Are you doing enough with Mobile?

Apple has released its newest iPhone and iOS 7.0 mobile oper­at­ing sys­tem recently, so there has been a lot of breath­less media cov­er­age on smart phones.

Beyond the Apple vs Android bat­tle, it is worth­while to think about the mas­sive mobile pen­e­tra­tion across our lives. And as busi­ness peo­ple we should all be ask­ing our­selves if we are focus­ing enough on our mobile to serve our cus­tomers and impact our business.

Let’s start by tak­ing a look at some num­bers on mobile (note that mobile is defined as smart phones and tablets).

Some eye-catching num­bers on mobile:


Since the web became huge in the mid 90’s (remem­ber Netscape?), desk­tops and their cousins, lap­tops, were the major ways we all accessed the inter­net. And we loved it when large screens became afford­able (a 21 inch screen was a ter­rific size to surf the web). But while mon­i­tors are cheaper than ever, we don’t access the web in the same way now.


·         In 2014, mobile devices will become the most com­mon way for peo­ple to access the inter­net. In other words, more peo­ple will access the web via phones and tablets than with desk­tops and laptops.

·         25% of web users now only access the inter­net via mobile. So if your company’s web offer­ings appear decent only on desk­top screens, you will be exclud ing 25% of your cus­tomers who only use mobile.


Email con­tin­ues to be a major way busi­nesses com­mu­ni­cate with their cus­tomers. And mobile is play­ing a larger and larger role with email:

·         The major­ity of email (52%) is being opened on mobile now

·         43% of mobile email users check email at least four times a day

·         70% of recip­i­ents delete an email if it doesn’t look good on their mobile devices

The last bul­let is par­tic­u­larly impor­tant as we need to be sure our mes­sages are com­pelling on these smaller devices. If they are not, we are likely to fail in com­mu­ni­cat­ing the message.


There has always been the ques­tion of whether buy­ers would be inter­ested in pur­chas­ing on mobile devices. The answer is clearly becom­ing: “yes, peo­ple will pur­chase on their mobile devices.”  Con­sider this:

·         80 mil­lion U.S. con­sumers (or 51% web users) will make a pur­chase on a mobile device in 2013

·         Mobile will make up 24% of eCom­merce sales by 2016

So what should you be doing with your mobile web strategy?

1.       Con­sider how your cus­tomers inter­act with you when online

More than likely, a sig­nif­i­cant and grow­ing por­tion of your traf­fic (greater than 25% and per­haps 50%) is com­ing through mobile devices. You will cer­tainly want to look at your web ana­lyt­ics to iden­tify how much.

Once you con­firm this usage, con­sider whether to offer your cus­tomers a mobile friendly web­site or a mobile appli­ca­tion or both.

In most cases, a mobile-friendly web­site is where you should start since all users have a mobile browser built into the device.  Mobile appli­ca­tions need to be down­loaded on their own, but are par­tic­u­larly good if your cus­tomers can use it to solve an impor­tant need (for exam­ple, online bank­ing or check­ing in for your airline).

If you don’t have a mobile-ready site, don’t fret. A recent study by Mar­ket­ing Sherpa found that only 34% of busi­nesses have a mobile friendly site.

2.       Use a “mobile first” strategy

“Mobile first” is a design strat­egy used by many com­pa­nies includ­ing Google and Apple where they design for the small­est screens first (typ­i­cally smart­phones) and then focus on larger screens.

The ben­e­fit to this approach is you are likely to have a much more sat­is­fy­ing user expe­ri­ence on your mobile devices when you make it your top pri­or­ity. And It is always eas­ier to design with extra space.

3.       Con­sider respon­sive design

Respon­sive design is an approach where a sin­gle set of soft­ware is devel­oped that can deter­mine the size of the screen and present a view that is opti­mal for the user. The result is that the user’s expe­ri­ence is much stronger than if there were one ver­sion of the design. This tai­lored pre­sen­ta­tion should lead to more sat­is­fied users and sales on your site. Also, main­tain­ing one set of soft­ware code is a big plus.

Here is an exam­ple of Yan­kee Can­dle which has presents dif­fer­ent views based on screen real estate.

4.       Aim to design your emails in mobile friendly formats

Since a major­ity of emails are being opened on mobile device, you should aim to make these dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions mobile-optimized.

The same Mar­ket­ing Sherpa sur­vey found that just 42% of mar­keters are opti­miz­ing emails for mobile. So you are not alone if you are not cre­at­ing mobile-optimized emails.

If this is the case, con­sider these steps to improve how your emails will appear on mobile:

·         Your emails should be sized down– scale to 320–550 pix­els wide

·         Calls to action need to be par­tic­u­larly clear and your text is concise

·         Your text should be large (Apple rec­om­mends font sizes of 17–22 pix­els and head­lines to be 44 pix­els) and email safe (Tahoma is a good choice)

·         Images should be used in mod­er­a­tion (images are often blocked by browsers)

Mobile is grow­ing fast and will soon become the major screens through which we con­sume dig­i­tal infor­ma­tion. If you have not yet done so, you should con­sider how your mar­ket­ing is going to adapt to this new mobile world.

Jeremy Hirsch is 20 year marketing veteran and manages the marketing group at Heeter.