MinTwists’s August meetup debated the benefits to businesses of creating a mobile websites or mobile applications to communicate with their target customer groups in a manner optimised for mobile platforms.
In essence should a dedicated mobile platform be created, or should businesses simply allow their mobile users to be served up their ‘normal’ website in whatever way the browser software on the given mobile platform chooses to do so?
It’s a tough question and one which the group mostly debated from an ROI perspective. Given that mobile usage rates in the UK are still fairly low (5% of a websites traffic may come from mobile users), one might be tempted to conclude that for typical small and medium sized b2b businesses the answer is no.
However, it is not that clear cut.
Firstly, there is the issue that mobile usage is growing incredibly quickly (see article : What will Smart Phones Do to our Websites? for more on this) and there may well be material benefits for ‘getting in quick’ (including SEO benefits).
Secondly there is ‘how mobile users are behaving issue’. The data is not entirely accurate at the moment – but early signs are clear: mobile users do not use the internet in the same way on their mobiles as they would do on their PC’s or laptops. Usage is driven by factors such as location (users accessing their mobile devices to find information on ‘where they physically are at the moment’) and impulsivness (users accessing their mobile devices to find an answer to a fairly immediate question/problem). Factors such as these all feed in to the ideal way in which the information should be presented to the mobile user, i.e. b2b businesses could have a ‘mobile optimised homepage’ that clearly presents a clickable telephone number link and clickable interactive google map so that visitors to the business can quickly get the information that they may be after if they are accessing the website from a mobile device.
A difficult topic for business oweners and marketing manager to grapple with; here are MintTwist’s high level thoughts on the subject …
|Solution||Useful for situations like …||Ballpark Costs||Useful for businesses like …|
|Mobile websites (extra pages that are specially built to be auto-delivered to mobile users)||Making a ‘normal’ website have a dedicated set of page(s) that will show up (in a manner optimised for small screens) when a user goes to the website on a mobile phone. Principal Benefit: Increased conversion rates from mobile users.||From £3k||e-commerce / Retailb2b businesses with very high visitor numbersb2c brands|
|Mobile Apps and/or Web Apps* (Android, Apple, Web apps that are downloaded)||Information that can be delivered in a potentially highly functional and potentially highly interactive way. Principal Benefit: Increased engagement levels/brand identity.||£5k++||Any big brandApplication/Web service vendors|
Thoughts and feedback on this post are very welcome 🙂
What effects will smart phones have on websites in 2012 and beyond?
All the data coming out of the researchers suggests that the trend towards smart phone/tablet usage and away from desktop/laptops is taking hold. E-Consultancy are reporting that 57% of US professionals say that they will use a smart phone or tablet device as their primary source of internet usage (vs a PC). They are also predicting a rise in the proportion of online spend that is dedicated to Mobile, today in 2011 it is 15%, in 2015 it is predicted to be 64%.
What does this mean for our warm and snuggly websites?
Maybe not that much. As is the way with things, they tend to evolve rather than spontaneously transform (albeit at a speedy pace in the digital world). The same E-Consultancy data appears to show that the focus of mobile spend is around 3 areas – the mobile web, mobile search and social networking.
Some more examination of these phenomena reveals that they are all in fact evolutions and in some cases the same animals as those faithful ‘old’ websites that we know and love so well.
What does this mean for my business?
The vast majority of updated websites will be compatible with Smart Phones, HTML5 based websites are entirely supported.
Moving forward, it is worth considering creating a mobile version of the existing site, this means presenting the content in a way that is ‘mobile friendly’, i.e. short, concise with a focus on contact information. This need not be an expensive addition to your brief – correctly put together it would be an extension of the existing website system.
Again, if you are engaging an SEO or Web Marketing agency, Mobile search will be partially covered by the traditional SEO work that is taking place.
Moving forward, if the website system has been designed in a manner in which it supports both platforms as mentioned above, the job of specifically optimising for mobile platforms should be a natural extension to the SEO campaign work and mean only a minor increase in budget.
The Social Networks have been quick to capitalise on the Mobile Web and have extended their systems intelligently to support mobile platforms. They have designed new front-ends, optimised for the mobile experience that leverage the same application and database systems that power their PC and laptop interfaces.
In order to be successful here, businesses need to engage in a progressive Social Network marketing campaign that is integrated with the SEO (the Social Networks will make the technology work). By doing this, businesses will be able to leverage their website and SEO plays to improve the outputs of their social endeavours. It’s all about good old-fashioned strategy and correctly done it results in more potential customers engaging the website via online channels – from the mobile, PC and the of course the real world also 🙂
Quantum levitation on a small scale has been around for some time. This video shows it in action:
34 years ago, in a galaxy far far away, an epic trilogy was born.
If you were old enough, you may have seen the teaser trailer when it first came out. The trailer makes the film out to be quite dark with omnious music and threatening voice over. According the to the trailer it is “The story of a boy, a girl and a universe” and “A big spralling space saga of rebellion and romance”. It is also “Ahead of it’s time” (cue cut to C3P0).
One notable omission from the trailer is John Williams’ score. Presumably it had not been recorded at the time.
At MintTwist it is almost mandatory to be a Star Wars fan, and memorabilia encouraged at all desks:
Some MintTwist team members bear more than a passing resemblence to characters in the series:
Silvio Rainoldi – php developer or saviour of the universe?
Gediminas (Gedi) Burinskis – php developer or space cowboy?
Alexis Pratsides – Director or Wookiee?
Before embarking on re-designing and re-building your marketing website it may well pay to do a little ‘website planning’ first. Assuming that the primary purpose of your business website is to market the products and services of your business to potential and existing customers there are two main questions that you will need to be clear on before proceeding.
1. What do you want your Website to say?
Normally, you will want your business website to clearly spell out the main benefits of your products and/or services. Ideally this will be done in a language and style that will engage the types of customer groups that your business serves.
2. Who do you want your Website to say it to?
The marketing website is for your customers. What types of people are they? Can your customer base be categorised into distinct groups? Are your customer groups buying the same or different prducts and services? Do they buy for the same or different reasons?
What do we do next?
Well, there is still more planning work to do. Beyond these two questions there are further steps in a website planning process (see the article ‘Planning the Perfect Website‘, by MintTwist, for further detail on this subject), however the process becomes far easier and the end result will be far more effective with clarity on what we want to say and who we want to say it to.
How does planning help design?
A website homepage will push the core messages in a design that will enage our core customer groups. However it’s most important function is to quickly and clearly direct the website visitor (potential customer) to the product or service page that is most relevant for them.
By breaking down the products and services by customer group and at the same time having a good understanding of the benefits that are most relevant to each group we will be able to design product and service pages that will enable us to focus our communication towards the needs of our potential customer, increase engagement and ultimately increase sales leads and revenue.
MintTwist is keen to lend our support to this worthy cause. Air amblances really can make the differrence between life and death. There is no doubt that countless lives have been saved by their incredible skill and dedication.
In aid of the Herts Air Ambulance – ‘Petrol Heads and Pampering’ will be held at Porsche Centre Hatfield on Thursday 14th April between 7pm and 10pm. Ex-Top Gear Presenter and Sunday Times Columnist, Jason Dawe, will host the evening; with new and classic Porsches to admire and a rare opportunity to have a guided tour of the Porsche Workshop by highly trained technicians.
Michelle de la Bertauche, Fundraising Manager for the Herts Air Ambulance, said: “This will be a fantastic event with so much going on – we’ve already had lots of interest. We will be raising vital funding for the Herts Air Ambulance, which costs £130,000 every month to enable it to continue to fly its life-saving missions. We can’t thank The Porsche Centre enough for giving us the exclusive use of their showroom for this event, it is such an exciting opportunity. We’ve also had huge support from other local businesses, it looks set to be a great evening we are all really looking forward to it.”