If you’ve heard one resounding theme throughout this series it’s that mobile is the present and future of business. Stats bear this out; declining sales of PCs and increased sales of mobile devices globally, more mobile devices are used to access the internet than PCs, and more people are shopping online with smartphones and tablets than ever before. Businesses therefore must ensure that mobile is not just an adjunct part of their strategy; mobile must BE their strategy! If mobile is not central to your business strategy then you might as well close shop. It’s that important!
The centrality of mobile means that businesses need to rethink how they engage with customers today. Responsive web design has been all the rage in recent years and it is a step in the right direction. But as we’ve said on several occasions, RWD is not enough. The starting point for responsive web design is still the traditional desktop website, and that’s a backwards approach. What we need is to adopt a “mobile first” strategy which starts by putting the mobile experience front and center. It starts with a different set of questions about the needs and expectations of today’s savvy mobile customer (and especially how little time they’re willing to wait for what they need!)
Mobile first is a paradigm shift in thinking away from a traditional website mentality to a mobile-centric perspective. It’s all-encompassing and impacts the way you think about development, analytics, and marketing. Let’s unpack the major takeaways of what this all means:
* Adopt a mobile first strategy; assume a future in which the majority of your visitors and customers will be using mobile devices.
* Realize that responsive web design is not enough.
* Don’t get bogged down in the “development dilemma” involving debates and questions about Native vs. HTML5.
* Do whatever it takes to please your mobile customers and meet their high expectations; offer a mobile friendly app that is user friendly and delivers content as quickly as possible.
* Get rid of a traditional desktop analytics perspective and embrace a mobile-centric one that focuses on tracking mobile sessions and using these insights to measure engagement and drive your A/B testing, marketing campaigns, and UX changes.
* Shift your marketing paradigm from a desktop perspective in which you look for customers to a mobile-centric one where customers look for you
These are the highpoints and major takeaways from what we’ve covered throughout this series So now what? How can an organization start to get onboard with mobile? There are several next step action items that your business can adopt today to start leveraging the mobile web.
* Take a look at your current website on smart phones and tablets; review content, functionality, download speed and ask yourself what needs improving.
* Use Google Analytics for initial diagnostics on your mobile traffic; see what your current mobile traffic segment is, what kind of mobile devices visitors are using, and the percent of mobile traffic in relation to all site visits.
* Gather user experience experts, designers, and developers to plan out your firm’s mobile first website; begin with the question of how the content will look on mobile devices rather than on a desktop.
* Set a roadmap for developing a customized mobile app and sidestep discussions around HTML5 vs. Native approaches; build it around the needs of the customer not the technology!
* Start to revamp your marketing strategy to a mobile-centric one; get onboard with Facebook ads and use tools like ShortStack to optimize them.
* Be deliberately customer focused and go out of the way to reward your customers with free gifts or coupons for your products or services. Incentivize them to refer their colleagues, friends, and family to your newly revised mobile site.
The best time to begin leveraging the mobile web is right now. Start asking your customers about their mobile usage and pivot from there. You don’t need to boil the ocean but you do need to deliberately map out clear steps and benchmarks towards growing your mobile strategy and presence over the next 6 months. Mobile is the future of business and perhaps the future of everything. The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. So start on this path today and you’ll soon see how a mobile first strategy can transform your business inside and out.