Today I read an article on the BBC that said almost half of internet users in the UK access the internet via a mobile phone. Selfishly, I then looked for global stats to support my opinion that more people are taking to the phone to view company information on the internet.
I’ve been preaching this to clients ever since I got my first BlackBerry. Turns out—I’m right! There are more than 5.3 billion mobile subscribers (nearly 77 percent of the world’s population) accessing data via mobile devices. There are probably a few more now since that data was from mid-2010, only a few months after the introduction of the iPad.
Don’t get lulled into the mistaken impression that most mobile users are searching for restaurants and retail stores on their phones. Yesterday I referenced a presentation that proved there is a lot of B2B buying activity going down on the internet. There is no reason to assume that’s not the case with mobile. Particularly because mobile users are most often frequenting social media sites–which is primarily where the B2B buying is occurring.
This is a huge opportunity that too often goes to waste. I’m guilty of it myself—until last year, my consulting company’s website (this link goes to the mobile version- here’s the full site) couldn’t be viewed on a mobile device unless you had a third-party plug-in. Major fail on my part. Leverage my learning curve to cut down on yours by fitting the following into your online publicity plans:
- Try to design your site so that it recognizes mobile users and auto-directs them to mobile content. If that’s not possible, create a page with mobile-friendly content and drive mobile users there. You see this a lot- there’s a link at the top left hand side of a website that offers ‘mobile’ or ‘text only’ links. These links will more often show up first on a mobile device even if the whole page doesn’t load.
- Make sure you have a company Facebook page and Twitter feed and use it wisely.
- Include links to mobile-friendly capabilities like geolocation services (FourSquare, etc.), maps, reviews or—most importantly, click-to-call buttons.
- Remember that you have a much smaller canvas. Do some research to determine what draws traffic to your traditional website and put the most important content up-front on the mobile version. Skip the flash or anything that will hog valuable real estate.
- If you can’t offer a complete mobile site (or add the left-hand links suggested above) use a news distribution service designed to optimize for mobile and direct mobile viewers to your news feed. Assuming you are telling the company’s story via your news announcements this will, at least, give mobile users something to digest. I like BusinessWire and PitchEngine but there are others you can use.
As an aside, it is important that your website content can be viewed on a mobile device AND a dial-up connection. Yes, people still have those. This is especially important for a public company whose website intent should first and foremost be to inform any and all investors of company news. More than half of the investor calls I receive deal with access to the company website. It’s easy to put a link at the top of your site that offers users a text-only option that loads faster at low speeds. Then, at the very least, mobile users can link to a text page to find what they need.
Today, do whatever you have the time and money to accomplish or miss out on engaging with over 75 percent (or more) of the world. There is no excuse for a blank page since many free or cost effective solutions are readily available.
Author: Christine Pietryla is a B2B PR consultant and freelance writer serving the energy and utilities, professional services, economic development and commodities industries. As a PR consultant her clients range in size from $20 to $100 million in sales. She frequently serves as a contributing writer to trade and business press.