By Steffan Berelowitz, Founder and CEO of Bluetrain Mobile
It’s clear that consumers are relying on their mobile devices to access online content now more than ever, and in 2012, global mobile traffic represented 13 percent of all Internet traffic, according to StatCounter Global Stats (up from just 1 percent in 2009). This upward trend is particularly evident in financial services, where mobile banking adoption has jumped 33 percent in the past year alone. In view of this mobile banking boom, financial services companies are quickly realizing that in order to stay competitive and leverage mobile as a channel to attract new customers, they need both the right technology backend and top-notch marketing content to deliver what their customers want (simplified and efficient engagement) and what the business needs (lead-generating tactics for increased conversions).
Merchant Cash and Capital, LLC picked up on the benefits of implementing a mobile marketing strategy early on, having noticed that 10 to 20 percent of its customer web traffic originated from mobile devices or tablets. According to Mark Lowenstein, the company’s marketing director, the team decided it needed to make their mobile site as efficient and polished as possible—not only to meet customer expectations, but to develop a strong brand presence that would demonstrate the business’ credibility as a leading, professional operation.
Working with his team, Merchant Cash and Capital built a mobile site that incorporated responsive web design to offer customers easy reading, faster load times and more efficient navigation with minimal resizing, panning and scrolling needed. Because it was designed with a responsive architecture in mind, the site also highlights features of primary interest to its on-the-go customers, like “Quick Apply” and a click-to-call function. As a result, the new mobile site has generated quality phone leads from target consumers and doubled conversions on the same volume of traffic relative to the desktop website.
As the mobile web continues to grow as a communications and marketing channel, it will be increasingly important for banks to implement an innovative mobile marketing strategy. The starting point for many companies, including banks, is responsive design, which optimizes the viewing experience across a wide range of devices. Increasingly, the technology that powers responsive design is backed by server side components (called RESS), a next-generation approach where image load times can be significantly optimized and content can be further customized depending on the device.
For example, banks may promote a virtual demo on the business’ services on a customer’s desktop, while ensuring that links to the mobile banking application download and a customer service associate’s contact information is front and center on the mobile site. Even if the content is the same across all versions of the web site, the format of the content is automatically reconfigured based on the device through which the customer is viewing the site. This approach will further ensure that customers are getting what they want, while driving stronger leads for banks.
Every industry can learn from these early financial services successes. Based on our experiences with customers in FS as well as many other industries, I can share a few key strategies for mobile web design and deployment:
- Know your audience: What percentage of your audience currently accesses your site on mobile devices? What would you like that percentage to be? How will a mobile site support lead-gen goals? Understanding this will help you make smarter decisions about the content of your mobile-optimized site and mobile lead generation campaigns. (Keep in mind that over 45 percent of emails are now read on mobile devices, so any emails you send your target audience should link to mobile-optimized landing pages).
- Know your goals: What do you think a stronger mobile marketing program will get you, and how will you measure it? Without metrics in place, you’ll never know if what you’re doing is working.
- Develop ideas now for your path forward after you launch your mobile site: Do you have the budget for video production? Is this something your visitors would value? Would a mobile banking app complement what you are working to achieve for customer acquisition via your mobile site? Investigating these questions at the onset of a proposed mobile site project will you enhance your site in the future.
Ultimately, a successful mobile site must help achieve the goals of the overall marketing program—and implementing a successful site involves stakeholders from across the organization. Marketing might be accountable for the results, but to execute a site like Merchant Cash and Capital, marketing must also share responsibilities with IT, design and customer services resources. Using a responsive architecture for web design helps ensure that all stakeholders have the right role to play, and the best tools available to deliver measurable value from the mobile web.