There are a huge number of places your customers and potential customers can gain exposure to your business. Newspaper advertising, brochures, local press, client referrals, to name but a few. Then there are a multitude of digital opportunities – your website, online advertising, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google +).

If I asked you to rank them all in terms of importance I’d be confident that nearly everyone would tell me that their website was the most important source of new customer inquiries. It’s amazing therefore, that so few businesses have a mobile optimised website.

Estimates are that web traffic will exceed desktop traffic at some point in 2013. That means more people will be looking at your website on their iPhone, Android, iPad (tablet) or BlackBerry than on their laptop or PC. The figure currently stands at a little under 20%*.

To give that figure some credibility, it’s worth noting that by the end of this year 74% of adults in the UK will have a smartphone.**

A quick look at the Google Analytics for your desktop website will show you that your current web traffic on mobile devices is between 15 and 20% (this will be more if you already have a mobile version of your site). The same Analytics will also show you that when somebody arrives on your website on a mobile device they don’t hang around if your site isn’t mobile optimised.

You’ll see a higher bounce rate (people who leave the site immediately) from these visitors and the average time spent on the site will likely be measured in seconds rather than minutes.

A good mobile site for property search, however, will have a bounce rate of less than 20% and the average number of web pages viewed per visit can be as high as 9-10.***

What’s more, a good mobile website can give you new ways of interacting with customers. Text marketing is very effective (more so than email and direct mail) when used with a link to your mobile website. The ability to promote your mobile website from property boards outside one of your properties gives people instant access to the property details on your site.

QR codes are fast becoming a main staple of printed promotional material and give property hunters access to additional information from the device in their hand. It therefore becomes a more powerful lead generation tool than even your desktop website, and that’s before you consider the ways that a mobile website can capture contact details of property hunters.

Building a mobile website is easy – most web developers can do it. Building one that has an interactive text service, works on all mobile devices (BlackBerry to iPhone) and uses the location-based technology integrated in a mobile phone is less so.

That said, there are a number of good mobile marketing companies in the property sector who can help you with a fully functional mobile website.

It’s quite simple really – if you view your website as being fundamentally important to your business, it stands to reason that a mobile optimised version of your website is too important to be ignored. The other media (Facebook, Twitter, Google + etc) fall in the ‘nice to have’ box by comparison.

* 18.3% of web traffic was on mobile devices at Christmas 2011. Source: IBM, January 2012

** Source: according to Mobile Squared, January 2012

*** Source: Intelligent Mobile, February 2012

Ian Laverty is sales and marketing director at Intelligent Mobile Ltd