Smart-phones connect to information and friends
The era of mobile devices is definitely here. People are spending more time than ever before on their mobile devices, using Internet applications to connect to their entire world of friends and information. According to a Microsoft study, by 2014, mobile Internet usage will overtake desktop Internet usage and already more than 50% of all ‘local’ searches are done from a mobile device. Driven by bandwidth and a rich ecosystem of ‘anytime, anywhere’ wireless capabilities; mobile online activity is rising dramatically along with communication, entertainment, social networking and media capture.
Those who use computing devices to access the Internet, e-mail, watch videos, listen to music or play games now rely on mobile devices to do it better, easier, faster, more portably and more conveniently. They also have more fun and enjoy being online in a manner that is ‘cool’.
What Gives Mobile Devices That Edge?
Today’s smart phones are driving the increased use of networked applications and Web content. What is it that has so greatly enhanced their appeal?
• While service providers now bundle mobile devices with Internet access on 3G and 4G networks, the growing number of public Wi-Fi spots makes it more practical to browse with a mobile device than using a laptop.
• With GPS services, your phone knows where you are. Businesses can provide geo-targeted information, guiding users to local products and services, monetizing this local intent through advertising and offers.
• Internet applications for mobile devices or ‘apps’ allow you to customize a phone to your specific set of wants and needs. They range in size and complexity from a simple flashlight application, to a navigational system that will let you plot positions on a marine chart, to a medical reference guide.
• In-phone cameras facilitate video calls, point-and-shoot photography, recording videos, reading QR codes and interpreting barcodes. Capturing and sending media in the same motion on a mobile is much faster and easier than transferring images from a camera, or using a camera on a PC/laptop. The microphone too, is always ready to go.
• Phones are soon becoming the consumer’s wallet and the retailer’s storefront. Mobile access is being spurred on by ease of e-commerce, featuring location-based services, time-based offers, mobile coupons and push notifications, etc.
• Smart-phones and tablets provide a more interactive Internet experience since they use browsers custom built for mobile devices. Exciting capabilities like precise location information from GPS, user orientation from a digital compass, multi-touch input from one or more simultaneous gestures, device positioning from an accelerometer, etc. have surpassed PC-based Web browsers.
Avoid the Common Mistakes in Mobile Marketing
While businesses have been quick to jump onto the mobile marketing band-wagon, not all their experiences are positive. Avoid some of the common mistakes:
• The mobile version of your website should be more than just a shrunken version of what your site looks like on a desktop computer. The content, design and interface should be very simple, user-friendly, and attractive and must load quickly.
• Many businesses create and sell content that is anything but mobile friendly. What you need to do is market content (texts, pictures or videos) via mobile, that is easily downloadable and offers users a pleasant experience.
• Make the interaction worth their time to users. The rewards you can offer are only limited by your ingenuity like coupons, videos, convenience, recipes, extra information, contests, free downloads, etc.
• Mobile users become frustrated when information doesn’t translate correctly on their specific device, so ensure you optimize your campaign for every medium, device, system and browser.
• Don’t simply use a QR code to drive people back to your website. Instead, send users to mobile-friendly landing pages, informing them about specials and promotions, or providing an exclusive experience via their phone.
Revamp Your Mobile Marketing Strategy
Make no mistake; the world is turning mobile…now. Mobile web usage has already grown rapidly in recent years, prompting companies to optimize websites for smart-phone and tablet users. However, marketing strategies must also be updated to keep pace:
• Mobile shopping leads to sales via smart-phones and tablets, as well as in-store purchases. Update your mobile marketing to encourage mobile purchases.
• Social media marketing campaigns can reach prospects on the go. Simple sharing features built into mobile operating systems will complement those leveraged by web developers and social media teams.
• With so many smart-phones already capable of capturing, viewing and sharing video; it’s time to exploit video marketing that’s customized for handheld devices.
• Optimize your online presence for local search, taking advantage of Google Places and other geo-targeted directories. Let smart-phone users find you easily.