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Tap the power of the mobile Web

The mobile Web has gained attention over the past year even as it has evolved rapidly to become a major player in how businesses market themselves to consumers.

If used properly, the mobile Web can offer a deeper reach to consumers at every stage of their lifestyles. Let’s face it. You never leave home without your car keys, wallet or purse and, of course, your cell phone. Neither do consumers.

The mobile Web is not about site maps and wire frame designs. It’s about your customers’ lifestyles. Leveraging the mobile Web in a purposeful and relevant manner helps them (and you) in every step of the way — from awareness to retention. The mobile Web is a key conduit for your customer relationships and foundational to your overall marketing strategies.

On-the-go mobile users want quick and relevant answers and solutions to their immediate needs. They aren’t, in most cases, interested in surfing the Web. They’ve got a specific need and turn to their Web-enabled mobile devices to find a quick answer.

When you look at the phases of your customers’ lifestyles and assess the variety of opportunities for brand interaction, where are the greatest windows and points to take advantage of by means of the mobile Web?

If you own a garden center and specialize in exotic plants, for example, sales are affected by proper plant care. This presents a perfect opportunity to connect your customers to a purposeful and relevant mobile Web experience.

More than likely, it’s not that the information doesn’t exist. It’s just not readily or easily accessible. The use of a simple quick response (QR) code on the plant sales tag when scanned by a cell phone can connect the consumer to your mobile Web site with detailed information about the care of the plant they wish to purchase. You’ve just created a connector to your mobile Web site the consumer can continue to use as a resource.

Don’t confuse connectors with the end destination, though. When business owners create a mobile strategy, too much focus often is placed on the type of connector being used instead of the destination to which their customers are being connected. In the garden center example, the QR code is important to connect the customer with a purposeful and relevant mobile Web experience, but without the end experience, the QR code is entirely useless.

Think of the connector as your vehicle to get mobile users where you want them to go versus the destination itself. Car, taxi or train might matter, but not as much as getting your passengers to the right destination smoothly and on time.

Choose the right connectors. There are two primary, mainstream mobile connectors available to businesses to harness the power of mobile devices –  QR codes and short message service (texting a keyword to a short code). If you want the guaranteed reach of a call-to-action that nearly all-mobile users can engage, SMS as a connector is a must.

Mobile text marketing is quick. With a staggering 97 percent readability within four minutes of being sent, SMS is a must for any business looking to connect to its customer base. With text message marketing, you can use that sense of urgency to promote a special offer on a slow day; remind people of a lunch special you’re featuring; or send a relevant, timely and tailored message to drive your customer through the door.

Mobile has the potential to deliver on the promise of one-to-one marketing and allow a level of engagement and interaction controlled by the consumer that no other advertising channel can deliver.

Don’t wait, get started today. As the awareness and adoption curve accelerates with mobile Web and marketing, waiting can damage your business position, inviting your competition to create long-term user habits for your market. Instead, determine where your business fits in the mobile visibility marketplace and get started. Take a purposeful and relevant approach to the mobile Web and counter your competition’s early efforts.

Tami Jo Russell is creative director and owner of Blue Finn Creative Group in Grand Junction. Russell is a multi-channel digital marketing specialist and designer with extensive experience in multimedia, marketing, e-commerce, and Web/print design. Reach her at tami@bluefinn.net or 712-2423.
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