When you think about the different ways customers land on your company's website, mobile is most likely a growing driver of traffic. According to the latest statistics from Pew Research, 56 percent of Americans own a smartphone and 34 percent own a tablet. Then consider that 63 percent of smartphone owners use their devices to go online.
Does your content-marketing strategy take these trends into account? Plugging new channels or technologies into your existing content strategy isn't enough. As a business owner, you need to consider how your site and your marketing are being delivered over the devices people are using. If you're not delivering your marketing messages in a way that's tailored specifically to the experience of a smartphone or tablet user, chances are you're turning customers away.
Here's a closer look at some critical points to consider about your company's mobile content-marketing strategy:
Mobile isn't just about the device. Don't just look at the mobile channel as a series of devices. It's true that your content needs to be optimized and look great across different brands of tablets and smartphones. But mobile is also about the context and behaviors of your customers while they're on those devices.
What are they doing on that smartphone? Are they accessing content relaxing at home, or glancing quickly during their commute? Your content strategy needs to represent a deeper understanding of your users' mobile context and what that means for both your content and experience creation.
For example, I recently bought a new home theater system. As I was setting it up in the living room, I realized that I lacked a particular part to enable the wireless rear speakers. I needed to figure out how to buy that part while I was next to my speaker system so I could examine their part numbers and other information printed on the speakers. I pulled out my iPhone and began searching the web. Plenty of suppliers had the part available, but I made my purchase based on what I needed at that moment: Assurance that it was the right part, trustworthiness of the supplier and a reasonable price. I purchased from the supplier that was able to convey each of those things in the easiest, most efficient manner on my smartphone.
Base your strategy on how your audience really uses mobile. An effective mobile content strategy demands an understanding of your audience's mobile usage. Marketers like to imagine they know their customers. But the reality of mobile usage may differ from your perception.
Part of your audience profile should focus on how mobile fits into your customers' lives. What devices are they on? What kind of an experience are they looking for from you? Data from your existing website analytics program can give you mobile insights, as can targeted surveys, to form the foundation of your mobile content strategy.
Think before you shrink. The old model of content creation was to adapt content from other formats, usually the web, to a small screen. Text was chunked differently, visuals updated and overall layouts simplified and made more "tappable" for touchscreens.
Instead, look at all of your content through a mobile lens at the point of creation. Copywriting and visuals should be as short and minimalistic as possible, while effectively conveying your message. Then adapt your ideas from there to the bigger screen. Scale content creation up, rather than down.
Rethink your user experience through design. Every business needs a website that looks great and functions well on mobile devices. If information is hard to find or your site is impossible to navigate, you'll lose customers. But mobile design goes beyond basic functionality. Ask yourself if you're providing the right experience in terms of content, look, feel, functionality and tools to help your customers achieve their end goal.
Going back to my example about buying the part for the home theater system, during my search for suppliers I found several that had awful mobile design. One in particular wouldn't even let me add my item to the cart. Needless to say, I didn't make my purchase from that supplier.
Focus first on the experience, and then optimize the visuals.
Expand your understanding of conversions. In the mobile universe, conversions go way beyond the sale. Signing up for a newsletter, sharing your content or downloading a white paper may be valuable customer touch points. Think about the range of mobile conversions with value for your business and develop mobile content to support that funnel.
Take advantage of location. Geolocation technologies are giving businesses creative ways to engage customers, from sending market research surveys to customers nearby to offering discount codes to drive sales. Examples of these technologies include Apple's Siri, Google Now and GPS-enabled apps for iOS and Android.
Mobile devices are the lever these campaigns hinge on. Consider how location-based technologies could increase immediate engagement with your customers.
Leverage the rise of micro-video. As visual content such as videos and infographics become the preferred form of content, specific opportunities are appearing for mobile. Short videos on Vine and Instagram have provided marketers another way to reach their audience. What part of your story can you tell in a micro-video? For some interesting takes on Vine campaigns check out Oreo's campaign and Lowe's six-second home improvement tips.
Make social engagement easy. Is your content easy to share and easy to engage with? Simple like and share buttons encourage social engagement. If you're requesting information, avoid long essay questions and forms that are awkward to navigate.
With more opportunities to reach customers and prospects by mobile, companies can stay relevant by creating mobile-focused content marketing strategies. This can help you to concentrate on high-return mobile activities that drive website traffic, engagement, leads and sales.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.