For the past while here at Inbox Marketer we’ve been building cases for our clients to begin adopting mobile optimized email. It started very simply. We thought, “Let’s create a great tool that enables our clients to see where and how their customers are opening their emails”. As the results came in, we started to see some major growth in mobile opens across all verticals. And, if you’re a regular to our Digital Dexterity blog, you may recall my last post about our 4 month study that showed a 5% increase in mobile opens for all Inbox Marketer clients. (If not, you can check it out here [1].)

In the digital age, word travels fast. And, of course it’s not just us touting the importance of mobile optimized design. The entire industry is going through a big shift which is really exciting, but also kind of scary! It seems like every day now we have another client interested in exploring mobile optimization of their email program. Optimizing your eCommunications is a great start but it is only the first step towards a truly mobile first strategy.

What comes next?

Optimizing your eCommunications might be putting the cart before the horse when it comes to optimizing your digital communications. You can probably guess what I’m alluding to, and you might be scared to admit it because you know all too well. Your website might be your mobile customer’s worst enemy. Think about how many times you’ve been on your phone and clicked a link only to have it direct to a website that is not optimized – ugghhh that feeling of disappointment just clouds over you. You start to question how important reading that particular article is to you. You start to think, “Maybe I should just get back to what I was doing since this experience is flawed from the start. It’s a bad sign!” Well, the truth is you are not the only one.

Google is placing a great deal of importance on mobile web. They are even going so far as to increase your ranking in search if you have a mobile optimized website. In 2012 Google released a study [2] with some great consumer insights which revealed both good and bad news.

The bad news:

Non-mobile friendly sites can hurt a company’s reputation
You can lose more than the sale with a bad mobile experience. A poor experience on a site not optimized for mobile can leave users feeling frustrated, and leave lasting, negative, impressions about your brand.

48% of users say they feel frustrated and annoyed when they get to a site that’s not mobile-friendly
36% said they felt like they’ve wasted their time by visiting those sites
52% of users said that a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company
48% said that if a site didn’t work well on their smartphones, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business

Not having a mobile-friendly site helps your competitors
A great mobile site experience is becoming increasingly important, and users will return to those sites more frequently. That means that unless you do something about your site, your competitors will benefit.

61% of users said that if they didn’t find what they were looking for right away on a mobile site, they’d quickly move on to another site
79% of people who don’t like what they find on one site will go back and search for another site
50% of people said that even if they like a business, they will use them less often if the website isn’t mobile-friendly

Here’s the good news:

Mobile-friendly sites turn users into customers

According to Google [3], “The fastest path to mobile customers is through a mobile-friendly site. If your site offers a great mobile experience, users are more likely to make a purchase.”

When they visited a mobile-friendly site, 74% of people say they’re more likely to return to that site in the future
67% of mobile users say that when they visit a mobile-friendly site, they’re more likely to buy a site’s product or service

Most marketers understand the importance of optimizing their web content for mobile users. And we know that if you haven’t gotten around to doing it just yet, the barriers are likely budget and time. However, it’s important to take it upon yourself to build a case for mobile web. If you are like many businesses out there, your website is often the hub for information and content that turns leads into customers. It’s the place where all your other digital activity converges from web advertising, social media and of course Email – so it’s critical to complete the loop. Begin by using web analytics to get a better sense of what pages your mobile customers are viewing most often. Then discover where the drop off is occurring and figure out why?! This will help you narrow down the problem and formulate a plan of attack for the first iteration of your case for a mobile website.

If you’re looking for a great resource to help support your case, the friendly folks at Google have put together a great interactive website designed for just that! Check out: [4]. This tool enables you to find out how your website looks on a mobile device, and lets you do a quick survey on the experience. You can also find out some great tips for designing for mobile web. Good luck!

[1] [2] [3] [4]