Mobile marketing – is it time to start thinking beyond design?

As the mobile audience grows online, Sage Business Expert Ian Rhodes gives some valuable advice on how you should be thinking beyond mobile-responsiveness and structure the content in your site so it can be easily accessed by a mobile visitor.

12 years ago, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sent out a sharp warning to marketers. ‘Web browsing can leave you with an attention span of nine seconds – the same as a goldfish’.

rsz_1rsz_cloud-mobility12 years ago, as marketers, our eyes were well and truly opened to the distractions that face our online audience. We began to talk about ‘stickiness’ – what could we be doing to retain our audience’s attention? What message would convince our site visitors to stay and find out more about our business?

That was 2002. We had it easy! That was when our site visitor was sat at their desk without the constant distraction of social media or the processing power of computers that allowed us to multi-task to the extent we are now fully accustomed.

Now, our audience are mobilized. 61% of UK adults are using their mobile phone to access the internet ‘on the go’. Our attention span is reducing further still.

We’re seeking news ‘on the go’ – 68% of traffic to the BBC Sport website on 1st February was recorded as ‘from mobile devices’. You can be sure we’re researching purchases and key business buying decisions ‘on the go’ too. Buying decisions that will impact upon your own business. Take a look at your own Analytics data (Analytics -> Audience -> Mobile -> Overview). Are the numbers what you’d expect to be seeing? What, you’re not using Analytics!??

The fact is you need to mobilise your digital offering.

Your website design company will tell you that your website should be responsive. This goes without saying. I should be able to view and read your website without fiddling to find navigation buttons or zooming in on text. You’ve got less than nine seconds to attract me. You have to win my attention before you worry about losing it.

Are your mobile visitors behaving differently to your desktop visitors? The answers, again, are found in Analytics. You may expect to see less page views, lower conversion rates and less time on site if your visitors are transient. But, mobile usage does not necessarily translate to mobile user. Mobile browsing is an inherent aspect of our research methodology. We search whilst watching TV, we search whilst sat at our desk, we search whilst we’re ‘supposedly’ minding our children. We’re now programmed to search using our mobile phone.

What are we searching for? I could be looking for the address of my local butcher. I may be researching for replacement doors. I might have been tempted by the look of the Mercedes that just past me on the street. If you’re in business, people are looking for companies that do what you do.

Does responsive = mobile ready? Are you thinking beyond design and focusing upon content? Does your navigation bar relate to the most important aspects of your business? Can I clearly find your contact details at the top of the screen, rather than in the footer? Can I click your telephone number to contact you? Can I click your address to find you?

Is your sales proposition complex, requiring sales nurturing rather than immediate response? Would video be a more opportune method to get your message across? Can you substitute lengthy content with a quick 30-second sound bite?

Your mobile audience is growing. Think beyond mobile-responsiveness and start thinking about how your message can be delivered simply, persuasively and convincingly. Now, I’m off to check the weather forecast.

Ian Rhodes

Ian’s 18-year career in Digital Marketing has taken him from learning the tricks of the trade, hands-on, at a pre-boom eCommerce startup to working alongside 200+ organisations as a Marketing Strategy Consultant. In between, he has held the position of European Marketing Director for the world’s largest online travel company and built his own successful bricks and mortar retail business which he successfully exited in 2008. Now, Ian works as a strategic advisor and consultant. To thrive online your audience must hear you, believe you & believe in you. As a marketer you think beyond process. Ian helps organisations define and distinguish their approach to Content Marketing through Content Mindset.