My mother-in-law just got an iPhone (this is huge by the way). My 7 year old daughter has a tablet. Everyone seems to have a mobile device of one flavor or another.
Mobile is no longer a novelty, it’s the new normal.
Now, consider your target audience. Are they using tablets and smartphones to find out more about you? I’ll just say it… yes, yes they are!
According to a post on Convince and Convert from Jay Baer, “75% of Americans admit to bringing their phone to the bathroom.” The bathroom!
People are addicted to their mobile devices. I left my phone at work last night. All of my plans were on hold until I went back and retrieved it. Sound familiar?
So, what is the mobile strategy for your business? If you are staring blankly at the screen, start worrying now.
Do you remember that moment of dread back in the early 2000’s when you didn’t yet have a website and all your competitors did? This is the same thing.
So, what do I mean by mobile strategy? It’s not just “we need an app!” Although we hear that all the time. It’s much more.
Let’s take this step by step. We’ll get through it together…
Step One – Know Your Audience
If you skip this step, you’ll have problems. How can you develop a mobile strategy if you don’t know who it’s for?
Start by developing buyer personas. Now, using each persona, you need to think through the experience. If it helps, use a flipchart, whiteboard or your Surface Pro 3. Map it out.
It helps to answer these questions:
- What problem do I solve for this persona?
- How many steps does it usually take them to get to the solution?
- How can you help to remove some of these steps? Removing the steps makes you a valuable resource – one they’ll want to do business with.
Notice that I have not yet spoken about a mobile app or responsive design or any of that yet.
Do not focus on the technology. Focus on the user, their problem, and how you help them find their solution.
It is so important to know your audience and what they need before you develop a strategy.
Step Two – Assess Your Marketing Arsenal
What are you working with?
- Do you have a website? Is it responsive (more on this in a bit)?
- Do you have a content strategy? How is it working so far? Is it driving traffic? Conversion?
- Have you developed a utility marketing plan? (see below for more on Utility Content)
Of course you need a website. But, it’s so much more than that today. Your website needs to be a resource. And it needs to be flexible in how it delivers that resource material.
That material needs to solve the user’s problem. Again, think through the user’s experience. When, where and with what will the user access and act on this resource material?
- What are the steps they take?
- Are there any road blocks?
- Is anything a pain in the butt for them?
Take out the extra steps and clunky interface elements whenever possible. And please, use responsive design!
Responsive design means your websites are responsive to the viewing device.
Responsive design relies on a set of website breakpoints – the sizes at which the page layout adjusts. This could range from a high resolution desktop screen to a tablet to a smartphone.
This is not a separate mobile website. It is one website that adjusts for many different devices. Your website should be responsive regardless of any other mobile strategy you deploy.
Don’t take my word for it, take it from Google. They recommend responsive design (read the section titled Why Responsive Design)!
A separate mobile website should only be used for specific marketing and communications efforts requiring a mobile only approach.
For example – If you’re doing an ad campaign with callouts in the ad specifically for a mobile user, then you’ll want a mobile landing page that either converts on that page or sends the user to a responsive page on your website.
Remember to think through the user’s journey through your website. Align your marketing goals with the user’s needs using utility content.
Utility content is a form of educational content that your clients can actually use. It is especially important for mobile users.
This type of content is often situational. Your client needs something at that moment, and you provide it for them.
Utility content is the stuff that your target audience needs mostly on mobile devices but they will need it on desktop as well.
Put this content up front, using responsive design. When someone has a question or a need, they reach for their smartphone or tablet.
Are you there in a way that helps them? See this post for more on Utility Content.
Step Three – Does Your Mobile Audience Need More?
Now we can talk about apps.
Once you’ve extended the functionality and utility of your website to meet all the needs of each buyer persona, start looking at other ways to solve their problems.
When considering an app, ask yourself this question and answer honestly…
“Do I want an app because I want an app or because it solves a problem that my website either can’t or can’t do well?”
At this point, I highly recommend you read the book Youtility by Jay Baer. He has an entire chapter on mobile apps and it’s brilliant.
That said, let’s think about how an app might be able to solve a problem better than a responsive website. An app is…
- Developed to work seamlessly with your phone’s native ability (and doesn’t rely on the server side running slowly because of the phone’s internet speed)
- Quick loading and easily accessible through your phone’s app directory
- Available in the app store for iPhones and Google Play for Androids
- A game, research tool, time saver, a utility
An app is not simply a re-purposed version of your website. That is a waste of time and resources. And it is useless to the user.
An app is a utility your clients need to either save time or to entertain. Again, an app needs to solve a problem that your website cannot.
But, apps are not cheap. Be prepared to invest time and money into developing an app for your business.
Development of good apps is an involved process – planning, design, coding, testing, app stores, and more testing.
Then, you need to prepare for the subsequent versions based on Apple and Android updates. As well you should be thinking about future upgrades and enhancements.
If, after all this, it truly solves a problem for your user that your website cannot, then maybe it’s worth it.
Other mobile solutions include:
- SMS Marketing (text messaging) – great for retail, restaurants, any business setting appointments or in need of sending reminders or confirmations.
- QR Codes – yes, they still exist and can still be very effective. A QR Code could be part of the ad campaign mentioned earlier. Or on a product sending the user to resources about that product – video, manuals, images.
- Augmented Reality – this is cutting edge stuff. Google Glass utilizes augmented reality. You hold you phone up to an add or poster and the images come to life on your phone’s screen.
There is so much technology available to you today. But, technology comes second, or third, or fourth to the user’s needs.
Solve their problems first. All this tech is nothing more than a collection of tools for you to use to solve a problem.
Focus on their needs and then find the best tool for the job!