by: Thomas Young
The use of mobile devices and a variety of screen sizes to access the Internet is growing fast and will make up a significant portion of visits to your website. In this post we will review what business owners and leaders need to know about mobile devices and the Internet and how to position their company to reap marketing benefits from this rapid growth.
Many factors are driving the growth of the mobile Internet, and there is much to consider in understanding this trend. Also, the growth of mobile web is here to stay and bound to change and adapt to more efficient mobile devices such as the iPad and those to come in the future.
Apple Products Lead the Way
In the past two years there has been a surge of website visits from mobile devices. This data is tracked in Google Analytics, and the growth is driven by the iPhone and iPad. These devices have changed how people perceive the Internet from a static interface to something that can go with them anywhere. Certainly, new mobile devices from Apple are helping users to be more comfortable accessing the web away from their desk or office. Yet, there is more to consider in understanding how to market through mobile devices.
Mobile Usage Limits User Options
Users perform very few tasks on their mobile devices and rarely read in-depth online content. They are mostly looking for brief content, an address, phone number or photos with captions. Keep this in mind when designing a mobile website. What are the three most common things your targeted users are doing on your mobile website? How can they easily use their mobile device to contact your company? What content is most important and can be read on the mobile web? Limited user options force web marketers to focus their website’s navigation, content and contact information on mobile devices.
Everything is Smaller
Younger people are more likely to use their mobile devices because they have better vision and are not tied to an office or desk. They are more patient with sites not optimized for mobile, but less likely to buy. This is key in understanding that the over-fifty-year-old demographic will need reading glasses to view content on a mobile phone or iPhone. Make it easier on their eyes with larger fonts, graphics and menu items. People with reading glasses have more money to spend online and will appreciate a mobile website that is easy to read and use.
Mobile Devices Indirectly Drive Sales
Very few direct sales will come from an online device. The mobile visit will generally be an opportunity for the user to gather information that will lead to a purchase. Spend less time on helping users buy on your mobile website, and more time making it easy for users to scan your products and services and get in touch with you from their mobile device. Summarize product and service information so it can be read on a smart phone or even smaller screens. A good rule of thumb to follow is larger screen sizes produce more online sales than smaller devices.
Users Want Information Now
The Internet has created an environment where people can get answers to any question immediately. This means it is not OK to not know something! Based on how users navigate mobile websites, it is better for them to contact your company directly for answers. The majority of mobile users only visit one to two web pages on mobile devices. You can meet their needs to get an answer with an easy-to-find e-mail address link or phone number on your mobile website.
The Death of the Traditional Office
Mobile devices enable people to work from any location in their home or workplace. This is leading to fewer personal offices away from home. This trend will continue and also drive the need for mobile devices with larger screens. Where are your targeted mobile users likely to be when researching your company? Are they likely to read your e-mails or website on a mobile device? Look to Google Analytics for answers to these questions.
Responsive design is currently the most effective website development process for mobile devices and a variety of screen sizes. The second-best option is to build a website with a unique design specifically for mobile devices. Responsive design is preferred because the design elements remain the same as the website automatically adapts itself to various screen sizes and browsers.
Responsive design is an advancement in website technology because the issue in the future will not be whether or not your website can adapt to mobile devices, but whether the website can display effectively on a large variety of screen sizes and types. These screen sizes can be anything from a small screen inside a pair of glasses or a watch, to large projection displays.
What is Unique to Your Target Market?
Determine what is unique to your target market in their use of mobile Internet, and meet those needs on your mobile website. Also, gain understanding of the types and sizes of screens most likely used by your target market to surf the web. Do this right away and be a leader in your field.
Don’t let the surge in mobile website visitors catch you by surprise. Take action and be ready to lead your competitors in this area. Start by understanding how your target market uses mobile devices and a variety of screen sizes to view your website. Don’t make assumptions. Go ask them, or better yet, go watch them use mobile devices and check this data in Google Analytics in your monthly digital marketing meetings.
- Identify the top three functions mobile users want from your website.
- Make sure your navigation is simple and use large fonts on your mobile site.
- Conduct market research to get answers about mobile website usage.
- Think about a mobile app as a solution for smart phone users.
- Check out your competitors’ websites on a smart phone or other mobile device.
- Consider responsive design as an option for your website so the site is able to modify itself for each individual user’s screen size.
- Track mobile visits to your website in Google Analytics. If your mobile traffic is approaching 15-20 percent of your overall visits, it is time to invest in a mobile website or a responsive design website.
Thomas Young is the CEO and founder of Intuitive Websites. He is an author, speaker and digital marketing consultant. Order Tom’s book “Winning the Website War” to get more digital marketing insights.