January 30, 2014 E3

Mobile Content Marketing: How To Connect With Users On the Go

According to the New York Times, cell phone data usage doubled in 2013. And for the first time in history, sales of smartphones outpaced the sale of feature phones.  But mobile is more than just smartphones. 2013 also saw a decrease in laptop sales with an exponential increase in tablet sales.  It is expected that by 2016, 80% of the US population will own a smartphone and 50% will own a tablet. The mobile web is growing like a wildfire, and online marketers must be prepared to face 2014 with a mobile content marketing strategy.

Mobile Users Aren’t the Same As Desktop Users

Before you can even think of developing a mobile content marketing strategy, you must understand that mobile users are different from desktop users. The very same person who visits your website regularly from her desk at work may never even think to check you out from her tablet or smartphone.

People use different mobile devices for different things. They do not browse the same way on their laptop as they do on a tablet or their phone. That means that there is not one content marketing formula you can use to tap all these different types of users.

Some key things we can safely say about mobile web users:

  • They are on the go. They may be in line at a supermarket checkout, sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, waiting on a friend or colleague, or multitasking in the kitchen. Your content must be easy to absorb in short snippets (think Twitter and Vine).
  • They are impatient. Because mobile users are on the go, they don’t want to wait more than a second or two for content to load. Google has even addressed the issue of page speed in their mobile guidelines. In order to get ranked in mobile search results, you’ve got to be fast.
  • Their screens are small. Some smartphone screens are on the larger side, but they are still smaller than tablets and desktops.  Vertical scrolling is typically more important than horizontal scrolling.
  • They don’t want animation they didn’t ask for. Don’t bog down your user with gifs or animation. And make sure the mobile version of your site does not include auto-play video. People won’t appreciate using extra data if they didn’t request the video.

There are a host of other assumptions you could safely make about mobile users, but this list should be enough to convince you that mobile content marketing isn’t the same as traditional content marketing. A single individual will view and use your site differently on a mobile device than he will on a desktop. So even if you’re crafting a message tailored to that individual (or customer type), you still have to adjust your mobile content marketing strategy to suit the device he’s using at any given moment.

Reduce Mobile Barriers

In order to reach more mobile users, you have to reduce any barriers and hurdles that will cause them to give up and leave your site.  Mobile users will avoid:

  • Login pages. Logging in is a pain in the rear, especially on a smartphone. Users will abandon unnecessary login pages.
  • Multiple steps to find what they need. You have to make it incredibly easy for mobile users to locate the exact page they need when they get to you. If they have to guess or keep clicking through to new pages, they will become bored and give up.
  • Jumbo logos and graphics. Your ego might not want to hear this, but nobody really cares about your logo. And a giant logo taking up real estate on your mobile web site is completely useless, not to mention it could affect load time. You can brand your mobile site without huge logos or graphics.
  • Pop-ups. Pop-ups on a mobile device – especially a smart phone – are frustrating to users and can also bog down your load time. Eliminate the pop ups from your mobile site and stick with clear, on-page calls to action.

How To Tailor Your Mobile Content Marketing

So now that you understand that mobile users are a little different than desktop users, how can you create a mobile content marketing strategy that will maintain brand identity and keep users engaged?

  1. Keep It Short. There is a reason that Vine videos are extremely popular. Shorter is often better. And the same goes for words. If your website is wordy, rework your mobile version to include only the absolute most important information.
  2. Consider Video. Mobile users love video. Nobody wants to read 2,000 words on a website on their smartphone if a 2 minute video will tell the entire story. If you’ve been trying to figure out how to work video into your content plan, consider taking the leap with your mobile content marketing strategy. Just remember not to autoplay your videos. Let the user choose to play them if and when they are ready. Most users have limited data plans and you don’t want to become known as a data plan vampire.
  3. Listen To Your Visitors. Study your analytics and query reports. How are most mobile users finding you and on what devices are they visiting from? Drill down the types of content they’re looking for and offer it to them on a nice, mobile-friendly platter.
  4. Test, test, and test some more.  You will need to test your site on every type of mobile device you can get your hands on to be sure that you don’t end up excluding an entire segment of mobile users.

As smartphones and tablets become the norm and not just a luxury, businesses will need to tailor their mobile content marketing to these devices. Knowing your user is still the key to great content strategy. But knowing how to adapt your content to mobile will put you at a distinct advantage over competitors who may be reluctant to modify and simplify their mobile content marketing strategy.

Do you have a mobile content marketing strategy for 2014? Will you adopt new means of content development like short form video? Let us know your plans!

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