The following is a guest contributed post to NativeMobile from Himanshu Sareen, CEO of Icreon Tech, a global IT consultancy.
You might have heard it referred to as a “double-edged sword,” but recent statistics show that mobile strategy can be a bit more dangerous than that: According to a recent survey of almost 1,500 C-level execs, only two out of five companies think they’ve made “good progress” in their mobility efforts so far. For a market that will commit 18 billion dollars to mobile advertising alone this year, these are some troubling numbers. But where are these companies going wrong, and how can they find a way to put themselves on a more productive mobile path?
The truth is, most companies simply don’t know how to approach mobile strategy. They create mobile for the sake of mobile, and are failing to answer the most important question of all: How can I leverage the power of mobile to affect my bottom line? Here are five ways to create a mobile strategy that will positively impact your business.
- Devise a flexible roadmap
So you know a mobile presence is worth your while, but where do you apply it? Do you want to streamline internal processes? Create a consumer-facing mobile product? Facilitate collaborations with partners? Whatever the case, your mobile strategy should always seek to complement your overarching business goals.
In my experience, it’s invaluable to begin planning with a comprehensive technology audit of current processes. By deconstructing your IT system’s inner-workings, you can clearly observe where functional expectations are falling short, and realign your strategy accordingly. In audits I’ve run for companies in the past, I’ve been surprised at how common it is for large businesses to assume that web content will simply translate into a mobile format. It never does.
Don’t just assume things. Break yourself down to see what holes need filling, and then exploit mobile habits to fill them in.
- Cut the fat
Keeping in mind the motivations that drive your audience, make sure that when the time comes and a user is forced to interact with your company’s mobile presence, you have a lean and user-friendly interface to show for it. Minimize the space you put between the user and actionable items. If possible, make it so that one or two clicks will get them to an interactive page or contact form.
In the process of doing this, you’re going to face the reality that a lot of content needs to be cut. This is natural for mobile design, but not every stakeholder in your mobile process is going to understand that. I’ll reassure you now so you can reassure them later: 100 percent of the time, usability wins out against content overloading. Make sacrifices, and cut out the extra–your bottom line will thank you later.
- Prioritize your mobile presences
Before you decide between a mobile-friendly site and a native app, take time to consider that 86 percent of users prefer apps. If you have the budget, do both, but if you have to choose one, just let your business goals guide you. You want more universal access? Go with a site. You want something deeper, more unique, more captivating? Go with an app.
As a final note: If you’re on the fence between a mobile-optimized site and a site with responsive web design, just buckle down and go with responsive. It’s efficient, it’s flexible, it looks good, and I personally recommend in the wide majority of cases.
- Use multimedia to keep users hooked
Video content currently accounts for 53 percent of mobile web traffic, so if you want to add real value to your mobile offering, take advantage of multimedia. And don’t feel like you have to settle for a hollow advertisement or a simple explainer video. Serialized video tutorials, in-depth podcasts, beautifully-shot case studies—not only do these take advantage of mobile consumption habits, but they also provide users a strong incentive to keep coming back for more.
- Leverage data
I can tell you everything I know about mobile strategy, but the best way to create your own approach is to begin gathering real data of your own. Product reach, usage statistics, mobile conversions, cost of ownership – these are all things you’ll need to keep track of to make sure your product is affecting your bottom line in a positive way. Take advantage of tools like Google Analytics for mobile to monitor traffic sources, e-commerce transactions, and user interactions with your site. Claiming success or failure without the data to back it up is nothing more than shouting.
With so little room for waste and so many evolving variables to consider, mobile strategizing will require you to confront some difficult realities. But by developing a highly-customized battle plan and letting business goals guide you, your mobile decisions will work wonders for your bottom line.