Let’s face it, the world runs on lattes and five-hour energy these days. People are constantly en route from one destination to another, and while in transit, they are going mobile.
What once was a sedentary task, web browsing has evolved: users are accessing the internet via phones and mobile devices from the convenience of wherever they happen to be. Statistics show that mobile Internet search is more than a trend:
- Based on a study, mobile users are three times more likely to convert to a lease than from a traditional website. Based upon their own analytics of mobile-access users versus network-access users. (Rent.com)
- Mobile Users clearly want to be able to do more with their mobile devices and while commercial transactions are not the primary stated reason for so much usage, consumers want to transact in cyberspace when they need it. Desired services include, among other items, the ability to pay bills, purchase tickets and financial services. (BuzzCity 2009 Study)
- A January 2009 study indicates that more than 80 million Americans use their mobile devices to access or browse the internet for news and information. 35 percent of those users are doing so every day, more than double the comparable 2008 numbers. (comScore)
- Statistics show just about all US “general internet users” (96 percent) go online at least once a day. 61 percent say they access the mobile Internet six or more times a day, well above the 50 percent network-access average. (BuzzCity 2009 Study)
- Connecting to the web via a mobile device is outpacing PC’s by 2.5 times. (Juniper Research Study)
Are your property websites putting their best face on to meet the current mobile market demand?
Let’s Get Mobile
As mobile users grow in number and sophistication, so do their expectations of how they want to interact with properties on their mobile phones. Users want the same functionality, features and access on their phone that is available on the desktop web browser, but optimized for a limited space. This means providing easy access to key information and features (while stripping non-essential graphics and layout options) in order to ensure prospects and residents have a satisfying mobile browsing experience.
Many mobile providers have entered the market: UDR has created its own mobile program; many industry vendors are now offering mobile service add-ons. With a growing variety of options in the market, clients can find the best fit for their needs.
Gone are the days when you had to advertise a different URL for your mobile site (no more “wap.bravotv.com,” Tim Gunn). The best mobile sites have code that detects when visitors are using a mobile device and redirects them to the appropriate format for that phone, whether it’s the iPhone, Android or BlackBerry. So all you have to do is navigate to the primary website and the technology does the rest and gives users a satisfying browsing experience.
To Mobile or Not?
Is it worth the added expense to meet this growing market trend? You bet.
“Based on where technology is going, mobile websites are truly a no-brainer”–Drake Powell, Principal of Echelon Property Group, LLC
Whether your goals are simply to provide a satisfying experience for mobile visitors, to avoid frustration, to attract new prospect demographics, or to give yourself the edge in closing leases, mobile options are an affordable way to stay out in front.
Although redirection to your mobile site should just happen “automatically” behind the scenes, don’t let that keep you from patting yourself on the back–and do it publicly and often! It will benefit you to let your prospects and residents know you are an early adapter with a leg up on the competition, and that you are committed to keeping up with technology to meet consumer needs. If you integrate a service request form, contact form, mobile rent payment, or specialized mobile GPS-enabled features, those are substantive features you can advertise. Mobile conveniences are valuable amenities to prospects and residents on-the-go.
(Dana Zeff is Cofounder and Principal of The DZAP Group and LeaseLabs. LeaseLabs is a suite of web-based tools designed to manage the branding and promotion of apartment communities both online and with on-demand marketing.)