Business Tools

Design Tips for Effective Mobile Marketing

The growth in the use of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, is fueled by the need for users to obtain information when they want it.
Mobile marketing has become a significant tool to engage customers. According to information delivered in a recent SEMA webinar conducted by John McPhee of Formic Media, by 2014, the mobile Internet is projected to take over desktop Internet usage.

To help your company prepare for the evolution of digital communication and the Internet Revolution, McPhee recently provided tips and guidance to help companies effectively integrate mobile marketing into their overall marketing programs through the SEMA Webinar, "Effective Mobile Marketing."

The growth in the use of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, is fueled by the need for users to obtain information when they want it. From virtually anywhere a customer happens to be, they can get the information or answers they desire in a very short period of time compared to a PC or laptop. It is very important for companies to ensure that the mobile experience they are providing is meeting the basics of what customers expect when trying to gather information on the go.

One of the first things that McPhee advises is to determine if your website should be mobile friendly, mobile optimized or if a mobile app should be created.  He also says that when creating a destination for mobile devices, design is extremely important.

"Always test your mobile website across various platforms and devices," says McPhee. "This helps to make sure that regardless of browser, device or carrier, the site loads and functions with the speed intended." Your design should be focused on delivering information quickly and limit load times. Design your site to load fast and make the text easy to read. Compress images to make them small for faster loading and use bullet points instead of large blocks of text to deliver a message.

"Always pay attention to analytics and monitor what mobile users are doing online," explained McPhee. "Understanding and monitoring what users are doing and what they have come to expect from a mobile experience will help you to design your website with efficiency in mind."

Some of the tips that McPhee suggests when it comes to simplifying the navigation of your company's mobile site are:
  • Minimize scrolling and keep it vertical only
  • Use a clear hierarchy in menus and avoid rollovers
  • Help users navigate between levels with clear back and home buttons
  • Use seven links or fewer per page of navigation
  • Have a search box prominently available on complex sites
McPhee also says your site should be easy to navigate and make it easy for customers to buy something or contact you. He suggests that when designing your company's site, focus on information that will convert a browser to a buyer, such as product details. The number of steps used to complete a transaction should be minimal, forms should be as short as possible, scroll menus and lists should be used to make data entry easier, and a click-to-call functionality should be made available for all phone numbers.

Make It Local
Always make sure to have your address or store locator on your mobile website or landing page. People are looking to talk or connect with somebody, or looking to find your store's physical location. Include maps and directions; you can use GPS if you have the ability to do so. It is also a good idea to allow users to check stock at nearby stores. This is a good way to provide the customer a way to determine if they need to buy now or can plan a later purchase.

Be Thumb-Friendly
Fingers are used to operate mobile devices, so design your site in a manner that people can access and easily click links, regardless of the size of their fingers. "It's a good practice to leave enough space around the area of clickable links that will help users avoid accidental clicks. It's also a good idea to pad check boxes by making the text clickable as well.

Make It Seamless
People use multiple screens throughout the day, and it's a good idea to convert as much of the functionality of your desktop site to mobile to create a seamless experience. "If there are some areas of your website that are highly clicked, you need to make sure that as much of those areas are converted and featured on your mobile platform. Always look at analytics to ensure that your desktop website experience is as similar as possible to the mobile site."

Make It Accessible

McPhee stated that companies need to keep in mind that the ideal goal of providing a quality mobile experience for your customers is to ensure that your site works across all mobile devices and all handset orientations. Some devices, such as the iPhone, don't use Flash. "Find alternatives for Flash; Google doesn't like Flash either," McPhee informed the audience. "A good alternative is to use HTML5 for interactivity and animation." McPhee also suggests adapting your mobile site for both vertical and horizontal orientations.

Hear the complete webinar by accessing the entire "Effective Mobile Marketing" session. For more information on SEMA webinars and the Association's eLearning courses, contact Juliet Marshall at