The mobile revolution is upon us. We have been hearing about it for years. Now, with the release of Windows 8 and the flood of Apple and Android devices on the market, we are on the cusp of mobile computers supplanting desktop systems.
Those who have embraced the mobile revolution are already beginning to reap the benefits, but some companies have dragged their heels. They have not updated their websites to allow viewing on tablets and smartphones. Even worse, they have not considered the behavior differences between mobile and desktop users and how these differences might be better addressed in the user interface.
Here are some questions you should ask about your organization’s mobile plans. To be honest, if you are still wondering when to move into mobile, you are already late to the game.
1. Is your site mobile friendly?
If you do not know whether your site is mobile friendly, then it probably is not. A website that has been optimized for viewing in a desktop browser will be difficult if not impossible to read on a three-inch smartphone screen. Yes, the user can zoom in closer, but if the text does not wrap to the new parameters, users have to scroll from side-to-side without seeing the big picture. Most will not bother. They will simply jump off your page and onto another more device-friendly website.
You have a few web development choices for making your website mobile ready.
* Build a separate site for each type of device and direct visitors to the appropriate sites for their devices.
* Build a responsive web design that changes the look of the site depending on the size of the device.
* Build an app that creates a smooth and focused experience for a particular operating system and/or device.
For the short term, if your site is not at all mobile friendly, you should seek a web development solution quickly that at least improves your visibility on these devices. Every day, cellphones are being upgraded to smartphones, tablets are selling beyond analyst’s predictions, and mobile devices are becoming the primary browsers for many professionals and consumers.
2. Which devices are commonly used to visit your site?
Dig into your Google Analytics to see which devices are accessing your site. Mobile presents a variety of forms, sizes and operating systems. Instead of diluting your resources trying to be all things to all visitors, you may find it best to start by focusing on one device or operating language at a time.
This is especially true if you decide that an app is the best solution for tapping your mobile market. You need to settle on the operating language and device parameters that give you the greatest reach, and you will have to sift some through some predictions as well. Operating systems like Android and iOS update all the time, and every update does not necessarily support legacy apps. If you build an app for the OS with the most traffic last month, you might find the market moving away from that OS several months down the road.
3. Do you have a mobile strategy?
Making your website mobile friendly is just one piece of an effective mobile marketing campaign. You need a strategy to use mobile to attain your internet marketing goals. Mobile is a whole new animal. Just as the Internet forced us to reconsider marketing as a permission-based proposition, mobile will create its own paradigm shifts.
Start by considering your current website goals. How can these be adapted to fit a mobile framework? Will you need to change goals to drive engagement? How will you measure conversions?
Seek to understand your market’s intent when accessing your site with a mobile device. Marketing is a constant effort to see the transaction from the customer’s viewpoint and tap into the natural inclination of the user whenever possible. Do not make the mistake of simply refashioning your website funnel for a smaller screen. You must appreciate the way your customer interacts differently with mobile.
Once you know the following:
* Your goals;
* Your metrics and how you will measure them;
* Your customer’s mobile needs and desires;
You should craft a campaign that is not only accountable and user friendly but also designed around the functionality of mobile devices. Perhaps users will check in to social sites when they visit your location, or they will share photos in scavenger hunts, or they will engage in any of the many new uses we have found for phones and tablets with GPS, cameras, and Internet connectivity.
You need not use every feature. Modern apps are about simplifying action not piling on layers of unnecessary functionality. Still, your mobile campaign should feel like the device is intrinsic to the interaction.
Test Your Campaign to Perfection
Upon launching your updated website and mobile marketing campaign, you should expect to run split tests in order to make incremental improvements to your strategy. These tests will include offering duplicate versions of your landing pages to find ways to increase conversions. Tweaking your ad copy and trying new promotions will help you further identify and tap into your audience.
Create your mobile marketing strategy with your goals in mind from the beginning, build it for the mobile traffic you receive, and then measure, tweak, and repeat your way to mobile marketing success. Your ongoing relationship with a web development team can help ensure your site stays responsive and your marketing remains relevant no matter how the technology changes over time. Join the mobile revolution or risk losing market share to the competitor who beats you to the game.