The following article will appear in the Fall issue of VISION Magazine for Vancouver, WA.
The web you were used to is gone.
No I’m not talking about the death of dial-up modems in homes or the emergence of fiber-optic technology – this is something much bigger. As the online experience continues to shift and the digital landscape evolves at an exponential rate, businesses and entrepreneurs need to rethink the way in which they harness the web for future growth.
What’s Coming in 2015
By the end of 2014, mobile internet usage will overtake desktop internet usage. To put that into perspective, adults spend more time on mobile media than they do on newspapers and magazines combined.
In the US alone, mobile only pageviews increased from 3.7% to 12.7% between 2012 and 2013. Worldwide, the gap is even bigger with a margin increase of 11.3%. If that isn’t enough, 99% of smartphone users utilize their mobile browser at least once a day.
Mobile Content Strategy?
You may be saying to yourself at this point, “OK, so I need to get a mobile content strategy in place.” Not so fast. In order to digest what the above stats mean for your business strategy, it’s time for a paradigm shift. Here it goes: there is no such thing as a mobile content strategy.
There is no tablet web, phone web, or desktop web, there is just THE WEB. We may view the web in different scenarios, but the experience should remain consistent across the board. Put another way, the lines of online information architecture are all but erased.
As users’ mobile media consumption climbs, their web savvy is also being refined to a level that does not tolerate a lackluster performance. In fact, 46% of consumers will NOT return to a mobile site that is not properly working. What’s more, 74% of consumers will not wait 5 seconds for a page to load on their mobile device before abandoning the page (ouch!).
Here’s the kicker though – 39% of businesses do absolutely nothing to make their site mobile-ready. Even then, making your site mobile-ready does not mean it is optimized to the level it should be for the best experience.
Real Life Scenario
As an example, my wife and I were deciding where to go for dinner after attending an event a few weeks ago. Naturally, I drove and my wife whipped out the smartphone to look up a couple restaurants we had heard of.
One of the restaurants we were particularly excited to check out, but to our dismay, their online website wasn’t even presentable. There was a splash page with some text and no available menu.
The second restaurant had a better mobile version of their site but the menu was scanned in from a computer and extremely pixelated. We ended up doing a local search, checking out Yelp reviews, going to that website, checking out the (readable) menu, and selecting a place to eat at.
TWO potential places lost our business simply because their only web presence was lackluster!
Consequentially, I’m going to give you some solid steps to getting a game plan in place to improve your online presence, but before I do that, let me give you a couple case studies (names protected for confidentiality). These are both examples I have been intimately a part of.
The first one is from a bill auditing company in the medical industry. Their site underwent an extensive redesign which launched in the beginning of the year. After 6 months, their pages/visit have doubled (from 3 to 6), their bounce rate improved dramatically to about 1% on average, and organic traffic has seen a 200% increase.
Roughly 35% of this site’s traffic is on a mobile device, with phones actually having the lowest bounce rate of .69%. The across-the-board restructuring has resulted in more leads, better SERP, and dramatically increased site traffic stats.
The second example is from a company in the financial industry. On the mobile version of their landing page, we stripped out some of the otherwise desktop viewable information and streamlined the page as a whole with one notable addition: a CTA button saying “Click to Call xxx-xxx-xxxx”. The improvement figure was 20-30% for call conversions from mobile phones.
Here are 5 steps you can take right now to get your online presence under control:
1. Define Your Branding
Branding is really the foundation for everything you produce, both digitally and physically. This includes your imagery, colors, messaging, etc. Make sure you have a solid handle on this before anything else.
2. Develop a Responsive Website
This kind of website will adapt to any kind of viewing platform to make for a pleasurable experience. Ensure no user is left behind and that information can be delivered appropriately.
3. Find Out What Your Prospects Actually Want
Don’t just place a bio and directions to your office on the website. Your site should be a hub of information about the company and a proving ground that you’re not just committed to the sale, but you’re committed to the customers and earning their trust. Give them what they want!
4. Optimize Your Funnel
How do you get new customers? Many companies make the process of client acquisition actually a difficult process when it shouldn’t be. Provide value and make it easy for someone to raise their hand.
5. Test, Test, and Test Again.
Technology breaks, so put measures in place to simulate the customer experience and make this effortlessly smooth. Once you have that in place, test CTA headlines, button colors, background, etc. There’s psychology behind every decision a consumer makes.
While by no means definitive, this list should help any small business at least get a start on the path to securing their mobile presence for the present and beyond.
Data Source: Scotland UX