Recently, I spoke at a Legal Marketing Association (LMA) Conference regarding web technologies and how advancements are changing the way professional services firms respond to the delivery of information needs to clients. Today, just realigning or “refreshing” your website, while helpful, may not be enough to stay competitive. When I reached the section on mobile websites (mobi) during my presentation, I was bombarded with questions regarding the difference between an app and a mobi, including. “Do people really go to these sites?” And more importantly, “Why does my firm need a mobi?” Here are five fast facts that might help you answer these questions:
FACT: Professionals today are more mobile and busier than ever – they are meeting with clients, in court, on the train or stuck in an airport terminal glued to their mobile devices. (Ever try to get space at one of those Samsung recharging stations recently? It’s next to impossible.)
FACT: A Morgan Stanley Report released this year showed that smartphones outsold notebook and PC computers combined. This trend is going to continue to increase.
FACT: A mobi most likely will cost a lot less to design and develop than an app, while apps must follow strict guidelines for submission (i.e., Apple). While there may be value for some personal injury firms, most professional services firms’ apps we see today may have been better designed and developed as a mobi, rather than an app.
FACT: Mobile websites, unlike an app, do not take up space on your smartphone, nor is it a permanent fixture that you have to find through the app store. If not properly marketed or searched, your target audience may never find your app.
FACT: If your website is properly coded, websites will automatically redirect your visitor browsing on their mobile phone directly to your mobile website. Check out KISS Metrics’ stats about mobile phones and load times.
For professional services firms, until recently, all websites were designed to be viewed on a 13” or larger monitor. With the smartphone’s smaller screen and a much slower Internet connection, websites in their current format cannot perform as well as planned on these devices. According to KISS Metrics, “Mobile internet users expect a web-browsing experience on their phone that’s comparable to what they got on their desktop or laptop.”
A mobile website is an abbreviated version of your existing site made to load faster and view easier on small smartphone-sized screens (i.e. iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, etc.).
Here are main reasons to consider when thinking about why your firm needs a mobi:
- It’s an extension of your website and your brand.
- Mobi’s provide key information quickly and easily to your visitor – and that’s what you want. And, because a mobile site is an abbreviated version of your main website, it’s easier and more efficient to navigate.
- No pinching is necessary to enlarge just to read text and no broken flash links.
- It demonstrates that you are conscious that your client’s time is valuable.
- Most mobi screens always include a call to action resulting in instantaneous and greater interaction with clients and prospects.
According to Quantcast, U.S. mobile web usage grew by 110% last year. There are already 80 million Americans surfing the web by phone. By 2013, mobile web usage will be more common than any other medium. Come on admit it, your smartphone has become indispensable. When you leave for work it’s as important as your wallet, purse and keys. In many cases, it’s quickly becoming as important or more important than your computer. Bottom line, having a mobile website or mobi allows you to expand your firm’s brand in an increasingly competitive business environment.
Mobile websites are a necessary marketing and business development tool your firm should consider. Call us if you’d like to learn more. We’re happy to share our thoughts and knowledge with you.