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Four Keys to a Successful Mobile Web Marketing Strategy

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Does your business have a mobile site that is designed with your mobile customer in mind? Is it a branded, usable, engaging experience?

If the answer is no, or if you're not sure, you are not alone. According to Google, four out of five websites are not optimized for mobile consumption, and the bounce rates of such sites are typically over 80%.

If your site isn't mobile friendly now, it's time to make it so. People love the mobile Web. Nearly three-quarters of smartphone owners access emails, and subsequently link to content, via their devices. And many of them like to shop using their smartphones, prompted by fellow users with whom they interact by phone while shopping.

Such mobile interactions push the user through to a website, and if that site isn't optimized for mobile, then the opportunity to engage with that consumer is lost. Consider that 50% of users abandon a page if it hasn't loaded within 10 seconds, and three out of five of those users never return.

You can't afford to lose that many potential customers. And marketers now realize the enormity of this new channel's potential for their business, but few have the knowledge of "how to mobilize." So, I am glad to share with you some key steps to implementing a successful mobile Web strategy.


1. Understand the mobile consumer

Do some market research on mobile consumers. What information are they looking for, what are their specific habits and interests, what do they want to find out or do, what triggers them to do so, and where and when are they doing it?

Understand that people always have their mobile on and to hand. That personal relationship with a mobile device is what makes the mobile Web so powerful. Mobile consumers are using their phones for instant interaction with brands. This is great for you because if they see your ad campaign in print or TV, they want instant engagement and will reach for their mobile phone.

2. Analyze your mobile consumer—you have the data now

Analyse your website traffic and specifically mobile device users, the 20% of mobile users who patiently waited for your desktop Web pages to load on their mobile browsers.

Where did they go, what questions did they ask, what content was relevant to them, when did they use it, how long were they there? Analyze the 50% who bailed out: What were they trying to view, and where might they have gone instead?

Begin building a picture of the behaviors and needs of those who visit your site via a mobile device, and use that information as a foundation for your mobile strategy.

3. Optimize your content for a small screen

Find a strong mobile Web technology platform provider (or an agency that uses such technology) that has already addressed the problem of delivering the same experience across the scores of different mobile devices out there. You'll want one that handles rich media and rich, interactive mobile experiences; delivers HTML5 (but also mark-up for older devices); collects user data; and has reporting and campaign management built into it.

Avoid using simple/quick site builders such as screen scraping or transcoding, which do a poor job of rendering your existing Web content. If you are serious about your brand, don't compromise it on mobile.

If you plan to go it alone, then you'll need a really smart Web team in-house who understand mobile best-practices.

4. Apply what you've learned

Apply the findings from your Web analysis. If you've discovered 90% of mobile visitors to your desktop site are simply looking for your physical location, then prioritize developing an easily discovered map and some geolocation functionality, then embed other content around it.

That's a simplified example. Here's a more complicated one, from a recent client, a baby food brand. We discovered that mobile visitors to the client's site were, not surprisingly, new or expectant mothers. A large majority of them were accessing the site after midnight looking for feeding advice (presumably with baby in arms). Based on that information, we helped the client build its mobile experience around advice and support, thereby strengthening the client's relationship with its site visitors and increasing purchases with tracked "special offers."

Learn from the best

Take inspiration from these businesses and brands that have optimized for mobile and gained tremendous results:

  • Amazon has made mobile accessible and trustworthy; it has integrated mobile with the Web experience, and the process works quickly and reliably.
  • eBay reports processing one mobile transaction every second.
  • Domino's Pizza published recently that it had received 50% of UK orders via mobile and topped £1million sales via mobile in a single week.
  • McDonald's has been highly innovative with its mobile approach, using localized voucher codes and offers to drive customers in. Think about ways in which your own business could tap into the location-based capabilities that mobile uniquely presents.
  • Since launching its dedicated mobile site, BuySpares (UK) recorded a 31% increase in revenue.

(Image courtesy of Bigstock: Info safety concept)


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Anne Thomas is chief operating officer and cofounder at Wapple Ltd., a mobile Web agency offering mobile marketing, design, and consultation. Anne has been a mobile Web pioneer for the past decade and understands the mobile Web from all angles: consumers to devices, marketers to developers, small and midsize enterprises to big brands. Reach her via Twitter.

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  • by Rishi Mon Aug 13, 2012 via web

    Great article, but I would also like to emphasize the importance of KNOWING why your user needs to access your website through their mobile device. To do this successfully, you need to understand what are most of your users are doing WHEN they access your mobile website (are they shopping, commuting, working, etc.) and WHAT features they need to access at that exact moment. Design your mobile website accordingly and your client will love you for understanding their needs :) For more mobile cheat sheets including "10 Tips for Mobile Usability", check out or tips and tricks at http://mdv.to/NmISj3

  • by Ann Mon Aug 13, 2012 via web

    Thank you for the timely information. We are in the midst of reviewing our clients and have this task as a high priority to review.
    When we look at the traffic sources we are seeing increasing mobile users.

    The comment from Rishi was good but was disappointed it was from a Corporation and in my opinion was not on topic.

  • by Chris Wed Oct 3, 2012 via web

    Great info. Mobile marketing is extremely powerful. Cell phone users are the largest audience on the planet, and you can make a lot more money with much less time and effort than many other forms of marketing. This makes it super effective with very high ROI's. I have a lot more helpful info about mobile marketing on my site www.youaccomplish.com.

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