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Reaching Your Mobile Audience

Things have changed a lot since The Who recorded their song about being mobile in the sixties. Back then they were talking about being able to make toast and tea while on the road.

Now, there’s a lot more people can do via their “mobile devices” – although toast and tea are not among them!

Mobile phone usage online has skyrocketed in the last couple of years. Almost half – 48 percent – of consumers use their mobile devices to research or browse products and services, according to Oracle’s “Mobile Trends: Consumer Views of Mobile Shopping and Mobile Service Providers” report. Here are a few more interesting research snippets:

The Gartner Group estimates that by the end of 2012, there will be 150 million people using mobile devices to purchase goods and services worldwide.

An ABI Research Study estimated that shoppers ordered $2.2 billion in physical goods via mobile in 2010. The same study predicts that $119 billion in goods and services will be purchased with mobile phones in 2015.

The statistics are even higher for travel, and business travel in particular.

A recent survey by Sabre showed that nearly three-fourths of business travelers are interested in shopping and booking air options via their mobile devices. More than two-thirds want to shop for and make hotel reservations via mobile devices and 66 percent of respondents reported interest in the ability to add a hotel reservation to an existing itinerary. However, the highest growth was seen in the ground category. Sixty-two percent of respondents are interested in booking rental cars via their smartphone, and 60 percent of respondents want to shop for car rentals via their smartphone.

Clearly, if you don’t have a mobile version of your website, you’re missing a huge opportunity. Twenty years ago, the conventional wisdom was, “I have to have a website for my business.” Now, it’s, “I have to have a mobile website for my business.”

Merely directing smartphone users to your “regular” website doesn’t work, unfortunately. Most conventional websites have too many photos, are too wide, and the content (typeface) will appear too small to read (in most cases) when displayed on a smartphone.

Clearly, you need to develop a mobile version of your site. But, before you run screaming from the room, take heart – it’s not that difficult – or costly. If you’re tech-savvy, there are a number of automated or out of the box solutions that will convert your existing website to a mobile website. These are necessarily limited in their success in creating an effective mobile site, however, since they are attempting to convert something from to one medium that was developed for another. There are a couple of reasons that this is problematic:

There are usually way more photos on a “regular” website than can be easily accommodated on a mobile site. They will make the site slow to load and to navigate – a problem for smartphone users who want the information now.

Mobile websites should have less copy, or content, on them than a conventional website. Think of it as your website boiled down to the essentials. The essential questions you need to answer are “What is it?“ “Where is it?” “What’s good about it? ” and “How do I get it?”

Mobile sites should ask less of the user in making inquiries or transactions. It’s simply different when you’re dealing with a tiny keyboard and screen.

So, the bottom line here is that it doesn’t work to simply “translate” an existing website into a mobile structure/format. It works far better to tailor content specifically to the mobile site, and build it accordingly. If you do it right, you’ll start to reap the benefits right way – in terms of more leads, and even more sales. FBN

 

Anthony Flesch is a principal at Flesch, Pritchard & Peebler, Inc. (“fp²”), an integrated marketing communications firm in Sedona. Their website is www.fp2marketing.com. For a free assessment of your recession marketing plan, email anthony@fp2marketing.com, or call 928-203-9419.

 

 

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