You know how real estate people like to say, “location, location, location”? It’s time digital marketers started saying “mobile, mobile, mobile.”
- There’s more traffic on the Internet from mobile devices than from desktops. And that’s been true since 2014.
- 56% of content consumed today is consumed on a mobile device.
- Over 31 million US Internet users will only go online via a mobile device in 2016.
There’s a slew of stats to verify mobile’s rising dominance, but I think you get the idea. Here’s the problem, though: B2Bers aren’t keeping pace.
According to Regalix’s State of B2B Content Marketing 2016 report, only 11% of B2B marketers have a strategy exclusively for mobile content.
This is actually down from last year, when 21% of respondents said they had a strategy.
Unfortunately, it shows. Content on mobile devices tends to get less engagement than content on a desktop, especially for B2B technology marketers.
A problem, but even more of an opportunity
Okay, so we’ve got a disconnect here. But this is more of an opportunity than a disaster. Sure, we’re not serving our mobile users as well as we could be. And there are more of them every day – they now actually outnumber the people who are viewing our content on desktops.
So it’s time to adapt. We’re very close to the end of the year right now, and you’re probably shifting through your priorities and assigning budget accordingly. Here’s your reminder that mobile deserves a top priority, and that it’s something you need to do to move the needle.
Benchmark where you stand with mobile
A lot of us may feel like we’re behind on mobile content, but really what matters is how you compare to your competitors. Here are a few of the key findings from another Regalix report, the “State of B2B Mobile Marketing” to show you where you stand:
- Only 51% of B2B organizations are investing in mobile marketing.
If you’re putting in even a dribble of budget to this, you’re in the top half of mobile adopters. And, seriously – even a little counts. According to that same Regalix report, 73% of B2B marketers allocate less than 10% to mobile marketing.
This is downright weird given that almost half of them say mobile marketing will be “very important” to their organization’s growth in the next three years. (And again, this is an opportunity for you.)
- 65% of marketers say they have a “mobile website,” which I suspect means they have a mobile-friendly website.
If your site passes muster with Google’s Mobile-Friendliness tool, you’ve already passed the next big hurdle. And remember: Being mobile-friendly helps your search engine rankings, too. A lot.
- Only 45% of B2Bers say their emails are mobile friendly.
We’ve written about how critical a good mobile experience is for email marketing before, so I won’t dig too deep into it here.
Just understand: More than half of the people who are seeing your emails are seeing them on mobile devices. They expect those emails to look good, be easy to click, and to load instantly.
Fall short on any of that and your results will suffer. But get it right… and you’ve got yourself an edge.
- You’re using mobile-friendly landing pages.
Sadly, only half of your peers are using mobile-friendly landing pages. (Guys, really? How much are you spending to drive traffic to those pages?)
- You’re personalizing the content you show mobile users.
This one is beyond the basics, so I can see how adoption could fall off. Adding personalization (more than simply dropping in first names) can be a challenge. But we’ve got software now that makes this easier and easier.
How context, simplicity, and mobile content work together
Let’s shift from personalizing content to “contextualizing” it. This tactic is particularly important with mobile, but it’s a concept that can seem murky at times. This slide from the Content Marketing Institute’s webinar, “Making Mobile Moments Matter”, explains it well:
Context matters more in mobile marketing because of the nature of the device people are using. The screen space is small, so it’s easier to feel lost in a sea of content and options. Also because of the screen size, tasks like clicking, filling out forms, or navigating are harder, too.
If you still want the experience to be positive, mobile messaging needs to be trimmed down and streamlined. Same goes for navigation and even some functionality.
So how do you do this? Ask yourself questions like this:
- Who is visiting your site? I.e., define your buyer personas.
- Why are they visiting your site? You must address these needs if visitors are to have a positive experience. You need to make it easy for them.
- What do you want them to know? What key topics and points does your content need to cover?
- What do you want them to do? What specific calls to action do you need to make, and how do those actions move people to the next step of their journey and your sales funnel?
Want to know more about this phase of developing a mobile content strategy? See our recorded webinar, “How to Create a Mobile-Friendly Customer Journey”.
How to format and present content for optimal mobile engagement
Once you’ve done the work outlined above, you’ll be a long way towards making your mobile users’ experience far better. But there’s still more you can do. Here are some formatting and content creation tips for mobile content:
- Try to develop content that is “modular” and that has a well-defined content hierarchy.
Some marketers have had success with “collapsible content”. This is content that can expand and contract almost like an accordion based on what the user is interested in.
For example, imagine a list of bullet points. Each point is hyperlinked, so if a user clicks on it, it opens up with a few more sentences of description. But if a user doesn’t interact with it, the content stays compact, not “distracting” the user with details they aren’t interested in.
If you’re interested in this, check out a Whiteboard Friday presentation Moz did last year about writing for the Web and “hypotext.” They’ve even got a plugin to help you set up your own collapsible content.
- Tighten up your messaging. Or, as it’s been said before, “Omit needless words.” Shorter is better with mobile. Just be sure to preserve the meaning and the force of your words.
- Try to use shorter headlines than you might use for desktops.
- Use short paragraphs of no more than 3-5 lines.
- Use subheaders. They help people scan copy, improve SEO, and give readers’ eyes a rest.
- Use bullet points. For all the reasons you use subheaders.
- Use images. People are particularly drawn to images on mobile devices. To make images work even better, show them at full column width, “minify” them (reduce their file size so they load fast), and use keywords in the filenames.
- Spend extra time crafting the first few sentences of any piece of content. These often end up being the “teaser” copy for the piece … so those sentences are nearly as important as the headline.
- Use a body font that’s 12 points or larger.
- Write as if you were drafting a PowerPoint presentation or a billboard – not a printed book.
- Simplify the navigation as much as possible.
- Make links and any buttons or calls to action BIG. Big enough to overcome the “fat fingers” effect.
- Simplify your forms and be sure they render properly on mobile devices. Forms are a hassle on almost any screen, but on tiny screens, they’re even worse. See our ebook, “Frictionless Forms” for more information.
- Make it fast. Really fast. Speed matters on mobile. Even a two-second load time is enough to cause people to bail.
- Use video. We’ve written about how important video marketing is for B2Bers, but that’s not the whole story. Video is also inherently mobile friendly. According to Bit.ly’s The Ultimate Guide To Mobile Content Marketing, “When it comes to creating mobile content marketing, video is the number one area for marketers to focus on in 2016.” Want to see a B2B company that has a great mobile video experience? Check out GE.
Think outside the website
For those of us still in a desktop-first mindset, all those last pieces of advice probably applies to web pages. But that’s only one of the mobile formats available. Now that our audiences are using apps, messaging apps, SMS, and so many other content “containers,” it’s time for us to use them, too.
Here are a few of the options:
Consider an app
Apps are big and getting bigger. And they’re built into the DNA of the mobile experience. In fact, half of all time spent on smartphones is now spent on apps.
Consider messaging apps, too
Is it possible there are apps that are used more than the big social media apps? Seems crazy, but it’s true. Messaging apps have silently taken over a massive chunk of Internet activity.
Google’s answer boxes (aka “Rich Answers”)
These are the blocks of content that have recently started appearing at the top of search results. They are inherently mobile-friendly, but desktop users can see them, too.
Want to know more? See our blog post about answer boxes and how to get your content to appear in them.
Push notifications and SMS
Whether it’s a text message or a push notification, it’s another way to communicate with your audience. I’ve even been seeing prompts to accept these push notifications on some marketing blogs lately.
Social media is a mobile content format, too.
Worried your content isn’t getting enough shares? Most of us are. Mobile to the rescue: People tend to share content more often on mobile devices. All the more reason to make those social sharing buttons big and clickable. They might just get used.
Why no mention of Instagram here? Because it’s nearly a pure-mobile platform. 98% of Instagram users are on mobile devices.
It’s pointless to say the Internet is going mobile. It’s already gone mobile. So has much of business on the Web, including content marketing. It’s time we all caught up.
What do you think?
How deeply does mobile fit into your content marketing strategy? Is it a top priority for your work next year? Share your thoughts in the comments.