The Radicati Group predicts that by 2018, 80 percent of email users will access their email accounts via a mobile device — and this goes for all email, not just B2C email. B2C brands already understand the rise in mobility within their user base, and mobile-first strategies are proving to be big winners. In fact, Savings.com, a B2C website, reported a 1000 percent increase in revenue by adopting a mobile-first marketing strategy. But this mobile-centric strategy still evades many B2B brands, often because B2B brands feel their demographic isn’t engaging on mobile devices.
Russell Glass, head of marketing products for LinkedIn, says, “Mobile is becoming increasingly important to B2B marketers because they recognize the captivating nature of that experience. We’ve seen this phenomenon on our own platform with 47 percent of our traffic now coming through mobile.” Meeting your customers where they are is the best way to provide a better experience, and gives you the highest probability for engagement.
Many B2B brands may have forgone a mobile-first strategy because they may not fully understand what “mobile-first” really means. In these three easy steps, any B2B brand can put mobile first in their 2015 marketing strategies, and easily provide a better marketing product — and a better experience — for their customers.
1. Mobile Email Design:
When you get into the design of your emails, there are many levels of mobile design. The key word here is “responsive design,” but it isn’t a one-size-fits-all play. Responsive design means that content dynamically changes size, layout, and format to fit the screen of the person opening the email. For example, this may mean a three-column email you send will be reformatted into a single-column design for a person opening it on a mobile device, but remain a three-column design if the next person opens it on their desktop.
If you are using an email or marketing automation tool to send your emails, you will likely already have access to responsive design templates. However, there is an issue with responsive design in that Gmail on iOS does not support it. This means anyone opening an email from Gmail on an iPhone will not see what you are expecting them to. To get around this, the best way to design an email is to use a single-column approach and go from there. This will simplify email creation and ensure that your emails always look consistent.
If you want to have a template, which will change to fit the screen you may want to use fluid design instead. Fluid design is using percentages rather than fixed measures. The image below shows the basic difference of fixed (traditional) design vs fluid design.
The best rule of thumb is to start with a single-column layout and move out from there. Fluid will allow your email to resize to the screen, and be fully operational in all email browsers. If you want to get the specifics on how to do simple fluid design, here is a great article from Nicole Merlin over at the Tutsplus blog.
2. Responsive Design for Web Pages:
If you are doing any type of content marketing, you should expect a sizeable amount of your users to engage with your content via a mobile device. According to Movable Ink, 66 percent of email opens happen on a mobile device — and the trend is continuing. Aaron Batte, president of Faction Media, a B2B marketing agency, had this to say about putting mobile first: “When it comes specifically to mobile, you’ve really got to consider the post-tap user experience. If you know that the user is interacting with your campaign on a smartphone or tablet, you better have a mobile-friendly environment ready to be delivered. Obviously, responsive websites and ads open up possibilities to simplify the creative, content, and development processes, while creating more consistent experiences across screens and devices.”
The issue with this may be that your existing website isn’t in a responsive design format. If you are building landing pages using your existing website template, you may not have access to responsive design on landing pages. But not to worry, there are plenty of options to help you get responsive design landing pages without having to change your website. If you are using a marketing automation tool such as Pardot, or a landing page tool such as Unbounce, they have responsive templates for you to use right out of the box. Landing pages built in these third-party applications can mimic the look and feel of your corporate website, or be totally one-off. It’s up to you and can depend on your campaign, just remember that the key to driving increased engagement with a mobile audience is to create landing pages that are viewable and accessible via mobile.
3. Video Distribution via Social:
Video was the most shared content on Twitter in 2013, with more than 75 percent of Twitter users accessing the site via a mobile device. A mobile video strategy may be easier than you think. There are a few basic ways to do this, but the most successful way to distribute video on mobile is through social media channels.
First, create your video and host it online. There are free options such as YouTube, and paid options such as Wisita and Vidyard. I’d suggest looking at a paid option because of the ability to track a prospect’s engagement with each video, and tying this information back to your marketing automation tool to help you identify the hottest leads. Once you have hosted your video, you can publish it via paid social distribution. This allows you to use hyper-targeted paid placement to put your video in the social feeds of your core target demographic.
The best part about this technique is that it also turns social media into a clear lead generation channel for you. Many of the paid hosting options allow for calls to action to be used in the video, so you can ask for a social follow or even an email address right there within the social channel. This allows you to obtain the B2B engagement you are looking for on both your mobile and social channels.
With the majority of brand interactions happening on mobile devices, putting mobile first in your marketing strategy should start now rather than later. If you begin to boil down what interactions people are having on their mobile devices, you can put mobile first with small and simple changes to the way you are currently executing your marketing.
Moving forward, begin to think more about what you are creating, and ensure it is first designed for mobile, and second for the desktop. Focusing on a mobile-first strategy will be the easiest way to provide a better customer experience with your marketing efforts in 2015.
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