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"I want the family farm - the backbone of our country's heritage - to thrive and survive for future generations."

Articles/Press Releases

It’s Time to Think Mobile

By Jane Eckert

It is very clear that mobile technology is here to stay and increasing in popularity every day.  How many of you send text messages or regularly check emails on your Smartphone?  How many of you make orders or payments from your Smartphone or receive coupons and special offers on your phone? My guess is that most of you use all of these features and more. How many of you search the Internet for service providers or restaurants online? What is important for us to realize – so do our customers!

 

Mobile phones have changed the way we seek our information and should also change the way we conduct our business.

Some of the most recent statistics related to mobile phone usage include:

  • 95% of existing mobile phones include the texting feature
  • 70% of people compare prices on their phone.
  • 65% read product & review a site prior to patronizing a business
  • 75% of people prefer to view a mobile website versus a standard website on their phones

It is this last statistic that will be the focus of this article.  By 2013, more people will search the Internet on their mobile devices rather than a PC. Based on my recent fall survey, fewer than 8% of the farms that responded actually have a mobile website.  Many of you may not be aware that a mobile website is an entirely different website than your existing full size desktop site.

The reasons we now need a second website to promote our businesses are many but here a few that the experts tell us. 

Mobile websites provide:

  • Quick download and easy navigation
  • Just the facts….brevity of content is a must
  • Copy that is readable as soon as the site appears
  • Increased consumer engagement

On most smart phones, your regular, desktop website will not even load if you have a mobile website available. One of the reasons these phones are so ‘smart’ is they have the capability to search your hosting provider for a mobile site and deliver that site for visitors using smart phones or tablets. (Most mobile sites do offer the customer the capability to switch to the full site if they choose, but the default will be the mobile friendly version.)

You may not realize it, but your website analytics probably can show you the number of hits currently coming to your website via a mobile device.  We have just completed a summary review of all the websites that we host at Farm Web Design and have found that anywhere from 15 – 58% of the website page views came from a mobile device. The 58% number was from a farm exclusively in the pumpkin season business.

Okay, you are still asking “but why isn’t my desktop site good enough for all of these devices?”

People are used to and demand to getting their information quickly and on large 20-40 page websites it is not easy to navigate using a smart phone.  Mobile websites are designed for a smaller screen with fewer pages, fewer pictures and only the most important facts that a commuting audience needs to know to visit your farm.  As mentioned before, a key feature of a good mobile website is the capability to link to your full website. If the customer so desires they are given the option to switch, however most people will still choose to view the mobile version.

If you know that 58% of your customers are using a small screen to view your website then it is worth it to create one for them!  These mobile websites should use similar graphics to your existing site to reinforce your brand. Based on our fall survey, several of the farms created their own mobile website while the rest allowed their current web provider to do it for them.  Mobile websites cost less money because they are simpler. Here is an example of a mobile website versus a desktop website that we made for one of our clients, www.bellewoodfarms.com. View this link on your desktop, tablet devices and smartphone devices and each device will output a different look to the same important content.

A useful website from Google that can help you learn more about mobile websites is www.howtogomo.com and is a great starting place for your mobile website education.  Of course, the Internet has plenty more websites talking about the design and creation of mobile sites to aid in your research.

Future articles will continue to explore how mobile technology can be used to better market our farm businesses and suit the needs of our clients. 

Jane Eckert is the founder of Eckert AgriMarketing (www.eckertagrimarketing.com), a full-service marketing and public relations firm that helps farmers to sell directly to consumers, diversify operations and become tourist destinations. She is also CEO of www.RuralBounty.com, a search directory for agritourism farms and ranches in North America. Jane can be reached at 314-862-6288 or you may email her directly.