Mobile Marketing For Small Businesses - Part 5

Welcome back for the 5th post in my series on using mobile for marketing as a small business! Check out my previous posts in the series:

Part 1 – What are the different categories of mobile devices like feature phones, smartphones, etc…

Part 2 – What are some of the marketing options for each of the device categories

Part 3 – A look at some of the data available to help us decide on which mobile category to target

Part 4 - Taking a look at some mobile experiences

Considerations For Your SMB Mobile Site

If you recall, the video in my last post (also to the right) looked at Nike.com and ShultsAuto.com on an iPad and a smartphone to see how each handled showing the appropriate experience to each device.

Nike had an iPad specific version of their that took advantage of the capabilities the device, as well as a tailored smartphone version. Shults Auto Group on the other hand had one mobile version that both sites used. Which methodology was correct? In theory, the Nike methodology was more correct. In terms of small business budgets, Shults was more realistic.

Small Business Budgets For Mobile Sites

Shults Auto Group's mobile site was used for the iPad and smartphone viewers which is definitely more budget-friendly than having 2 additional versions of the site to accompany the full desktop version. Obviously, Nike has an enormous budget and can financially support dedicated versions of their site. Small Businesses like us are not so fortunate!

We will always recommend having one mobile site that supports both platforms to save money. In fact, your full desktop site may work fine on the iPad already. One thing Shults missed was the option to view the full desktop version instead of the mobile version. On the iPad I would have rather viewed their desktop version.

Don't Write Content Multiple Times Unless It Makes Sense

If you are lucky, you are already setup with a content management system like c80, which allows you to write content once and publish it to both the desktop and mobile sites. This way you aren't doing double work when new content needs added to both sites, or content needs changed on both sites.

There are certainly cases where the content on each would be different though, so don't feel like they can't have variations. An example would be the contact page. For a mobile user, you may want to calculate their location and show them the nearest location to them. You may also want to show them a different language.

Limit The User's Options

Have you ever tried working with a complicated website on the tiny screen of your smartphone, only to give up and move to your desktop? I sure have! Often times, a mobile user simply can't work with a crowded user interface commonly found on full websites.

Like the Nike example showed, you should limit each screen's number of options so that the user has very few choices and can filter down to the content or functionality they are after. It may seem like more steps, and it really is, but it's much simpler for a mobile user to navigate.

Think Big Fingers

iPads and most smartphones are touch devices. They are meant to be pushed and prodded, etc... If your navigation is listed in a tight list, it's VERY easy to accidentally push the wrong link. The Shults Auto Group had this problem as you can see to the left.

A Blackberry user with a touchpad or scroll ball would have no problem navigating that list. Unfortunately, (or fortunately depending on what you like) most phones these days are not equipped with these devices. They are meant for fingers.

Knowing that most devices are meant for touch, it's important to make all of your links large enough for fingers to select them. This is really a simple thing to do. The lists on the Shults Auto mobile site and the Nike store site are very tight and hard to select. In reality, they are both just lazy designing mistakes. Both are easy to fix, and hopefully they will.

With Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), both sites will could be fixed very quickly.

Transitioning Between Experiences Is Tricky

As I mentioned in my last post, Nike certainly has a better mobile experience than Shults Auto, but they monumentally screwed up the mobile purchasing process. How? They send the user to the Nike Store website which is not mobile friendly. Even worse, they don't even send you to the product you were looking at on the mobile site. They send you to the homepage of the store.

This is unbelievably frustrating for a mobile user. Especially when you are about to shell out $160.00 for shoes. If I had to guess, this was simply a lack of communication between web teams at Nike. Nonetheless, if you are going to screw up a part of the process, DON'T let it be the part where the prospect turns into a customer!

I doubt it will be long before Nike catches this issue, but I do have it on video in my previous post for your review!

Consistency In Content Between Experiences

It's important to remember that the same users are probably looking at your desktop site and your mobile site. Delivering a completely different message or set of options (as seen above) in each is a bad idea. You'll also want to make sure that if you are featuring a product or service on your desktop site, you feature the same set of products and services on the mobile site. That is, unless the folks viewing each experience have been positively identified as completely different target audiences. In the case of most small businesses, this won't be the scenario.

Looking back at the examples I used in my last post, when I viewed the mobile version of the Shults Auto Group site I found that I could view many more pre-owned makes than I could on the desktop site. In fact, one of the vehicles on the mobile site interested me, so I was discouraged when I went to the full desktop site on my computer later that day and couldn't find the pre-owned category or the make that I was viewing on the mobile site.

On the other hand, Nike featured the same basketball shoes on the iPad, smartphone, and desktop experience. They did this part perfectly.

Yes, There Are More Considerations!

In future posts, I will touch on some other considerations when you are planning your mobile strategy! Check back or subscribe to our RSS feed to get the newest posts delivered right to you! If you aren't into the RSS thing, you can "Like" us on Facebook or Follow Us on Twitter. Heck, do all three and never miss a post! :)

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