The World is Going Mobile – Are You?

Unless you live under a rock on a distant planet, you’ve seen first hand how mobile centric our world has gotten.  According to Smart Insights, users globally are spending twice as much time on mobile devices than on their desktop counterparts. Mobile is huge and it’s here to stay.

If you want your customers to be able first to find (and then clearly see) your message, purchase your products, and engage with your brand, you need to be mobile-friendly. Depending on your audience and product, there are some wildly popular platforms (can you say Snapchat?) that are ONLY available on mobile. Ignore this new reality at your peril.

What Do You Need to Know About Mobile Use?

First, it’s really important that you know your audience. Sounds obvious, but it’s shocking how many businesses skip the step of checking in with clients to see what they would actually find useful and market to the masses. Quite simply said, it doesn’t work. Bob the It Manager searches and digests content much different that Laurie who owns a successful chain of restaurants. People use mobile devices when standing in long lines, sitting in waiting rooms, while they are cooking dinner or out walking the dog. Tourists navigate unknown cities for popular restaurants, events or attractions while shoppers navigate car deals or new developments popping up.

Because mobile usage is often done on the fly, having a clean, easy-to-navigate interface is essential. It’s not enough to just shrink down your desktop website and expect users to have a good experience on their phones. The flip side is that just because someone has a baby in one hand and the phone on the other it doesn’t mean they want anything less than a full-service experience from your mobile-optimized website.

Keep in mind that mobile users are all thumbs – literally. Touch and swipe is the tactile language of smartphone use. Makes sure to put the most-used features in easy thumb-reach – having the search bar obvious and near the top right corner, for example.  Make sure your site is fully responsive across devices, browsers and Operating Systems. Test locally and look at the data! If you notice a extremely high bounce rate or tremendous difference in interaction between IOS and Android devices then you likely could have inconsistent renderings of CTA placements.

Beyond the user experience side of things, there are other benefits to having a fully responsive, mobile friendly website.

Search Engine’s Love Mobile

With more and more users turning to mobile first it should come as no surprise that search engines are also taking into consideration mobile optimization when delivering search results. Google looks at how fast a page loads, whether or not images are optimized, and the amount of code on a page is minified. Of interest to developers working behind the scenes (but also important for business owners to be aware of) is that the coding requirements are also changing. It’s no longer good practice to use Adobe Flash (doesn’t translate well to mobile) or to hide elements like JavaScript as Google wants to understand just how interactive and responsive a website is likely to be (the world loves engagement – don’t make it hard for users to do or for the search bots to see).

Even if you fully understand Accelerated Mobile Pages Markup (AMP) and the differences between responsive, dynamic serving, and parallel URLs web design, don’t forget it all begins with great, relevant, useful content. Search engines are getting pretty good at figuring out what and how consumers are likely to search for and so should you. There are lots of tools out there (start with Google’s) to make sure your content reflects the search terms your audience is looking for.

Marketing Benefits

Again, know your customers because there are variations in device use depending on which sector you happen to be working in. Food and beverage searches continue to lead the way when it comes to mobile with 72% researching where they’ll head out for dinner using mobile. That’s far higher than the 39% searching for banking-related information on their smart devices.

In general, though, our smartphones are never far away and more and more often we are using them to make purchases or take action. The Google Mobile Movement Study revealed that 90 percent of searchers have done a search and then taken action. The connection between search and action is strongest when it comes to local information. Yes, if you are a local business it does matter if you include your phone number, address and opening hours on your mobile site.

Because we live in an age where we expect fast results, be sure that your store or service includes some kind of immediate online response no matter when the customer gets in touch. Software suites like Sharpspring that include automation tools can make your life a whole lot easier and keep your clients a whole lot happier without costing you a ton of money.

Take full advantage of the marketing muscle of social media by making your mobile campaigns engaging and shareable.

Don’t Bail on Desktop Quite Yet

In terms of closing sales, understanding that users may get distracted when using a phone helps explain why as many as 70% of shopping carts never quite make it through the check-out process. Overall, conversion rates are trending upward on both mobile and desktop, but mobile continues to lag behind. Smartphone sales conversions are about half what they are on desktop and tablets fall somewhere in the middle. The message? Make sure your landing page captures an email address and follow up. Consider those who visit and interact with your mobile site as leads and nurture them accordingly. Design your desktop and mobile content for smooth integration. Moving back and forth between a smartphone and desktop should be intuitive and seamless.

If you aren’t sure how well the mobile version of your website is performing, run it through our website grader. We’ll tell you exactly what can be done to improve performance, and how mobile friendly you are.

We Can Help You Make the Most of Your Online Presence

If you are finding it hard to get your head wrapped around the ins and outs of optimizing for mobile, come talk to the experts at Evolve Digital. We understand the big picture and how all the moving parts work together. Let us give you a hand as you develop integrated campaigns that work smoothly no matter what tools your clients are using to find you.