“We can’t live without our phones”

Know your audience, because your website might be ignoring – or even worse – offending them.

If your targets are people who use phones to access the web, and your website isn’t optimized to meet them on their iPhone, you might have a problem. Part of communicating with your target audience is showing that you know them. And part of demonstrating that connection is having a website that meets them on their phone.

After reading the profile of Jenna Marbles, YouTube superstar and entertainer, I starting thinking about the idea that communicating more personally with target audiences is just one value in building a responsive website. Her audience skews towards 13-17 year old girls with a deep passion for the weekly videos that Marbles produces. After reading about a fan defending Marbles, it clicked for me:

One fan, Allee Hamilton, of Livonia, Mich., wrote: “Seriously, I’m 13. You need to understand that we watch Jenna Marbles, we swear, we think wrong, we act insane, we have Facebooks, we can’t live without Internet, we can’t live without our phones. THATS JUST THE WAY IT IS!!”

That’s right, that’s just the way it is. Young people, among many other constituencies, can’t live without their smartphones and the Internet. If you’re a business with large customer base of smartphone users, cry all you want, but people aren’t going to start throwing their phones in the ocean just because your website can’t meet them.

Do You Need A Responsive Website?

What businesses need to have websites optimized for a smartphone crowd? I’ll share one idea here, but I’m sure you can contribute a few more via Twitter (@seedworksmedia) or Facebook.

I live in a college town region. There are more than 5 colleges within a 15 mile radius, with more than eight thousand new students moving in every year. Within the larger Connecticut River Valley region, there are 29 colleges with 120,000 students. Any business that has a student-centric customer base and isn’t prepared to meet them on their smartphones, can probably do better.

But we can all do better by building websites for tomorrow’s new customers, not yesterdays. Responsive websites work just as well on desktop and laptop computers, so why not think about new business?