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Go Mobile! with a little help from your friends at Google

by Maria on October 21, 2009

While mobile marketing has been on everybody’s mind for the past couple of years, it is a commonly shared opinion that the platform for mobile is just not ready for global use. Whether you agree with this statement or not, one thing is definitely true: more and more advertisers and marketers are thinking about going mobile. Now Google has created their own little page to help us, the marketers, go mobile in 2010 – or even sooner than that if we are really determined.

mobile-search

mobile-search

Here are the steps that our friends at Google suggest to go mobile:

Step 1. Mobilize your website.

Easy as it may sound, this may be a very challenging task. My personal wisdom: hire someone who knows what they are doing, it always ends up cheaper this way.
As an iPhone user, I am well aware that most phones can render text from any webpage – but oftentimes the design and the functionality of the page are gone even before it gets a chance to load. So really if you clean up your site and simplify your branding, it will become mobile friendlier by default. Another great piece of information is knowing that you can set your website to detect which device the user is coming from – to send them to the page that would work best for them.

Here are the things that Google suggests we take into account:

  • Phones have slower internet connections than computers. To help reduce the time your customer waits for your page to load, limit the use of fancy graphics, large images, videos and Flash. Note that some websites with a lot of Flash content may not load on a mobile browser at all.
  • Include a visible call to action to ensure that conversions (like a purchase or sign-up) are simple and quick.
  • Think about what type of information a customer on-the-go might want and how this might be different from what they’d look for sitting at their desk. Consider making it easier to find information about store locations, where to call to order, and other details that a user might look for from their phone.

Step 2. Location, location, location.

Unlike computers, mobile phones stay with us most times – even when you would not think a person would want to have a phone close by. Take advantage of that and follow these Google tips to enhace the user experience:

  • Let your customers skip the step of inputting their location and searching for the pharmacy closest to them. Instead, use location information to show the nearest pharmacy location proactively and immediately. Fewer clicks and less typing can result in happier customers and faster path to sale.
  • Suppose your brand is sponsoring a local sporting event. Consider offering potential customers who are in the local area a mobile experience customized around the event. For example, offer directions to your booth where they can try a sample of your product.
  • If your site can’t detect your customer’s location, you may want to integrate your app or webapp with Google Maps. Show them a map of nearby store locations where they can purchase your product, and include a mobile-only coupon for an extra incentive and better tracking of your results.

Step 3. Entertain and engage – at all times.

If you are like me, you play with your phone whenever you can. On multiple occasions I was embarrassed to walk into a wall because I was so engaged with whatever was on my iPhone screen while I was walking to my car. Security aside, here are some Google ideas to help your mobile visitors stick around:

  • Establish your brand as the go-to place for information that relates to the product or service you provide. For example, if you sell food products, be the one-stop resource for recipes and shopping lists to use on the go. If you sell event tickets, be the resource for day-of-event information, such as up-to-the-minute traffic information. If you sell a weight loss product, create a tool to help customers count calories while they’re dining out.
  • Engage your customers when they’re looking for entertainment. Create a mobile game on your website or a downloadable mobile application to bring your brand to life and increase customer affinity.
  • Reinforce your messages on other media your customers interact with. For example, write your mobile website address on an outdoor billboard, put a QR code on your bus ad, add a phone number customers can text to receive more information about what you featured in your TV ad… you can even use the mobile web to add more information about your product than its physical packaging will allow, or link to a coupon when the customer needs it most.

Step 4. Word of mouth. Literally.

I can’t tell how many business opportunities you are missing if you are ignoring viral marketing. Check Google’s wisdom to be on top of the game:

  • Go viral! If you have an element in your campaign that lets your customers send something to their friends, the mobile phone is the perfect medium. Some apps can even tap into a customer’s contact list for easier sharing.
  • Encourage your customers to participate in your events, contests, or ad campaigns through their mobile devices. If customers are sending in photos, for example, make sure there’s an easy way to do it from a mobile phone, so they can snap and send on the go. A campaign with a scavenger hunt could have people submit videos of themselves at various locations. In any of these cases, letting your customer submit on the spot means they’re more likely to participate.

Step 5 (my favorite). Help them find you.

Self-explanatory but very important: if they can’t find you, there’s a very good chance there’s someone else taking your place (or buying your branded terms).

And last (but not least) if you use your phone for browsing, check out a list of Google’s applications for mobile phones. Chances are you’ll like something.

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