Mobile users and mobile messaging dominate the internet. If a single trend is going to change how businesses will engage with customers, it will be adapting to a mobile centric world. People open emails on their mobile devices first and mobile chat apps like Facebook Messenger account for a large portion of person to person and business to person communications online. Facebook Messenger is the number two downloaded app in the world, second only to Facebook itself. How messages look for mobile users can’t be an afterthought anymore. Mobile has to be first and foremost in your mind when you develop communications plans.
The next question is then: How will you deliver a great experience for mobile users?
It’s a mobile-centric world now
In April 2017 the number one operating system accessing the internet wasn’t Windows, it was Android. The final piece to a mobile centric world was this moment when mobile devices became the dominant players online. Desktop and laptops aren’t going anywhere, but consumers will interact with your brand on a mobile device first. More than half of all searches comes from mobile devices, meaning the first experience someone has with your brand is going to be mobile. What’s that experience going to be like?
We used to talk about how to make emails look good in different email clients, now we have to think about how your message looks in the palm of your hand.
This is a scary prospect. We have to change our mindset from consumers sitting down at a laptop to check emails to consumers checking emails on the go. Brian Solis’ book X: The Experience When Business Meets Design talks about rethinking how we approach customer experience. Customer experience isn’t about what we’d like people to do, it’s knowing what people want to do and helping them get there. Applying this logic, what is it that mobile users want to do and what can you do to help them?
1. Give people a choice how, when, and where to read messages
You know what a lot of people do on their morning commute? Read, catch up on email, and organize their day. A morning commute might look something like this:
- Read and catch up on work emails/chats from overnight
- Check project updates in Asana
- Read the news of the day on Medium, Refind, and the CBC.
Let’s apply this to messages you send to people. If you want someone to download a whitepaper or sign up for a webinar, can someone do that from their mobile device? Have you noticed how many whitepaper confirmations automatically send you an email too? This isn’t to annoy you, it’s to make sure you have a copy when you get to your laptop.
Taking this further, give customers a choice of receiving messages by email, SMS, or even via chat, and ask when they want to get the messages. Are you sending messages to people when they are likely to read, but not likely to act? Maybe you need to ask people what they want?
2. Make it glanceable
Take everything you know about writing email copy, landing pages, and website content and turn it up to an 11. On smaller screens you need to make sure text is big enough to be read at a glance, but not so big that it dominates the whole screen. Images need to scale so readers don’t have to squint, scroll, or zoom out to see the whole picture.
Does this mean spending extra time on your email layouts? Sure does. It’s tricky, but worth the effort so customers open, read, and absorb your message on mobile devices. Customers might not act right then, but at least if the email is readable, it will kick something into motion for later. Which brings us to point three.
3. Make it shareable
From social sharing buttons to quick links for Slack and Evernote when you make your messages sharable you help the reader save that message for later.
For example you read something on one device (say your personal phone) that you’d like to share with work you might save/share the link to Refind or Evernote. Those links then get pushed to colleagues through Zapier to the group. When you can’t share something, you have to remember to do it later.
That never ends well.
Making your content shareable isn’t about putting it on social media, it’s about helping people who consume your content share it with other people they work with.
Change the dynamic from you-centric to them-centric
Customer experience is about a customer’s journey with your company or brand, but *creating *customer experiences is about figuring out what you can do for your customer. You change the focus to be customer centric. Once you know what customers want from you to make a great experience, you just have to give it to them. Creating that experience for mobile users means understanding how your customers use mobile devices and what they want to accomplish.