The Beginners Guide to Online Marketing

The Beginners Guide to Online Marketing

Chapter Thirteen

Written by Neil Patel & Ritika Puri

A Quick Note on Mobile

I think that every person has a set of mobile consumption minutes in their day. Standing in line at Starbucks, waiting for the subway train, and waiting at the doctor’s office, what everybody does is pull out their device and browse content.
Regan Fletcher, VP of Business Development at
News360 via The Content Strategist

We operate in a cross-platform world. This is a concept we’ve discussed throughout this guide, but we feel that it deserves a standalone chapter because too many marketers and business owners procrastinate on mobile.

And you know what? Every moment that you wait is a wasted opportunity.

The numbers alone should convince you.

  • 58% of people who own smartphones have used them for store-related shopping.
  • An estimated 63% of people expect to do more shopping on their mobile devices over the next couple of years.
  • There are 1.2 billion people accessing the web from mobile devices.
  • Almost 25% of black Friday shopping in 2012 was done on mobile and tablet devices.
  • Spontaneity plays a major role in 81% of all smartphone purchases.
  • 88% of people agree that having a mobile device with real-time information makes them more spontaneous with shopping and more open to discovering new things.

Is your business ready for mobile demand?

You might be less ready than you think. As of January 2013, the Interactive Advertising Bureau reported that only 57% of the top 100 brands are well-prepared with a mobile friendly site.

Use this fact to your advantage. Outsmart the crowd with a stellar mobile marketing strategy.

Know the User Experience

Earlier in this guide, we talked about the value of user personas. With mobile marketing, you need to take this concept a step further. In addition to understanding who your users might be, you need to understand where they are and what they’re likely to be doing while they’re engaging with your content, brand, products, or website.

On mobile, UX is everything. Marketers need to create an experience that’s simple and easy to view on the screen. That means no chunks of text, no lengthy product descriptions, and no leaving readers hanging without calls to action.
Chris Kilbourn, CEO at TOFU Marketing,
via Interview with The Freelance Strategist
The best thing you can do is learn why your users are mobile, recommends Klein. Do they not have computers? Is their job on the road? Are they in meetings or classes? What sort of mobile devices are they using? Tablet usage can be much closer to laptop than it is to phone, for example.
Laura Klein, Principal at UsersKnow via The Content Strategist
  • Are they taking a brain break at the office?
  • Are they waiting at the train platform, en route to or from work?
  • Could they be hanging out in the hospital waiting room?

For inspiration, here is an example from TaskRabbit, a community that helps people outsource their gigs to people who are looking to earn some money.

The mobile site has zero bells and whistles. The site is highly functional for what needs to get done on the go: posting and searching for gigs.

Know the Difference Between
Apps and Mobile Websites

These are two entirely different initiatives that satisfy different user intents. For the purpose of this guide, we’re talking about mobile websites only.

(If you want to read more about app marketing, check out this blog post, which will teach you how to piece together a comprehensive, well-rounded app marketing strategy.)

Mobile marketing is challenging because you’re dealing with variation between devices, screen sizes, and technology. The following tips can help get your strategy off the ground:

  1. Explore Your Existing Data

    How much of your current web traffic is mobile? You can answer this question very easily using Google Analytics via the Mobile report.

    Here is a snapshot of data from UserGrasp, Ritika’s website that gets very little web traffic. On the very limited set of data that I have, my mobile traffic seems less engaged than my desktop traffic, which leads me to believe that I need to think about how I cater to mobile users.

    My homepage, about, and consulting pages have quite a bit of text on them. I should condense it down. Again though, I’m looking at a cross-section of very limited web traffic data (because I don’t invest, rely on, or update the site).

    But even still, a sizable proportion of my web traffic is mobile. This is an indication to me that when I start investing more time in my website, mobile should be a priority.

    How many people are coming to your site via mobile?

    If the number is relatively sizeable, it’s definitely past the time to start thinking about your mobile strategy.

    Do you need a mobile strategy? Rely on the data to answer that question. Even with low traffic numbers and a website that I barely update, the answer to me is a resounding yes.

  2. Create a Responsive Design for Your Site

    Mobile presents the challenge of presenting enough information in limited space. You don’t want to sacrifice content, quality, and depth, but you don’t want a layout that shrinks down core user experience details.

    You could always organize information into more pages, but that technique is problematic. When information spans multiple pages, it’s tough to access. People won’t find what they need. Conversions will fall flat.

    Responsive design is a solution that took off last year, in 2012. The concept is straightforward, to pick one design concept that adapts to multiple scenarios.

    Generally speaking, dealing with forms, especially long ones, in responsive Web design is quite a challenge! The longer the form, the more complicated it is to adapt to small devices. The physical adaptation is not that hard; most designers will simply put the form’s elements into a single column and stretch the inputs to the full width of the screen. But making forms visually appealing isn’t enough; we have to make them easy to use on mobile, too.
    Stephanie Walter, Graphic and Web Designer via Smashing Magazine

    But don’t be fooled. This practice is more challenging than it sounds.

    Especially if you’re new to design and online marketing, your best bet is to work with a professional designer. If you’re limited on funds and resources, you can buy a pre-made layout for less than $50 from a website like ThemeForest.

    Look for a theme that will empower your company to communicate information visually.

    Chunks of text = no good

    For inspiration, here is how Clarity looks on desktop and mobile. Both designs are equally communicative and make navigation simple and straightforward. It doesn’t matter what device you’re using.

  3. Be Aware of Conversion Needs

    When people are on their phones, they don’t have time to fumble through a long form. They also don’t want to click on a tiny link. They’re also on their phones and may want to give you a quick call. Here’s what you need to do:

    • Make your CTAs bold, easy to click, and obvious
    • Avoid the use of forms. If you absolutely need them, make sure they’re as short as possible
    • Make it really, really easy to find and click your phone number
    • If you’re operating a brick and mortar storefront, make it really easy for people to find your business on Yelp and look up driving directions

    If you’re running PPC campaigns, make it easy to convert right then and there. As Greg Sterling points out in an article for MarketingLand, you can include your phone number in a Google SEM ad.

  4. Map Conversion Funnels

    We talked about conversion funnels at the very beginning of this guide.

    Your mobile traffic will follow a different path to conversion than your desktop traffic, so make sure to segment your users (and plan your funnels) accordingly.

    Know what your mobile users are after. Make the path from visitor to customer as direct as possible.

Key Takeaways

  • A mobile strategy is critical to your online marketing. If your website is designed for desktop-only customers, you’ll potentially miss out on sales.
  • In addition to knowing what your prospects want, focus on where they are and what they might be doing while engaging with your brand.
  • Use visuals, not chunky blocks of text, to communicate with users on mobile screens.
  • Apps and mobile websites are two different things.
  • When building a marketing strategy from the ground up, make sure to prioritize your approach to mobile.