Why Mobile is a Critical Part of Your Online Strategy
Don’t have a mobile-friendly website? You’re not just missing out on a good opportunity—you’re losing potential customers.
According to the Pew Institute, 56% of Americans already own smartphones, and that number is just going to continue to grow. There are also 1.2 billion people worldwide who use smartphones to access the web. And if those people discover that your site is a jumbled mess or at all hard to read when they pull it up on their phone, you can be sure that they’ll waste no time in finding a more mobile-friendly competitor to turn to.
Still not convinced that you need to optimize for mobile? Here are a few more reasons why it’s essential that you have a good mobile website.
People like instant gratification.
Sure, many of your customers might also have computers in addition to their smartphones, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to get off their smartphone and turn on their computer. In fact, a study by Google found that 77% of mobile searches are carried out in a place where a computer is readily available.
So what’s going on here? Ease of use is a huge factor. If someone has their smartphone in their pocket or somewhere within arms’ reach, they’re more likely to use that to do some quick online research than to get up, start up their computer, log in, and pull up a web browser.
And don’t think that a potential customer is going to switch from their phone to their computer just because they have trouble accessing your site on their phone – they’re just going to find another site to browse.
People follow up on mobile research.
75% of people who do mobile research will follow up with an average of two actions. That could include doing more research on a particular product, exploring other areas of your site, making a phone call, visiting your store, talking to friends about your brand, or (ideally) making a purchase.
Why are people so good about following up when they’re on their phones? A large part of it may be because it’s so easy to carry out multiple actions all on the same device.
Mobile sites are necessary if you want to be a serious competitor.
As I’ve hinted above, failing to have a site that’s optimized for mobile devices doesn’t just cause you to lose out on customers, it actually drives customers to your competitors. One survey found that 61% of consumers who visit a site that isn’t mobile-friendly will go to a competitor’s site to find what they’re looking for.
Again, it’s about instant gratification. If people are looking for a particular product or resource and they can find it in multiple places, they’re going to go to the place that offers them the best buying or browsing experience right now.
How to Make the Most of Mobile
Hopefully at this point you’re realizing it’s not a question of whether or not you and your company should invest in mobile marketing, but of how best to do it. Keep the following tips in mind when you’re coming up with your mobile strategy.
Choose your format. If you haven’t already gone mobile, there are a few ways you can do so:
- Create a separate mobile site – This is probably the most straightforward option. Businesses can use tools like Mobify to easily create a mobile site on a relatively small budget. However, the most inexpensive options often only allow for limited content and limited accessibility.
- Build a responsive site – These sites involve a web designer creating a site that will function well on both mobile devices and computers. While setting up this kind of site can be a little more expensive, it ensures that your site will look good (and work) on all screen sizes, and it will allow you to be better prepared for the rise of even more forms of mobile devices in the future.
- Develop a mobile app – Mobile apps tend to be the most expensive option, but can be valuable for companies that are task-oriented (for example, think about a pizza chain like Domino’s where the basic task is for customers to order pizza). Customers can download the app onto their phone and access what they’re most likely to need from the company rather than going to the trouble of opening up a web browser and searching through their site.
Make it look good. I’d like to say that people don’t judge a book by its cover and will keep browsing a mobile site on their phone even it’s an unattractive mess, but that’s just not true. You need to test your site out and make sure that it looks good on all types of screens, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers.
Make it easy to use. Even more important than making your site look good is making it as easy as possible to use. If you have a purchasing option on your mobile site, make sure the purchase button is large and easy to find. You should also make sure that users don’t need to click through a labyrinth of different links and pages just to find what they want. Keep your site as simple as possible, and include easy-to-find tabs for the things your users will want most, like contact information, product listings, and customer service.
Keep up with mobile device trends. Even if you already have a great mobile site, you can’t rest on your laurels. Mobile technology is just going to keep evolving, and your website needs to evolve with it. If your company doesn’t have a division that specifically focuses on mobile marketing, make sure that you keep an eye on mobile trends and bring someone in to update your site when necessary.
As mentioned above, having a responsive website is one good way to future-proof your site because it works across all devices. Even if your site is set up through a platform like WordPress, you still have the option to use specific themes that are responsive. If you don’t yet have a responsive site and are ready to upgrade, talk to your web designer about this option.