Mobile Copywriting Tips for Triggering Responses on Miniature Screens

mobile copywriting tips

The mobile revolution is here, and it’s taking over much quicker than anyone expected. Every week there are staggering new statistics on the rapid shift from desktops to miniature screens. It’s now on smartphones that people are looking for product information and spending money. The latest IMRG figures, for example, show that mobile devices account for all online sales growth, while desktop purchases flat lined in Q2 this year.

Want some more stats?

Did you know that nearly a quarter of all online retail sales now take place on a mobile device? This has made mobile marketing top priority for 40 percent of US marketers, with mobile marketing budgets rocketing 142 percent since 2011.

In the social media world the mobile changeover is even more rapid. Following Facebook’s recent advertising changes, with ads now placed in line of sight in the newsfeed, mobile is expected to account for half of its revenue by the end of the year. Turns out Facebook’s shares weren’t so ridiculously overpriced after all.

With advertising and marketing budgets adjusting to a mobile world, your mobile copywriting skills need to update along with it. It’s only a matter of time until clients start asking for mobile optimised pages. So it’s wise to brush up on the best mobile copywriting practices for triggering responses on miniature screens.

Keep it short and simple…and then shrink it some more

The mobile user is a different beast to that you’ll find sat at their desktop machine. If desktop website visitors have the attention spans of goldfish, mobile visitors are like bees. They’re furiously buzzing around trying to find what they need in the shortest possible time. Their visit to your website merely momentary, and the goal they wish to achieve highly specific.

Whereas desktop users are likely to be engaging in leisurely research, mobile users want to know if you can fulfil their needs immediately. You’re also competing with Whatsapp messages, Facebook updates and even the odd phone call for the mobile users’ fleeting attention. So copy copy needs to be even more precise, easy to understand and direct than that currently adorning your home page.

If the goal of website copywriting is to keep it short and simple (a.k.a. KISS) then mobile copywriting’s goal is to shrink it even further. Think about how you write Tweets or emails, where every word needs to be carefully chosen to convey a precise yet engaging message. This is the writing style you need to apply to mobile copywriting.

Goal driven headlines and strong calls to action

As every professional copywriter knows, the role of the headlines isn’t to amuse or entertain but to give visitors a reason to read further. On mobile screens you have less real estate to play around with, so headlines need to be even more tightly focused on the benefit readers will gain from your product or service. Your subheads should also be used to help visitors quickly pick out the parts that interest them and get information they need quickly.

While a website page might be 300-500 words, on mobiles you’re lucky to squeeze in a bite more than 120 words. Mobile visitors are used to scrolling, but they may think twice if you have pages with seemingly no end. A good way of gauging how your copy will look is to set the page width in Word to 4.4 inches wide with a font size of 15pt. This will help to give you an impression of the reading experience on smartphone screens.

Hit them with key information first. There’s no time for boastful fluff 

After the headline, you need to hit them with key information immediately. Journalists call this ‘top loading’, where you cut out long self indulgent introductions but instead get straight down to business. Leave long diatribes on your company history for the corporate brochure. Mobile visitors simply don’t have the patience.

As always, make sure your mobile copywriting is resplendent with plenty of directly worded calls to action. Tell visitors exactly what you want them to do or where they need to click for information. Remember that visitors to your website need to be taken on a journey of discovery about your company and why they should buy your product. So give them plenty of signposts to show them the way.

Expecting repeat visits? Then why not turn your website into a mobile app?

A quick workaround to creating a mobile optimised website is to upgrade its theme to a ‘responsive’ design. This approach defines image sizes and other elements as percentages which will then grow and shrink to suit the visitor’s screen size. However, whilst relatively painless to implement, you run the risk of having a mobile website that doesn’t match the mobile user’s visiting behaviour or makes it easy for them to achieve their goals fast. As always, website conversion rate testing tools are your friend.

If you’re already getting a lot of mobile visitors, another option is to turn your website into a mobile friendly app. If you have a popular blog then an app makes it easier for people to navigate to your site directly from their home screen and receive notifications of updates. Apps also offer a different experience to the mobile web, with more attention and mobile copywriting length to play around with.

Time to launch your mobile copywriting service

Visits to mobiles are rising much faster than anyone predicted. So rather than miss out on work from not being prepared, make sure you’re ready to ride the wave of clients needing a mobile copywriting service. Make sure you’re brushed up on the best punchy copywriting tips and have a few samples to show off.  The mobile revolution is here, and with it the need for mobile copywriting that’s direct, engaging and triggers responses on miniature screens.

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