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Best practices for creating mobile-friendly content

Marketers must meet the content needs of mobile users, who consume content differently from desktop users. The shift to a “mobile first” world is forcing brands to adopt a mobile content marketing strategy to continue driving sales and a higher ROI. Since mobile users are always on-the-go, content must be easy to consume. Unlike desktops, cluttered and noisy information on a website is unforgivable, especially when screens on smartphones can be so small. Brands carry out these best practices when formulating their own mobile content strategy.

1. Visible

Mobile devices are equipped with much smaller screens compared to PC monitors. Since mobile devices come in different sizes and specifications, your content must be visible and legible no matter what device you are using. Font and background color need to be contrasting, not distracting, so users no longer need to zoom in or highlight the text for it to be readable.

2. Organized

Two to three columns of text may be acceptable for desktop users but smartphone users can become easily frustrated with cluttered lines of text on a small screen. Priority content should be placed at the top and one-column of text and images is the most ideal layout for mobile devices. To resolve the challenge of catering to both mobile and desktop users, brands are incorporating a responsive web design so content is compatible on any kind of technology.

3. Brief

Write short, concise, and attention-grabbing headlines with the bulk of content simple and to-the-point. The restrictions in screen sizes and shortened attention spans of mobile users (due to multi-tasking and time shifting) are factors for every brand to throw away the old model of content creation and to look at content planning through a “mobile lens” POV. Although every content published on your site must short to fit a small screen, the message should still be effectively conveyed.

Twitter and Vine are great platforms to convert your brand messages to something easily consumed. Twitter only allows 140 characters per tweet while Vine lets you share six seconds of video footage. It’s now possible for other brands to promote themselves in the most ingenious way. There are exceptions to this rule in the case of Kindle and other e-book readers where long and in-depth content are expected.

4. Touch-friendly

Mobile users often use their thumb or index finger when tapping buttons and scanning websites. Make sure actionable targets are large enough to click on a mobile device. Images, buttons, or links should be easily tapped without fuss. Do not let shoppers abandon the site simply because the “Buy” or “Call Now” buttons need to be zoomed before it can be clicked on.

Authentic and Memorable Campaigns

Being the devoted Audi brand fan that I am, I’m not sure how I missed this incredible campaign between Audi & Airbnb. They essentially combined the brands, using the oh-so beautiful Audi R8 to create an experience to rival the best of them. For those who haven’t seen the listing, check it out here.

Instead of just creating advertising or a ‘commercial’ they created an experience. Not only does this speak directly to the new generation of buyers – experiences vs. things – it pushes the traditional distribution model past redline. The current advertising environment is overwhelming, consumers are under a constant barrage of marketing messages which is now just ‘noise’. Campaigns like Audi & Airbnb are showing us what it means to create great content – authentic and memorable. Personally, I believe we’re in the early stages of a necessary shift in advertising. The bar is higher, and brands must begin to think outside the box. Great content should evoke emotions, excite, and engage the audience. I tip my hat to the creatives that designed and executed this campaign – we need more content like this.

Making Your Small Business Look Like a Huge Brand Online

When Someone Searches For Your Brand Online…

It’s a competitive market landscape out there regardless of industry. When it comes to competing on a global platform, i.e. the Internet, businesses want to look bigger and better than their competitors. But when small businesses are pitted against big brands, you’d think it’s better to throw in the towel than put up a hopeless fight, right? Wrong!  Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can still drive website traffic and increase their revenue despite the challenge of competing against big corporate brands. Google SERPs is a fair playing field and SMBs are allowed to make a big impression in the marketplace – they need only know how to develop their online branding.

Controlling Your Branded SERPs

SMBs can dominate the SERPs with an outstanding reputation. If a business is reputable and trustworthy, Google rewards it with better rankings on the search results. Otherwise, a site’s standing can suffer, especially when negative reviews about the brand are floating around the net. Take control of your brand’s standing with Google by creating a plan of action that achieves your desired rankings.

  • Brand details like the brand name and company logo must be consistently integrated on the website. Remember to include it in title, meta tags, headers, content, and web design.
  • Create and develop your social media profiles and link these to your website. Enrich your social media presence by engaging with customers through relevant social media images and entertaining rich media content. Consumers regularly discover new brands on social media so be visible on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social channels appropriate for your business.
  • Use rich snippets to improve your search results. By making your search listing more appealing with an author’s picture, star ratings, or video thumbnails, you can rank number two or three on a results page but still get a searcher to click on you first. Optimized rich snippets increase brand exposure and increase click through rate (CTR) within a SERP.

A sound plan of action is not complete without using a reliable tool like Google Tag Manager to easily manage and measure traffic and site visitor behavior, social channels and online advertising. It tracks down all the bits of website code containing relevant information on improving your overall online marketing strategy. 

Making The Right Impression

Online branding is much more than choosing a logo, web design, corporate colors, and typefaces. It is all about the experience a business delivers to their customers – how they communicate with them. It is the business’ identity, its core and values. By taking control of their online branding on Google results and social media, SMBs that dare to be bold, daring, and different can undoubtedly compete with bigger businesses.

It’s not your product, it’s your story.

Consumers are changing, a full 70% of consumers prefer to get to know a brand via articles over ads. While social and digital marketing continue to capture an increasing share of marketing budgets, the existing digital ads are declining in value. With over 7.1B, yes that’s Billion with a B, in Ad fraud in 2016, brands must rethink how they deploy their marketing capital. While I don’t advocate throwing the baby out with the bathwater, I’d recommend brands think differently about how they allocate budgets. While paid media has, and will continue to be an arrow in every advertiser’s quiver, the power of storytelling through content marketing is becoming one of the most powerful ways for brands to build connections with consumers.

We are seeing a rapid shift in the way audiences connect to brands. It’s easy to spin up a few ads and spend your way to the top of search engines or social media, however recent studies are increasingly showing that these ads are largely being ignored, blocked, or in the worst case not even seen. What consumers desire in 2017 is an emotional connection to the brands they support. This means brands should start focusing on their unique story than their product features and benefits. As evidenced by Forrester’s latest research, 32% of consumers would trust a stranger in a public forum more then they trust a brand ad. Yes, you read that right, they would trust a stranger, on the internet, over a brand advertisement. This is the clearest indication that brands must begin investing in storytelling through purposeful, authentic, action-oriented content.  

In Simon Sinick’s TED talk he presents an interesting case for Starting With Why. I recently read the book that accompanies the TED talk and was exhilarated to see his recommendation on how brands can build powerful, long lasting connections. As a former marketer himself, Simon saw first-hand what created winning brands, and it has very little to do with pumping up their product features and benefits. Take Apple for example, why would anyone pay double the cost for a computer that basically has the same internal components as say, a Dell or HP laptop? The answer, while not immediately apparent without some introspection, is as I’ve said above – it’s not about your product it’s about your story. Apple’s story is to Think Different, to Challenge Status Quo. It just so happens that they also make computers, and phones, and digital music players. The reason people are willing to pay more for an Apple product is because they identify emotionally with the brand. They are challenging the status quo and ultimately connecting on a deep emotional level with what the Apple brand represents.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve this year, we’ll see companies who adapt and evolve along with it. In the last 15 years of digital disruption, most of us would be amazed to learn that 52% of the Fortune 500 companies have disappeared. Yes, that’s a true statistic and one that should spark a bit of anxiety in the titans of industry today. The time has come to reinvent how we (brands, organizations, marketers, and advertisers) build relationship with our customers and audiences. This transformation can be an opportunity, or a threat, depending on how brands respond. The takeaway for brands, listen to your customers, adapt your techniques, and provide value through authentic content marketing that delights, informs, and creates a memorable experience. 2017 is the year of The Brand Story.   

Becoming A Modern Brand

You’ve put out your name, you’ve shown your product, people know about your brand; what comes next? Taking a brand to the next level usually means making sure your customers keep coming back to the point where they spread the gospel of your product for you. After all, there is no marketing tool more powerful than word-of-mouth testimony. But how do you make loyal converts out of repeat buyers?

Make your Values Transparent

People respond better to a brand that is clear and consistent with their representation. Being clear with your company values sends the right message to the appropriate channels. Dove’s beauty campaign, for example, expresses their belief that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and ages. In this case, being a brand synonymous to acceptance and celebration of all women makes it easy for customers to identify with their message.

Content Still Matters

By this time, everyone knows that content is still king when it comes to marketing. But consider this: is what you’re saying connecting you to your audience? Does it match your public’s interests and needs? When you plan for your campaign’s content, the focus should not just be on what your brand is about; you should also tilt the focus on how your brand can fit into and improve their lives. Your choice of voice, tone, and delivery of the content should also match your demographics’ style and culture.

Old School Marketing Moves

Whatever the current marketing trend, some areas in marketing don’t change– correct pricing and positioning factor in/are still factors when people make the decision to support brand X instead of brand Y. A customer may opt out of upgrading a service if the perceive upgrades as expensive. A customer may shirk away from purchasing a product with a questionable name (can you imagine buying Cocaine Energy Drink?). Language and context are significant aspects of whether or not your brand becomes the first choice in the market.

When strategizing on how to stand out on the search pages, explicitly saying you’re the best doesn’t account for anything of value to both SERPs and marketing. It only matters that you stay honest with your audience and communicate your brand message in a relatable way. Consider their customer journey. You are providing the experience– make it a good one.