People love their mobile phones and are spending more time on them ever before. Whether you’re walking down the street or inside a shopping mall, sitting in a coffee shop or at the airport, half the people around you are looking down at their cell phones. It’s like the Internet is starting again, but with a smaller screen. This isn’t just a temporary fad that is going to fade away. Mobile Marketing is here to stay!
Consider these Facts:
- One third of U.S. citizens now carry a SmartPhone
- Mobile Web Usage tripled in 2011
- Mobile Internet Usage will pass Computers by 2013
- 1/3 of Facebook users and 2/3 of all Facebook activity is by Mobile devices
- Google Recently Purchased Motorola’s mobile division for $12.5 billion (4 times as much as they paid for YouTube)
- 1/2 of all Local Searches are preformed on mobile devices
- 44% of total searches for Last Minute Gifts & Store Locator Terms this past Christmas season were from Mobile Devices
As marketers we have to understand these new types of consumers and how best to reach them. A study done by iCrossing asked people whether they expect websites that they visit frequently to have a dedicated mobile version, and 84% of people said yes. So if you don’t have a mobile version of your website, you are disappointing your customers.
A mobile version of your website is necessary because mobile devices have screens much smaller than a computer monitor. If you’ve ever visited traditional websites on a SmartPhone, you know they can be downright unusable. This is why a mobile version of your website optimized for phone screens is more important than ever.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes; think about the information they want - location, hours, contact numbers, services offered and products carried. Display this information front and center on a website optimized and simplified for the mobile web.
Design for Thumbs, not Mice! Not only is the screen size smaller; navigation on mobile devices is different as well. You don’t have a mouse to navigate around the page and from one page to the next. Instead a touch screen is used with your finger or thumb. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to click on a button, only to be taken to the wrong place because your finger activated the button next to what you were trying to click on.
When designing your mobile website create larger links and buttons and leave additional white space around them. Especially if you have more than one link near each other as in a menu screen.
Keep the Layout Simple! You need to forget about all the fancy, complicated websites that jewelers have grown accustomed to. You need to present your information in a simple easy to follow manner. However, simple does not have to be boring. You can dress up your mobile website with font selection, colors, and a limited use of small graphics and pictures.
Use Smaller File Size! The mobile consumer is an impatient audience. They are not going to wait around for your big beautiful picture to load. While great improvements have been made in connections speeds on mobile devises they still do not compare to high speed Internet connections for your computer.
You don’t need large astonishing pictures on your mobile website to convey your marketing message. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but they pale in comparison to holding the actual jewelry in your hands - to Touch, to See the Beauty, to Feel the Quality. Use small pictures on your mobile website to bring the consumer into your store to hold the real thing (and give your sales staff the opportunity to make the jewelry theirs)!
Discuss these design considerations with your webmaster and create a mobile version of your website. For the Do-It-Yourselfers check out Mobify (www.mobify.com) and Zinadoo (www.zinadoo.com). These are mobile website creation tools where you can enter your information and create your own mobile website to upload to your server.
For your blogs the WordPress Mobile Pack plug-in is the top plug-in to use to create a mobile version of your WordPress blog.
The way to surf on the web from a mobile device is different than on computers. The mobile web uses the browser that is built into your phone to connect to the Internet. The search engines that feed information to the mobile browser are completely different search engines with a different set of algorithms to list websites. Just because your website ranks high in searches preformed on your computer does not guarantee that your website will be ranked high on mobile searches or listed at all.
Mobile Users are Mobile! Because of this, mobile search engines use a user’s precise location to filter search data. On mobile devices Local Search intent is assumed. This gives local brick-n-mortar stores a decided advantage over web based stores, but only if the local retailer has optimized his website for the mobile searches.
In addition to the location based search results, mobile users are often using map apps or other apps that contain maps when searching for places to shop. Being listed in local maps has become increasingly critical for businesses.
If your website ranks well in Google Maps and Bing Maps in search results on your computer, you have a leg up on getting ranked well in mobile searches as well. You need to give the search engines as many trusted signals as possible about the correct location of your business, such as setting up and optimizing a Google Place Page, and putting your business name, street address, city, state, zip code and phone number (with area code) in text on each page of your website. In addition, create external citations to help reinforce the accuracy of that information.
You can gain an extra edge by adding a KML file to your website, as this also generates a strong location signal. KML stands for Keyhole Markup Language and is an XML file format designed to describe geographic information for programs like Google Earth and Google Maps. Simply put – it is a way to structure your location data so that it is easy for Google to pinpoint the exact physical location of your business.
The minimum data to include within your KML file is:
- Business Name
- Short Description
- Street Address
- City, State, Zip Code
- Phone Number
- Website URL
The fastest way to create a basic KML file is to use one of the online generators which make this process very easy. There are quite a few online and desktop programs, including Google Earth that you can use to create a KML file. The one I have found to work best for this purpose and that I use, is the Geo Sitemap & KML Generator at: www.geositemapgenerator.com. This is one of the easiest to use KML/Sitemap Generators available, and you don’t have to know your business’ Latitude and Longitude in order to use the tool, it will get that information for you from your street address. And the best part is the tool is free to use.
Go to the website and enter your store information. A Google map will display with your location for you to verify and you can adjust the pinpoint if necessary. It will also generate the needed XML Geo Sitemap.
Once you have finished, you will have both a .kml and .XML file to download. Upload the two files to the root of your website (same directory as your home page). Then verify everything is correct by going to http://maps.google.com and enter the URL for your KML file (http://YourDomainName.com/location.kml) and click search. Google will locate the file on your server and display its location information right within Google Maps. Alternatively, you could also open the file in Google Earth if you have that program available.
The search engines will find these files and index them the next time they crawl your website and it will improve your website rankings in both mobile searches as well as in Google and Bing maps. Rather than waiting for the search engines to re-crawl your website you can let them know about the new files by Pinging their URLs to top Ping directories as well as submit them to Google using the Google Webmaster Toolbox.
Brad Simon and his wife Debbie are co-owners of Internet 4 Jewelers providing retail jewelers Internet Marketing Training and Services including Local Search Marketing, Social Networking, e-Mail Marketing, and Mobile Marketing. For more information on marketing your jewelry store on the Internet, getting higher search engine rankings, or using the Internet to keep in touch with your existing customers visit www.Internet4Jewelers.com. You can follow Brad on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BenchJeweler.