At one time, having a website signified a forward-thinking company. Regardless of the site’s purpose – from “electronic brochure” to full-fledged SEO-optimized marketplace – its mere existence told viewers that the firm was looking toward the future instead of dwelling in the past.
A similar scenario is emerging with mobile communications, except that consumers today have higher expectations of finding the information they want instantly. So, companies increasingly are tasked with developing a convenient, complete mobile presence. Consumers shopping for products and services often want access to all information they could find from a desktop – quickly – in a mobile-friendly format.
Here’s a case in point: An in-store shopper spots a flat screen TV of interest, and pulls up the company’s website on a smartphone (perhaps along with review sites) to get more intel on the device “in the moment.” To help capture the sale, the retailer’s site had better be optimized for mobile browsing, versus making the shopper re-search later on a desktop device or just go to another store featuring robust mobile compatibility.
Given reports claiming that mobile will overtake desktop in terms of sheer interactions within a year, smart marketers are making mobile a top priority now. The scope both of the coming landscape and current lack of adoption is somewhat startling. According to the Hanover Evening Sun, “Did you know that by 2015, Google estimates that every person on earth will own a mobile device? …Mobile technology is now the [dominant] technology. Therefore, businesses that are not accessible on mobile phones are losing to their competitors who do have a strong mobile presence…and create a more user-friendly experience utilizing a mobile phone…93 percent of small to medium sized business websites do not properly render (appear) on mobile devices – including iPhones, Android phones or tablets.”
Here are some ways to jump on the mobile bandwagon:
1. Get responsive, stay simple. Responsive website design adapts to show well on an extensive array of desktop and mobile devices. Generally, the idea is to create a relatively simple template with concise content to enable the best viewing experience on the smallest screen.
An alternative to formal “responsive design” is to create separate websites optimized for desktop and mobile viewing. Regardless of how you get there, the idea is to make it look good and read well across a wide spectrum of viewing experiences.
According to Searchenginewatch.com, mobile internet usage is predicted to overtake desktop internet usage by 2014: “It is only logical that mobile search will overtake desktop search at some point in the near future as well.”
2. Get clear on SEO importance and emphasis. The Searchenginewatch.com article notes, “…Since 67 percent of users claim they are more likely to purchase from a mobile-friendly website, companies that rely on SEO are wise to begin making the transition to mobile-friendly websites, and responsive web design specifically…Google states that responsive web design is its recommended mobile configuration, and even goes so far as to refer to responsive web design as the industry best practice...”
The article elaborates that responsive sites have one URL and identical HTML for all devices, making it easier for Google to crawl, index and organize content. Separate desktop and mobile websites with different URL and HTML require crawling and indexing multiple versions of the same site, hampering SEO effectiveness.
3. Talk to your marketplace. Find out what people want mobile-wise that you’re already giving them, and where improvements are needed. In addition to (or in lieu of) requesting online feedback, reach out and touch some people by phone and in person. Sometimes, that pop-up or email survey can get downright disruptive. So, use “old-fashioned” forms of communication to help fashion your new, progressive mobile marketing and sales platform.
4. Do some hands-on testing of your own. Pull up your website and other marketing-related digital presences on a variety of mobile platforms including smartphones, tablets and laptops. See how well you can access your own information, how it looks on the device (e.g., are graphics getting cut off, and/or do they need to be minimized/simplified to better work with a mobile presentation?), et al.
Particularly with simpler websites, you may discover that your mobile presence is fine for now. But, don’t let that stop you from constant re-evaluation and readiness to change in this rapidly-evolving realm.
Tammie MacLachlan contributed to this report.
Mark Lusky is a marketing communications professional who has worked with Lightening Labels – an all-digital custom label printer in Denver, CO, USA – since 2008. Tammie MacLachlan is the customer service manager of Lightening Labels. She has been in the printing industry for 19 years and with Lightening Labels for over seven years. Find Lightening Labels on Facebook for special offers and label printing news.