Mobile-Optimized “Sites” are Not Necessary

by Wiz

Over the past few days I’ve been reading through all the “predictions for 2012” out there – there’s a lot of good stuff. And while there is a wide variety of opinions of what will and will not happen, all the prognosticators have one prediction in common: 2012 will be “the year of mobile.”

Personally, I’m still a bit skeptical about that.

Yes, I know that the percentage of people that own, use and surf with smartphones is on the rise. And that tablets are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. I’m in complete agreement that all of us in the B2B world need to consider mobile in our overall marketing strategy.

Where I disagree with the prognosticators is in the “how”.

Mobile Optimized Site?

Virtually everyone writing about mobile marketing is making the same recommendation: Optimize your site for mobile. It’s often presented in language that says “of course this goes without saying.” The problem is that optimizing one’s entire website for the mobile searcher is a herculean task. Many businesses just don’t have the resources available to do this easily. And depending on how it’s done, re-optimizing may cause problems with the non-mobile visitor’s experience.

That’s why my recommendation is: Optimize targeted web pages for mobile.

I’m not playing at semantics here. All I’m saying is that, while a worthy goal, optimizing one’s entire site for mobile is not necessary. For a couple of reasons:

Mobile searches are different than PC searches. It’s a completely different mindset. Think about it – if you’re searching for something on a smartphone, most likely you’re looking for a quick answer to something. Even tablet searchers are more in the mode of searching at off-hours. They’re probably not looking to navigate your site or read lots of text. They want to find something quickly: once they find what they’re looking for, quite often the mobile searcher will bookmark or email the page so they can review it on a desktop/laptop later.

Not all pages are created equal. As much as we would like to think otherwise, some pages on our sites are much more important to visitors than others. B2B searchers are looking for specific answers to specific problems. Things like company history, product delivery, etc. only become important after they find those answers.

So how do you determine which pages should be mobile-optimized (or at least, given a higher priority)?

  1. Think like a mobile searcher. Become a mobile searcher yourself, and start navigating your site and see where the challenges are. Better yet, ask your customers to search your site with a mobile device and get their feedback. An inducement (otherwise known as a “thank you gift”) will go a long way in getting customers to participate.
  2. Look at your analytics. Are there any pages that show a significant amount of mobile visits? What information is on those pages? How can that information be better served to a mobile audience?
  3. Make your landing page forms mobile-user-friendly. If you’ve ever tried to fill out a form on a smartphone, or even a tablet, you know how much of a pain that can be. If a form has 7-10 required fields to fill out, the mobile user may decide that the value of your white paper just isn’t worth the effort. Therefore, you may need to consider requiring less information from your mobile leads.
  4. Mobile-optimized navigation and site search are “musts”. Again – the mobile user is a “quick in, quick out” visitor. Make it easy for them to get around your site, and to find what they’re looking for.

Will mobile eventually supplant desktop/laptops as the number one method of interacting with B2B websites? Perhaps. I don’t advocate re-doing your website entirely for the mobile user. But we all should strive to make the mobile visitor’s experience just as pleasant as that of our “traditional” visitors.

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