Get Mobile Sites and Apps to Work for You
Small and midsize businesses, like all organizations, are constantly having to provide customers with real value—value that moves them to action on a consistent basis. Companies are starting to realize that mobile sites and mobile apps are becoming their most direct, immediate channel with customers. The more you can improve your interactions on those channels, the better experience customers will have, and the better metrics you'll see—and not just traditional site metrics like clicks or time spent, but important financial metrics, like customer lifetime value.
In a recent conversation, Drew Burns, principal product marketing manager at Adobe Target, shared with me a few important tips for helping companies sharpen their mobile strategy.
AVOID REPEATING WEB SITE DESIGN MISTAKES ON MOBILE SITES
According to Burns, many businesses developing mobile sites end up running into the same issues they ran into with their Web sites: home pages that are cluttered with unnecessary or irrelevant content, or an entry page not personalized to individual site visitors. Ask yourself: Is this content absolutely necessary here, and why?
DIFFERENT TECH MIGHT REVEAL DIFFERENT INTENTIONS
People often have different intentions when they're accessing a site from a mobile device versus the desktop. The travel industry provides a good example. When you're on a desktop looking up vacation packages, you might be spending a lot more time reading, looking at pictures, and evaluating options. And if it's evening, when you're at home in front of a bigger screen with more time, you might spend a little bit more time on a site looking through those vacation packages.
But if it's during the morning commute, you're probably using your smartphone to access a mobile site to do some quick comparison shopping. Or if you're near a hotel or a resort, you could be looking to see if a room is available. And in that case, you want quick information on pricing, and what discounts are available, and possibly an easy way to make a purchase.
MOBILE SITES VERSUS MOBILE APPS
According to Burns, customers go to mobile sites more during exploratory stages—if they're doing price comparisons, or they want to get more information on a specific package or an investment that is being offered. But using a mobile app is much more of a marker for customer loyalty. Users generally are already customers at that point, and they’re downloading the app for a specific purpose.
Mobile app adoption in financial services is skyrocketing because people can do a lot of their online banking through a mobile app. Airlines today are also taking advantage of mobile apps, enabling customers to get their boarding pass, make seating changes, and see their priority level and additional rewards. The more that you’re able to engage and show customers you value them, the more stickiness and brand loyalty they’ll have over time.
CURATE EXPERIENCES BASED ON LOCATION
Location-based targeting can help make customers aware of products and services most relevant to them in real time. Burns says that forward-thinking companies are asking if they can create curated experiences at such disparate locations as the airport or the corner store, or use the mobile app for, say, push notifications based on available parking space at the mall.
He also sees a shift to the "digital town," where more curated experiences are taking place digitally when users arrive at a physical location. With a mobile app, retailers, for example, can deliver relevant information to shoppers' devices as they browse on location, saving them the additional time needed to search for it.
As you can see, there are many factors to consider as you move into designing mobile sites and apps. But the main thing is knowing what experiences need to be created for each part of the customer life cycle—and how to tie them all together in the delivery channel that provides the best route to the customer.
Brent Leary is cofounder of CRM Essentials, an Atlanta-based advisory firm focused on small and midsize businesses. He is also the author of Barack 2.0: Social Media Lessons for Small Businesses.