Mobile Marketing in Zimbabwe: Why you need a responsive website

Mobile Marketing in Zimbabwe: Why you need a responsive website

By Benjamin Juru

Zimbabwe has of late been rapidly catching up with international trends as far as mobile penetration is concerned and particularly smartphone penetration. This we can attribute to the rapid adoption of IMs like WhatsApp for which one needs a smartphone to access them and consequently, we have experienced a spiral growth of smartphones, smartphone players and infiltration of cheaper smartphones. All this growth implies that, so many consumers are now using their mobile phones to access the internet, search for products and services and any other information they want. According to a recent research by Gallup, Zimbabwe has the largest Mobile Growth In Sub-Saharan Africa, a number is expected to rise significantly over the coming years.

Given this development where most consumers are now accessing your website, your social media properties and basically any online interaction using the mobile phone, the million dollar question for every digital marketer is “are your online properties optimized for mobile? ” and in simple terms do you have either a mobisite (short for mobile website version) or a site that is responsive. To the untrained eye, a mobisite is basically a mobile version of your site that is created and developed specifically for mobile users. Sites such as SuperSport, Goal have mobile version sites which are accessed through m.domainname.com. Design responsive technology is a web technology applied when developing websites which makes a website automatically detect the user’s browser and device and then adjust the orientation based on the screen size. An illustration is shown below:

Responsive Design illustration

Now that we know what it is, do you as a business have a mobile marketing strategy in place? Are customers able to navigate your website without any challenges? In Zimbabwe, sadly we have a few companies with active websites and let alone responsive websites. This is quite unfortunate because with the continued growth of smartphones it is absolutely crucial that we create mobile friendly interfaces for our customers. The rise of mobile transcends your website and impacts on your SEO, Search and email marketing strategy, an example most of us are now viewing our emails on the go and if your newsletter/email campaign is not optimized for mobile you’re missing out on the traffic coming through from mobile devices.

I’ve also seen that locally, some brands are creating tabs on Facebook, great but your fans cannot access the tabs on mobile phones so instead you’re better off directing traffic to your website. With close to 70% of consumers accessing social media via the mobile devices, you can only neglect mobile at your own peril. Social media helps you drive traffic to your website for conversion but if your site is not optimized then you make it incredibly difficult for consumers to navigate your site. Imagine going through a desktop version site on a mobile phone have to scroll up and down and zoom the text, it’s just painstaking.

I would like to encourage you if you’re digital marketer to have mobile in mind in everything you do for mobile is the future. I attended one presentation where the presenter basically said that a mobile phone is now an aggregated transaction device capable of performing numerous transactions from communicating to a payment system. The consequences of neglecting mobile are quite clear, need not be overemphasized.

In conclusion, if you have a website that is not responsive get it done now or else build a mobisite. Most of your fans are now accessing social sites, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc using the mobile phone and all IMs such as WhatsApp are mobile centric again highlighting the strategic importance of going mobile. The future is evidently in mobile because of the ubiquitous nature of the mobile phone, right now your customers are using it to chat, call, check in flights, check their heart beat, make payments etc and imagine what they are capable of doing in the next 5 years?

Comments (1)

Benjamin: Thanks for this thoughtful and informative post on responsive design and especially ref the uptake of mobile/smartphone penetration in Zimbabwe. Have a look at our new AU giving site, launched in January. https://www.support-africauniversity.org/2014/home This is a case study on the project: http://www.beyondnines.com/independent-user-consultant-community/case-studies/africa-university-development-office/ Andra Stevens - 12 May 2015

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