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7 steps to create a winning mobile strategy

Ben Obear
July 7, 2015

Technology advancement in our world today is just top of the range. Just a decade ago, the invention of computers seemed to have been the age everyone was waiting for. The invention of the internet then followed and the world transformed into a global village; with information flowing across borders and continents in a way that no one would have ever imagined possible.

And before we could even get enough of the internet's excitement, smartphones emerged and now we are experiencing the power of the internet in a very massive way. Today, mobile devices have massively changed the online search landscape to the point that in 2010, about 50+ percent of all internet users were accessing this service via mobile handheld gadgets of some sort. These include phones, smartphones, tablets, phablets and ipads among more.

During 2015, the number of mobile devices had exceeded the number of desktop and laptop personal computers worldwide, thus prompting the turning point of the mobile strategy. Today, it's no longer an option as whether your business will operate a 'mobile friendly' system, it is a must, or else your competitors will outshine you in the market.

A mobile strategy keeps your business relevant

The way your customers purchase products and expect services to be delivered is changing and you must formulate a mobile strategy if you hope to stay relevant. Smartphones are the new personal computer and your customers carry smartphones with them wherever they go.

Today, Google gets more search queries in the US and 9 other countries from mobile devices than they do from desktop and laptop computers. Since search is how customers discover your business, products and services, your need to embrace mobile to acquire new customers.

Fueled by the fact that they are easily portable and accessible even when on-the go, mobile phones and smartphones provide fast and readily accessible internet search to customers, making them a more favorable option as compared to desktop computers which are not that easily portable.

Whether you're a small business or a large enterprise, a mobile strategy can help you increase revenue and efficiencies. Do you have a lot people working in the field who are stuck using laptops or paper? Do customers search for your business locations on mobile and expect to be able to order products and services for pickup and/or delivery? These are just a few of hundreds of possible ways the ubiquity of mobile can impact your business strategy.

Developing your mobile strategy is an iterative process as it takes time to understand what resonates with your customers and employees. If you start early and iterate often, your mobile strategy is much more likely to succeed and deliver the business results you desire.

Maybe, you start with a mobile site that provides the information your customers need when they search for things on their smartphone. An alternative is to redesign your website or web application by using a responsive web design framework, which gives your customers a consistent experience across platforms. When you understand common employee and customer pain points, you can start by building native mobile apps that solve that sticking point.

Understand that mobile is completely different

Mobile is completely different from most of what you have done before and therefore it is important that you understand it well before thinking of delving into it. You must bring new ideas to the table for you to succeed. You may be having a group of people in business and IT telling you how to approach mobile, but you ought to be aware of them. Some do not even recognize that mobile is completely different from other previous technology waves. The user experience on a phone or tablet is 360 degrees different from that of a computer or laptop. Therefore, understanding what is needed in this platform and how to achieve it is crucial. The strategy behind mobile is easy to follow through if you follow the right approach and steps.

Here are some tips on how to create that winning mobile strategy for your business.

1. Understand the core of a winning mobile strategy

If you don't even know how to build the foundation of a house, you cannot expect that you will know how to set up the walls. Therefore, before embarking on your journey towards the creation of a mobile winning strategy, learn what the core of a winning mobile strategy is. In most cases, start with learning the problem; do not just create a mobile website or an app for the sake of having it in the app store.

Creating a winning mobile strategy is not all about having a presence in the store, but rather having a sense of value to your intended user. Your audience must gain some value from using your app or website. This is what determines if they will come back to the site again or whether they will disappear for good. If this acts as your guiding principle, developing the rest of your mobile strategy will come easy and be fun.

2. Know and understand your audience

A successful mobile strategy is fueled all the way by understanding your audience, their needs, and how to sort out those needs for them. Knowing your audience directly ensures that you understand their problems and how they need them to be solved. Sit and create a customer journey map to draw out all its important aspects.

Retailers, for example, need to focus on building experiences that customers want and understand the relationship between business operations, customer relationships and mobile. Then they need to translate this understanding into an offering that the customers are looking for. The mobile channel has proven that it is a great opportunity for retailers to engage perfectly with customers and hence drive their sales and revenues high.

3. Understand the following trends

Targeted mobile marketing helps you find new customers

Mobile spending is expected to explode in 2016. According to eMarketer, in 2016, more than 50% of all digital advertising will be spent on mobile advertising which will account for more than $100 billion in ad spending.

Even if you're a small business, you should follow the money. Your competitors are getting results on mobile, so you should invest in mobile marketing to find out what works for your business. You can start small to see what works, but there's a good chance that your customers are searching for your product or services on their mobile phones right now. The key is figuring out how to effectively target those customers.

Your customers look for local information on their smartphones

There has been a tremendous increase in the number of consumers that search for local information while they are out from their homes or places of work. A majority of internet searches today occur on mobile phones while customers are in their cars, bikes, outdoors jogging, or when going to the market.

Therefore, if you are looking forward to developing a good mobile strategy, ensure that you reach out to your customers who are on-the-go by utilizing location-based mobile marketing strategies like geo-targeted ads. Finding techniques with which to target those customers on-the-go can be a very effective strategy.

Consumers prefer mobile websites over mobile apps

Credible studies have shown that many consumers prefer visiting a businesses' website rather than its mobile app when conducting a mobile search. Even though this is so, many business owners say that their websites are not optimized for mobile.

It is therefore paramount that when you are planning to develop a winning mobile strategy, you put this factor in mind. You should have a mobile-optimized website, but not necessarily an app. With a mobile website that bears all the crucial information your consumers will be looking for, your consumers will have it easy to access the information even when on-the-go. Remember, consumers always appreciate a mobile-friendly site with great user experience. A poor website user experience is similar to a poor in-store experience and will definitely make your customers not to have the incentive to visit again.

4. Start simple

You have to start small. Trust me, you cannot expect to build an empire in a day, unless you have some special powers rare to mankind. Don't expect to build a Facebook because that is not going to happen. Building a successful mobile strategy does not happen overnight, a lot has to be put into the process for it to be a winning strategy. Start by building or designing smaller task driven websites that provide simple, yet very high value information to your audience.

A great example of a company that has achieved great mobile success by doing this is the New York Times. They used the phased approach and transitioned from their old site to a new site using responsive web design incrementally. Strive to deliver great value on your site in a simple style at first, and then you can always add additional features later as your mobile success grows.

5. Understand the limitations of mobile

Every development strategy always has hindrances or roadblocks along the way. The sooner you understand what the roadblocks are in your mobile strategy, the better the position you will be in to develop a successful strategy. Therefore, before you start dreaming up features and functions, understand your limitations and boundaries. Here are some of the considerations most businesses often forget about;

Shifting to mobile is 24/7

Mobile is not just about portability or mobility anymore. Today, a consumer can be can be at home browsing, at work on the phone browsing on new ideas, or even at the store searching for product reviews. Therefore, there is a whole new different layer of context to consider in your mobile strategy.

When creating an app, don't just create a web page in an app

An iOS app should feel like one while an Android app should also follow the same logic. Therefore, on top of knowing your audiences, understand the mobile devices in which your website will be perused. Android users expect a different feel or user experience from that of an Apple user because there is a specific way in which they typically interact with their devices.

6. Take a Risk

Although it is important to understand the limitations of this whole process, it is also advisable that you take risks, because after all, the riskiest is the most profitable. Think about all the modern functions that modern mobile devices use and take that to your advantage. For example, take advantage of the high quality cameras on mobiles devices, GPS functionality and social media adaptability. Location-based shopping coupons with the use of mobile devices are gaining much popularity so you can consider this too.

7. Make informed decisions

When you are now ready to move from developing a mobile winning strategy to implementation, make sure you have an idea of what you want. Mobile apps and mobile websites serve very different functions and have similarly different objectives. Many businesses are using mobile apps to increase their brand awareness and affinity. However, it's very easy to get bogged down by the details, particularly when you begin talking web apps versus native apps and the technology involved. Learn on these things so that you make suggestions and contribute to conversations when you reach the mobile deployment stage.

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Ben Obear
San Francisco