. What’s a mobile website? Think of it as a mobile version of your current desktop site. When customers Google you on their phone, they’ll access the “mobile” version of your site. 

“But for salons who built their sites in Flash, which was all the rage years ago, their sites aren’t even viewable on mobile,” says Ehlers. “So it’s important to partner with a company that has developed a mobile website platform. It’s as easy as combing your existing site and reformatting it for mobile, which can be cost effective and done in a few days without a web designer.”

When designing a mobile site, think about providing all the information a user would be searching for, such as directions, hours and your phone number. “For example, we just worked with the Toni & Guy Academies site and designed it so each location has direct e-mail contact so potential students can search their local academy and e-mail admissions to set a tour date,” says Ehlers.

The must-have design element on the mobile site, according to Ehlers, is easy linkage to all the salon’s social platforms. “Since clients are already coming to your site searching information, why not capitalize on the opportunity to extent the conversations? For example, if the user can quickly hit the Facebook icon or link then they can easily connect with you on a daily basis.”

Other mobile website capabilities include: mobile booking, mobile shopping, mobile-friendly text reminders, contact or request forms, the ability to drive consumers to sites for sign up/sampling programs and mobile coupons/promotions.

Do I Need a Salon App?

It’s clear salons need to establish mobile versions of their website, but what about a mobile app? Isn’t that the same thing? No, although they can look similar, says Ehlers.

“A mobile website is just that—a link to a site that is designed specifically for a smartphone or device, and they can be designed with a ‘bookmark’ feature that can be downloaded onto a smartphone, so that’s why they can be mistaken for an app,” says Ehlers. “An app on the other hand, is downloaded and installed on your device—it’s not shown through a web browser, and they must be accessed through sites like the Apple App Store or Android Market. Apps then can be accessed without an internet connection.” 

As always, feel free to contact me at: kehlers@evokebrands.com with any questions or comments. 

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About www.StyleSync.me:

Style Sync is an on-line social media training, personal branding and business education platform designed specifically for salon owners and stylists to help them magnify their image and multiply their results.

Style Sync, a division of Evoke Brand Strategies, is an on-line, subscription based social media training, personal branding and business education platform designed to help individual stylists and salon owners turn social media prowess into more clients and more money for your salon. #StyleSync

About www.EvokeBrands.com:

At Evoke Brand Strategies we develop digital, social and mobile strategies for salon professional, beauty, hospitality and entertainment brands. As branding and public relations veterans, yet early adopters of all things digital, we understand the importance of creating measurable, buzz-worthy campaigns that generate bottom-line results. #EvokeBrands