It seems that (almost) everyone has received the memo about responsive web design. Thankfully, it’s pretty rare in 2018 to visit a website on your mobile phone and find only teeny-tiny print and microscopic buttons. Remember the days of zooming in to read on your phone?
But just because you’ve got a responsive website doesn’t mean you’ve got mobile taken care of. It’s not enough to make sure your content is accessible on mobile — you have to think about what kind of content your audience wants on mobile. For many users, that may differ from what they want in a desktop experience. Regardless, your mobile experience should flow seamlessly from (and back into) your desktop experience, as it’s safe to assume a percentage of your audience will access your content from multiple touchpoints. At Trekk, we follow five general best practices when conceptualizing our clients’ mobile content marketing strategies.
1. Determine What Kind of Content Your Audience Wants on Mobile
Are they looking for entertainment, or do they want helpful information? This will partially depend on the product or service you offer, but back up your initial hunch with data. Take a look at which content is getting the most engagement on your site currently, as well as which content is making people bounce. The key thing is to break this data down by device, which you can do using Google Analytics. You may find that content that is working for you on desktop may not engage mobile users, and vice versa.
The majority of business traffic comes from search. Think about how we use our mobile phones to search. We’re often looking for local services, hours of operation, costs, or timely answers to questions. If this basic information about your organization is buried on your mobile site, it’s going to be difficult for those users to engage, especially on small screens.
2. Make It Visual
Once you’ve determined what type of content your mobile audience is looking for, make sure that content is primed to engage viewers. Use eye-catching images to tell your story rather than hitting your audience with pages of text to scroll through. Employ video to explain concepts or sum up longer pieces of information. Even better, make this visual content easily shareable, since your mobile audience is very likely logged into all their social networks on the same device (and may even be switching back and forth between your site and their friend’s Instagram story).
For the text you do include on your mobile website and landing pages, make sure the font is easily readable on handheld devices, the buttons are big enough to click without fat-fingering, and your main headline is above the fold. And this may go without saying, but pretty please don’t set your video to autoplay with sound.
3. Engage Their Ears
Speaking of sound, one of the fastest-growing areas of mobile engagement is audio content, specifically podcasts. There are two common approaches for marketers to take with this medium: develop your own podcast as part of your content marketing strategy or place ads with a podcast or podcast network as part of your media plan. (Of course, you can do both!) One of the many benefits of podcasting is that it’s not about drawing visitors to your website to start a conversation; rather, it’s about starting a conversation where they’re already congregating, which may lead them back to your website or one of your social channels.
Podcasts are, to me, one of the purest examples of content marketing. The top-performing podcasts out there are either highly entertaining or teach the listener something, and you tend to hear very little “salesmanship” from the brand. This has resulted in massive, extremely loyal audiences for these top podcasts — people who subscribe and tune in week after week, listening to 40- to 60-minute shows in their entirety. What these hosts have done is used valuable content to build brand loyalty.
Interested in podcasting but not sure where to start? I put together a list of the most common podcast formats, with links to my favorite examples. And a pro tip to boost your SEO: post transcripts of your podcast episodes to your website to catch the attention of Internet searchers and to make your audio content more accessible.
4. Optimize for Speed
We all know what happens when we click a link on our phones and the website doesn’t load right away. We hit the back button, we close the browser, or we open another app. According to Google, mobile sites lose half their visitors while loading. If your mobile site takes more than a couple of seconds to load, you’re at risk of losing people.
Discover your mobile site’s load time using Google’s mobile speed test tool. Then, if your site is underperforming, optimize by compressing images, enabling caching, or cleaning up your code. Your exact next steps will depend on your diagnosis, but many slow-load fixes are really simple.
5. Make the User Interface Seamless
Pop-ups. You know the kind I’m talking about: huge, hard-to-dismiss rectangles with all-caps calls-to-action that take over the screen right when you’re starting to read the page you just landed on. I detest them on desktop, and I hate them even more on mobile.
Make it easy for your visitors to understand and act on your content by eliminating these annoyances, and anything else that stands in the way of a seamless experience. Test your user experience with real people and ask them what’s confusing or where they got bored. Forget for a moment about what you want people to do on your site and focus on what people want from your site. What did they search for in order to land here, and how can you make sure they leave with what they need?
Most of these steps are good practices for desktop experiences and for content marketing in general, but since over half of global web traffic is now mobile, it’s worth taking the time to strategize for this specific audience. I’d suggest going further and setting 2019 goals around your mobile engagement and conversions, because one thing is certain: the growth of mobile is not slowing down any time soon.
Sarah Mannone is the Executive Vice President of Trekk, a tech-driven creative services agency. She works with Trekk clients to develop strategic marketing plans and craft measurable programs that that span print, web, social, and mobile. As part of the Trekk management team, Sarah is involved in the decisions and strategy around adopting new technologies and applications to meet the current and future needs of Trekk clients. Sarah is a member of the Forbes Agency Council and a frequent speaker at marketing industry events.