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Are you ready for the mobile Revolution?

November 19th, 2012

It’s estimated that mobile web browsing will overtake traditional desktop web browsing within the next 12 – 24 months.

With the increasing popularity of smart phones and tablets, web surfers are able to access the Internet anywhere they go. And they do. Apparently 63% of us simultaneously browse the web on our phone/iPad whilst watching TV.

Even more surprising a staggering 40% of us smart phone users check our emails before getting out of bed in the morning.

I myself am currently writing this piece on my iPad and using the free airport Wi-Fi to research the above facts and figures on my iPhone.

In fact this brings me to the exact point I would like to get across. Apparently only 2% of websites are optimized for mobile, and as I browse the web on my mobile device it is not hard to see which sites are and are not suited for mobile browsing. (Quite ironic considering the sites talking about mobile optimization are not mobile optimized themselves).

The ones that are optimized get a lot more of my attention than those that aren’t.
An optimized site means the text is usually bigger or easier to read, the menu buttons are more prominent and therefore easy to click and navigate.

There is no scrolling left or right to view the full content (as it is in full view), and quite often there is a large call or email us button that links straight to my devices phone or email browser for easy contact.

The non-optimized sites are the opposite. I’ll spend an average of 30 seconds on these sites. Usually hopelessly trying to navigate the small menu before frustratingly navigating away.

Is your Business mobile ready?

Get out your mobile phone, open the browser and navigate to your website. It is very likely that you have a one size fits all website, i.e. it looks the same on a Desktop computer, Laptop and mobile device. If this is the case, your website may be hard to read and /or navigate.

Also some of the features, such as flash, may not work.

Don’t worry you are not alone. It is estimated 98% of websites are not mobile optimized.

What are the options?

There are generally 3 options that you can choose from depending on your line of business and what you are trying to achieve.

1.   Responsive website

A responsive site is a website that responds to the device that it is being viewed on.
If you view it on a desktop you will see the full site. Check it out on your iPad and the site responds. Open it on your mobile phone and again your viewing senses are pleased with the resulting layout.

Next time you are hunting around for a developer for your new website, make sure to ask for a responsive site. This is definitely going to be the standard going forward.

Example Econo Lodge

2.   Separate mobile website

Another option is to create a separate mobile optimized website. A script is inserted into your existing site and when a user accesses your site from a mobile device, your website recognizes this and re-directs the user to your mobile optimized site.

Your normal website URL maybe www.yourcompany.co.nz whereas your mobile site maybe found at m.yourcompany.co.nz or mobile.yourcompany.co.nz

Your mobile site may contain the same content as your normal website or you may choose to only have the vital information, fewer pictures and a large call or email us button.

Example Social Kiwi  

3.   A mobile app

Mobile apps take it a step further.

Firstly with an app, you have an app icon that sits on the home screen of users phones.

An app shouldn’t just replicate your website but should take advantage of your phones technology such as the built in camera, maps, GPS, calculator etc. more importantly, the technology within your app should be useful enough for the end user that they are going to want to log in to your app regularly.

An example of this is with the heavens bakery app we built.
Heavens told us that there is a creative gap when customers are explaining their desired cake design.

Therefore we use the apps camera technology so users can take a photo of a cake they have seen and email it to heavens with a request to replicate the design. All done within the app.

Heavens also updates its daily specials in the app and has an advanced loyalty system where app users are rewarded with free coffee when they check in at any heavens location 5 times. The app knows if you are within 10 meters of a heavens cafe and you can’t check in twice within 8 hours thus there is no cheating.

Users can also order and pay for cakes and catering through the app.

Another advantage with an app is push notifications. Sending a short timely message to app users. The message pops up as an unobtrusive SMS type message if the app user chooses to receive these messages.

This should be treated like any marketing channel and only used sparingly as you don’t want to overwhelm users with regular marketing material.

Thirsty Whale is the first restaurant in Hawke’s Bay to use app technology.
Users can easily book a table, view the menu and daily blackboard specials.

Check into the Thirsty Whale with the app and receive a free glass of wine with your meal.

Thirsty Whale expects to receive more bookings through app technology, as smart phone savvy users are 67% more likely to make a booking, enquiry or purchase through a mobile optimized site or app.

SocialKiwi would be happy to talk to you to determine what option is best for your business.

This article is by Josh Woodham from Social Kiwi who is a New Zealand Social Media agency. They help New Zealand Business businesses get results with Social Media. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, & Email Marketing.

For more information or to contact Josh go to his site at Social Kiwi

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