Eight Keys to a Successful Mobile Launch
This article is part one in a special three-part series on why you must build your mobile marketing platform now.
Are you missing the chance to capture today’s mobile-empowered customers? Are competitors already using mobile marketing to win customers over? Some important facts to keep in mind:
- 58% of American adults now own a smartphone.1
- 42% own a tablet.2
- 2 billion smartphones will be in use around the world by the end of 2014.3
Considering its rapid adoption, mobile is too important to put off any longer. It’s now so much a part of customers’ lives that 29% of mobile device owners described their phones as “something they can’t imagine living without.”4
Small wonder that Forrester analyst Thomas Husson says that in 2014, “…mobile will affect more than just your digital operations—it will transform your entire business.”5
If you aren’t ready to embrace mobile marketing, you may find yourself left in the dust while others leverage its ability to deliver messages that engage customers when, where and how it matters most.
Calling the smartphone “a phone” couldn’t be more misleading. Surveys show 63% of adults with cell phones use their devices to go online, and 34% of them go online primarily using their phones and not a traditional computer.6
The role of mobile devices in customers’ buying processes also continues to expand. Surveys show 56% of consumers have used a mobile device to research products at home, 38% have checked inventory availability while on their way to a store and 34% have used a mobile device to research products while in a store.7
Nielsen says the use of mobile by buyers is gaining momentum, with more than four in five (87%) smartphone and tablet owners using a mobile device for shopping activities. This enables marketers to reach out at touchpoints throughout the purchase journey, at home, in-store and in social networks after the sale.8
Eight Ways to Go Mobile Now
Here are eight things you must do to create an effective mobile website, the first step in serving customers on the go:
- Have a strategy—Understand how mobile is changing the way your buyers make decisions. Are business targets taking action while in the field? How many touchpoints will they have to navigate before, during and after the sale? How does the consumer buying journey extend from home to store or to a shopping cart online? Stay focused on your business objectives and how your mobile-optimized website and promotional strategies can serve them.
- Think mobile first—Mobile is increasingly important, but it isn’t necessarily the only way your customers will engage. Traditional computers are still heavily used for online tasks, both in the office and at home. But, it may be easiest to think first about what works best for mobile users to identify your most basic requirements. Keep in mind what makes mobile uniquely powerful. Be sure to consider the role geo-location can play to personalize your customers’ experiences, increase relevance and help them find you wherever they go.
- Use RWD—Responsive Web design (RWD) lets you design once for all devices while keeping your core content the same, providing a similar experience for everyone. You’ll never keep up with the ongoing flood of new devices, but RWD remains the best way to serve a wide range of user needs and provide a seamless experience. Augment RWD with past site analytics so you can optimize experiences based on the devices and browsers users have historically preferred.
- Make it simple and small—You have only seconds to deliver your message to impatient mobile users. Design your site to deliver content quickly while providing the optimum user experience on a relatively small display. Single-column designs are versatile, presenting information effectively in both portrait and landscape orientations. Keep file sizes and load times down, and consider the impact you’ll have on mobile batteries so customers don’t view your site as a wasteful power drain.
- Have a mobile content strategy—Keep content short and sweet. Use icons to speed navigation and improve usability while reducing clutter. Mobile isn’t all about text. Add videos to your site to take advantage of smartphone user preferences, but make sure they load quickly and play seamlessly. Mobile shoppers are often ready to buy, so make it easy to call or locate you. As you develop your content strategy, begin thinking about how you’ll promote your site to make it an important part of each customer’s shopping journey.
- Sweat the details—Pay attention to the little things that make all the difference in the mobile experience, especially with smaller handhelds. Provide enough space between links to avoid misplaced taps. Support one-thumb navigation. Minimize text inputs and prepopulate what you can. Limit navigation levels to provide a cleaner, simpler path to the information they need. And make the status of user inputs clear by indicating file-loading states and changing the appearance of links to show that an action has taken place.
- Test it thoroughly—Validate site performance on a range of different devices and with different browsers. There are too many options to test them all, so focus on devices and browsers you know have been past favorites with users.
- Be a mobile promoter—Once your site is live, leverage a broad range of strategies to attract your targets. Use geo-targeting to take advantage of mobile users’ proximity to you or your products, and use social media networks to deliver relevant promotions. Employ customer data to create profiles that drive effective programmatic media campaigns. Take advantage of new mobile ad formats, including shorter videos, to appeal to the limited attention of mobile audiences. App sponsorships and native advertising can help you capture their attention in the course of their other mobile routines. Optimized email and text promotions offer narrowcast efficiency and take advantage of the mobile communication methods favored by many users.
The pace of mobile adoption and the expanded role it plays in the customer buying journey make effective mobile marketing a necessity. By understanding your targets’ mobile preferences and focusing on optimization best practices, you can create a platform that successfully engages customers wherever that journey takes them.
To create and implement the most powerful mobile strategy for your business, start by discussing all the possibilities with the digital marketing experts at Blue Flame Thinking. To learn more, contact Steve Schmieder at email@example.com (call: 312-327-5120) or Lynne Hartzell at firstname.lastname@example.org (call: 312-343-2236).
Join us for part two in our series: “Responsive Web Design: Today’s Best Route to Mobile Optimization.”
 “Device Ownership Over Time,” Pew Research Internet Project, January 2014.
 Thomas Husson, “Predictions 2014: Mobile Trends for Marketers,” blogs.forrester.com, posted Jan. 13, 2014, retrieved Aug. 25, 2014.
 “Mobile Technology Fact Sheet,” Pew Research Internet Project, January 2014.
 Husson, “Predictions 2014.”
 “Mobile Technology Fact Sheet," Pew Research Internet Project.
 Jeremy Bogaisky, “Retail in Crisis: These Are the Changes Brick-and-Mortar Stores Must Make,” forbes.com, posted Feb. 12, 2014, retrieved Aug. 25, 2014.
 “The Digital Consumer," The Nielsen Company, February 2014, page 22.