Is your website ready for a mobile world?

Sara Steever
April 13, 2012

Based on our research of producers, we know that roughly half of them have smartphones. In both the ag and rural lifestyle sectors, mobile is used for reasons ranging from market calls to “second screen” activities during TV viewing. The prevalence of email marketing, QR codes and social sharing increasingly drive users to view web pages on mobile devices.

As marketers, we have seemingly endless opportunities with mobile, but it should go without saying that mobile is only part of a well-defined marketing strategy. Begin by identifying audience usage and any existing marketing efforts that may lead the user to your website on a mobile device. There’s a pretty good chance your first order of business will be to mobile-enable your existing website. After that, marketing efforts and user behavior can drive ongoing mobile strategy.

The Mobile Website

There are multiple levels of mobile website development.

Option 1: Mobile-friendly

In this example, most of the functionality and design will work on a smartphone, but it will require a lot of “pinch and zoom” to navigate and see content. On iPhone and iPad devices, Flash elements will be broken unless replaced with HTML5.

Option 2: Responsive Web Programming

When a mobile device visits your website, user agent detection is used to display the website design specific to that screen size. Essentially, different experiences are designed for everything from large computer monitors to vertical smartphones. All Flash is replaced with HTML5 to accommodate the iPhone and iPad.

Visit hubbardlife.com on your mobile device for an example of Responsive Web programming. For an example of a website with massive daily content, visit thebostonglobe.com.

Option 3: Custom Mobile

Use analytics to determine sections of the website that are most important to mobile users. User agent detection allows display of a separate website specifically designed for the mobile experience, usually with focused content. Users can switch back to the full version website at any time (after Responsive Web is complete).

This can be a great approach to very task-oriented landing pages that fit mobile behaviors like snapping a QR code at a dealership for product information and pricing. These sites are also often supported with a special URL such as mobile.yourdomain.com.

Beyond Mobile Websites

Once your current website is ready for mobile, you are ready for the myriad of options available. Native apps, web apps, QR codes, email marketing, content rich apps, text messaging and mobile advertising can all be part of an effective mobile strategy. Don’t let the technology derail you from core marketing principals. Brand integrity, user experience and marketing strategy should influence mobile considerations. A coordinated and methodical mobile strategy can equal more than the sum of its tactics – a strategy and execution that drives sales and builds customer relationships.

 

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