A few weeks ago I was asked to be a guest on the Punch – Media and Marketing Made Easy radio show on 1220 am in the San Francisco bay area. I discussed digital marketing with host Erika Taylor. I enjoyed being a part of the show and have since been back for a second time which I’ll share with you soon. Listen to my segment below.
It’s predicted that mobile internet usage will eclipse wired usage by the year 2015. With the rise of connected mobile devices like smartphones and tablets brands are wrestling with the need to make their online presence easy to access for mobile users. A common question heard frequently is “Should I build an app or create a mobile website?”. If referring to your existing website my answer is almost always “mobile website”. Even more specifically, I’m talking about developing a responsive website.
Responsive websites “respond” to the environment they’re being viewed in. Specifically, the size of the device they are being viewed on. We are seeing more and more internet connected mobile devices and platforms developing than most brands have time to accommodate for. On top of that, many brands have put a lot of effort into into developing their web site. Responsive design is the way to go.
The Platform They, and You, Are Already Using
Consider the thought of developing a mobile app. Which platform will you develop for first? Apple’s iOS, Android or Windows mobile? Then which device size are you going to target, tablet or smartphone? One way or another, you have choices to make that means you’re likely going to alienate a portion of your audience.
All of these devices and platforms have web browsers which is all they need to access and view your site. Responsive web design doesn’t care which device your website is being viewed on, only the size it needs to be displayed. No more need to zoom in and out to see all of the page content, a responsive site takes into consideration the viewing area and shuffles things around for the best fit.
Prioritize Content for Mobile Users
Mobile users may have different needs than those who visit your website from a laptop or desktop computer. In many cases the users are looking for information related to your location or other contact details. If you are a restaurant it’s likely they want to easily find and browse your menu items to see if anything appeals to them. All of this content is already on your site, but it may be hard to dig around your current site and access.
Responsive design allows you the opportunity to trim away the fat of your desktop site and give your content more prominence. If you’re using Google analytics you can find a section that tells you how much of your traffic is coming from mobile devices. Look specifically at the pages that those visitors are viewing. What content is on those pages? That content might give you an idea what’s most important to your mobile users. Then you can work to make that content easier to access in your responsive design.
Retain the Brand
There are a handful of other mobile website options out there. Some allow you to add your logo and play with the colors a bit. Others simply mimic a basic mobile app with no visual branding at all. If branding is important to you, and I hope it is, responsive design has you covered. Because your desktop, smartphone and tablet sized sites are all one in the same your visual branding is retained across all versions.
There are some great galleries popping up online that feature responsive sites. My favorite is http://mediaqueri.es/ . Also check out this nifty tool to help you see what your website looks like in various sizes like smartphones and tablets.
Mobile is Inevitable
It wasn’t long ago that everyone was learning how important it was have a website. I’m sure you would agree that it’s essential. Making your website responsive is a fairly new concept, but it will quickly become as essential to your online presence as anything else. This is why we have dedicated the last year to adding responsive web design to our web design process for our clients. Connect with me and I’ll be happy to help you get your website ready for mobile users.
Your Hosts for Episode 3 of the Digital Marketing Minute
Note: This post was originally written by Steve Farnsworth as part of a collaborative series of videos and posts called “The Digital Marketing Minute”.
Staring at a blank screen when you are trying to come up with your next post can be as frustrating as it is pointless. That’s why I don’t do it, and neither should you.
My Post Idea Generation Go Tos
My first stop is often LinkedIn, Quora, and sometimes Twitter. I see if there are any questions that I think are interesting, and that I can write to.
If one of those rich resources doesn’t have a nugget that inspires me I head to plan B. A leisurely perusal my ideas folder full of bookmarks. I read a lot and regularly come across posts that are based on an interesting premiss. If I think I can add a different perspective, or take the idea another way and make it uniquely mine, I save the post for future inspiration.
A New Content Idea Tool
Usually as I start to write I’ll end up going a different direction from where I began. The post becomes merely a springboard, and that is how I usually “find” my best post topics. Which is why I like SEOgadget’sDaniel Butler’s Content Strategy Generator Tool (CSGT).
The CSGT is short on strategy, but big on topic specific post starter ideas. Using a Google Doc spreadsheet, Daniel set CSGT up to populate with news and blog posts from around the web recently published on your search term. You now have dozens of titles that are hot and fresh. The best part is CSGT is free.
It tracks Google News, Bing news, Reddit, hot YouTube videos, topics trending on Topsy, Digg, Twitter, a number of blog aggregators, and several other sources.
It is very easy to use. Follow the simple instructions Daniel provides and you are ready to roll in about 3 minutes.
Enter keyword into cell “B3” and hit return. (for multiple keywords use the “+” operator e.g. Banking+Fraud)
Growing Topic Seeds Into A Blog Post
Enter your search term
Review the article titles (I don’t read a post if I save it to my idea folder. I always worry about incorporating the post’s individual ideas into mine. So much so it’s very distracting when I’m writing. For me it’s easier to go back and review the original post after I have my first draft.)
Read the articles if you choose (Not all results have links back to the original article, but you can easily Google the title and find the source if needed).
Then ask yourself, “What can I add that is interesting, insightful, or more useful?”
With the growth of Instagram and Pinterest, marketers now have more options than ever to extend the reach of their brand more visually. This said, the art of visual storytelling is one more skill the adroit marketer must have as a part of her skill set to stay relevant.
So, here are three things you should know to start developing a visual strategy for your company.
Who is doing a good job of visual storytelling with Instagram or Pinterest?
Red Bull http://instagram.heroku.com/users/redbull
Review a good mix of Pinterest and Instagram accounts. Follow 10, 15, or 20 accounts and check them everyday. Spend 5 minutes daily for a month reviewing what is happening with the companies you follow. Both the good and bad. Take notes about what you like, ideas you might want to try, and what you need to keep in mind.
What should you be doing?
Look at your digital content. How can you translate it to a visual medium? What images come to mind that are relevant to showing people instead of telling them? The above examples show images of:
The customers expressing the brand’s value
Activities, events and people that reinforce your brand messaging
Customers using the product
Employees’ human side or at work
And areas that are broader like history as it relates to the company’s brand or uses
Try any or all of theses and see what works. Keep what you like, and that which you feel has promise, and drop the ones that don’t seem to gel. Experimenting is required to become a seasoned hand with every skill. Remember: Mistakes are the petri dish for great creative.
I wont lie, I’ve been quite smitten with Pinterest as of late. Both as a user and as a digital marketer. So much so that I’ve churned out a few posts and an entire podcast with my co-host Cory OBrien on our weekly SoLoMo Show. Are you still trying to figure out how to take advantage of Pinterest to market your brand? Then check out the round up of links to some of my recent posts, more great posts from around the web and for good measure, I’ve included a recent episode of our podcast completely dedicated to how to get started marketing on the increasingly popular image curation community.