Between email, social media, online shopping and apps, customers today are highly likely to interact with your brand on their mobile devices. This shift in consumer behavior requires a few tweaks to your typical digital marketing strategy.
Ensure your business offers customers a seamless mobile experience by leveraging mobile optimization techniques. This includes tactics like deep linking, email-to-app linking, location detection and single-column styling. Read on for guidance and great examples from successful companies.
Mobile optimization explained
Mobile optimization means a website has been adjusted to provide the best experience for viewing and use on mobile devices. Not only is the site reformatted for browsing on smaller devices, like smartphones and iPads, but it’s also easier to navigate. A mobile-optimized site will have larger navigation buttons and properly sized content and images. This creates a seamless and engaging experience for users visiting a website from their mobile devices.
Similarly, emails, coupons and loyalty programs can be optimized to function just as well on mobile technology as they would on laptops and desktop computers. As a business owner, you should strive to optimize these components to better attract potential customers and earn sales. [Read related article: Design Mistakes That Hurt Conversion]
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Optimizing your website for mobile
A mobile-optimized website should have a single-column, responsive design with easy navigation menus. You can achieve this by using responsive themes and plug-ins. Always demo a theme before buying or installing it to ensure it works well on mobile devices.
Many businesses offer simplified mobile versions of their main websites, given the unique challenges of navigating a website on a phone. Should users want to see the full desktop version of the site, they typically have that option at the bottom of the webpage. If you use a page builder like Elementor, you can preview how the site looks across multiple devices.
Videos and photos should be responsive and optimized for mobile viewing too. But appearance isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to mobile optimization – page load speeds are a huge factor in whether or not users stick around. You want your website to function swiftly, but fast turnarounds when users click buttons and pages are especially important on mobile phones, where consumers expect instant gratification. Optimizing your site for speed will lower your bounce rates and improve the user experience.
If your business has a physical presence, your mobile website should also include store locations, ideally with geolocation features to automatically suggest the closest store. It should further include essential store information, such as contact details or departments available at that location and fulfillment features. For help getting started, check out these recommendations for the best website builders and our five-step web design process.
If you aren’t sure whether your website is mobile-optimized, test your site with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Within minutes, it will show you where your site is falling short and improvements you can make if it’s not sufficiently optimized.
Optimizing your email for mobile
According to Litmus, upward of 40% of emails are opened on mobile devices. That means it’s critical for businesses to offer mobile-optimized email content and features.
For example, videos should play within the body of the email, not open via a pop-up or mobile webpage. If this is challenging to code, use a GIF instead. Mobile users like to watch videos in the email itself instead of having to click elsewhere. This also ensures your customers are engaged with the surrounding content, because once they leave your email to view the video on another page, they may not come back to your message.
A marketing email should link directly to your company’s product page, which is known as deep linking. Your email can also deep-link to your app’s page in the app store. Not only do mobile users expect this function, but it also shortens the journey to purchase, making conversion more likely. Your customers will want to take action in a short period of time, as they are probably on the go while using their mobile devices.
Your email can also link to your mobile app instead of your website. Apps typically load faster than websites, improving the customer experience. Linking directly to your app can also provide the reader a more personalized experience, as the app will confirm the user’s identity and preferences.
Mobile-optimized emails should be formatted in single columns and have large, easily clickable calls to action for a superior viewing experience on mobile devices. Use a responsive design so content isn’t cut off or missed, just like you would with a mobile-optimized website.
Optimizing your coupons and loyalty programs for mobile
Consumers redeemed 865 million coupons in 2021, per Valassis. While that was down from 2020, the company’s data indicated digital coupon usage is on the rise, which provides a huge opportunity for businesses that provide online coupons – particularly coupons that are easily accessible and readable on mobile devices.
To improve the mobile couponing experience for your customers, let them save coupons to your company’s mobile app. Not only is this more convenient, but it also gets consumers using your application, through which they gain more exposure to your business and all you have to offer.
When optimizing customer loyalty programs for mobile usage, make sure online materials connect to your app for easy in-store viewing, digital and in-app purchase linking and extra rewards for things like social sharing or coming to a store. For instance, if you visit Kohl’s, you can save your Kohl’s cash, discounts, gift cards and coupons on the retailer’s mobile app. That makes it incredibly simple for customers to earn and redeem their rewards via mobile devices.
Along the same lines, tickets or passes you provide via email or your mobile website should be able to be saved to a mobile device or app such as Apple Wallet. Facebook even allows businesses to run ads that offer coupons or discounts that can be saved to the viewer’s Facebook app or mobile device. [Consider the best app maker software for your business.]
Online coupon sites like savings.com and savoo.co.uk are designed to lead consumers to the best discounts across industries like food, travel and furniture.
Additional ways to leverage mobile features
Small businesses can leverage mobile phone capabilities to empower their marketing efforts and improve the customer experience. Here are a few examples tied to optimization.
Order an Uber: Add a feature to your mobile app that lets customers call an Uber with your company’s store location pre-programmed in. This makes it easier for customers to take immediate action instead of waiting to visit your store.
Encourage social posting: Include a button on your mobile-optimized website that will take users directly to your Facebook page. Incentivize customers to make the click by offering a coupon if they leave you a Facebook review.
Have fun with photos: The American Eagle Outfitters app lets you take a picture, then uses visual search technology to suggest clothing products. Its app also gives customers extra loyalty points when they show up in the store. Other apps, such as Wag, offer fun photo filters and social-sharing capabilities to drive engagement and user-generated content.
Adding artificial intelligence (AI) to your mobile app can transform the user experience, much like American Eagle Outfitters is doing.
Download the app, come to the store: Le Pain Quotidien offers customers a free reward if they invite their friends to download the food chain’s app. And, because the app is well optimized, customers can use it to place pickup or delivery orders, earn loyalty points, and track the location closest to them.
Drive engagement with your app: South by Southwest’s app pulls data from Facebook to connect people going to SXSW with their friends who are also going. Because the organization has optimized its mobile app, festival-goers are able to get the most out of the event in person and virtually.
Turn searches to store traffic: Aveda’s mobile search ads, a form of mobile marketing, offer store locations for those who are Googling on the go, with the nearest location to the user autodetected. Customers can also use the app to earn loyalty rewards and book salon appointments.
Diana Wertz contributed to the writing and reporting in this article.