Marketing Your Services in a Digital World (Part 2)

Here’s Part 2 of this weeks guest blog. A big thanks to Jay for sharing his thoughts with us!

- The Geeky Girls

Building a mobile friendly website, is it really necessary?

Hello All,

Jay Taylor here again with part 2 of Marketing your services in a digital world.  In the first blog I talked about the Hyper-Connected consumer and the impact on marketing your services.  In this blog post, I wanted to talk about the impact of smartphones on your web strategy.

Like before, I wanted to start off with some statistics, did you know that:

  • JPMorgan predicts that 657 million smartphones will sell in 2012.
  • IDC predicts smartphone sales will rise to 982 million in 2015 and IMS Research puts that number at 1 billion by 2016.
  • Morgan Stanley Research estimates sales of smartphones will exceed those of PCs in 2012.

And if those numbers were not impressive enough, here are a few more to consider…

  • Smartphone unit sales will grow at nearly a 30% compound annual growth rate over the next five years.
  • Smartphones will also represent about two-thirds of all mobile phone purchases by 2016 and be a $320 billion market.

So, you tell me, is having a mobile friendly site important?

As I said in the other blog post, if you have not done this already, you need to make sure your website mobile friendly. There will be an ever increasing number of “Hyper-Connected” consumers hitting your site from mobile devices so it’s imperative that you be ready to serve these customers. There are a few ways you can approach this especially with the variety of tools available to web developers like HTML 5, CSS 3, Javascript, JQuery and other great tools available for web developers.

Every great website starts by using common design elements or principles.  When it comes to making a site mobile friendly this means to keep mobile devices in mind as you layout the site so that it is easily viewable on a PC screen or a mobile screen.  It typically includes things like:

  • Using large buttons that work easily well for touch and mouse pointers.
  • Resizing graphics and using resolutions that will scale appropriately to the target device so that they display well on a mobile device or a computer screen.
  • Using dropdown lists where appropriate.
  • Use of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) instead of tables.
  • Use mobile friendly navigation practices
  • Moving away from flash based video playback

It’s also important to be aware of performance impact of images, files, etc. used when laying out your site. Remember, mobile phones are limited to cell network speeds (Cellular, 3G, 4G, etc.), not broadband speeds you have at home. By sticking with the right design principles, you can make your site much more mobile friendly and responsive.

Now, while I think using a good set of design practices is important regardless of your intention to service mobile platforms with your website. I think the next piece is really important when making a site mobile friendly.  Websites can actually determine when a device hitting the page is a mobile platform, so why not build out mobile specific pages. Websites have the intelligence to recognize that the device making the page request is actually a mobile device and therefore, instead of serving up your standard webpage, it can serve up mobile specific pages. Not only is this important because so many devices will be accessing your page through mobile devices, but it also important in helping establish your brand.

One way this is done is through JQuery libraries. JQuery libraries are open source Javascript libraries that web developers can use to compliment and simplify HTML code and build mobile specific pages.  Check out the link below, they have some cool templates as well as examples that demonstrate mobile apps/pages to give you an idea of how your site can look.

http://jquerymobile.com/resources/

By using these common libraries you are in better control over how your website is viewed on an array of devices and you are providing a richer experience for your clients.  This is especially helpful in controlling your image as well as delivering functionality to your clients.  For example, you could drive people directly into your MLS/IDX search capabilities of your website without needing a dedicated app to deliver that functionality.  Furthermore if you are building your brand through a tool like our House Hunter: My Agent app, you can enhance the overall functionality of the app by adding new capabilities like listing searches and still provide a seamless experience to your clients.  Check out these screenshots from a couple of our realtor customers with mobile optimized pages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the above examples, by clicking on the globe icon, the app takes the customer to the agent’s mobile friendly site where they can search listings right from the app.  By clicking on the Agent Contact button, they are seamlessly returned to the app where they can continue tracking and evaluating homes and the agent branding is carried throughout the experience.

In any case, the world is increasingly mobile and the sooner you make your site mobile friendly, the better position you are in to capture new leads.  With such a staggering rate of growth, mobile devices are driving more and more of the web traffic.  If you don’t make your website mobile friendly now, you will likely be forced to do it in the very near future.  It may be time to reach out to your webmaster or web developer and request they make your site mobile friendly.

To learn more about how we can help you build your brand, visit our website at www.cre8tiveapps.com or follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Cre8tiveApps).  Please feel free to leave any comments or questions or even send me an email jay at cre8tiveapps dot com.

 

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