Recently I attended a webinar through ConstantContact, a company that deals with email-newsletter distribution, on the undeniable importance of mobile communications. Here’s some advice for how to utilize it.
- 129 million people have smart phones
- 80% of adults 18-44 have their smart phones on them 22 hours a day
- 29% only use mobile for internet access
- U.S. smart phone subscriptions expected to grow 28% in 2013
- 75% used mobile phone to get real-time, location based information
- 90% of mobile searches led to action
- 70% who ran local search took action within an hour
- 44% of emails are opened on a mobile device
- Only 3% view email on more than one platform (example, PC and mobile)
When building mobile into communication strategies, phones have the greatest limit on size; so while viewers might be on iPads, tablets, or desktops, it’s important to cater to the most limited device.
- Avoid using too much text
Long -form content does not work because people have short attention spans. Ask if a picture could get the message across better or if the wording could be more concise.
- Avoid multiple columns
Readability is key: two columns might look great on the computer screen but often causes glitches on mobile devices. Be sure to test how it looks before sending out.
- Clear and easy calls to action
If you are asking people to read more, learn more, register, sign up, etc., make sure it is easy for them to do so. Try separating the “click here” into a bordered box, or consider the merit of clickable images. Try to stray away from in-text hyperlinks because they are hard to click and not very user-friendly.
- Avoid tiny fonts
80% of people delete things they can’t read. If the text is too small, mobile readers can’t read it. But if it’s too big, then desktop readers will feel as though you are shouting at them. Keep it to 22pt headlines and 16pt body text as a general rule of thumb. This is big enough for mobile readers and small enough for computer screens.
- Use images carefully
Alternate text that appears if an image doesn’t load is useful so that the consumer at least knows what is there. Just test to make sure it looks okay before you send it out. Sometimes the picture takes up the whole screen and ends up blocking the message. Try to strike a good balance.
- Don’t ignore local search
Apps such as Yelp and Urbanspoon provide instantaneous reviews, photos, phone numbers, and directions. Consider how you show up in searches! Make sure your information is readily available to consumers, because people searching on mobile are looking for immediate results. They’re not going to sift around to figure out where you are and what your phone number is.
- Don’t ask customers to turn their phones off
People use twitter and instagram to ENDORSE your business. This broadens your customer base because they are advertising your brand to their individual social networks and friends. If information or content is sensitive, nicely ask for phones-off or no photography, but as a general rule of thumb try to allow it. It’s a free way to gain publicity.
- Don’t ignore mobile tech personally
Do it too! If you see something in your business that is cool or interesting, post it. It is crucial that a company utilizes its social media as much as possible. 1.4 billion images are taken per day, and 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube per minute. It is insane not to tap into that enormous resource.
Building a brand through mobile:
Nothing resonates better than content. Make sure your brand has personality and stands out. Be relevant and listen to your customer’s problems, and then try to help them. If people are reluctant to give out emails or phone numbers, it’s important to show them the value of what they are going to get out of the exchange. This could mean coupons and promotions, or it could just mean providing reliably good content.