It isn’t time to stop thinking about customers engaging with your business through a computer, but it’s definitely time to focus on mobile as your first priority.
New numbers by StatCounter show that as of November 2016, 51.3 percent of all website visitors came through mobile. This is in contrast with only 48.7 percent that used more traditional computing platforms.
These numbers aren’t surprising, either. All you have to do is look around you to see that most people now use their smartphones and tablets for part or all of their surfing and online shopping needs.
Mobile is where it is at, which means you need good mobile customer engagement. Here are five tips for getting that mobile engagement.
1. Stay simple, stay fast
One key difference between desktop and mobile browsing is that the typical mobile user has less screen real estate, less time, and more distractions while they interact online.
This means that your mobile customer engagement should stress simplicity: simple landing pages without too many elements, simple email that is media-light, simple navigation, and so on. Mobile users just don’t have the bandwidth for more.
They also literally don’t have the bandwidth, in many cases, since cellular strength still varies widely by time of day, location, and cell tower density. So in addition to keeping your mobile presence simple, keep it fast to load. Mobile visitors won’t wait for large web pages and sites that move slowly.
2. Use click-to-call functionality
Keeping customer engagement easy for mobile users also means simplifying the process for making purchases and asking questions. One way to achieve this that you should consider is click-to-call functionality on your website or mobile app.
This is because the typical process of visiting a “contact us” page, hunting for a phone number, leaving the browser to place a call, and then waiting to be connected is grossly mismatched with mobile browsing needs. It just is too complicated.
Instead, click-to-call functionality makes it easy for mobile users to press and button and quickly speak with a customer service or sales agent.
“The mobile user doesn’t have to switch apps to speak with a business when they use click-to-call buttons,” notes Tony Zhao, founder of the real-time communications platform Agora.io. “Right from within the browser or app, they can talk with a business and get their questions answered fast, providing your customers a quick and snappy experience, rather than long obnoxious waiting periods. ”
3. Offer perks for buying with mobile
While most people now use mobile for browsing, they still are reluctant about actually completing the sale with it.
Your business obviously doesn’t want to wait to close the sale, or chance that it won’t be completed. So one way to ease the buying process is to offer mobile-only incentives or coupons. Companies such as Airasia drive mobile ecommerce by not only supporting mobile purchases, but encouraging it with sales and offers that visitors can only get if they buy from their mobile phone.
These perks can be part of planned mobile engagement campaigns, or they can be programmatic, such as having instant coupons that pop up when a visitor comes to the site via mobile device.
4. Build email marketing around mobile
Despite the importance of social media, email marketing is still the bread and butter for most businesses; more than 40 percent of email recipients are inspired to buy based on promotional emails, according to a report by Convince & Convert.
Make your email campaigns work better on mobile by using templates that adapt easily to small screens, read well on mobile email clients, go light on rich media, and load fast. For instance, a surprising number of email newsletters still center around two-column layouts that are ill-suited for mobile devices—so avoid this pitfall by considering mobile when planning your newsletters.
5. Lead with your social media outreach
Facebook’s app is consistently one of the most popular both on Apple and Google’s app stores, and social apps such as Snapchat and Instagram also are popular.
Mobile users are heavily reliant on social media, so engaging better with mobile users means your business must also lean heavily toward social media interaction.
Get good at quick social media customer response, and use rewards on social media to encourage your followers. Offers deals, discounts, and special offers on social, and focus on two-way interaction over social instead of simply using the platforms as another channel for one-way communication. Social is about interactivity.
Simply having a mobile site isn’t enough
Having a mobile presence is a start, but just having a mobile presence isn’t enough for most businesses.
If you want real customer engagement over mobile, you need to think mobile natively and build your online presence around it. That means things like simplicity, technologies that are mobile-first such as click-to-call, mobile discounts, thoughtful email marketing, and strong social media outreach and response.
As voice-of-the-customer advocate Ernan Roman noted in a recent TechTarget article, “Customers expecting companies to offer a rich mobile experience means providing them with a way to research and purchase products as well as a platform that can easily help them take advantage of discounts and other perks.”
We’ve passed the tipping point, and customers now are browsing more from mobile devices than desktops. Your business must act accordingly.