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Mobile Website or Please Read the Fine Print?

  |  January 12, 2012   |  Comments

Mobile commerce must be part of your present full funnel marketing plan. Follow these steps to make sure you have a mobile-friendly website.

I could spend the entire space of this month's column laying out why advertisers should embrace mobile as a tactic in a full funnel marketing plan. I could pepper you with statistics like:

But I won't, so simply, I am going to assume that you now have religion and have accepted the fact that mobile is part of your present - not future - full funnel marketing plan.

The first step is to make sure you have a mobile-friendly website. Be careful, as this is not the same as saying your website renders well on mobile browsers. Intuitively, mobile exists toward the bottom of the sales funnel close to purchase. So keep in mind the users' intent and what they are looking for when they are on the mobile device.

Get to the point. Ensure that your mobile content is succinct. As an exercise, try reading your mobile content out loud and timing it. Do you get to your core point in less than three seconds? If "yes," bravo, if "no," edit and get to the point as fast and clearly as possible. Place the core point first and then persuasion support second or link to it.


Tap, don't just click. Consider that mobile users increasingly navigate web content via touch screen input. Make your links to content large enough buttons or link target areas so that a user can tap to their information needs with their fingers, though be careful not to position them too closely to each other.

Mobile-specific functionality. What do you want your customers to do on the mobile site? Can they conduct commerce? Is it just a brochure site? Understand how your customers want to engage with you from their mobile device, and strategically decide how your company can best interact with them. Look at your existing site and talk to some of your customers. Here are some tips for common mobile customer interest areas:

Locators: tap and find. Branch or dealer locators are functionality that many mobile users are seeking. Make sure that your location functionality is adapted to the mobile environment and not just a copy of your desktop website's locator. For example, many smartphones have integrated GPS functionality, so allow users to access stores closest to their location via accessing this resource. Of course, also allow Zip code and address input as a back-up, but allowing users to use the GPS feature saves time and taps/clicks. Finally, make sure that you integrate your locator with web apps such as Google Maps so that the consumer can get driving/walking directions to their closest location.

M-commerce: tap and buy. M-commerce functionality takes on two dimensions when dealing with mobile users. First, m-commerce ordering with product shipment to consumer. In this case, consider featured products very carefully. Again, just duplicating the desktop or e-commerce product offerings may not be advisable. Start by analyzing existing purchases that were completed via a mobile browser off of your full or desktop website. Are there discernable patterns that can help streamline what you offer off your mobile website? Second, would-be products purchased on the mobile device that are picked up at your local location. The above m-commerce rules ring true, however, the addition of product availability or inventory by location is necessary in order to accomplish and facilitate transactions for this type of mobile users.

Contact and customer service. If customers are engaging your company via phone, make sure that number is linked and prominent. Many mobile devices allow the phone numbers to directly activate a phone call, so make use of this. Nothing is more frustrating than a mobile website with an image incorporating the phone number that a consumer needs to write down and then manually input. In terms of customer service, think about adapting existing web service functionality to the mobile environment. If you are a bank, consumers want to check balances; if you are an insurance company, they want claims assistance or accident/incident help. From the customer service perspective of what content to build for a mobile site, remember the parameters that mobile imparts as part of its user attributes: economies of function, ease of access, and direct connections.


Integration with "full site" or apps. Inevitably, after building your mobile website some consumers will want to access your main site for some form of functionality or content that was not prioritized into the mobile website build. Make it easy for users; provide linkages to your main website and to any device-specific applications (e.g., iPhone, android, etc.).

Apps vs. browser. For the moment, mobile users are split about 50-50 on how they desire to access a company's information and offerings in the mobile environment. With the multitude of devices and now the emergence of tablets, the job of making apps specific to device and type is even more difficult. If your customers are new or infrequent purchasers of your products, the browser is best. Consumers are not apt to download company-specific apps to do comparison or first-time shopping. Now loyal repeat customers on the other hand are great audiences to use apps (if you can determine their most-used devices/types) to increase purchase size and frequency, but that is a topic for a future column.

Mobile usage and marketing opportunities continue to grow at an astounding rate. Many marketers would like to test mobile as a channel, but don't know where to begin. The first step should be your mobile website. Get started and remember to measure its impact.

Final note: the examples above were chosen randomly, they do not represent clients of my agency. But I bet you can figure out which two should be.


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Gregg Stewart

Gregg Stewart is founder and president of 3rd Act Marketing, a full-service marketing agency and consultancy, specializing in digital solutions, headquartered in Connecticut. 3rd Act supports businesses and agencies of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies. With more than 20 years experience, Stewart applies his successful tenured career in interactive advertising and local search to the ongoing development of digital and mobile solutions for his clients' online-marketing campaigns. Through his strategic counsel, national and local brands become better equipped to target and reach niche consumers for increased leads and sales. In addition to his ClickZ columns, additional columns can be found in the Search Engine Watch archive. In 2013, Stewart was recognized with the ClickZ Hall of Fame award.

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