Go to any public location these days and you are most likely to find a growing number of people idly tapping and swiping away on their phones while they happily ignore one another. With the steady influx of new gadgets and mobile devices slowly bringing society into a more digital age, business owners have found an emerging and potentially profitable mobile user market that they can tap into, so long as they can adapt and keep up with the technology as well as the developing mobile environment.
In all likelihood, you yourself belong to this rapidly expanding group of mobile device users. For all I know, you could be reading this article on your phone this very moment. In a world where the question “How does this place not have Wi-Fi?” has become part normal, everyday conversation, companies are scrambling to put themselves out there and become more visible in the mobile user market. But how exactly does a company target mobile device users? The answer, my friend, is not as simple as may have thought it would be.
If you are looking to wade into the seemingly endless ocean of marketing potential that is the mobile user environment, you may want to rethink your idea of simply having your customers visit your company’s website on their phone’s browser. Sure, mobile browsers installed on newer devices that run on systems such as iOS or Android are more than capable of letting people view your website, but a lot more goes into creating the seamless experience that mobile users are looking for today.
Why Are Mobile Users So Different?
Think of mobile users as your average customer, but with very little time on their hands and even less patience. Every time these people visit your mobile site, they demand an experience that is more engaging than what you could offer regular desktop users because they are constrained by their relatively small screens and device capabilities. Therefore, in order to keep them interested, and increase your conversion rates, you will need to adapt and develop a mobile environment that is geared towards helping mobile users find what they want in the fastest, easiest way possible.
In order to understand what makes mobile users so different, compare them against your regular desktop customers. Mobile users have a different set of needs as compared to desktop users. When desktop users visit your website, you may immediately presume that they are in front of their computer, perhaps sitting down and taking the time to browse to their hearts content.
Mobile users, on the other hand, are a completely different story. They could be looking up your website while walking down the street, on the train to work, or waiting in line at the supermarket. They could be anywhere. In any case, you know that these people are probably in a rush and are easily distracted. They do not have the time and patience to research or buy, and even less to familiarize themselves with a new environment the way desktop users do. It is therefore important for you, as a business, to accommodate the unique needs of the average mobile user in order to keep them engaged.
There are several factors that affect the way mobile users interact with your website, and these should be kept in mind if you want to ensure that your business captures the attention of the mobile user crowd.
Give Your Site a More Responsive Design
A responsive web design allows for an optimal viewing experience across multiple platforms, whether your site’s visitors are on their desktop or on their mobile device. This makes it easier for people to read the content on your website and navigate through it with little to no resizing, panning, or scrolling. Any website that utilizes a responsive design offers a relatively similar experience for both desktop and mobile users.
From a business standpoint, websites that have a responsive design makes it easy for potential customers to become familiar with the company, read more interesting content, navigate through the entire website with ease, and browse through all the products and services that the company offers. Whether your target market is using a desktop computer or a mobile device, you stand a better chance of making a conversion by implementing a responsive website design.
Improve Page Load Times on Mobile Devices
One important factor that mobile users look at when deciding on whether they stay on your website or look somewhere else is the time it takes for your website to load. Because mobile users are usually on the go and cannot be bothered by having to wait for the images on your site to show, it is important that you keep your mobile site as clean and as simple as possible.
In theory, the mobile version of your desktop site should be designed for optimal download speeds, which means you should have as little clutter on your mobile site as possible in order to minimize latency. Make sure that you do not overwhelm potential customers with too many options on the homepage which, incidentally, only works towards increasing page load times. Instead, show only the most important content based on market research, and give your visitors more reasons to explore your site further.
Make Key Information Visible
One way to minimize page load times while still keeping your site’s visitors engaged is by making all key information readily available on the homepage. These could include information about your company, new products and services, ongoing sales and discounts, and various other attractive offerings. Structure your website in such a way that visitors can learn more about a particular key piece of information with a single tap in order to provide a better overall mobile experience.
In the event that visitors on your mobile site are interested in content, products, or services that no longer appear on your homepage, make it easy for them to navigate towards what they want by way of categories. Visitors should be able to easily get on the path that directs them to where they should be on your website. Depending on the relative size of your database, consider adding a search function on your site in order to make it easier for potential customers to find what they were looking for.
Just because you run a business doesn’t mean you can’t make friends. In fact, maintaining a friendly and social relationship with your customers can significantly help improve your brand identity and increase the number of referrals. Through the years, the role that social media plays in every company’s core business and marketing strategy has grown exponentially. Customers can now review your products and services, promote them to their friends, or file a complaint without having to get up and turn their computer on.
Take advantage of the near-limitless marketing potential that social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram offer. Install social media plugins on your site that direct visitors to your official social media page, and watch the number of followers on your page rise. Just know, however, that social media can be like a double-edged sword. It is just as easy for dissatisfied customers to post scathing reviews of your company on their social media profile as it is for your loyal followers.
Mobile Website vs. App Development
You might ask, “Why invest in restructuring my website to accommodate mobile users, when I can simply develop my own app?” While both options are aimed towards building a mobile presence for your business, creating a mobile website is generally less restrictive. App development requires the creation of different apps for different platforms, which is why you sometimes see your favorite app available on the iTunes App Store but not on Android’s Google Play Store.
In terms of accessibility, users will need to download and install an app before they can use it; a process that can be a strain on both time and device resources on the part of the user. On the other hand, a mobile website is easily accessible across most mobile browsers, thus limiting the barriers between you and your target audience. If you have to choose between building your mobile presence with a mobile website and an app, start with a mobile website and develop your own app later when feasible.
By keeping things easy and simple on your mobile site and optimizing page load times, you should be on your way to providing users with a better mobile experience. Nothing makes a person tap the back button on their mobile browser faster than having to wait or a poorly designed site to load.
Capturing the attention of mobile users also gives you a competitive advantage. A responsive web design that provides users with a pleasant and more engaging experience puts you in a position to stand out even amongst your competitors. With a well-designed mobile website and solid business plan, along with a highly visible social media presence, keeping up with the ever-expanding mobile user market should be a breeze.