Real estate professionals who want to fully embrace mobile consumers to better compete in 2014 are focused on creating mobile strategies to help capture, engage and inform the real estate consumer. This commitment is based on statistics that show mobile usage is here to stay, and ready or not, your consumers are out there using it everyday!

Last week I shared with you three options for creating a mobile-friendly website. One of the most important things you should do to attract mobile users is to create a mobile-friendly website. However, studies show that 79 percent of mobile users who find a site difficult to use will look for the information they need on another site and never return. So, before you choose a template or build a site, you need to know what a mobile consumer wants when they visit a website. What features do they look for? What kind of navigation do they like?

I did some research, and I created a list of the top things consumers are looking for on a mobile website. Most of the stats below are based on a study Google did:

  • Location: 76 percent of mobile users want to get location information. Make sure you include your office address on your mobile site.
  • Click-to-call:  In my opinion, this is probably the most important feature on a mobile site! Sixty-one percent of mobile users want to be able to call you with a simple click. Personally, I love mobile sites that have the small phone icon at the top of the home page.
  • Email: 54 percent of mobile users want to be able to click to send you an email. Use the envelope icon for easy click-to-email.
  • An app: 53 percent of mobile users want to be able to download a mobile app. If you’re not offering a mobile app download on your site, you may lose mobile consumers to a site that does. If downloading the app requires registration (and it should!), this can be a wonderful lead generation tool!
  • Social links: 48 percent of mobile users want to be able to access your social networks. Maybe they’d rather reach out to you on Facebook than through an email. Or maybe they want to check you out online before they call. Give them the option by including button links to your social media profiles.
  • Video: 41 percent of mobile users want to be able to play a video. It’s hard to read text on a mobile phone! Place a short video of you on your home page, and share with viewers why you love working in real estate. Studies show that video increases conversion rates by over five times, so it’s a win-win!
  • Big finger-friendly buttons:  69 percent of mobile users want bigger buttons. Remember that mobile users are using their finger to click, so they need a bigger button.
  • Easy to navigate: 78 percent of mobile users want to be able to find what they are looking for in just one or two clicks. So really think about your site’s navigation, and make sure your site’s most popular sections are just a click away from the home page.
  • Search bar that’s easy to find and use: If the mobile user cannot access the content he is looking for in one or two clicks, he will want to quickly search for the content by using a search bar. It’s much easier to do a quick search in the search bar than it is to manually search a site. This is especially true on mobile devices.
  • Nonscrolling forms with limited fields: If you build any lead generation into your website (and you should), you will want the associated forms to be nonscrolling and easy to fill out with a limited number of fields.
  • One-direction scrolling: Scrolling is OK as long as it goes only one way. Either horizontal or vertical, but not both.
  • An option to visit the nonmobile site: This does not apply if you build a mobile-responsive site, but is especially important for redirected mobile websites. Redirected mobile sites tend to have limited content, so giving the consumer the option to head over to the full site (even if it isn’t designed for mobile use) is important.

Mobile usage is no longer a trend or just an opportunity to reach a small segment of home shoppers. Mobile is quickly becoming the standard way home shoppers consume content and search. One of the most important marketing decisions you can make in 2014 is to dive into the world of mobile marketing.

You may also want to read 3 key strategies to optimize business for local search on mobile devices.

Marci James is the director of marketing at Obeo, which provides interactive virtual tours, professional photography, virtual redecorating tools and custom real estate marketing solutions.

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