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Income Diary

Mastering the Mobile Web: Content, Design, Email, and Sales

By:     Topics: Email Marketing

“Mobile has really been kicking butt.”

That’s what Neil Patel of Quick Sprout told us when we asked him about the future of the internet. He went on to say:

“It’s going to be more tablet and mobile based in the next few years. We’re going to start seeing a lot less laptops and computers and more and more mobile phones for everything.”

“Want to buy something? Cool. Click a button and it’s charged to your mobile phone.”

Neil’s right:  we asked 20 of the world’s top online entrepreneurs about the trends that would define the future of online business and ‘mobile’ was the most common answer (online video was #2). If you have a website and you’re not thinking about mobile, then you’re missing out on the biggest thing to happen to the Internet since broadband.

There are now more than 1.2 billion mobile web users worldwide and 25% of US internet users are mobile only. Mobile searches have quadrupled in the last year and this phenomenon is not going away any time soon.

Below, I’ll explain what makes mobile users different based on research from Google Mobile. Then I’ll share the mobile content, design, email marketing, and sales copy strategies that I learned directly from experts like David Aston and Yanik Silver.

What You’ll Learn:

  • The browsing habits of mobile users
  • The simple secret to writing mobile content
  • Why responsive web design matters and how to get it
  • The trick to good good mobile sales copy
  • How mobile readers might change your email marketing tactics
All images courtesy of JD Hancock.

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Understanding Why the Mobile Web is Different

Compact Interface

Mobile users experience the web differently. First of all, the screen is smaller. This can be a problem, as Shane Ketterman points out on CopyBlogger:

“What happens when readers feel cramped or have to work hard to navigate your site or read your content? They leave.”

In order to keep visitors around, keep your pages straightforward and your links “thumb-sized” — especially call-to-action buttons.

Objective Oriented Browsing

Mobile users are often accessing the web on the go and therefore they’re more likely to be using the web to meet an immediate, specific need.

According to a Google Mobile Ads study, Nine out 10 mobile searches result in an action and 88% of these users take action within the first day.

Slower Connection Speed

Smartphones and tablets are becoming more and more powerful with every iteration, but they still can’t compete with the big boys (laptops and desktops) in terms of speed.

So if you’re load times are lagging on those devices, you’ll definitely be turning mobile users away. Try removing unnecessary plugins, images, and eliminating any Flash or Javascript.

Multi-Tasking Mobile

Mobile devices are so convenient to use that they’re often used as a supplement to other activities. 72% of people use their smartphones while consuming other media, a third while watching TV.

So keep in mind that you likely won’t have the full attention of your mobile audience.

Location-Specific Searches

Mobile users can access the web from anywhere and that changes what they’re able to search for online. For instance, 70% use their smartphones while shopping in a store to help make purchasing decisions.

Your online audience is no longer guaranteed to be sitting at a desk. Think about your niche:  from what other locations and situations might your audience be accessing your site?


Mastering the Mobile Web from Content Writing to Copy Writing

Make Mobile Content Easy-to-Digest

Many forward thinking bloggers tell us that “easy to consume” content is the wave of the future, as more and more people spend their online hours casually browsing mobile devices:

“We’re seeing an emergence of infographics and motion graphics. We’re going towards an age of data consumption and we need to make it as easy to consume as possible, because people’s attention span is so low. To captivate that short attention span, you have to have very, very compelling content that’s very easy to consume.”

Income Diary is a strong proponent of writing long content because it ranks better (the average front-page search result is 2,000+ words) and because it’s more likely to be shared (as demonstrated by Neil Patel).

But the others are right too. As more and more people go mobile, more and more web users will be browsing your site while waiting in line, watching TV, and otherwise unable to engage with in-depth content. You can make your content more “easy-to-consume” by putting an emphasis on visuals and videos — and keeping text to a minimum.

Responsive & Mobile Web Design

Jacob Cass is a graphic designer at NYC-based firm Ammirati (clients include Nintendo, Zynga, and Jerry Seinfeld). When we asked him about the future of web design, he immediately start talking about mobile:

“Responsive design is at the top of my list. A responsive website is a website that adapts to the screen that you’re viewing it on. For example, a website will change its look when you’re viewing it on a mobile device, versus a large screen.”

Upgrading to a responsive web design may be the single most important thing you can do to make your website more mobile friendly.

If you’re wondering how to make the  switch over to responsive web design, Jacob gave us this advice, “For my site, I used the Skeleton responsive boilerplate. There’s really no reason to redo everything if there are already frameworks in place. Another good one to explore is Bootstrap, by Twitter.

Email Marketing and Mobile

“More and more people are going to be reading your email on little screens.”
David Risley, from Web Domination 20

Nearly all mobile users are using their device to check their email.

According to Andigo New Media, your first priority should be to limit scrolling on the email:  “left to right scrolling is an absolute no-no but even north/south scrolling should be limited whenever possible.”

David Risley earns a six-figure income through email marketing. In our interview, he told us that optimizing your emails for mobile devices mostly comes down to keeping it as simple as possible — especially since some mobile devices aren’t so great at displaying email:

“The nice smart phones are pretty good at scaling the email up and down. But not everybody’s walking around with an iPhone, so you have to just keep things as simple as you can.”

If you’ve got an email list, then try opening your emails with a variety of different mobile devices to see how they look.

Writing Sales Copy for a Mobile Audience

“You’ve got to balance the device with the message.”
Yanik Silver, from Web Domination 20

Yanik Silver is the creator of Instant Sales Letters and quite possibly the world’s leading expert in online copywriting. He’s also one of the first copywriters to recognize that online sales letters should adapt for mobile users.

His first advice is to keep it short:

“You’ve got to make sure that your copy is ideal for someone coming off of a mobile device. Maybe that means even shorter paragraphs. Maybe that means keeping it really tight and engaging.”

Silver also sees a sales video as a way to level the copywriting playing field across all devices:

“For someone to scroll through on their iPhones through a twenty page sales letter is
going to be a lot tougher than watching a three minute video about it.”

These sales page videos don’t have to be flashy in order to be effective on mobile. Michael Dunlop uses a video that’s just voiceover and text for his Web Domination sales page. What matters it that mobile users can digest your entire message with just one touch of the screen.

Ready to Dive into the Mobile Web?

The devices are small, but the mobile web is big… and only getting bigger.

The sooner you start running your website with a mobile audience in mind, the soon you’ll be able to benefit from this fast-growing demographic.

In this post, I reviewed mobile content, design, email marketing, and sales copy, but that’s really only scratching the surface. If you have any insights into mastering the mobile web – or questions about it – let us know in the comments.

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  • Kenny

    Yes mobile is the new wave and is growingly rapidly, videos are always good for this, however i was wondering do u think it is important to have an app?

    • Nick

      I don’t think that it’s important to have an app just for the sake of having an app. But if you can think of one that will be really helpful for your audience, then develop it!

  • Ram Shengale

    Hey Nick nice post.

    I just had a question that is it good to have a mobile version of my blog. But how can we monetize from it as I feel we can only sell or promote through blog posts. We cannot use sidebars or email-optin boxes in the mobile version. Can we?


    • Nick

      Many mobile websites retain the sidebar but put it at the bottom of the content, before the footer.

  • Umar

    Dear Nick, You are very right that Mobile technology can effect or you can say change the preferences of your blogs/websites. We must aware what is going on next on Mobile internet. You always impressed me. Thank You. Regards.

    • Nick

      Thanks, Umar.

  • Randell

    This was an awesome post and has given me quite a lot to think about. im using wordpress and have jetpack installed it comes with a mobile template im hoping this is a start in the right direction. Also while reading i even logged in to my chitika account and set up mobile ads lol which i had not yet done in almost 2 years of being online. All in all thanks for the great post was the kick in the bum i needed to get ready for the mobile rush sweeping the internet .

    • Nick

      That sounds like a good start. I’m glad this encouraged you to take action.

  • Marie Soleil

    Mobile content is a true test of copy writing skills because not only you compete for space against graphics, you also want to be as succinct as possible. After all, if given the chance to view something on a small mobile screen, people would rather choose graphics than text. And let’s not forget the part about interactivity!

    • Nick

      All good observations – not just about mobile, but for online content in general.

  • Umar

    Nick I am waiting for your new article.

    • Nick

      Thanks for your patience, Umar.

  • Leanne King

    Mobile is certainly the way of the future whether responsive, mobile site, app, augmented reality and mobile advertising. Loved your thoughts on the long content posts as opposed to the short and sweet kind.

    • Nick

      Thanks, Leanne.

  • Lakhyajyoti

    Great piece of writing Nick. Learn lots of new things from your post. Its time to rethink about the design of my blogs.