Mobile… The New Frontier

Actually mobile isn’t all that new.  Wireless Markup Language (WML) has been around since 1998.  But it seems that lately that mobile awareness has been increasing significantly.  This may be largely affected by the increase in smartphone usage and social network activity.

Over the past few months I have visited dozens of mobile websites.  Here are a few observations:

Don’t rely on device features. A website is not truly mobile if your visitors need to use device features.  For example, if your website does not present content nicely and you expect visitors to use the “pinch” feature on the iPhone, you’re missing the boat.

Don’t include the kitchen sink. A mobile website should not be an exact replica of your main website, just presented in a mobile-friendly experience.  The way visitors interact with your mobile website and their expectations will be different.  Make sure you understand your mobile audience and their objectives and tailor mobile content to meet them.

Function. Function. Function. Most likely your mobile visitors will want to accomplish a task using their mobile device.  I often visit the Cineplex mobile website.  My main purpose is to look up show times.  Their mobile experience is limited to function-based options like ‘Find a Theatre’ or ‘Check SCENE Points Balance.’  They didn’t waste their prime mobile real estate with ads and extra content.  They cut to the chase.

Organizations are all over the map with their mobile implementations.  This is really is a new frontier as businesses try to understand this technology from a marketing and business viewpoint.  It’s almost like the California Gold Rush.  The prospectors that were successful (besides having sheer luck) had the right equipment and supplies.

The same is true with the mobile world.

Before rolling out your mobile website, prepare by following these tasks:

  1. Understand your visitor. What are they expectations from a mobile experience? What are their mobile habits?  These, plus other questions, should be answered at the very beginning.
  2. Understand your goals. The goals for your mobile experience will likely be somewhat different than your main website.
  3. Understand the technology. QR codes, augmented reality, mobile app, native website.  The technologies surround mobile are numerous. It’s important to understand the technologies and when/if/how to use them.

If you think mobile is fad or that it’s a waste of time and money? Take a look at this graph from Morgan Stanley Research:

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