There’s a lot of buzz in the media about mobile devices and many businesses have made an effort to create a mobile website. However, just having a single version of your mobile website isn’t enough. A company’s mobile website should be functional and user friendly across multiple mobile devices and their platforms.
Let’s talk about functionality first. It’s safe to say that not all smartphones are created equal. When creating a mobile website, it’s good to keep in mind that your website isn’t being built for one particular mobile device, as iPhones, blackberrys, and android phones will be all accessing your website. In order for your website to appear correctly on various mobile device screens it’s important to make the necessary adjustments in the interworkings of the website. It is also imperative that simulated tests be done with various mobile devices to confirm that it appears the correct way. For example: ask a few employees at your place of business to pull up your website on their phone and give their feedback on how it appears.
Mobile websites should be easy to navigate and allow users to get to the information they want quickly. No one wants to scroll forever to find a link or read an encyclopedia to find a simple answer. On mobile websites, the motto to follow is short and sweet. Another tidbit is to make sure the phone number is readily accessible on all pages. After all, they are on their cell phone.
Mobile devices aren’t going anywhere and their usage is increasing. If your company doesn’t want to get left behind, now’s the time to make the change. Consider creating a mobile website or improving the functionality and user friendliness of your current one.
Clients will often indicate that their online marketing efforts are in good shape because they have a Search Engine Optimization Strategy in place. Or some will say they‘re all set since they are involved in a Pay per Click program with Google AdWords. Some may actually tell me they don’t need to do either and that all of their business comes from word of mouth.
The best case scenario is to truly cover all of your bases and the only way to do that is by engaging in all components of online marketing. This can be a daunting task, given the fact that there are so many options available today. I’d suggest starting out with baby steps and then broadening your efforts slowly, but surely. Below are just a few of the most commonly utilized forms of online marketing initiatives to take into consideration:
Search Engine Optimization (frequently referred to as SEO)
According to Wikipedia’s definition, Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. Clients love achieving high organic rankings in the search engines. This is especially true when it comes to Google, which is no surprise considering it holds about 65% of the market share. Remember: organic rankings equate to FREE traffic.
Pay per Click (also known as PPC)
In this platform the advertiser is paying or bidding on keywords based on their specific business or industry, in an effort to have their ad displayed in the sponsored section of the search engine. This section is typically on the very top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) as well as on the right hand side, listed vertically.
Onsite Blog + Blog Postings
In my opinion, having an onsite blog is no longer an option, but rather a necessity. The main reason it ought to be onsite versus offsite is for the SEO benefits your website will gain. Blogs should have fresh and regular content on them, which the search engines love when crawling. You will want to ensure that your blog is updated on a regular basis (minimum of once a week).
Nearly everyone has a Smartphone or iPad these days and more often that not, most are surfing the web via their device. You ought to make sure that you have a simplistic, mobile friendly version of your website that allows for easy navigation.
Social Media Marketing + Strategy
This form of marketing has become increasingly important the last few years and continues to maintain its necessary place within a marketer’s ad budget. Social Media is an excellent medium to reach and engage your consumers and should be utilized to its fullest potential. Just having a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn page is not enough, however. You must have a solid strategy in place before diving in.
Google has seen mobile search grow at an exponential rate, increasing five-fold worldwide in just the past two years. This is a rate comparable to the early days of Google’s desktop search. Because of this, Google has released new updates to their mobile search page, which now makes mobile searching faster, easier, and more intuitive. Google has introduced features like autocomplete, Voice Search, Google Goggles, Google Instant and Instant Previews.
With continuous updates being rolled out, this is just the beginning of what is to come. You can gain a more in depth look into Google’s mobile focus by visiting Inside Search. As you will see, the mobile world offers new marketing possibilities that combine the physical and virtual worlds, enable webmasters to streamline processes, and allow businesses to become more interactive with their customers.
A good example of how Google is adapting their search platform to the mobile world is by their new icon features. On Google’s mobile search page, visitors are now offered the option to simply click a respective icon to get instant, local results. In the image below, you’ll see an example of using the restaurant search icon:
On the results page, users will see a map with markers for local establishments in conjunction with their current location. Scrolling through the results, the map remains at the top of the page and adjusts automatically to the listings.
Such improvements to mobile search are sure to mean that even more people will turn to their phones to discover solutions to their queries. For businesses that have been wavering on initiating a mobile marketing strategy, now is the time. The opportunity is wide open to take the lessons from the desktop age and combine them with the creative marketing potential that lies ahead.
I, for one, am very excited about this new frontier and look forward to helping businesses develop a strategy to hit the ground running. We will keep you posted on future developments of the mobile arena.