Mobile Marketing is the Future of Small Business Nomads
As the owner of a commercial art gallery for more than 24 years, I never imagined when I started out that people would buy art online, or that I would be selling to them without any prior relationship or connection. And yet, that’s exactly what I’m doing. Historically, I would nurture relationships by more traditional means and over a period of years. Now I can build global connections remotely as an art consultant. I’ve heard companies refer to someone like me as a “nomad,” and I know many entrepreneurs who fit this class of professionals.
As nomads, we aren’t tied to a specific location, building or time schedule; rather, we adapt to situations based on the time zone and nature of the project. For example, I attended a morning conference in Washington, D.C., on a Wednesday, traveled to London that afternoon and finalized a sale through an email on the flight home. My ability to more fully participate in current global dialogue gives my business exposure in many locations, where I’m able to meet artists, curators and professionals in person. There are, however, necessary technologies that make all of this possible— constant access to Wi-Fi is a must, as is a laptop, tablet or smart phone.
Recently, I’ve decided to take my on-the-go engagement one step further and embrace mobile technology. I’m creating my own lifestyle art app that will transform how we learn about, experience and purchase art. My passion stems from connecting with people, and creating opportunities for them to learn and grow. An app seemed like the perfect medium through which to work. If you’re contemplating making mobile technology an inherent part of your business, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Think broadly: Instead of trying to fit your business objective into a service that is being used elsewhere, see this as an opportunity to extend your core values and mission through another communications channel. You may not want to sell products, but you could provide educational information, insights into your industry, or even advertise events and sales you might be having.
Invest in a team you can trust: I don’t want to worry about broken links when I’m trying to schedule an event or upload an artist’s bio. Choose a team that provides online and telephone support; one that double checks for errors before launching your software. You might want to choose a vendor that costs more but offers the insurance you need to sleep at night, instead of lying awake wondering if they will finish on time.
Patent your technology: I have two patent-pending technologies that are unique to my app. If you’re creating incredibly unique technology that doesn’t exist on the market, take the time and resources to patent it. This might put a damper on your timeline, but it could pay big dividends in the future.
Launch in stages: Just like businesses host soft openings or beta test their products before the “big reveal,” ensure that your app is released in its best form. I chose to launch in stages, which is less risky than rolling out everything at once. This also gives me the opportunity to advertise new features that could entice a larger audience.
With the right idea, the right technology and a good support system, businesses can open themselves up to a new and growing audience of consumers. Building the app not only gave me the freedom to spend more time as a road warrior, it helped me better connect to artists and buyers around the world, while meeting other nomads like me. What’s more, it allowed me to stay home more frequently, now that my app gallery will be open 24/7. I’m communicating with art lovers everywhere, even when I’m asleep. That freedom is the best gift of all.
Marsha Ralls (pictured) is an EO DC member, as well as the founder and CEO of Closed Monday Productions, LLC. Marsha is also leading the “Women of EO” initiative, which aims to make EO the organization of choice for women entrepreneurs. To learn more, contact Marsha at