A Simple Approach to Prioritizing Your Mobile Optimization Efforts

by Corey Eridon

Date

October 22, 2012 at 1:25 PM

mobile optimizationintroductory3

I know, I know, mobile's really important. Optimize and whatnot. I get it.

We all know mobile optimization is important, but even still, only 16% of marketers have developed a mobile strategy aimed at customer engagement, according to a CMO Council study. And only 14% said they were satisfied with the way their brands are accessing and leveraging mobile.

So ... what gives? Well, mobile is relatively unchartered territory. As such, I think there are a lot of people out there who just plain don't know how to do it, and so they're too overwhelmed to even get started.

How do you get around that overwhelmed feeling? Set priorities. This post isn't going to give you an exhaustive list of everything you need to do to be completely mobile optimized. Because if you haven't done that already, this one blog post won't convince you. It'll probably just succeed at freaking you out. What might get you started on that path, however, is baby steps. This post will help you understand how to get started with mobile optimization by setting forth what the biggest mobile optimization priority is for your particular business.

Prioritize Mobile SEO If ...

People are overwhelmingly using search engines to find information about your business (or the problem your business solves). One easy way to determine this is to look at the sources of your site traffic. Is organic search really high up on that list? What are the keywords people are looking for when they search for you? Are those keywords branded terms? Interrogative in nature? Transactional? Here, let's take a fake pizza store, Mamma Mia's Pizza Pie, as an example. (At least I think it's fake).

  • Branded queries (like 'mamma mia's pizza pie hours'): This searcher knows your name; they just need a piece of information -- whether you're open or not -- to push them over the transaction threshold.
  • Interrogative queries (like 'best pizza in boston'): This searcher isn't tied to your pizza store yet, but they definitely want some awesome pizza. You want to show up as the first instance in Google!
  • Transactional queries (like 'tickets to pizza tasting fest'): This searcher heard about your pizza tasting event and needs to get tickets before popping in for some cheesy goodness. They know what they're looking for, just not exactly where to find it.

These are huge opportunities to optimize your presence in the SERPs for your mobile searchers and shoppers. And it's not a coincidence I used a location-based business in this example, either. These kind of queries naturally play into the hands of local businesses with a brick-and-mortar location. If this sounds like you, make sure you're optimizing your organic presence, particularly your Google+ Local (previously Google Places) listing, to include the basic information searchers need ... like address, directions, store hours, and contact information. You know, the kinds of things people look for when they're out and about in the world and need just one nugget of information to let them make their final decision on where they'll be spending their money.

Prioritize Mobile Site Optimization If ...

You have a business where people visit your website frequently. How general. Let me explain. This might be important if your business is a(n):

  • Ecommerce company with a short sales cycle and low transaction amounts. Purchasers don't need to invest in days, weeks, or months of research to make their decision to purchase from you -- the kind of in-depth purchasing that typically happens on a desktop device with more maneuverability and with less sense of urgency than mobile browsers typically have.
  • Events based, selling tickets to something people might want to attend. Again, the lower your transaction amount, the more important this becomes, because it's easier for someone to purchase tickets on the fly. For instance, if I walk by the Garden in Boston and I see Bruce Springsteen's playing tonight, you can bet your buttons I'm whipping out my cell to check out Ticketmaster for available tickets. (Note: Check out the amount of direct traffic you get to your site. You might find people are Googling for tickets, like in the Mamma Mia's Pizza Pie example from the first section of this post.)
  • Site that stores information. For instance, a bank where customers are checking balances (which, eMarketer reports, 77% of smartphone users cite as the most important task for mobile banking sites). Or a site that stores and protects passwords and logins. Or an airline where someone's checking in on their flight information (78% of smartphone users from the same eMarketer report cited this as the most important task on airlines' mobile sites). These types of businesses may not sell customers on mobile, but customer retention depends on their ability to create a user-friendly mobile site experience.

Again, I recommend checking out the amount of direct traffic that comes to your site; a high amount is a good indication that many people aren't relying on search results to find you ... they're already intimately acquainted with your business and its website. So even if that mobile SEO section sounded like you -- people need information like operating hours, location, directions, phone number -- if people are finding you via direct traffic, you better be sure your website is mobile optimized to provide that type of information, as well.

Prioritize Mobile Email Optimization If ...

So far we've talked a lot about the importance of mobile optimization for the "getting found" aspect of marketing. You know, the top of the funnel stuff. But if you're focusing on your middle-of-the-funnel marketing -- email marketing and lead nurturing -- you might want to shift your mobile optimization priorities away from mobile site optimization and SEO, and onto mobile email optimization. That means your emails look good across all different email clients, your subject lines stay around 20 characters or fewer (and are incredibly clear and compelling), you're sending both plain text and HTML versions of your email, your emails have limited images with clear anchor text, and your email doesn't require lots of scrolling, particularly from left to right.

Note: If your emails are sending mobile readers to landing pages on your site, those pages should be well optimized for mobile so it's easy for your recipient to read the content on the landing page, and fill out the form to redeem their offer. As such, there is a bit of overlap with the task of mobile site optimization here.

Prioritize Mobile Apps If ...

You actually have a good idea for an app.

The CMO Council study referenced earlier in this post cited that 32% of marketers are shifting budget to mobile app development. But 1 in 4 apps, once downloaded, are never used again. Hmm.

So I'll ask you again ... do you actually have a good idea for a mobile app? If your mobile app is helping your current (or future) customers do something better -- think things like putting through orders for recurring purchases, calculating common industry calculations, getting alerts for problems or opportunities -- then it might be worth your time to invest in creating an app. If it's just a "fun little idea you had for an app," you might end up being in that 1/4-of-apps-that-are-never-used-once-downloaded bucket. If your app is ever even downloaded, that is.

If you do decide to launch a mobile app and you want to actually get those downloads, it's critical you launch it correctly. So if you do have that game-changing app idea, reference this blog post, "A Marketer's Complete Guide to Launching Mobile Apps," to get the buzz your awesome app deserves.

Prioritize SMS If ...

You're primarily concerned with optimizing your current customers' experience. That's alright, too, by the way. Customer marketing is often neglected in the pursuit for new leads and business ... but never forget that the cheapest customers to acquire are the ones you already have. We've written an entire blog post to help marketers decide if SMS is actually a good idea for your business; you can read that post here, but the short answer is, it's often misused by marketers and ends up being a poor investment. If, however, you are in the business of providing service alerts, reminders, making service sign-up simpler and quicker, or trying to communicate with active customers, SMS campaigns might be right for you.

So, Which Scenario Sounds Like You?

In an ideal world, you get to do all of these things. But what marketer has the resources to do everything? Not many. If you want to jump on the mobile optimization bandwagon but don't know where to start, try to identify which of these scenarios sound the most like your business right now, and aligns the best with where your marketing priorities lie. Yeah, there will probably be some overlap, but the one you align with the strongest is where you'll get the most bang for your mobile optimization buck.

How much mobile optimization have you done? How are you prioritizing your mobile optimization efforts?

Image credit: rikkis_refuge

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