The Rise of Mobile and Responsive Design and Why It Matters to You

As we progress in 2014, business owners and entrepreneurs are beginning to understand how important mobile and responsive design is.

Responsive design is the act (and art) of designing a website that responds and displays appropriately, no matter what device or browser the reader is using. Maybe your grandmother is using a decade-old, lumbering PC to check out your online store while simultaneously your kid cousin just got the latest. You need to have a web presence that caters to both of these extremes, and that requires responsive and mobile design.

More and more often, people are using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets for just about everything. Being “mobile ready” requires mobile design, but it’s easy to think you’re prepared even if you’re not. Do you have the capacity to test how your website looks on any given device, from that old Samsung Galaxy a potential customer may be using, to the latest tablet that’s barely been on the market for a week? You might think you have a stunner of a website, but if it’s not displaying properly on other devices, it’s time to fix that.


The real price of being responsive

No matter how niche your industry, you have competition; and if your customers can’t easily access and navigate your site, they’ll go elsewhere. In an age of technology that enables savvy and creative business advantages, competition is tougher than ever.

As a result, customer loyalty isn’t what it used to be, so it’s your responsibility to make things as easy for users as possible starting with your website. People might be looking at your site on their morning train commute, or browsing on their smartphone with their device tucked beneath their desk. This means you need to have a web designer in your corner who knows the importance of this type of design and can do it.

However, it’s not just your website that needs to be responsive and mobile ready. This also applies to newsletters, email marketing efforts and just about anything digital that might reach your customers. How many times have you opened an email because the subject line offered a great sale only to find a jumbled mess? You probably didn’t probe deeper for this information, and the company may have just lost a sale or the opportunity to build a relationship with you.

In fact, responsive email design is one of the hottest trends of 2014. According to a study by email marketing service provider GetResponse, 41% of email messages are now opened on mobile devices. So, if your emails aren’t designed responsively, you could effectively lose 41% of your subscriber base. This reality is affecting how marketers prioritize campaigns of all types in 2014.


Keeping up with the Jones’

In most cases, keeping up with the Jones’ is frowned upon because it’s seen as wasteful and a time suck, but that’s not the case when you’re a business owner. If you’re not offering something to your customers, somebody else will.

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to be left in the dark when it comes to mobile and responsive design because it requires an active approach and maybe even ditching your current IT team for someone better. However, just remember that a successful business isn’t possible if you’re not communicating.

Communication has always been at the heart of business, but nowadays it’s largely digital so you have to keep up. From your social media posts to your video email marketing, to your active blog to the white papers you offer on your website, there’s a lot more to your online presence than you think.

Every time you reach out to customers, whether actively or not, is a chance to change your reputation for better or worse. Ultimately, it’s a chance to convert someone into an actual customer instead of a browser, lurker or someone who’s interest was piqued and then lost.


You set your own path

The good news is that control is in your hands, and you can change a flawed strategy easily. Do you think it’s better to reach all of your potential customers or just a handful of them? The answer is obvious, so why don’t more businesses put their efforts into going mobile and responsive design? Sadly, the simple truth is because they don’t know what they don’t know.

You might be missing out on a smorgasbord of new customers and sales, but may not even know it. That’s why analytics is so important, but even then you may not be aware of just how much revenue is going down the drain because your newsletter doesn’t display well enough on the latest all in one computer.

By focusing on making information accessible to all users, you can instantly increase sales and boost your online reputation. This is perhaps the easiest way to improve the digital side of your business, but it does require some tenacity and the ability to tell your web design and marketing team what the new expectations are and actually implement them.