It’s easy to feel behind the ball when it comes to online apps, social channels & tools. All of these things are evolving, improving and intermingling at blistering speeds. At Magnify Digital, we’re lucky to be constantly researching and using these tools. For if we didn’t, I frankly don’t know how we could stay on top of it all. I sympathize with those wishing they were more in the know, but simply cannot dedicate entire days reading and trying new things.
So for all those people, here is one trend you can choose to get in front of: Mobile!
Photo by Tony Chang
Mobile everything: Mobile content. Mobile coupons. Mobile games. Mobile applications.
We are now at a time in history when people would actually prefer to lose their wallets over their mobile phones. This speaks to not only the dependency people have on these devices, but also the ubiquity of their usage in every way.
Some predict that within five years, more people will use their phones to get online than their computers.
There are approximately 23 million mobile subscribers in Canada, according to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association. Currently, it is estimated smart phones (like iPhones, Blackberries and Androids) have 12% market penetration in Canada.. which, admittedly isn’t that huge…yet. But if the relentless lineup for the new iPhone isn’t evidence of a soon-to-be sharp increase to that number, I don’t know what is.
People use mobile devices for the obvious: phone & text.
But a swelling number of people now use their mobile devices for the less obvious: bank, buy, photograph, explore, play, read, listen, discover, take notes, scan, gain admission/access to events, record video, find friends, track spending, donate to charity, and expand music and video collections.
So now is a good time to be asking how you, your business/organization, or your website can adjust to accommodate these less obvious activities.
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Explore QR codes to enhance communication with your audience
- Consider creating a mobile app. Mobile apps range from complex, expensive programs to something of simpler design. For example, an app could be a game, a simple tool that relates to your business, or the app could simplify a process for your customers.
- Offer mobile coupons
- Claim your business on location-based tools like Foursquare or Gowalla, and then offer specials and/or engage with those customers using those tools
- If your website is flash-heavy or is text-heavy, consider having a mobile version of your website so it’s easier to see and use on a smaller device. Here is a handy article about this.
- Develop an SMS marketing plan
- Ensure your business or organization is listed on local directories like Google Maps, Yelp, UrbanSpoon, AroundMe, etc..
There are already numerous ways to create a mobile strategy for your business, and more ideas are thought of every minute. This is just the tip of the iceberg… which is all the more reason to take action now.
One thing we have a lot of these days is choice.
Want olive oil? There are a hundred to choose from.
Want to host your website on a reliable server? There are many, many options at your fingertips.
Choice is great.. until there’s so much choice you feel overwhelmed. My brother had a great line in one of his films from a few years back, which was “Why is it there are hundreds of cheeses to pick from, yet only 3 political parties?”. The political parties seem to be catching up with the cheese these days.. but I digress.
I’m sure many an article has been written about choice paralysis… not being able to make a decision due to too many options. This is what makes personal endorsements so powerful. If someone I know and trust recommends something – I am considerably more likely to get it. A friend’s endorsement offers needed guidance in a world stuffed with multiple choice.
This is why the latest evolution in Facebook Ads is so brilliant. This month Facebook started experimenting with friend’s ratings of ads.
This means people in one’s personal network can like an ad, rate it (out of five stars) and leave a comment. This allows friends to see what each other has liked – personalizing the advertising and making it more relevant to the target audience. Products or services endorsed by a friend you respect and like, are more likely to get your attention and your business.
You can read more about that here.
Google Places has enabled reviews of ads for some time – but this too is evolving. Now, business owners can respond to the reviews people write and post on Google Places. Additionally, business owners can now post real-time updates to their Google Places listings – to offer customers timely specials or deals, or even coupons compatible with mobile phones.
Yelp is another directory all about customer reviews. (Interestingly, Yelp was almost acquired by Google in 2009 when the deal fell through.)
It helps too when businesses respond to reviews. It’s only fair and I, personally, appreciate hearing the other side of a story. However, some people need to be reminded of just how publicly permanent their written words are. This particular Yelp response to a review is one that should be a lesson to us all. The business owner blasted the reviewer and accused him/her of being the competition in disguise.
Well, at least such a vitriolic response helps to eliminate that business from your basket of choices…proving any voice can shape your choice.