Even though the 4th of July holiday has come and gone, summer vacations are still in full swing. Families are packing up their minivans and hitting the road for memorable trips, and packing checklists no doubt include tablets, smartphones and laptops.
This is prime time for companies and brands that want to reach these on-the-move customers. Therefore, effective mobile marketing should be a top priority because according to a January 2013 study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, audiences are mobile now more than ever before, with 55 percent of adult cell phone owners using their mobile devices to access the Internet.
This substantial growth in the mobile marketplace shows no signs of slowing down, but some marketers have yet to take notice. Smart brands will establish a mobile presence and increase engagement during the summer months. Mobile users have set the bar high with an array of mobile devices and they have equally high expectations for mobile web browsing.
For marketers, it’s beneficial to know the differences between the options that are available. It’s also important that your brand at least begin the conversation about a mobile webpage. There are a few options to choose from, but for our purposes today, we’ll focus on mobile-optimized and responsive design. Keep in mind that depending on your budget, expectations and overall end goal, either of these options will provide a better experience for your mobile users than nothing at all.
Mobile-optimized vs. Responsive Design
The mobile-optimized website is a separate site specifically designed for handheld devices, which can reduce loading time and allow users to begin navigation of the site much faster. Many mobile users tend to abandon a page if it loads too slowly. While a non-optimized website may appear just fine on a tablet device, very few sites translate well to a mobile phone without optimization or use of responsive design.
Whereas a mobile-optimized site is separate and distinct from the main site, a website built with a responsive design approach simply reshuffles the view of the main site for mobile devices. It uses a single URL that allows the browser to do the heavy lifting. Through CSS media queries or other code, a responsive site detects screen size and orientation, and alters the view to fit the device. This option, however, may actually increase load time, depending on which browser is being used. Responsive web design can be seen among top name brands such as Starbucks.
Below are two examples of mobile-optimized webpages that fulfill mobile expectations. The first is the Easy Closets mobile webpage, designed by associate creative director Brent Pelloquin; the second is Prejean Creative’s mobile webpage, designed by senior art director Gary LoBue Jr. Each displays necessary elements in a format that enhances visibility and functionality. A fluid layout with a single-column approach eliminates the need for horizontal scrolling, zooming or pinching. Both sites easily fit the appropriate dimensions of various mobile devices. The Easy Closets site features call-to-action functions such as click-to-call and request information buttons, which are conveniently placed for users at first glance. Options to access social media links are also available to enhance the user experience. Also, as a brand touchpoint, each mobile version properly reflects branding elements to match the desktop version.
Other Messaging Channels
Another mobile marketing tool that can be easily integrated into a summer marketing campaign is the use of barcode applications such as QR codes. When used properly, integrating quick response (QR) codes in mobile marketing plans can be beneficial. QR codes are two-dimensional bar codes read by a QR code scanner, usually through an installed app, that redirects a smartphone’s browser to a specific landing page or mobile site. Quality content is key to making the effort worthwhile for the viewer.
The display ad for Louisiana Seafood, shown above, features a QR code that when scanned will take a user to a landing page featuring Louisiana fishermen and chefs. Content includes seafood recipes and video interviews. The QR code offers the unique advantage of customizing promotions and content for the intended target audience.
Select for an enlarged view of the landing pages:
Mobile marketing isn’t limited to web browsing. Other channels that marketers are exploring include mobile email, SMS or MMS messaging and push notifications. New survey data suggests that of all of these mobile channels, marketers are relying on mobile email the most since a May 2013 survey conducted by StrongView found that 49 percent of respondents use mobile email.
Going mobile is not a passing trend; it’s the new norm. Mobile users are looking for the best experience and for mobile webpages that work for their chosen devices. If your mobile website isn’t designed to their preferences, as far as consumers are concerned, you may as well go home.