Anyone can now research estate agents and search for property on their mobile phones, and so much more. As such, your mobile website must deliver the same quality experience as your desktop website, and reflect your brand as you need it to.
Some startling facts that really bring home the importance of the palm-sized web:
- Over 50% of property-related traffic is now mobile
- That includes iPads and other tablets
- This is still growing by 10% a year
- Over 50% of all email is read on a phone, and that’s also growing
Yes, yawn, we’ve all heard these stats before. But stop for a moment and really think what this means: nearly half of your visitors are looking at you on a mobile. If you don’t have a mobile website, or an inadequate first generation one, then you’ll be giving a deeply disappointing experience to half of your customers, like unwelcoming service that you wouldn’t tolerate in branch. Every time this happens, it’s a lost opportunity to create a professional opinion of your agency. Worse, it contributes to a weak impression of your brand which might weigh on instruction decisions. It’s time to fix this.
Thankfully a good number of the UK’s estate agents now have a website optimised for mobile, though if you are in that group, don’t sit back just yet: the current crop of solutions are often still inadequate first generation attempts to plug the gap and there are things you need to check your site does to see if it’s actually working effectively.
Having a dedicated “app” isn’t good enough: you need a mobile website, to avoid unwieldy “download this app” processes, which stop 95% of users at the door. The mobile site needs to integrate with your main website, so you see the right version of the site when viewing a link on a phone or on a desktop.
All of which says that being ready with a mobile version of your website is MUCH more important than most people realise.
But the great news is that it’s a much easier fix than the majority of online marketing challenges. You can have the issue sorted in a couple of days as the best mobile sites can be simple to configure.
First step: Understand how people use mobile
The first step (and essential) step before choosing what approach you take to building you mobile presence, is understand the main “use cases”, or how visitors actually approach your agency on their phone. The main entry point to your mobile site is email, closely followed by people simply looking for your phone number to ring you. Only after those two main use cases, do you get to the third most popular entry point, actual property search on a mobile having seen a house, or when killing time. Only by understanding these use cases in detail, do we get a real understanding of the importance of email, and therefore the importance of an efficient redirection service.
Websites need to be different on a phone
The experience of browsing a regular website on a mobile phone is desperately disappointing. We’ve all done it, haven’t we: using our two opposable thumbs to pinch and expand, fumbling around a full size website on a chronically undersized screen! We have written about why you need a dedicated approach, which is different from desktop.
Approaches: Apps, mobile sites or responsive design?
So once you’ve decided you need to take mobile usability seriously, the next decision you’ll need to make is whether to have a “native app” created, which users can download, a mobile website, which they access via a browser, or a fully responsive site. These can look very similar, but the way they work, and how your customers use them, varies strongly. It may feel like a technically confusing minefield, but don’t panic, we’re going to step through the pros and cons of each approach to mobile…
We cover the 4 main approaches to mobile in detail:
- Native “Apps” – speedy, but often impractical
- Mobile websites – more accessible
- 2nd generation mobile web-apps – best of both worlds
- Responsive design – the be all and end all?
You may want to jump straight to our mobile product pages, or read our full feature list here. Or if you’ve enjoyed this guide, then you’ll find lots more on mobile, and other online marketing topics, in our resources library.
Thanks for reading!