Be Mobile Now!

Last year about this time, I wrote about the growth of mobile technology and our love of smartphones and tablets, stating that mobile devices have become so convenient to use they are now an integral part of our “on-the-go” lifestyle. Since then, mobile usage has continued to expand at every level. The rapid rise in mobile technologies has dramatically changed the way that we communicate at work, at home, and while out and about. It is estimated that mobile internet users will exceed the number of desktop internet users by 2014 (and that is just weeks away).

The latest trends in mobile technology now require us to develop online marketing that is mobile compatible including websites, emails, search, and social media. Reaching customers while they are on the go is essential. Let’s take a look at some of the mobile trends and stats for the major online channels.

1. We have gone mobile.
Time spent consuming media on mobile devices is growing 14x faster than desktop viewing.

We have left our desks behind, both at work and at home, and now conduct business and personal communications while on the go. And even when we have access to our desktop computer, we often prefer to use a mobile device. This shift will continue as we head into a fully mobile lifestyle.

2. Websites have gone mobile.
55% of adult cell owners access the internet on their mobile phones.

Your website is often the first impression a prospect will have of your company. Your website visitor’s experience when viewing your website, whether on a desktop monitor, on a tablet, or a smartphone, needs to have a positive impact and engage that visitor. If your website is not mobile-compatible at this time, you should begin planning for that now. Using responsive web design is a cost-effective and practical way to make that happen.

3. Sales are going mobile.
It’s predicted that by 2015 mobile devices will generate 4x the sales of PCs and laptops.

It is surprising how quickly we have moved from the distrust of online shopping and the fear of using our credit card online, to full engagement with online shopping. That engagement has happily moved to mobile. Your customers shop and make purchases on mobile devices while on-the-go, as well as at home. If your business offers ecommerce as a way to buy your products take this trend seriously.

4. Email is moving to mobile.
42% of email is opened on a mobile device.

Email remains a strong marketing channel making it worthwhile to ensure your emails look great on mobile devices. Many of the broadcast email providers (MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, Emma, etc) now provide mobile-compatible templates for building your email campaigns. Making your email mobile friendly can be as simple as a clean, one column design with contact info at the top and a clear call to action.

5. Search has gone mobile.
67% of people search for products and services online rather than traditional yellow pages.

Search provides a powerful means for acquiring new customers. People searching have a need for something, and having a need is what drives the majority of sales. As a retailer, it is imperative that you show up in search. 70% of searchers are looking for local products and services and 88% of people searching for local information take action within a day. Your customers and prospects are out and about looking for products and services, you need to be available to them at that moment.

6. Social was made for mobile.
60% of social media users come in via a mobile phone.

Social media and mobile technology were made for each other. Social media is where we keep our friends updated on our activities, check-in to places to share where we are, and post photos of what we are doing. Social media apps for mobile devices make it simple and fun to share experiences online. You can use the same apps to share company information in real time, keeping your followers up to date on what is happening within your business, at your retail locations, and out in the community.

7. Your customers want mobile.
61% of users are unlikely to return to a website that isn’t optimized for mobile browsing.

In today’s marketplace, the customer is in full control of the shopping experience. You need to meet them where they are and where they choose to engage. The time and patience of the average online user is very small, if a website visitor does not find what they want in milliseconds, they will move on to the next option.

8. Businesses need to catch up with mobile’s pace.
Only 35% of businesses have a mobile-optimized website.

It is challenging for businesses to keep up with the changing online options. In the case of mobile functionality, it has come along quickly leaving many businesses in need of catching up. Developing a mobile-optimized website might put you ahead of the competition at this time.

Mobile users are not the audience of the future, they are the audience of today, and they include people of all ages. I encourage you to include this information in your marketing plans for 2014!

Data compiled from the following sources: Strongview, Pew Internet, Search Engine Watch, BriteSkies, eMarketer, and Litmus Email Analytics.

Article originally published in the NAMTA (International Art Materials Retailer) eNews

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