Are you doing enough with Mobile?

Apple has released its newest iPhone and iOS 7.0 mobile oper­at­ing sys­tem recent­ly, so there has been a lot of breath­less media cov­er­age on smart phones.

Beyond the Apple vs Android bat­tle, it is worth­while to think about the mas­sive mobile pen­e­tra­tion across our lives. And as busi­ness peo­ple we should all be ask­ing our­selves if we are focus­ing enough on our mobile to serve our cus­tomers and impact our busi­ness.

Let’s start by tak­ing a look at some num­bers on mobile (note that mobile is defined as smart phones and tablets).

Some eye-catching numbers on mobile:

I just fin­ished up a mobile com­merce project and came across some illu­mi­nat­ing sta­tis­tics:


Mobile web usage

Since the web became huge in the mid 90’s (remem­ber Netscape?), desk­tops and their cousins, lap­tops, were the major ways we all accessed the inter­net. And we loved it when large screens became afford­able (a 21 inch screen was a ter­rif­ic size to surf the web). But while mon­i­tors are cheap­er than ever, we don’t access the web in the same way now.


  • In 2014, mobile devices will become the most com­mon way for peo­ple to access the inter­net. In oth­er words, more peo­ple will access the web via phones and tablets than with desk­tops and lap­tops.
  • 25% of web users now only access the inter­net via mobile. So if your company’s web offer­ings appear decent only on desk­top screens, you will be exclud­ing 25% of your cus­tomers who only use mobile.


Email con­tin­ues to be a major way busi­ness­es com­mu­ni­cate with their cus­tomers. And mobile is play­ing a larg­er and larg­er role with email:

  • The major­i­ty of email (52%) is being opened on mobile now
  • 43% of mobile email users check email at least four times a day
  • 70% of recip­i­ents delete an email if it doesn’t look good on their mobile devices

The last bul­let is par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant as we need to be sure our mes­sages are com­pelling on these small­er devices. If they are not, we are like­ly to fail in com­mu­ni­cat­ing the mes­sage.


There has always been the ques­tion of whether buy­ers would be inter­est­ed in pur­chas­ing on mobile devices. The answer is clear­ly becom­ing: “yes, peo­ple will pur­chase on their mobile devices.”  Con­sid­er this:

  • 80 mil­lion U.S. con­sumers (or 51% web users) will make a pur­chase on a mobile device in 2013
  • Mobile will make up 24% of eCom­merce sales by 2016


So what should you be doing with your mobile web strategy?

1.       Consider how your customers interact with you when online

More than like­ly, a sig­nif­i­cant and grow­ing por­tion of your traf­fic (greater than 25% and per­haps 50%) is com­ing through mobile devices. You will cer­tain­ly want to look at your web ana­lyt­ics to iden­ti­fy how much.

Once you con­firm this usage, con­sid­er whether to offer your cus­tomers a mobile friend­ly web­site or a mobile appli­ca­tion or both.

In most cas­es, a mobile-friend­ly web­site is where you should start since all users have a mobile brows­er built into the device.  Mobile appli­ca­tions need to be down­loaded on their own, but are par­tic­u­lar­ly good if your cus­tomers can use it to solve an impor­tant need (for exam­ple, online bank­ing or check­ing in for your air­line).

If you don’t have a mobile-ready site, don’t fret. A recent study by Mar­ket­ing Sher­pa found that only 34% of busi­ness­es have a mobile friend­ly site.

2.       Use a “mobile first” strategy

Mobile first” is a design strat­egy used by many com­pa­nies includ­ing Google and Apple where they design for the small­est screens first (typ­i­cal­ly smart­phones) and then focus on larg­er screens.

The ben­e­fit to this approach is you are like­ly to have a much more sat­is­fy­ing user expe­ri­ence on your mobile devices when you make it your top pri­or­ity. And It is always eas­ier to design with extra space.

 3.       Consider responsive design

Respon­sive design is an approach where a sin­gle set of soft­ware is devel­oped that can deter­mine the size of the screen and present a view that is opti­mal for the user. The result is that the user’s expe­ri­ence is much stronger than if there were one ver­sion of the design. This tai­lored pre­sen­ta­tion should lead to more sat­is­fied users and sales on your site. Also, main­tain­ing one set of soft­ware code is a big plus.

Here is an exam­ple of Yan­kee Can­dle which has presents dif­fer­ent views based on screen real estate.

Yankee responsive design

Yan­kee presents dif­fer­ent views of their web pages based on the size of the screen — lead­ing to a more sat­is­fy­ing user expe­ri­ence.


4.       Aim to design your emails in mobile friendly formats

Since a major­i­ty of emails are being opened on mobile device, you should aim to make these dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions mobile-opti­mized.

The same Mar­ket­ing Sher­pa sur­vey found that just 42% of mar­keters are opti­miz­ing emails for mobile. So you are not alone if

On the right is an email from Twit­ter that is opti­mized for mobile.

you are not cre­at­ing mobile-opti­mized emails.

If this is the case, con­sid­er these steps to improve how your emails will appear on mobile:

  • Your emails should be sized down- scale to 320–550 pix­els wide
  • Calls to action need to be par­tic­u­lar­ly clear and your text is con­cise
  • Your text should be large (Apple rec­om­mends font sizes of 17–22 pix­els and head­lines to be 44 pix­els) and email safe (Tahoma is a good choice)
  • Images should be used in mod­er­a­tion (images are often blocked by browsers)



Mobile is grow­ing fast and will soon become the major screens through which we con­sume dig­i­tal infor­ma­tion. If you have not yet done so, you should con­sid­er how your mar­ket­ing is going to adapt to this new mobile world.




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