Five reasons why you must have a mobile strategy
Whether it is individuals interacting on a personal level, businesses communicating with their target audiences or organisations working to improve their operational efficiency, mobile technologies are playing a huge role in how information is created and exchanged.
As both organisations and individuals take their activities ‘on the road’, businesses would be foolish to ignore the mobile onslaught that is unfolding. But as brands prepare their businesses for this mobile stampede, it’s crucial that their efforts are worthwhile.
A bad mobile experience is said to be worse than no mobile experience at all, yet those failing to embrace this shift in behaviour will inevitably fall behind those that do.
Here are Pomegranate’s Top 5 Reasons why introducing mobile within a business strategy is crucial, as long as it’s implemented correctly.
1. Mobile internet is set to soar
The phrase ‘mobile is set to soar’ is in danger of being worn-out but the truth is that by the end of 2014, it is predicted that more people will access the internet via mobile than via a desktop. Just think of how many people you see on the train, standing in bus queues or at the office using their mobiles on a daily basis. And they’re not just making phone calls.
Businesses need to become smarter by the day, just like the devices we are using to access the internet are. All the functions that we used to have to perform on our desktops at home or at work can now be replicated on a mobile device – we can watch video content, listen to music, play games and ‘hang out’ in social networking communities all alongside the standard mobile phone functions.
In the near future, it would be sensible to predict that almost everyone will be using an internet-enabled mobile phone and that mobile internet usage will inevitably overtake that of desktops. When this happens, only those businesses geared up to take advantage of the mobile world will be on the winning side.
2. 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions and counting
According to The International Telecommunication Union (February 2013), there are approximately 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide. That is equivalent to 96 percent of the world population (7.1 billion according to the ITU) and is a huge increase from 6.0 billion mobile subscribers in 2011 and 5.4 billion in 2010. (Source:mobithinking.com). The world is becoming addicted to mobile.
A far cry from the once popular landline phones, the new era of mobile devices can do so much more than make phone calls – they can access the internet, send emails, texts and picture messages as well as run apps that offer additional mobile-friendly content. Approximately half of all internet searches are performed via a mobile device (Source:Slideshare) and therefore if you want to be seen in the relevant digital marketplaces, then you need to have a mobile presence.
Whilst not all mobile subscribers will be smartphone users and not everyone will use their mobiles to access online content, evidence clearly shows that consumers are increasingly turning to mobile devices and that business’ marketing strategies should plan for the fact that they will need to connect with consumers via the mobile platform.
3. Make your website mobile friendly
As mobile devices have much smaller processors than desktop computers, traditional websites often have problems loading on mobile devices. There is little else more frustrating than visiting a website on your mobile phone and having to wait an age for the content to load. Worse so, once the content has loaded, if the text is too small to read and the menus inaccessible, chances are your consumers will switch off before they’ve even switched on. It is said that 57% of mobile users will not recommend a business that has an unfriendly mobile website and that 40% of users will switch to a competitor’s website if they experience even the slightest problem accessing the site they are currently trying to view (Source: Slideshare).
The essence of accessing information on the go is that it needs to be quick and hassle free. If customers can get what they need from a site the first time, then the likelihood is they will come back. And again, and again. A positive experience is what drives loyalty, and the last thing businesses want is for potential customers to become frustrated and find themselves on a competitor’s website seeking out the same information which they could have provided.
For smaller business with smaller budgets, introducing a mobile-friendly platform into the marketing mix does not necessarily have to imply huge investment. If budget restricts the development of a mobile-specific app, businesses can opt to simply mobile-optimise their website for fast loading and ease of use on mobile devices, ensuring that potential customers can still access the content they are seeking even if it isn’t via a bespoke built app.
4. Keeping up with the competition
Simply put, if your competitors’ websites are mobile optimized and yours isn’t, they win. In today’s fiercely competitive marketplace, several companies are all vying for the same business and the key is to be in the right place at the right time when a potential customer is ready to commit. If competitors are winning more business but you know your product or service is just as good, if not better, then there must be something wrong. More often than not, it’s the type of marketing that businesses are, or are not, doing that makes the difference.
A brand may have a thoroughly well-designed website but if it’s only good for viewing on a desktop, then it means nothing on a mobile device. By restricting the marketing of a business to desktop devices, companies are locking mobile customers out of their business and less traffic equals less profits.
By ensuring that your target market can access your business wherever they are, you will minimise opportunities for your competitors to step in and steal your customers.
5. Boost your brand and your reputation
Web users judge sites in the blink of an eye, often making snap decisions in just milliseconds. It is therefore vital that when a potential customer lands on a site, they like what they see.
Users will regularly evaluate a business on how in-tune they are with digital technology, viewing any ineptitude, no matter how small, as a reflection of how a company conducts their business. Any adverse experience of trying to access a business’ website can leave a negative image of a brand on a consumer’s mind, one that is much harder to erase than it is to create.
With social media the communication force that it is, people are much more inclined to share their negative experiences than they would have been five years ago. One small comment on a blog or social media site can do untold damage to a brand’s reputation and ultimately impact sales.
To overcome any possible negative impact, customers should be made to feel at home when visiting a mobile website – the experience should be slick, fast and easy – proving to customers that you take their convenience seriously. A positive experience is what helps to build loyalty and a loyal customer is more inclined to tell their friends about it too.
Businesses implementing a mobile strategy must look at it as an integrated part of the overall user journey – through understanding what a user wants from the experience and how the interaction can improve their lives or at least their connection to the brand, businesses can ensure that visitors to their site are left feeling emotionally satisfied.
With so many opportunities for customers to switch brand allegiance, and with competitors constantly seeking to stimulate loyalty promiscuity, businesses need to ensure they are limiting the opportunities for customers to shop elsewhere – mobile optimisation is playing a critical role in this process, helping businesses to ensure that profit leaks are kept to a minimum
Businesses must also however be cautious not to fall into the trap of ‘we need a mobile presence because everyone else has one’. Instead they must learn what their users really want – in some cases this may purely mean that simplicity is what is required whilst in others it might call for a full-scale mobile optimised experience.