Today it is about being mobile first! If people cannot access your content easily and clearly on mobile devices, you are missing the boat! This is true all over, but on the island of Kauai, this can be a literal statement. I was recently chatting with the owner of a rental shop near the port where cruise ships come in. He was telling me that he had developed a web site, but he had not thought about it being mobile first. But his target customers all arrive with mobile devices. He said, “I see them coming off the ship all looking at their smartphone or tablets.” The same is true of nearby hotel and timeshare visitors.
Nielson reports that over the past year, the average consumer spent nearly seven hours more per month with their mobile phones, and more than 70% of mobile users use smartphones.
Mobile first email marketing
According to Movable Ink’s Q1 2014 US Consumer Device Preference Report email opens continue to migrate away from the desktop. In fact, two thirds of emails are opened on a mobile device. Within that, the tablet share of email opens continues to grow.
Movable Ink said that 66 percent of emails were opened on either a smartphone (47.2 percent) or tablet (18.5 percent) in Q1 2014. That’s up slightly from the 65 percent in Q4. By contrast PC email opens were down to 34 percent.
What an opportunity for online, digital marketing. This means that your email reaches your target audience anytime and anyplace. Think about that. But also think about how it must be designed for the customer on the go. If you don’t grab him/her with the title and the first five lines of your email, they will move on to the next one. It has to be attention grabbing, get quickly to the value for your customer, and then to the call to action. In a previous role, I wrote many such emails to be used by the salespeople in our company. Many of them were surprised that they got a quick response from a senior executive. It was because it was targeted at them, designed to be read on a mobile device, with a clearly stated value proposition and an easy call to action.
Mobile First Blogs
Don’t be surprised if mobile devices are soon the primary way that people read your blog posts. You can use Google Analytics to see how they are being accessed today and what the trend line is for mobile devices for your particular site. Have you looked at and thought about how someone will access your blog from a mobile device? Do your sharing icons work on the mobile device? Can users comment? Is there far too much scrolling to the right required?
The best way to find out is to test your site on a variety of devices. But Google also provides a website called Make Your Website Work Across Multiple Devices which helps you test your mobile website for mobile compatibility. There is also a link to their PageSpeed Insights tool where you can test performance on mobile and desktop devices and get suggestions for improvement.
Mobile First Design
How do you get mobile first design? If you are designing a new web site, make sure your developer is enabling responsive design. There are many tools and themes available now to automatically enable web sites to be responsive to mobile devices and to optimize the display and performance. If you have an existing web site that is not designed for mobile, you have a few choices:
- Do nothing – your customers will have to enlarge and scroll on a mobile device
- Re-design to be responsive – if your web site is a few years old, it may be due for a re-design anyway
- Create a separate mobile site – you could have a separate mobile site, but then you have to maintain two sites
Mobile First Features
The rise in use of mobile devices also opens new opportunities to think about exploiting unique features of those devices. A common example is being able to link to mobile turn-by-turn directions. Not only can they find your business online, their device can guide them to you. They can touch the screen and immediately call or email you. They can check back in with you during the day and at different locations. You may also want to make use of location awareness to push certain information or promotions. And mobile devices are also good for social media integration. Making it easy to share on social media directly from a mobile device may increase your reach.
So it really is a new world. I now carry the Internet in my pocket via my smartphone. When I travel, I stay connected with my tablet to use in the airport, on the plane, and in my hotel room. I may search for information about a business anytime and anywhere that I have a connection. If you are not mobile first, you are missing the boat! (maybe literally!)