BRANDE : Mobile

May 18, 2015

Mobile Marketing Best Practices

CIO magazine just reported that 28% of sales take place on mobile devices. 80% of internet users own a smartphone. These and other statistics show that mobile is the future of marketing and branding. How can marketers make sure they’re best using this crucial tool? Here are the latest best practices. 

Make your website responsive

As I’ve discussed before, responsive design is critical for mobile web-browsing. That means that your site looks the same across all devices — the text is legible, the images are visible, and the buttons are easy to tap. Responsive design also lets your website respond to how your device is being held, so if you turn your tablet sideways, the text doesn’t run off the screen. This is more than just an issue of aesthetics; Google states that responsive websites are its “recommended option” for mobile search results. Google also favors sites that are designed for mobile (like, say, m.allstate.com), so it’s crucial to “get mobile” to work with Google’s important algorithm. If you can’t afford to optimize your website right now, creating a separate mobile site can still increase your organic mobile search traffic.

Get local

80% of people use their smartphone to search for local information, so make sure your organization is listed on location-based sites such as Google Places, Yahoo Local, Yelp, Foursquare, and Swarm. You should also submit your site to Google My Business, which will connect it to people who are using Google Search, Google Maps, or Google Plus to find a business nearby.

Once potential customers have found your site, you want to make it easy for them to contact you. Make sure your address is easy to see, with a link to a map (Google, Yahoo, Mapquest). Make your phone number clickable, so users don’t have to memorize your number, close their browser, open their keypad, and type in ten digits. Also highlight your hours of operation and include a photo of your location so users will know what to look for.

If you offer discounts or coupons, your mobile site is the place to do it. Many location directories double as review sites, so if you please or surprise users, they may reward you with kind words and share your site with friends.

Don’t forget about email

Did you know that 51% of consumers say they most often check their email on a mobile device? That means your  email marketing must be optimized for mobile as well — or else you risk a delete or even an unsubscribe.

Best practices for mobile email include short subject lines, single columns of text, and large links or buttons that can easily be tapped. And those links should lead to mobile-friendly sites, of course. Use contrasting text colors so it can be read in bright daylight. Make sure the most important information is above the “fold,” the point on a small screen which can only be seen by scrolling. Trade the fancy, interactive designs of your “regular” email for mobile-friendly email templates (like those from MailChimp), to make the most of the mobile experience.

Resist the app urge

It seems every organization has a mobile app now. But they require a lot of time and money to produce, and many don’t provide more features than a mobile site does. It makes sense for a bank to have a secure app for customers to access their accounts, or a pizza restaurant to have an automated process for ordering, but why does your business need one? A recent study by comScore found that 66% of smartphone users download an average of zero apps per month, while Localytics has determined that many apps are downloaded once and never used again. Salesforce advises companies not to let the “siren song” of the idea of your app on thousands of home screens make you waste resources on something that will be rarely used even by your biggest fans and most loyal customers.

Socialize your online presence

A recent Pew study found that 91% of teenagers view social media on a mobile device, while WeAreSocial claims that 50% of the North American population has “active mobile social accounts,” which equates to about 176 million people. Customers continue to engage with social networks while they’re on the go, so your organization should have a presence on the biggest sites, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Depending on your business, your audience, and your content, you may also consider Pinterest, Snapchat, Vine, or Meerkat.

Setting up a social media presence addresses some of the other best practices — social networks are searchable by location and they’re optimized for mobile devices.

Ready to get mobile?

Brandemix has been studying and implementing mobile strategies for a decade, and we’d love to help your organization expand your reach and increase your business. Contact us for a consultation.

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.

October 5, 2014

6 Ways the iPhone 6 Will Change Mobile Marketing and Recruiting

The new iPhone 6 and its accompanying operating system include a number of features that will have lasting effects on your branding, marketing, and recruiting. From push notifications to slow-motion photography, here are six ways the iPhone can both challenge and enhance your efforts to reach your target audience.

1. A better camera for your selfies — and your fans

The iPhone 6’s eight-megapixel camera comes with a lot of exciting enhancements for still photos, including advanced exposure,  improved auto-focus, and a noise-reducing imaging chip. That probably means more people will add pictures when checking in on Swarm, posting on Facebook, or writing a Yelp review — which in turns mean your organization should have a presence on those sites so your fans can post there. These features will improve your brand’s own photos as well. It won’t matter if your office is dark or your restaurant is outdoors; the new exposure control will allow for great shots in any conditions. So you can create even better content on Pinterest and Instagram, two more social networks where your brand needs to be.  Not sure about producing visual content? Click here to learn how to engage fans on the biggest photo sites.

2. 38% more real estate for product placement

The iPhone 6 has 38% more viewing area than the iPhone 5, while the 6 Plus offers another 36% more space on top of that. Add greater resolution to this enlarged space and it means a chance — maybe even a requirement — to improve your website’s design and interface. Your site can now offer larger buttons, brighter colors, and more information on each screen. And don’t forget to give your site responsive design, so it will appear the same on an older iPhone, both iPhone 6’s, and both sizes of iPads.

iphone ipad size comparison

3. Faster sharing through enhanced wifi speeds

The iPhone 6 supports more LTE brands than any other smartphone and offers three times the speed when connected to Wi-Fi. If your office or break room or retail space don’t offer Wi-Fi, now is the time to change that. Your customers and employees will want to use the new iPhone’s faster speeds; don’t make then go across the street to Starbucks to do it. After all, your fans want to upload their cool photos and videos of your business — you should make that engagement as easy as possible.

4. Better creative options for video marketing and recruiting

Apple has also added features to its video camera. The iPhone 6 has image stabilization, making your handheld shots less jittery and blurry. It also offers time-lapse, letting you create fun, fast-paced videos like this. In the other direction, you can now shoot in super slow-motion, which is great way to make any activity seem more beautiful and poetic. These three features will allow you greater flexibility in shooting everything from employee testimonials to tours of your offices to quirky little Vine videos.

5. New ways to notify customers and job-seekers

The iPhone 6’s new operating system also includes an upgraded notification system that allows apps to alert users of new content right from the notification banner itself. There’s no need to leave the app you’re in or even unlock the home screen. This integrates notifications more smoothly into the user experience. This applies to emails, texts, reminders, as well as numerous apps like Facebook. This will allow your organization to communicate more directly with your audience…as long as you don’t bother them too often. Find the perfect balance and you’ll be rewarded with more interaction from customers, employees, and job-seekers.

6. The ability to purchase via Apple Pay

Perhaps the biggest boost in marketing will come from the iPhone 6’s Apple Pay feature. As VentureBeat put it: “These devices, equipped with Apple Pay functionality, will not only allow users to purchase products in physical retail locations,” but also “to purchase items easily and quickly online via their mobile device.” Apple Pay is a mobile payments service that makes credit-card swiping obsolete. It requires no contact at all, which is great for flu season but even better for quick, easy purchases, with little or no barrier. Whether your retail space allows for in-store Apple Pay purchases or your retail site is designed for Apple Pay, you should see an increase in impulse purchases at the register and less cart abandonment online.

Apple PayImages courtesy of the New York Times

As many have pointed out, Apple didn’t necessarily invent all of these features — in fact, they’re the last major manufacturer to create a large phone. But marketers who were engaging Droid and Samsung owners can now access iPhone users with the same strategies. It’s a very exciting time for mobile marketing and recruiting. Ready to get started? Contact Brandemix for help.

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.


August 28, 2012

Ready for a Mobile Site? Rethink Everything!

Based on a recent study by Mongoose Metrics, only 9% of all the websites in the world are optimized for mobile devices. And yet more and more people are viewing sites on smartphones and tablets. That means your site is probably failing a large part of your audience.
So you need to make your site mobile-ready. Think it’s easy? Nope. You have to rethink everything.
Rethink Design
A lot of clients I speak to think that “mobile optimization” means just shrinking their site to fit on a smaller screen. There’s much more to it. Because of the different needs of a mobile user and the different experience of a phone, the entire design has to change. This means bringing in your creative director (or using our fantastic one) to craft a new look and feel for the site, while keeping your branding. Seem like a big step? It’s only the beginning…
Rethink Navigation
Everything must be scaled down for a mobile site. Only the most important sections should remain, and they should all be prominently on the homepage. Compare the Famers Insurance website to its mobile site. The many options and documents have been reduced to just four items: reporting a claim, paying their bill, finding an agent, and browsing products. If you want to ensure users have access to more information, you can always include a link to your full site.

Farmers Insurance: From this…

…to this.
Rethink Text
There’s only so much room on a mobile screen, so try to keep text to a minimum. Most of the navigation should be done through buttons, large words, and clear icons. Look at AT&T’s mobile careers site. Notice how they divide their departments by icons, with very small text below. On a “normal” website, these options could be simple text links. But for a mobile site, you should never make your visitors squint.

AT&T Careers emphasizes icons over text
Rethink Experience
See? The mobile experience is very different from a desktop one. Big graphic files or videos, which usually aren’t an issue, must now be weighed against the time it takes for them to load. Avoid Flash animation, since most mobile devices don’t currently support Flash. And different mobile operating systems are like different web browsers; what looks great on an iPhone may not look good on a Samsung Galaxy.
A great example of a totally “rethought” mobile site is Loews Hotels. The site uses the phone’s GPS to find the nearest hotel and offers four simple choices: Visit, call, map, or book now. Navigation on the homepage is a simple scrolling menu with photos, short descriptions, and buttons large enough for a thumb. Choosing “Contact Us” at the top offers the option to “Click here to book through a mobile device,” in case users missed it. It’s a clean, simple, informative mobile experience. No wonder it won the Web Marketing Association’s award for Outstanding Achievement in Mobile.

Loews Hotels’ award-winning mobile site
 Want to learn more about creating a great mobile site? Use your smartphone as a phone (gasp!) and call us at 212-947-1001.

June 11, 2012

LinkedIn Lovin’ – Here Are Five Reasons Why

It’s true that I’ve publicly predicted their demise, yet, like the grade-school girl who hits the boy she loves, deep down I really have a crush on LinkedIn. Obviously, I’m not alone. This professional network is signing on new users at the rate of two per second and has a lot of advantages that make it useful to anyone in business or looking to bust in.

Here are my five reasons for loving LinkedIn:

1. Picture perfect
Admit it. Before you meet with someone, or even before you call them, you look at their photo on LinkedIn. It’s just human nature to want to see the person you’re about to contact; LinkedIn provides that vital connection. It’s no longer necessary to think of the audience in their underwear to eliminate the fear before a meeting. Now I can get a sneak peek, and know before I go.

2. Group therapy
Speaking of presentations, following Brandemix workshops on popular topics like DIY employer branding or social media marketing, I receive dozens of business cards and LinkedIn requests. But how do I remember that I met Jim from Dallas in Orlando and Jane from Orlando in Dallas? LinkedIn lets me organize my contacts with tags: keywords that I create myself. I can group by speaking engagement, event, date, location, or up to 200 differentiators. It’s a simple online solution to a real-world problem that LinkedIn recognized and addressed.

3. A happenin’ app
Hardly anyone talks about it, but I think LinkedIn’s mobile version is more versatile and beautiful than the site itself. Its intuitive images of file folders, envelopes, and ID tags are a welcome change from the web version’s stark blue and white. The big, bold icons make it easy to read content, comment on posts, and search the directory. The interface gives LinkedIn a more friendly, social feel, like Facebook or Twitter. And speaking of which…

4. Wonderful for wordsmiths
I can’t always express myself in the 140 characters of a tweet. LinkedIn gives me 700 characters or a post, four times as many as Twitter. I also get 1,000 characters under Interests and 2,000 for my Summary. Great for, shall we say, enthusiastic writers like me!

5. There is such a thing as a free lunch.
While LinkedIn offers excellent premium accounts and comprehensive recruiter packages, I have almost 800 connections and still use the free version. Even without InMail or the advanced search options, I’m able to form groups (and you’re welcome to join mine), join groups (I hit my limit at 50), and still get access to all kinds of useful content for free.

Miscellaneous: I always get enlightening feedback to my questions on LinkedIn Answers. I use my allotment of free introductions to expand my network. And I follow my competitors and my “wannabes” to stay up to date in the fields of marketing, branding, and interactive technology.

LinkedIn is my one-stop shop. And with its two new features – targeted updates and follower statistics – I’m finally able to segment my messaging and see exactly who I’m reaching. Last year, I worried that LinkedIn wasn’t innovating, but features like these (and don’t forget that great app) show me that LinkedIn is committed to being the most useful network for business professionals.

I’ll be moderating an NYC panel with a LinkedIn representative on June 27. Anything you’d like me to ask? Drop me a line or find Brandemix on Facebook or Twitter. And do Link In.

February 13, 2012

What’s Foursquare Really For?

The best social sites have clearly stated goals. Facebook is for connecting with friends. Twitter is for live updates. LinkedIn is for business networking.

So what is Foursquare? The smartphone app allows you to “check in” to a location, with the option of adding a comment and/or sharing the update on Facebook and Twitter. You can leave a “tip” at your location, so other users will see “Be sure to try the nachos!” when they check in at the same restaurant. 

You get points and badges for various “achievements,” whether it’s visiting five different Italian restaurants or traveling to different states. You can compete with your friends for the most achievements. Whoever checks in the most at a location, whether it’s a park or a store or the Rose Bowl, becomes the “Mayor,” with their photo on the location’s main page.

But what’s it all for? The points have no value. You don’t need a third party to announce your location on Facebook and Twitter. The tips aren’t moderated, leading to weird or unhelpful comments, and old tips can become outdated. When you check in at a museum or gallery, for example, you’ll see many posts about exhibits that are long gone. 

One of the best uses for the service was for businesses to offer discounts to anyone who checked, or to the Mayor. Dozens of Houlihan’s franchises give a free order of fries for every check-in, while the current Mayor receives 10% off all food items. This strategy could lead to consumers actually competing over who visits an establishment the most — a dream of any store owner. But few companies have followed Houlihan’s lead.

Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley recently spoke to VentureBeat about the service’s “identity crisis.” He said Foursquare is “most interested in taking the data from check-ins to model what’s happening in the real world, and help people find new things.” He pointed to Radar, an app now available on phones running iOS5, which alerts you when your friends are nearby or when you’re near a venue you’ve told Foursquare you want to visit.

I’ll be the first to say that Facebook and Twitter can’t match that. But just a few weeks later, Foursquare also announced that it was adding menus to 250,000 restaurant listings. Even Yelp and Urbanspoon don’t offer that feature. But how is it social? How do recommendations and menus align with points, badges, and tips? How will any of these lead to more businesses offering discounts to attract new customers?

It seems that Foursquare has a lot of good ideas but isn’t sure which direction take. If Zagat, now owned by Google, adds menus to its app, it could quickly overtake Foursquare’s new feature. Facebook’s “Add a location to this post” option now threatens Foursquare on another flank. And I travel all over New York City and hardly ever see a Foursquare sticker on a store window or the logo on the menu.

I hope Crowley can find a clear path for Foursquare. After all, it’s a great concept. But its time is running out.