Consumers are going mobile, and fast. If your business isn’t, it could be missing out on potential revenue from the increasing number of consumers using their phones to decide where to direct their spending.
As many web marketers have been predicting, the number of people using their mobile phones to access information on the Web is dramatically increasing. According to AdWords EBook author Ian Howie, over the next four years mobile Google searches are expected to overtake those executed on desktop computers. In fact, all new Google products are being developed with mobile use in mind. Nearly half of all US retail spending will be influenced by online research this year, and growing, with online consumers most keen to use their mobile devices to check out events, restaurants and retail outlets.
With smartphones expected to increase from 31% of all handsets in 2010 to 50% in 2014 (source: Cisco Systems), more businesses should be adapting their existing sites for easy mobile use. What does this mean? A YouGov survey of 2,244 UK consumers found that 54% said their negative mobile web browsing experiences were largely due to ‘having to zoom in and out to view all information’ — a problem that occurs when a website is not designed with mobile in mind. Another problem consumers encounter is not being able to quickly find the information they’re looking for while using their mobile phones to search on the go.
If you’re considering creating a mobile version of your site for iPhone, Android, and other smartphone users (which you should be) there are some things to consider, including design and content tailored specifically for mobile.
Deliver Information Relevant To Mobile Users
“Ensure that your mobile site focuses on providing relevant, decipherable information immediately,” said Tamara Brooks, a marketing specialist at October 17 Media. “People using their smartphones to search on the go are usually looking for quick information like addresses, directions, and contact information.”
For example, someone running late for a hair appointment will want to find the salon’s contact information quickly and easily from their mobile web browser. Sites not designed for mobile, or that don’t redirect mobile users to a mobile friendly interface, will frustrate them as they load new pages and zoom in and out looking for the contact information.
Another example would be a restaurant mobile site that quickly delivers a menu sample, along with any specials and an easy way to make a reservation, or a hotel website that offers up rates and reservation information quickly.
Incorporate Mobile Into Your Marketing Strategy
When purchasing your Adwords campaign, Brooks recommends buying pay-per-click ads that are mobile friendly. It’s also a good idea to choose the ‘click-to-call’ option, she explained, which allows mobile site visitors to connect with your business immediately.
Howie suggests targeting specific markets by directing campaigns based on things like device and operator. For example, if you wish to target business travelers, you might want to buy mobile ads on the Blackberry Vodafone network, which is popular among corporate mobile users.
Help Consumers Find You Quickly
Placing high on the page of search results is especially important when people search for your business using their mobile phone. If they’re on the go, speed is even more likely to be a factor. “As with searches conducted from desktop computers, search engine optimization can help people find you faster than the competition with strategically placed keywords,” said Brooks.
See What Your Mobile Site Looks Like
There are tools available to check out what kind of user experience mobile searchers will have when they visit your site. Check yours, then decide whether you need to make changes to have a better mobile web presence. It could mean the difference between more customers through your door or phone calls to your store.
You may also want to consider directing mobile site visitors to your Facebook or Twitter page, which, like other Web 2.0 sites with simple interfaces, perform well on mobile browsers.
If you’re unsure about where to start with your mobile web presence, contact experienced web developers and companies that specialize in mobile web marketing to point you in the right direction.
Editor’s note: While conducting research for this article, we realized we need to fast track our own plans to get a mobile site. We’ll share our experiences once we get one up and running.