Mobile, Mobile, Mobile… everyone owns a mobile device – or two – and I can guarantee that the vast majority of you reading this article will be doing so via a tablet or a smartphone.
Those of us who own a mobile device and those of us who use a mobile device to connect to the internet has grown rapidly over the past few years. This is largely due to the advances in technology and more widely available wifi. As a direct consequence of this, we have seen substantial increases in mobile traffic to ours and our clients’ websites.
For some of our clients, mobile traffic has already over taken their regular web traffic. Here’s a graph which shows the leap in mobile users between 2013 and 2014:
Source: Monetate E-Commerce Quarterly.
So whilst this trend shows no sign of slowing down, some companies have already incorporated mobile elements into their marketing. However, if you’re still neglecting to integrate mobile into your marketing, you are ignoring a significant portion of their market.
What is the outlook for mobile integration?
According to a recent research by IBM almost 50% of all enterprises have clear mobile strategies in place, while 81% believe mobiles have fundamentally changed how they do business.
The same study by IBM also found that 90% of enterprises around the world are looking to fully incorporate mobiles into their overall business strategy to help engage, inform and formulate new opportunities with customers, partners and employees.
Considering that “91% of all people on the earth have a mobile phone and that 72% of tablet owners purchase online from their tablets each week” (source), your business will be missing a huge opportunity to connect with your customers if you are not incorporating mobile usage into your strategy.
If you’ve been putting off mobile integration due to lack of budget, or because you think it will be too difficult a task, there are easy ways that you can quickly target mobile.
I’ve put together a guide to help businesses consider where they can incorporate mobile into their marketing campaigns.
Even if you’re already catering for mobile devices, some of my suggestions will help you to refine your digital strategies and assets to make sure they’re translating effectively onto mobile devices.
Identify your goals and objectives
First and foremost, like any other strategy, it is fundamental to set up your goals and objectives for a mobile strategy at the start of the process.
So, what are your reasons for needing mobile elements in your campaigns:
- Do you want to raise general awareness of your brand?
- Are the majority of visits to your website from mobile devices?
- Do you want to increase sales by improving the purchasing process for mobile users?
- Do you want to increase engagement with your brand by launching mobile elements that target your user base?
Investing time in researching and planning will certainly have a substantial impact on your overall mobile strategy and you’ll learn where your budget can be better placed.
Analyse the current marketplace
It is vital to conduct a detailed analysis of the current marketplace to see what a typical mobile user does online and how they interact with your website.
- What mobile platforms do they use? I.e. Apple or devices using Google’s Android or Microsoft’s Windows.
- What is a mobile user’s current engagement with your website like? Is mobile user engagement dropping off? Are they failing to make purchases?
You can get all this valuable information from your existing Google Analytics account.
Analyse your competition
If you want to know where to start with your mobile marketing, analyse the mobile strategy of your competitors. How are they encouraging mobile users? Do they have a mobile site or an app? Pick up areas whey they are weak and devise your strategy on how you can differentiate yourself from them.
Now that you have done your research, you’ll want to unveil a powerful mobile experience to your audience. The best way to do this is to make sure you synchronize all of your multi-channel campaigns and digital assets for a seamless user experience.
Here are some tips and caveats.
A Mobile Site is NOT Always User Friendly
When it comes to considering the development of your mobile strategy there is much more to think about than developing a mobile website that has the right screen size and resolution.
Every day I come across many mobile sites that load with the correct resolution for the screen size but fail to provide an optimum experience to its users.
Take a look at this example:
The links are too small and difficult to navigate. This isn’t aiding the user journey through the website content and services thus the site is providing a very poor user experience which will be affecting sales made via mobiles.
Here is a good example of a mobile friendly website from Sunrise Care Homes:
The navigation is clear and can easily be clicked on. You can see that the mobile version of the site has maintained an elements of the desktop version’s hierarchy.
Mobile Site or A Mobile App?
Technically speaking, there is nothing to stop you from having both (a mobile site as well as a native app). It really depends what is that you are trying to achieve: just refer back to your goals and objectives.
If your objective primarily is to promote your products and services or public communications, a mobile website will be the most appropriate for your strategy because it will provide the same functionality as your desktop site.
Generally, businesses go for a mobile app if they offer products and services like:
- Gaming – e.g. Angry Birds, FIFA
- Useful tools – e.g. personal organiser or a ‘Handy Scanner’
- Programs that require native functionality – e.g. GPS
- A micro feature of a large website – National-Rails’ train timetable
Each option has its pros and cons. However, before you decide which option is best for you, you must understand:
- who your users are
- what they need to see
- how you want to communicate your business, products and services to them
Once you have the answers to all of the above, the next step will be to make an informed decision on whether to develop a mobile application, a mobile website or a combination of both.
Options for a mobile site
Design, develop and optimise your mobile site for each user, no matter which mobile device they are using, ensure they receive the best experience possible. There are different options available for marketers when considering developing a mobile site, such as:
- Creating a dedicated mobile site
- Creating a responsive design
My favourite and recommended approach would be to have a responsive web design. A responsive website is one that adapts to whatever device it is being viewed on. Whether you are browsing the site using a desktop computer, tablet or mobile device, it will display the same website with the same content but adapt the visual design most suited to that device.
My reasons for having a responsive design are simple:
- Responsive design is Google’s recommendation
- Results in one single URL with one page to link to
- There is less development and coding resource needed for a mobile style sheet
- No redirects needed
A general anatomy of responsive design is something like this:
Want to read more on how companies in the UK benefited after implementing a responsive web design? Check out these Google Case Studies.
- Many users like to be able to switch between the mobile and desktop versions of your site, so it’s best to include a link to your full site.
- DO NOT use FLASH on your mobile site, as it not supported on most mobile devices
But once your mobile site is up and running, it’s important to make sure it’s technically sound and to address any technical issues
Possible technical issues
Once your mobile site is up and running make sure you check for ‘Smartphone’ specific crawl errors in Google Webmaster Tools and rectify errors, if there are any.
Mobile site load speed
Page load time is a ranking factor even for mobile sites. Make sure you run the necessary tests to identify any potential issues that are causing your website to load slowly on mobile devices.
Pay Per Click (PPC): mobile campaigns and ads
With the rapid growth in smartphone usage around the world, marketers are now investing heavily in their mobile advertising campaigns.
Google AdWords account managers can set up mobile specific ads that will trigger to display only for searches made on mobile devices: there are many ways that you can target these ads to increase click-throughs and improve the user experience.
But, if you want to make sure you see a return on your investment, consider the following when creating a PPC mobile campaign.
Target the right customer: Choose your target audience carefully when setting up your campaigns, i.e. their age, gender and interests, etc.
Pick the right time: Make sure to time your campaign according to when you want a user to take action. Look at your Analytics and find out what times most conversions happen on your site.
Choose the right location: Geo-targeting your ads for the right locations will ensure your campaign provides more relevance for your audience which should lead to higher engagement and conversion.
Furthermore, Google now allows you to use some really useful mobile ad extensions such as offer, location and Click to Call. An effective use of these ad extensions can help you to enhance your campaign and increase sales.
A Sunrise Care mobile ad with Click to Call Extension
In the example above, you can see that Sunrise Senior Living has used the ‘click-to-call’ extension which allows mobile users to physically touch the call button which will then dial the number.
Our resident PPC expert, Hayley Coutinho has compiled 7 Killer tips for Mobile PPC:
- Activate call extensions and use Google call forwarding or third party call tracking numbers to track calls
- Use ‘mobile preferred’ Sitelinks and tailor them to mobile users, e.g. Shorter ad text as there is less room on a mobile
- Create ‘mobile preferred’ ads and use ad copy in them that is specific to mobile users, e.g. Call us on your mobile, visit our mobile friendly site, ordering on your mobile is easy etc.
- If your site is not mobile friendly make sure the call extensions are set to ‘show phone number only’ which gives users the option to call only, not click through to the website
- Use the mobile bid adjustment at -100% to opt out of mobile ads completely
- Consider mobile banner ad dimensions when using Remarketing to reach a broader audience
Make your email marketing compatible for mobile devices
New research shows mobile dominates desktops with 65% of total email opens. If your newsletters or mailouts aren’t mobile friendly, it’s likely your customers will be frustrated by this lack of functionality.
Similar to website design, email templates can also be responsive. This means that the user experience is optimised regardless of which device the recipient decides to use open the email. Depending on your requirements you can either invest in your own responsive email template or adapt some of the pre designed email templates, or you can customise the free templates available with your email platform, such as Mailchimp.
Here is a good example of a Mobile friendly email:
With the ever-expanding mobile world, marketing experts are looking to further integrate mobile optimisation into their strategies. With more and more of your consumers getting smartphones, you can’t afford not to have a strong mobile presence.
At Receptional we have helped many businesses with their mobile strategies. Get in touch if you’re thinking of going mobile.