The Apple iPhone 5 is coming to NZ and most website owners are missing out on the opportunity this represents as it adds to the rushing tide of Kiwi Smartphone use.

But first let’s just cast our mind back to when it all started.  It wasn’t all that long ago.  In fact the first iPhone advertising screened in the US on February 25, 2007 during the 79th Academy Awards.   Back then it was Nokia this and Erickson Sony that.  Phones were getting smaller and my Motorola Razr was black, sleek and fitted nicely into any pocket.  It was exactly what I needed in a phone.

Which was fine until the Apple advertising started and things phone related changed forever.  Now you didn’t have a phone in your pocket you had an internet connected screen.  And let’s not forget the camera that came with it too.  (Now I’m told that 90% of the photos taken in 2011 were from Smartphone’s.)

All this meant near commercial death to any phone manufacturers that were all about raised buttons, blurry cameras and postage stamp sized screens.   Samsung came along for the connected screen ride, as has HTC – names you probably would have never heard of five years ago in NZ.   Thankfully our local mobile networks have managed to keep pace and the cost and speed of mobile web access has broadly kept up to ensure the screen phone manufacturers promise was made good.

So what does that mean for your average website owner?

Firstly there’s probably a lot more people looking at your website, reading your email and clicking on your ads through the view of a mobile screen than ever before.  Thankfully the top analytics tracking tools – like Google Analytics – will tell you how many visit your website.   And great email tracking tools like Litmus will reveal those reading your email message “a la mobile phone” and Google let’s you target your AdWords advertising to attract just these types of visitors.

The tools are there to find and target this group but how many are using them properly?  From our experience very few.  (Possibly less than one in ten.)  For instance when was the last time you looked at your website via a Smartphone screen to see how it looks?  And how about running an AdWords campaign to just this mobile group and sending them through to a site set up for thumbs and not mice?

Which all means for the savvy website marketer there’s an opportunity to be had.  Now’s the time to be going after this growing group of mobile prospects while your competitors remain transfixed to their tethered friends.  Building a mobile version website isn’t as hard as you think.  For a start you need a lot less content and the call to actions can be a lot simpler to produce.  Don’t think intricate forms to complete – do think big buttons that fire up a “call now” action.  And let’s not forget videos too.  With the advent of super clear resolution screens they are a delight full screen on a phone.

Email marketing to a mobile audience is simpler too.  Here, like their mobile web browsing cousins, the focus is on providing simple vertical streams of content with easy to follow “thumb sized” click options.

So why not dive into your Google Analytics reports this week to see the percentage of visitors that arrive at your website via a mobile screen?  And for the next email sent – why not include a smart little piece of code to tell you who read your latest missive on their phone instead of their PC?

Then if the numbers stack up then why not kick off with a simple but effective mobile website marketing experience?