For B2B marketers, a common challenge is targeting the key platforms and mediums where users are most likely to consume information. In today’s digital landscape, this now includes mobile marketing.
According to a recent eMarketer article, nearly one-quarter of B2B ecommerce professionals said that mobile Web was one of the most influential touch points for their customers. In addition, 28 percent of U.S. C-level executives in the B2B space used a mobile device to research business purchases; 21 percent used a tablet.
For this reason, mobile will become an increasingly important component of capturing B2B buyers in the early stages of the purchase funnel.
Indeed, eMarketer indicates that “Mobile device usage is additive, and marketers should look to build experiences that can easily transition across screens.” Doing so can requires certain considerations for B2B search marketers developing mobile marketing strategies on behalf of their organizations.
Below are 6 key points our organization is evaluating with clients who are interested in launching B2B mobile marketing initiatives in the future.
The first step is to understand how your visitor traffic is currently consuming your website content via mobile device. Here is a quick reference for accessing this information in Google Analytics. The two pieces of information immediately important are:
- Percentage of traffic from mobile devices
- Breakdown of popular mobile device types
Growth in these metrics over periods of time will help determine the urgency of mobile strategy development. Here is a snapshot of that growth over a select group of KoMarketing clients.
Because the industrial client highlighted in yellow shows a significantly increased percentage of mobile device usage period to period, my opinion is that there is more urgency in building a mobile marketing strategy than for some of the other clients listed.
Browser & Device Testing Of Content Assets
How does the site currently perform across a range of mobile devices? Android, iPhone, and tablet browsers should all be tested and evaluated for usability purposes. Key questions to consider:
- How conversion actions perform (using various mobile browsers)
- How images, video, and other content marketing assets display
- File download speeds, particularly with images and video
- Readability and accessibility of PDF files, such as white papers and research reports
- Ability to click through site, both within primary page material and through navigation
- Visibility and accessibility of address and phone number (click to call code: <a href=”tel:0000000000″>0000000000</a>)
- How the site performs from a traffic perspective on mobile devices compared to traditional browsers and operating systems (via web reporting tools)
Qualitative and quantitative measurements should be used to make determinations on mobile urgency. For example, forms and lead generation assets that simply do not work should be addressed, but a full-blown mobile site rollout may be questionable if the metrics on usage and performance are not significant.
Don’t have the right smart phones? The User Agent Switcher Firefox extension adds a menu and a toolbar button to switch the user agent of a browser. There is an XML extension which adds even more user agent information, as opposed to manually finding and adding them to the extension settings.
Sub-Domain vs. CSS Customization?
One of the big site-specific questions to consider is the location of the mobile site experience, which can be handled through sub-domain, sub-directory, or device-based redirects.
While there does not appear to be consensus on which option to use, a few factors should be considered, particularly for larger organizations:
- Complexity of current site architecture (features, design, internationalization, etc.)
- Resources available to support multiple site constructs (i.e., mobile and traditional sites)
- Related site initiatives (redesigns, CMS transitions, etc.)
As I wrote this column, Google officially announced recommendations for building smartphone-optimized websites, which included the use of responsive Web design when possible. Even though Google favors responsive design, they also invented a new canonical tag just for mobile, allowing us to tell spiders how the desktop and mobile pages are related.
Via Mobile Search columnist Sherwood Stranieri, “The new Googlebot announced last year was great news for mobile marketers. But there were a lot of unanswered questions about what the bot would digest. So it’s great to finally see some guidance on what can and can’t be done.”
Additional resources we’ve found helpful in discussing this issue include:
- Google: One URL With Special Stylesheet Is Easy Mobile SEO
- Bing Takes Clear Stance On Mobile SEO: One URL
- Why Responsive Web Design is Not the Holy Grail for Mobile
Form submissions are a critical component of B2B lead generation initiatives. Beyond simply working within a mobile environment, B2B marketers need to be cognoscente and cognizant of how user-friendly they are as well.
For example, sales-specific lead forms typically require significant field information, which can be cumbersome on both a phone and a tablet. Consideration should be made for the type of lead generation assets present on the site, and the use of form field requirements when users access on a mobile browser.
Social Media Integration
Don’t forget more direct tie-ins to popular social media platforms and assets of the organization. Social media plays more prominently in the mobile environment. In research from Comscore, 72.2 million Americans accessed social networking sites or blogs on their mobile device in August 2011, an increase of 37 percent in the past year.
B2B Marketers need to ensure there is an opportunity for customers and site visitors to integrate social media sharing and activity into the mobile experience. This can be as simple as adding share-buttons to key content assets to more comprehensive initiatives like engagement tie-ins with Facebook or Google+ Pages.
Mobile Application vs. Mobile Site?
A common question from clients will be whether to build a mobile application, mobile site, or both. With limited budget, it is important to consider the functionality desired with the mobile experience, and complexity of the existing site structure.
If an organization only wants to recreate the experience of their website on a mobile device, mobile Web design would be more sensible than mobile application development, which requires additional support and developer skills.
If the mobile experience is designed to provide very specific functionality, a mobile application may make more sense than a mobile site.
For example, one of our clients is interested in providing a specific piece of functionality for its customer base, as opposed to the entire breadth of lead generation initiatives its site contains. In this case, a mobile application seems to be a better course of action because they were providing a very specific set of functionality.
While there is no denying the continued growth and influence the mobile web will have on the B2B decision maker, sounds strategies based on key considerations and site factors need to be reviewed.
What key points are you evaluating in your exploration into B2B mobile marketing? I would love to discuss the topic further via comments below.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.