Make your mobile experience friction-free
Regardless of what business or field you’re in today, your digital marketing and outreach platforms need to incorporate mobile-centric strategies. Today there are more than 2.5 billion smartphone users around the world in 2018 while shipments of desktop computers, at roughly 95 million units, have been in steady decline for the past decade and will continue to shrink in the near future.
As a result, marketers need to ensure that they are incorporating today’s best practices into their smartphone customer experience. The following are some tips to keep in mind as you develop your mobile assets and strategies.
Create a clean and efficient mobile experience
An optimal mobile experience is much more than simply building a responsive website. It involves thinking through all of the navigational and information paths that are possible with a 6-inch screen—while ensuring that content is accessible and easily readable at all times. Google says that 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site that they had troubling accessing, so making the experience hassle-free is critically important. A few guidelines:
Lose the navigation bar
On a smartphone or tablet, screen real estate is precious—every pixel has to deliver as much utility as possible. Navigation bars take up space that could be better used for content. The most popular and elegant alternative is the hamburger menu (represented by three horizontal bars that typically sit in the upper corner of the screen). This serves as an easily accessible “drawer” for the navigation menu. This element is also finding its way to more and more full-size websites today.
Let thumbs be your guide
While smartphone screens are growing larger every year, we all typically hold the phone with one hand and use our thumb to reach the majority of apps/functions on the screen. Accordingly, when organizing your site, put the most important content within easy reach of thumbs—in the center of the screen—and away from the edges, which requires a longer reach and makes the phone harder to balance while holding.
Make phone numbers and addresses links
The fewer steps you require to complete tasks on your mobile site, the happier your users will be. One of the most time-consuming and painstaking tasks on a smartphone screen is typing phone numbers and addresses into tiny fields. By turning your contact info into clickable links, you make it easy for your customers to call you and find you on a map.
When you need customers and prospects to provide you with their information, sometimes there’s just no getting around making them fill out forms. To make this less of a chore, break up longer forms across several pages—instead of putting a dozen fields on a single page, spread them across several pages with only three or four fields per page. You can also number each page or incorporate a simple progress bar (“Step 1 of 3,” “Step 2 of 3,” etc.) on each page to show users how close they are to finishing.
Don’t forget mobile email design
In your efforts to make your mobile site as easy to use as possible, don’t overlook the need to make your email design sing as well. Studies have shown that almost 80% of people use their smartphones to read email, and that 70% of consumers delete emails immediately that render poorly on their device. So be sure to create a mobile-responsible email template or use a template that works on all devices.
Integrate across channels
Consumers today expect to be able to purchase products and services across digital and physical storefronts. A popular purchasing path today includes ordering online and picking up the purchase at a physical store. As a result, you need to ensure that digital and in-store experiences coordinate and support one another at all touch points.
Embrace location-based marketing
If your business is dependent on physical retail locations or well-attended events, then geo-fencing, geo-targeting, and geo-conquest need to be part of your marketing arsenal. Geo-fencing creates a virtual boundary around a location using GPS coordinates and IP addresses, and serves up ads and promotions on smartphones within the boundary that are being used to browse the web. Geo-targeting uses the same idea, but delivers ads to smartphone users within the boundary who meet specific criteria by demographics, purchase behavior, interests, etc. And geo-conquest involves placing boundaries around the physical locations of your competitors, allowing you to tempt smartphone users with ads and promotions for your business.
Get to the point
Mobile messaging and copy should be succinct and direct. You don’t have the space to be cute or overly descriptive. Remember, you’re not trying to replicate all of the content on your main website—just the absolute essentials. Visitors to your mobile site are usually there for a specific purpose and want to get to the information they’re seeking as quickly as possible. Leave the non-critical details on your main site.
Making the smartphone experience as hassle-free as possible should be a top priority for every marketer today. Rather than being a sidekick to your main website, the mobile site is increasingly becoming the primary portal to your business. By incorporating these tips into your site, you’ll go a long way toward converting more prospects into customers, and keeping customers coming back more often.