Direct Marketing Article
Planning Your Mobile Strategy
By Patrick Emmons, Adage Technologies
"We've decided to go mobile; now what?"
It's a question many business leaders are asking themselves these days. With
much of the online buzz encouraging businesses to become mobile accessible,
we've seen a lot of increased interest on the subject. Reaching a customer's
smart phone is quickly becoming just as important as reaching their regular
PC. And as technology continues to advance, business not utilizing the
mobile web will be at a great disadvantage.
But there are certainly many more decisions to be made even after a business
has decided to "go mobile." There are several options to choose from in the
mobile environment. The one that's best for your business will depend on
what you want online, who you are trying to reach and what your budget look
Your first big decision will be between using a mobile-compatible website, a
web-based application or a native mobile application. A mobile-compatible
website will likely be the quickest and cheapest way to get your message to
the mobile community. This will allow customers to search for you on their
smart phone browser and find a clean, mobile-friendly website to navigate.
For those seeking a more advanced mobile presence, an application may be the
way to go. These allow for more direct interaction with the user and will be
easier for them to access quickly from their phone.
Between the two types of applications, a web-based app will be a cheaper
route. These applications are based within a website, meaning users must
link to the site through their mobile browser to use it. The other option is
a native mobile application. These are downloadable apps that will put a
link right on the user's phone for the quickest and easiest access. Native
applications provide the most functionality and oftentimes, the highest
user-loyalty because of their placement directly on a smart phone.
If you choose to provide an application for your customers, be aware that
you shouldn't take everything off your website and simply drop it on an app.
Too much clutter can cause a slow and confusing user experience. There may
be a time in the future when more functions are possible but ease-of-use
should still be your main concern. Just as computer users used to be
impatient with dial-up or DSL internet service, so will mobile users waiting
for complex pages to load. Sit down with your business team and lay out
exactly what you want your users to get out of the app. Then make sure it
does exactly that, and nothing else.
For those deciding on a native mobile application, your final decision may
be the toughest. As you're well aware, there are several different phone
platforms to develop for. The iPhone, Android, and Blackberry smart phones
all require separate programming so developing for all of them can become
very costly. And that doesn't even include lesser used platforms like
Microsoft's Windows, Nokia's Symbian, Palm/HP and others.
All of these platforms also have varying development costs. Many current
business have decided to design apps for just the iPhone and Android
devices, as they are currently the two most popular. Blackberry's app market
is quickly falling behind because of its challenging development
environment. Because Blackberry features versions with a track ball, touch
pad and full touch screen, separate applications must be developed for each
device. This can get very costly and is why the Blackberry app market is
lacking compared to that of the iPhone and Android.
All these options should be considered when it comes to preparing your best
mobile strategy. If you're simply trying to reach the most users, perhaps
all you need is a mobile-ready website. For those seeking applications, a
web-based app may be most cost-effective but a native app could provide a
better user experience.
Making the right decision comes down to who you are trying to reach and how
you'd like to interact with them. Cost will certainly play a part in the
decision, especially for developing applications. But there is little
question that "going mobile" will only become more popular as the smart
phone industry progresses. Businesses looking for a better way to reach
their customers should discuss their options with a developer now.
About the Author:
Patrick Emmons is co-founder of
Technologies and an accomplished technical architect with more than 15
years of programming and web development experience. Prior to Adage, Patrick
was a principle for another web development firm and also worked as a
developer and consultant for Ameritech, Motorola and Baker Robbins.