Going mobile? Handy tips.

Going mobile? Handy tips.

Space age technological advances mean that these issues will soon be moot. Roll-up screens, supercharged batteries and ergonomic keyboards loom on the horizon, multiplying the possibilities within master banner ads, MMS campaigns and apps (check out our recent webinar for a peek at the future of mobile hardware).

But meanwhile, we marketers should pause to ask ourselves whether our here-and-now mobile strategy is up to snuff. Following these two golden rules is a start.

1. Don’t mince your words.

Gone are the days of Dear Search Engine: What is the best restaurant to eat dinner in West Los Angeles, CA? Yours Truly, A Dedicated PC User. You can count on mobile consumers to conduct their searches to the tune of food 90025.

So how do you ensure that your content rises to the top of such pithy quests? Make sure it’s mobile optimized, concise and local. It’s no secret that search engines rank sites based on the number of users who visit them. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, mobile visitors will steer clear – and send you spiraling down to the bottom of the results page.

How does a website become ‘mobile friendly’? Voluntary tipsters abound online, but they agree on some basic and inexpensive strategies that you can employ immediately: go light on copy, skip the animation and minimize the need for navigation. Use a free site such as mobiready to test your page for mobile-friendliness. If the results are poor, all is not lost. Consider posting a link on your homepage to a free mobilizer service, which will “translate” the site for mobile visitors.

But don’t stop there. Google has revealed that one-third of mobile searches are locally based. Which means, at the very least, that you need to list your business on Yelp, CitySearch and Google Maps to enable mobile consumers to find you. Within your website, put the copy to work. Utilize local keywords – the city or region you serve – as often as appropriate to up your local rankings; do you provide premium services to residents of the greater Los Angeles, California area? Or perhaps you proudly serve visitors to Santa Monica. Even a tactful reminder that you are located on 1516 S. Bundy Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90025 in the footer text on each of your pages is a start.

Achieving these results won’t hurt your bottom line; there’s no need to invest in a design overhaul or costly programming to make new friends in the mobile market.

2. Shorter (and faster) is sweeter.

Without the luxury of an endless power source, mobile phone users are looking for content that is quick to load and easy to consume. A simple text site is the best way to go, it’s best to up the engagement level by adding photo and video content to your page (remember, more visitors = better search rankings). If you choose to go this route, make sure that any media you share on the mobile platform is easily viewable, engaging and quick to load.

For photos, the Mobile Marketing Association recommends .jpg and .png file types. Unless your computer was born before 1991, it is able to convert your file from a less mobile-friendly format to one of these with a simple “Save As” function.

For video, keep your content under two minutes in length. This allows mobile consumers to download the goods without a latency period, which is fatal to an on-the-go population. (As for mobile advertisements, Google Mobile’s Senior Account Executive Elliot Nix announced at this year’s Ad Week that the current standard is 7-15 seconds.)

Producing mobile-optimized video is among the more expensive and time-consuming of these undertakings. A less costly option is to repurpose existing video for the mobile web. Following the Mobile Marketing Association’s recently updated guidelines, choose a 1-2 minute excerpt of your most successful television spot and post it to your YouTube and Vimeo pages. With simple keyword optimization, you can drive traffic to your site – again, for very little to no cost. From dancing babies to frustrated JetBlue flight attendants, the right keywords will drive consumers in the direction of your content.

The Mobile Truth

Your mobile strategy may be constrained by a four-inch screen space and limited battery life, but the possibilities are endless. Which is precisely why you don’t need to invest heavily in a total overhaul of your web content at this point; as possibility becomes reality and smartphones get smarter, they will be able to better read the content that you already have.

Simply speaking, a smart strategy and good mobile marketing consultant will go a long way in positioning you at the top of the mobile rankings game – event with in today’s crowded mobile real estate market.

This article is written from the personal perspective of Renee Miller. The opinions and views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Miller Group Advertising.

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