The information age is arguably the most robust yet mind provoking period in time. While it has lead to an enormous amount of technological advancements, it has also forced many of us to spend valuable time deciphering between what is useless information (and ignore it) and information that will add value to our personal and professional lives. We are, and continue to live in, a period of information overload!
As marketers, the challenges continue to increase as a result. As technology advances, we need to be mindful of how best to advertise through new portals and simultaneously pay special attention to the content [and amount of info] that is being delivered. From e-newsletters, promotions, to business updates, marketers must add value to all distribution efforts in order to create and retain a credible, loyal customer and prospect base.
To better understand how to optimize our marketing efforts, it is important to understand the trends affiliated with the times, especially in the evolving interactive marketing industry. One of the biggest movements influencing content creation and distribution revolves around mobile devices.
…Why? Mobile is about to explode!
How many times have you opened a newsletter on your mobile device only to realize that you weren’t able to view the images/content correctly? Many of these users will automatically delete the email from their phone, knowing that they won’t visit their desktop later in the day to view the message.
Understanding marketing on mobile devices is critical for a few reasons. Firstly, the increase in popularity of mobile usage is leading to an increase in mobile email and mobile website users. As a result, email design will start to be more heavily influenced by mobile devices (iPhones, Android-powered smartphones, and iPads). Emails (their content and images) must now be transferrable to the small screen.
According to Email Insider, the distinction between emails and mobile emails is disappearing. Email design will be impacted greatly, as will the amount of content provided. When creating email designs, optimize how it appears on small screens by keeping the following in mind:
Another priority for the New Year should be creating a mobile version of your website. Not only does the amount of content need to change on your website, but the types of information you provide needs to as well. On-the-go users typically aren’t shopping or making purchases from their mobile devices, rather are looking for business locations, phone numbers, and/or hours of operation. Make your mobile website user-friendly and concise by including only the most relevant and necessary information/services. The good news is, mobile website design doesn’t require a significant investment of time or money, and so it is economically feasible for even the smallest of businesses.
Embrace the trends!
Business leaders must continue to amend our delivery methods and content to adjust to the advancement in technology. By doing so, the user experience will enhance and ultimately increase interest in the content being delivered.
There is no doubt that mobile phones, particularly smartphones, are becoming more popular. According to IDC, sales of smartphones grew 56.7 percent in the first quarter of this year, far exceeding the growth of the overall mobile market, which grew by 21.7 percent.
As the mobile market continues to grow, marketers are presented with greater opportunities to reach customers. When considering mobile marketing opportunities for your business, there are few things to take into consideration.
First, think about what the goals of your mobile marketing initiatives will be. Will someone using a mobile device be interested in what you have to offer, and more importantly, will they be able to complete the desired action? For instance, if you are a locksmith or are selling ring tones, there could certainly be opportunities for you to have a mobile presence. However, if you offer something that has an in depth conversion process, such as a form with multiple steps, mobile may be a bit more difficult to justify.
If you have decided that a mobile strategy is appropriate for your business, be sure to set your mobile campaigns separately from your other campaigns. This way you can have targeting flexibility and can tailor the message, and possibly the landing page, specifically to mobile users. You can even select which types of mobile carriers and/or devices where you want your ads to appear. For instance, a marketer selling only iPhone accessories my not wish to have their ads appear on Blackberry devices. Keep in mind that the iPad, while not a phone, can be targeted separately as a mobile device.
You will also want to think about how users will find your ads. Long tail queries are not as common on mobile devices. A mobile user is less likely to type out a long search term on their mobile device as they would on a desktop or laptop. Many of us who are smartphone owners know how typing on a tiny or virtual keyboard is still difficult.
Where will you drive traffic to? Will it be to your website? How does your website look on a mobile device? If you plan on driving mobile traffic to your website, it is highly recommended to have a mobile version. While smartphones can render full websites (with the exception of flash-based sites), mobile websites are much easier to navigate. Check out our website, www.morevisibility.com, from an iPhone or Blackberry and you will see an example of how much simpler it is to get around.
Lastly, bid aggressively to make sure that your visibility is prominent on mobile devices. There is limited space so you will want to beat the competition to get those valuable spots. This can lead to more visibility for branding purposes and more clicks to lead to conversions.
About a month ago, I wrote a blog about the expected increase in local search advertising due in large part to the rise of Smartphone usage. Since that blog post, I have seen some extensive research and statistics I would like to share that further support’s those expectations.
According to the latest report from the CDC’s Department of Health and Human Services, “More than one out of every six American homes (17.5%) had only wireless telephones during the first half of 2008, an increase of 1.7 percentage points since the second half of 2007. In addition, more than one out of every eight American homes (13.3%) received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones despite having a landline telephone in the home.” Those are strong figures, but I am not surprised…I am included in the 13.3% because I do have a landline, but never use it. All of my inbound and outbound calls are done from my Smartphone (the Motorola Q). If it wasn’t for the fact that I need a landline for the Visitor’s gate to my development, I would be counted in the percentage of households who only have wireless phones.
Another strong indicator that local search advertising should be a critical aspect of a company’s online advertising strategy lies in the growing number of people using their mobile phones for accessing news and information. According to a recent comScore report, “the number of people using their mobile device to access news and information on the Internet more than doubled from January 2008 to January 2009. Among the audience of 63.2 million people who accessed news and information on their mobile devices in January 2009, 22.4 million (35 percent) did so daily; more than double the size of the audience last year.”
The Smartphone has made these activities easier than ever. More and more people are relying on mobile phones inside their house and out. So the next time you are allocating budgets and determining your optimum marketing mix, remember to include local search advertising. The technology inherent in today’s mobile phones have made it easier than ever to access news and information. Make it easy for your potential customers to find you with a presence in online local search directories like Google Maps, Yahoo Local, and YellowPages.com.