Do you offer prospects a mobile-optimized experience?

Look around the next time you are at a restaurant, in a park or on public transit. Glance at any bus stop. Check out people waiting in line to get into a restaurant. No matter where you go, you will notice that almost everyone is looking down at phones and tablets. Social commentary aside, this is a powerful trend that marketers simply cannot ignore.

As of January 2014, more than half of American adults have smartphones and 42% own a tablet, according to Pew Research. Data from eMarketer shows that there are more than 1 billion smartphone users worldwide.

With mobile usage growing at such rapid rates, it’s sound marketing strategy to pay attention to mobile consumers. Reaching these customers, however, comes with its own set of challenges.

Why Do You Need Mobile Optimization?

When someone goes to your company’s website on their mobile device, it is now imperative that you offer a full and easy mobile experience. A responsive user experience, i.e., one that takes into account the device on which your site is viewed, is no longer an option. It’s mandatory.

Mobile-friendly websites are the bare minimum of what you need to keep from missing out on mobile consumers. These sites allow users to display websites on their mobile devices, but it is essentially a smaller version of the regular website. Though mobile-friendly sites are usable, they may be small to read and difficult to navigate.

You only have so many minutes to capture potential customers, so if they are spending that time trying to work through a difficult experience, you will lose out on leads. If a phone number or lead form is too small or hard to read, you are kissing a potential customer goodbye.

Mobile optimization is a much smarter move. Unlike a mobile-friendly site, mobile-optimized sites are reformatted specifically for the user on the go. The experience is tailored toward swiping instead of clicking, with larger navigation and streamlined graphics.

Optimizing for mobile is more than just improving the look and usability of a site. Full optimization can help mobile consumers download faster, help brands with search engine optimization efforts and improve geo-targeting efforts.

Mobile Optimization Checklist

There are questions you can ask to see if your mobile optimization efforts are paying off. Think like a consumer and ask yourself questions like:

  • How long does the mobile site take to load? After a few seconds, you start losing your audience.
  • How is the user experience? The harder the site is for users work with, the worse your chances are for turning that user into a lead.
  • Can you read the content? If your users can’t read it, it is unlikely that they will stick around.
  • Is the site difficult to navigate? If so, users may get frustrated and leave for easier pastures.
  • Is there a clear call to action? You want to make it as easy as possible for potential customers to take in the information you are displaying and use that information to lead them toward a specific action.

How to Create a Mobile-Optimized Experience

To start, it is important to see whether or not your site is even mobile-friendly. Google has an easy tool for checking to see if your site is mobile-friendly.

Once you know how your site fares on mobile devices, you can go about making fixes and customizations to ensure customers get the full experience while using mobile, able to easily navigate through the site and access all relevant content and features.

Creating a full experience also means making sure that customers are able to easily fill out lead forms and find contact information. It is also vital that you take the time to optimize for mobile SEO best practices if you want search engines to be able to find you with ease.

Design for the differences between various smartphones and tablets. Then you need to assure that you signal to the search engines that your site has proper mobile configuration. Keep it crawlable and be mindful of the details (like videos that can actually play). Not only will these mistakes annoy users, but they can also cause search engine rankings to drop.

Mobile is the present and the future of marketing. Take advantage of it now or lose out later.