by: Joseph Mann 

Does your business have a mobile version of its client-facing web site? If not, are you ready to go mobile in 2007? You'd better be, if a survey and article by Information Week late last year is any measure:

"Eighty-five percent of businesses anticipate that the number of their employees accessing enterprise apps via mobile devices will increase next year"1

"Three out of four businesses will increase spending next year on mobile devices such as smartphones, rugged handhelds, and Pocket PCs."1

"More than eight of 10 respondents cite improved productivity and access to critical information as the biggest benefits of mobile computing. More than one out of three cite increased sales."1

Of course, since bandwidth (and the cost of its use) and screen size is still an issue for non-PC devices accessing the Web, the tricky part is creating a "mobile-ized" version of your site that is lean, mean and provides high value to clients and prospects on the go. And that means you can't just post what they can already access from a PC in the office.

According to the W3C's Mobile Web Best Practices, developers should assume a screen width of 120 pixels and less than 20 kilobytes for the size of the page.2 That doesn't allow for much excess, so here are a few suggestions to test the waters of mobile b2b marketing:

  • "Mini Case Studies": create one or two ultra-brief extracts from larger case studies you may have on your main client site. These should consist largely of teaser text highlighting results achieved. Ends with a linked email address for the mobile user to request more info.
  • Alerts: give clients the option to sign up to receive mobile alerts about their projects. Sign-up should be available on the main client-facing site as well as on a mobile-ized site.
  • Simple Newsletters: busy clients and prospects may appreciate being able to receive useful information from you on their Web-enabled phone or other mobile device. It may be industry stats, new service launches or a teaser to download a whitepaper from the main site the next time they are in the office.

These are just a few ideas to help get started leveraging mobile technology to drive revenue for companies in the b-to-b sector. Just remember - any mobile initiative you undertake has to be permission-based. Because most mobile users are paying for every bit of mobile access, the fastest way to alienate your potential customers is to start sending them mobile spam. Push-initiatives are critical to promoting your mobile presence to target audiences, but they should be done through non-mobile channels: direct mail, banner ads on your main site, word-of-mouth, etc. And don't forget to track your mobile web pages just as you would your main web site!

1 Elena Malykhina."Mobile Devices Are Ready To Take Their Place Alongside PCs In Businesses" Information Week. Oct 30, 2006

2 "Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0" W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). Jun 27, 2006

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