Start with a mobile browsing strategy

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Everyone and their cousin in marketing is panicking about your mobile strategy.

  • “We have to get our sites ready for mobile!”
  • “Mobile computing is the future of the Internet!”
  • “Mobile devices will be the #1 web browsers real soon!”

Some of this is true. Before you rush headlong into deploying mobile everything and trying to convert every last bit of marketing collateral you’ve got into something mobile, think. Think for a few moments about mobile. What things do you like and not like about mobile?

I’ll give you an easy one. Take a look at the FAFSA form, the financial aid form that I’ve spent the last 7 years studying, presenting, and guiding people through. This form is about 108 questions long.

No matter how good your mobile platform is, no matter how awesome or shiny your mobile device is, you will not fill out the FAFSA on a keyboard – real or virtual – that’s the size of chicklets and retain your sanity after 108 form fields. Now, will there be one or two users among your many that will try? Of course. Is  the amount of time and effort needed to develop a pure mobile implementation of the FAFSA justified for those two users a year? I’d have to say probably not.

Start with a mobile browsing strategy.

  1. Look at your content, look at what you have that people can look at but don’t necessarily have to interact with. That’s where your mobile work should start.
  2. Use plugins for your WordPress blog – I’m a fan of the free WPTouch plugin.
  3. If you have something location-based, make sure you’re set up with Google Local Business Center and have updated listings on all the major local services.
  4. Check your analytics to see what percentage of users are browsing using a mobile device – find this in the screen sizes section. Look for really small screen sizes.
  5. Create content with mobile in mind. Instead of giant blog posts, break topics up into sections, segments, or pieces so they can be consumed in snack size or all at once.

It’s absolutely true that mobile will be an integral part of your online marketing strategy over this year and coming years. We haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s possible. That said, the desktop/laptop isn’t going anywhere either – so don’t throw everything away for a future promise that isn’t here just yet (though it’s arriving more every day).

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