We asked 20 of the world’s top online entrepreneurs about the trends that would define the future of online business and ‘mobile’ was the most common answer (online video was #2). If you have a website and you’re not thinking about mobile, then you’re missing out on the biggest thing to happen to the Internet since broadband.
There are now more than 1.2 billion mobile web users worldwide and 25% of US internet users are mobile only. Mobile searches have quadrupled in the last year and this phenomenon is not going away any time soon.
Below, I’ll explain what makes mobile users different based on research from Google Mobile. Then I’ll share the mobile content, design, email marketing, and sales copy strategies that I learned directly from experts like Syed Balkhi and Yanik Silver.
What You’ll Learn:
- The browsing habits of mobile users
- The simple secret to writing mobile content
- Why responsive web design matters and how to get it
- The trick to good good mobile sales copy
- How mobile readers might change your email marketing tactics
Understanding Why the Mobile Web is Different
Mobile users experience the web differently. First of all, the screen is smaller. This can be a problem, as Shane Ketterman points out on CopyBlogger:
“What happens when readers feel cramped or have to work hard to navigate your site or read your content? They leave.”
In order to keep visitors around, keep your pages straightforward and your links “thumb-sized” — especially call-to-action buttons.
Objective Oriented Browsing
Mobile users are often accessing the web on the go and therefore they’re more likely to be using the web to meet an immediate, specific need.
According to a Google Mobile Ads study, Nine out 10 mobile searches result in an action and 88% of these users take action within the first day.
Slower Connection Speed
Smartphones and tablets are becoming more and more powerful with every iteration, but they still can’t compete with the big boys (laptops and desktops) in terms of speed.
Mobile devices are so convenient to use that they’re often used as a supplement to other activities. 72% of people use their smartphones while consuming other media, a third while watching TV.
So keep in mind that you likely won’t have the full attention of your mobile audience.
Mobile users can access the web from anywhere and that changes what they’re able to search for online. For instance, 70% use their smartphones while shopping in a store to help make purchasing decisions.
Your online audience is no longer guaranteed to be sitting at a desk. Think about your niche: from what other locations and situations might your audience be accessing your site?
Mastering the Mobile Web from Content Writing to Copy Writing
Make Mobile Content Easy-to-Digest
Syed Balkhi is one of the world’s most forward-thinking bloggers, especially when it comes to content. His latest project, List25, has earned over 200,000 Facebook likes in just over a year.
He told us that “easy to consume” content is the wave of the future, as more and more people spend their online hours casually browsing mobile devices:
“We’re seeing an emergence of infographics and motion graphics. We’re going towards an age of data consumption and we need to make it as easy to consume as possible, because people’s attention span is so low. To captivate that short attention span, you have to have very, very compelling content that’s very easy to consume.”
Income Diary is a strong proponent of writing long content because it ranks better (the average front-page search result is 2,000+ words) and because it’s more likely to be shared (as demonstrated by Neil Patel).
But Syed’s right too. As more and more people go mobile, more and more web users will be browsing your site while waiting in line, watching TV, and otherwise unable to engage with in-depth content. You can make your content more “easy-to-consume” by putting an emphasis on visuals and videos — and keeping text to a minimum.
Responsive & Mobile Web Design
Jacob Cass is a graphic designer at NYC-based firm Ammirati (clients include Nintendo, Zynga, and Jerry Seinfeld). When we asked him about the future of web design, he immediately start talking about mobile:
“Responsive design is at the top of my list. A responsive website is a website that adapts to the screen that you’re viewing it on. For example, a website will change its look when you’re viewing it on a mobile device, versus a large screen.”
Upgrading to a responsive web design may be the single most important thing you can do to make your website more mobile friendly.
If you’re wondering how to make the switch over to responsive web design, Jacob gave us this advice, “For my site, I used the Skeleton responsive boilerplate. There’s really no reason to redo everything if there are already frameworks in place. Another good one to explore is Bootstrap, by Twitter.”
Email Marketing and Mobile
“More and more people are going to be reading your email on little screens.”
David Risley, from Web Domination 20
Nearly all mobile users are using their device to check their email.
According to Andigo New Media, your first priority should be to limit scrolling on the email: “left to right scrolling is an absolute no-no but even north/south scrolling should be limited whenever possible.”
David Risley earns a six-figure income through email marketing. In our interview, he told us that optimizing your emails for mobile devices mostly comes down to keeping it as simple as possible — especially since some mobile devices aren’t so great at displaying email:
“The nice smart phones are pretty good at scaling the email up and down. But not everybody’s walking around with an iPhone, so you have to just keep things as simple as you can.”
If you’ve got an email list, then try opening your emails with a variety of different mobile devices to see how they look.
Writing Sales Copy for a Mobile Audience
“You’ve got to balance the device with the message.”
Yanik Silver, from Web Domination 20
Yanik Silver is the creator of Instant Sales Letters and quite possibly the world’s leading expert in online copywriting. He’s also one of the first copywriters to recognize that online sales letters should adapt for mobile users.
His first advice is to keep it short:
“You’ve got to make sure that your copy is ideal for someone coming off of a mobile device. Maybe that means even shorter paragraphs. Maybe that means keeping it really tight and engaging.”
Silver also sees a sales video as a way to level the copywriting playing field across all devices:
“For someone to scroll through on their iPhones through a twenty page sales letter is
going to be a lot tougher than watching a three minute video about it.”
These sales page videos don’t have to be flashy in order to be effective on mobile. Michael Dunlop uses a video that’s just voiceover and text for his Web Domination sales page. What matters it that mobile users can digest your entire message with just one touch of the screen.
Ready to Dive into the Mobile Web?
The devices are small, but the mobile web is big… and only getting bigger.
The sooner you start running your website with a mobile audience in mind, the soon you’ll be able to benefit from this fast-growing demographic.
In this post, I reviewed mobile content, design, email marketing, and sales copy, but that’s really only scratching the surface. If you have any insights into mastering the mobile web – or questions about it – let us know in the comments.