February 2014 | Mindful Marketing | Make It Mobile

36 Mindful Marketing
By Kevin Ekmark

When parents and kids walk into the studio, you can count on them to have their smartphones at hand. Outside of the studio, you can bet that other parents are sitting in the carpool line at their kids’ schools, passing time by searching the internet. Some of those parents might even be searching for a dance studio on their phones.

Many dance websites receive 35 percent or more of total visits from a mobile device. Consider what people experience when they view your site on a smartphone. Do they need to pinch the screen in order to zoom in on the text? Can they easily navigate and find your most important information? If they can’t, then there’s a good chance that you do not have a mobile version of your website. This can be an issue for studio owners who are concerned about making a great online impression on potential customers.

Consider what people experience when they view your site on a smartphone. Can they easily navigate and find your most important information?

Because smartphones and tablets are ingrained into our lives, we need to use that fact to our advantage. If you’re like most dance studio owners, you’re always interested in improving your website. Making it mobile-friendly will help get more dancers into your studio and improve the online experience of the families you’re already serving.

You may know about some versions of mobile websites. The form you are most likely familiar with is seen when you go to a site (examplesite.com) on your smartphone and the site automatically switches to a mobile one (m.examplesite.com). Essentially, these are two different websites. Since most studio owners barely have the time to update their main website, you’re probably wondering how you can be expected to update two.

While there are various ways businesses can create mobile-friendly websites, one technology makes it especially easy for small business owners. In fact, it happens to be the method that both Google and Bing agree should be used to build most websites: mobile responsive website design.

A mobile responsive website seeks to provide the best viewing experience for multiple types of devices. It recognizes whether someone is on a laptop or smartphone and automatically adjusts to fit the user’s needs. It only needs to be updated once, regardless of whether it will be viewed on a desktop, iPad, or smartphone.

The mobile responsive website provides dance studio owners with a highly functional, efficient internet marketing solution. Since mobile responsive websites are built as one website, you save both time and money. Many use a content-management system, which makes updating your website as easy and quick as creating and saving a text document.

Think back to those parents sitting in the carpool line, searching for dance studios in your area. Imagine how your site will stand out among the rest because the parent can easily read the text, find your phone number, and click on it to call your studio, or even register online. Your website will be working for you, drawing in new dancers and filling classes.

There are easy ways for dance studios to convert to a mobile responsive design. One of the simplest ways is to create a WordPress.com website—and it’s free. WordPress is a content-management system that makes it convenient for studio owners to update pages or write blog posts in real time. As of now, there are approximately 65 mobile responsive website designs available for free from WordPress.com.

Studio owners who want a more customized solution can use a self-hosted WordPress website with a premium theme. WordPress makes its software available to website developers, giving them the creative freedom to customize and manipulate it. A custom solution gives you more control of the design, but you will need a web developer’s help to get started. You will likely have to pay the web developer, and web hosting companies charge fees, usually $5 to $7 per month, but a self-hosted WordPress website is as easy to maintain as the free version.

Mobile internet use is an important part of any marketing plan. It’s not enough to have a website anymore; you need to have a site that’s user-friendly for people on the go—and these days, that’s everyone.