The Need to Focus on Mobile-First Becomes Imperative for Businesses

06/20/2015 04:00 am ET | Updated Jun 19, 2016

Business owners have understood for a long time that they need to have a strong online presence, but the rapidly increasing popularity of smartphones and other mobile devices have made it necessary to adjust even the most basic Internet marketing strategies. After all, smartphones have officially eclipsed desktops as the most commonly used device for accessing the Internet, so it is imperative to structure your company's digital marketing around this viewing format.

Image Credit: Creative Commons, Cubmondo

What is Mobile-First Marketing?

The concept behind mobile-first marketing is quite simple, and anyone who uses a smartphone to access the Internet should be able to understand why there is a distinction between desktop and mobile advertising strategies. Consider for a moment how cumbersome it is to try to navigate through a website that is not mobile-friendly from your phone.

This is usually a very frustrating experience, and it makes people much more likely to abandon these poorly designed sites altogether. On the contrary, when a site renders properly on your smartphone, this enables you to quickly and easily find the information that you need. In other words, selecting a mobile-friendly design is the first crucial step in harnessing the power of this robust marketing tool.

Take another example of Florida based online second opinion services company Second Opinions. According to the CEO, the company gets quite a good number of daily queries for online medical consultation from mobile devices and that is the reason why they developed a mobile app "second opinion health genius" where the patients not only can get a second opinion online but also predict risk of developing one of many recorded diseases.

Moving Beyond Website Design

If you think that simply having a mobile-friendly design is good enough, it is time to move beyond this misconception. Although some people use their smartphone as their main way to get online, it is still quite common for mobile users to look something up about a local business while they are on the go. Additionally, Google's research indicates that 77 percent of mobile web users view their smartphone as more convenient, and they still reach for this method even when a desktop is nearby.

One of the main differences between a desktop and mobile search is the intent of the individual. Desktop searches tend to be less about a current need, and they result in fewer immediate purchasing decisions. Meanwhile, 55 percent of mobile users who look up a specific item or service will convert to a phone call, purchase or store visit within one hour, and approximately 75 percent of all smartphone searches result in some type of follow-up action.

How Can My Business Improve Our Mobile Ranking and User-Friendliness?

According to Sagar Babber, CEO of Snyxius, a web and mobile app development agency in Austin:

Users are more likely to look for something local, you must utilize localized keywords and other digital marketing strategies. For example, if you have a restaurant in Texas, it is imperative to include the word Texas in the written content on every single page of your site.

This same approach should be used in any online advertisements. Google has also made it possible to take advantage of deep-linking within your mobile app, and this means that mobile search results can help direct users to open an app that they already have installed.

Using Videos to Attract Attention

Reading a lot of text is not always a viable option for mobile users, especially if they are looking for fast information. At least 58 percent of people with a smartphone or tablet watch a minimum of one video online per day, and 75 percent of these users in the U.S. and Canada share videos via social media. Therefore, it is wise to add at least one video to your mobile-friendly website to help keep people on your site for long enough to get the information that they need. A good mobile-first digital marketing strategy will also include posting these videos to social media sites such as Facebook, Google+ and YouTube. Make sure that you include an option for visitors to easily share your video content with other people.

Ultimately, putting the mobile world first in your digital marketing efforts should have a much better payoff than focusing exclusively on desktop users. Now that more than 50 percent of all Internet searches are conducted via a mobile device, it simply makes good business sense to design your website, keywords, content and other marketing techniques around smartphone and tablet users.