What you need to know about smart phone and mobile marketing

Author -  Labyrinth Solutions

Mobile marketing is a variation on traditional online marketing and presents both opportunities and challenges. Some of the key ones in each category are detailed here.  

Opportunities 

  1. QR codes. Smart phones have the ability to read QR codes, ideal for taking someone to a specific landing page on your site. QR codes have many other uses too, driving people directly to the area of the site you want them to visit, for example product specifications, assembly instructions etc. Imagine having QR codes on your packaging and allowing the user to enter a competition there and then. No forms to send off etc!
  2. GPS. Most mobile devices have GPS built in, so if your business has a number of outlets/agents spread around the country (or internationally) you have the ability to easily tell the mobile user just how close their local outlet is.
  3. Click to Call. Standard text or image phone numbers can be converted into click to call buttons allowing the user to instantly dial in and talk to someone at your company. 

Challenges 

  1. Screen size  - an obvious limitation. The site needs to be easy to read on the much smaller screen, and also easy to navigate without a mouse. Where you might be happy to take 3 or 4 clicks to get somewhere with a mouse, one or 2 clicks without one is probably the maximum. Navigation requires more planning than for a site designed for standard lap/desk tops.
  2. Typing can be difficult on these devices so give careful thought to how you expect users to interact with you. Minimise the user’s need for typing as much as possible.
  3. Power -  these devices rely on their own batteries, so the use of power hungry applications and imagery needs to be minimised as much as possible. Flash is a challenge too. Apple products such as iPhones have never displayed Flash, and very soon Android powered devices also won’t. If you have a Flash based site it simply won’t display on one of these devices.

Where to from here? 

All sites should at least be designed with mobile usage in mind as a minimum. Existing sites may get away with some design tweaks etc to make them more mobile friendly. However, if you have a highly mobile target market then it is well worth considering a mobile specific version of your site, scoped specifically with the functionality and content that a user requires whilst on the move. This will generally mean a paring down of the site’s size (Mission statements, company history etc become less important), a content re format to make it easier to read (more use of bullet points etc), and a scaling back or complete removal of high resolution images.

Alternatively - your site could be designed using 'Adaptive' or Responsive' CSS so that it alters the way it displays according to the type of device it's being viewed from. This works especially well when mobile users don't require significantly different functionality to traditional users.

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