Test your mobile marketing readiness by following these tips and guidelines.
When we wrote about mobile marketing back in January, we answered the typical questions we hear from business owners. Since the time we wrote that post, mobile usage has continued to explode, so we thought we’d take a deeper look into what you need to do to get your business mobile ready. But first, let’s review some key stats.
In June, the Pew Internet & American Life Project noted that “56% of American adults are now smartphone owners.” An article in Marketing Land digs deeper into Pew’s data and notes that “among those in the 30 to 49 age category making $75,000 or more, 87 percent have a smartphone.” The article goes on to state, “It would not be hard to imagine 80 percent smartphone penetration in the US by the end of 2014.”
There’s no denying it: we’re living in the midst of mobile revolution, which means all businesses—large and small—need to be mobile ready. But how, exactly, do you go about making that happen? Read on…
1. Mobilize your website. Why is this important? Simple. The way your site renders on a smartphone or tablet will be different from the way it displays on a desktop or lap top. Given how many people have smartphones, there’s no doubt more and more people will be accessing your site from their mobile devices, so you’ll want to make sure these folks have a good experience with your site.
What should you do? There are several approaches, the most popular being revamping your website using responsive design. Simply put, a site using responsive design will “know” when it’s being accessed from a mobile device and it will respond accordingly, meaning it will adjust itself to fit the screen and allow the site visitor to seamlessly use the site. Another option is to have a separate site for mobile (the domain name would have an “m” in it like m.domainname.com). Companies like DudaMobile allow you to economically convert your existing site into a separate mobile site. You can also find mobile plugins for WordPress, such as WPtouch.
Need even more incentive to get your website mobile-ready? In the near future, Google says pages with bad mobile SEO won’t rank as well in mobile search.
By the way, are you curious about the number of mobile users who are visiting your site? Make sure you have Google Analytics installed (read why in this article we wrote last month). With Google Analytics, you can see the actual number of people who access your site using mobile devices (you can even get a breakdown of what devices people are using, like iPads or iPhones).
2. Make sure you have a strong local presence online. Some folks say all marketing is local. If that’s the case, then all mobile marketing is hyper-local. For example, let’s say you’ve just gotten out of a movie and you’re in the mood for Chinese food. You get on your phone and search for places in your area. What pops up? Maps, reviews, Google+ Local pages. If you do your search in Facebook, the same thing happens: pages for different restaurants show up (along with friends who like the pages). In fact, your phone will show you what’s in walking distance to where you are. Now, that’s hyper-local marketing at work!
What should you do? In the age of mobile, having a website isn’t enough. You need to spruce up and monitor your presence throughout the Internet landscape. This might seem like a daunting task, but it’s well worth the effort. At the very least, do the following:
- Create/spruce up your Google+ Local page (here’s our 411 article on Google+ Local to get you started).
- Claim listings on sites like Yelp and Merchant Circle, and make sure the profiles are up to date with your hours and website.
- Make sure all of your social media listings have thorough profiles – and yes, you should have a Facebook business page.
- Make sure your listings in any trade organization websites are up to date/thorough, as they often come up in searches.
3. Review other web-based templates you use, like email newsletters. Believe it or not, checking email is one of the top activities on smartphones, which means your email newsletter has to look good on everything from an iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy to everything in between. Unfortunately, many email newsletters use multiple column layouts (a sidebar and a main content area), but those don’t render well on mobile devices.
What should you do? Consider converting to a mobile-friendly email template. Single column layouts and fewer images tend to work best on smartphones, and companies like Constant Contact are starting to offer more and more templates that are designed to look fabulous on mobile devices. Here’s an article from Constant Contact on 5 simple tips for mobile-friendly emails.
4. Streamline your messaging, especially on your website. Repeat after us: Smaller screens, fewer words. Smaller screens, fewer words. Smartphones have smaller screens than desktops, lap tops, and even tablets, so it makes sense that paring down the verbiage on your site will make it feel less crammed and cluttered when people view it from their iPhone. So here’s a question: is there a way to get your core messages across in even fewer words than you use today?
What should you do? We’re not suggesting you dumb down your messaging or that you dramatically change the essence of current messaging that you know is working well. What you need to do is re-think how you write these messages on your website, in your newsletters, in your emails, etc. Do a messaging audit and see if you can trim some of the verbal fat from your website. If this feels too overwhelming to do on your own, contract a veteran copywriter to review your messaging and content and to make recommendations.
If you feel you can’t make any changes, this would be a situation where it might make sense to have a separate mobile site with streamlined messaging. You’d still have your “complete” site that people could access from their desktops, but you’d offer an “on-the-go” streamlined site for mobile devices (and you could advertise it as such).
5. Test, test, test. This, of course, is a smart strategy for all of your marketing efforts.
What should you do? Whenever you make a change to your website, see how it looks on your smartphone and desktop. When you send an email newsletter, look at it on your desktop and phone. Conduct regular keyword-phrase searches using your phone/tablet and see what pops up and how everything looks. Encourage your employees to do this, too. Consider investing in objective user testing as well, especially after rolling out big changes. Companies like UserTesting.com offer a mobile testing package.
How about you? Is your business mobile ready? What steps have you taken to get it there? Share in the comments. And be sure to check back in later in the week when we post an article about what real business owners like you are doing to make their companies mobile friendly.