Four Steps to a Better Mobile Strategy

shutterstockAmericans are now using smartphones and tablet apps more than PCs to access the Internet. According to CMOCouncil.org, by the end of 2017, 87% of the total sales of Internet-enabled technology will be made up of mobile devices and nearly 25% of overall eCommerce revenues will come via mobile devices.

There’s a plethora of other statistics out there supporting the simple fact that the proliferation of mobile devices and the way people use them are continuing to expand at a break-neck pace. It’s no longer an option to have a mobile strategy, it’s become a necessity.  But where to start?  Here are 4 steps you should consider in building a better mobile strategy:

Know Your Audience

Before diving head-first into a mobile strategy, take a step back and think about your target audience and your company’s objectives. Ask yourself some basic questions:

  • What jobs or tasks do you want your audience to accomplish?
  • What have your customers or employees told you they want?
  • What are your company’s objectives?
  • What is the overall experience you’re trying to convey?

Once you’ve answered those type of basic questions you can then begin to formulate your mobile strategy.

Mobile App or Responsive Design?

Not everyone needs a mobile app. Often times, a responsive version of your website is sufficient. Responsive design delivers the full version of your website using CSS and HTML to resize and move content so that it adapts to the screen size of any device. Outside of the CSS/HTML effort, there is no additional development effort involved and any user with an adequate internet connection can access your responsive site.

Mobile apps, on the other hand, are developed for specific functions such as sales enablement tools, location services that leverage GPS, or in-store savings while you shop (think Target’s cartwheel app). These require their own development efforts and need to be downloaded from a marketplace such as iTunes or Play Store. Additionally, separate applications need to be built for each mobile platform although there are app development tools such as Xamarin that promote cross-platform development.

For more help in determining whether you should invest in a mobile app, check out our related article on the differences between web and mobile apps. 

Provide an Excellent User Experience (UX)

It goes without saying that good user experience (UX) is important for any website or application. But it becomes even more imperative as the real estate (i.e. screen size) you have to work with decreases. Users need to have a clear sense of how to complete a task or find something intuitively upon launching your app. Make sure to follow industry standard best practices and trends as a means to achieving that goal. The ways users interact with your app on a desktop, tablet, and phone varies from one device to another so be sure to account for these behaviors.

Start Small, Measure, and Iterate

Even if you’re behind the curve in implementing your mobile strategy, don’t rush to address your web presence all at once. Start off with a single function, create a feedback loop, and build from there. Create a backlog of features or functions you’re considering, prioritize, and formulate a development and release schedule. For example, a restaurant may want to start off with a menu or reservation page while a yoga studio might start with a class schedule. You won’t likely tackle your entire mobile platform in one bite so keep the mobile context in mind and use data to develop a plan that can support future growth.