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With 54% of all consumers browsing social media and the internet on a mobile device throughout their daily lives, it is vital for organizations to adopt mobile-friendly design principles when it comes to creating marketing content in different forms and formats.
Ensuring mobile users have the same great experience accessing your content is critical to a successful marketing campaign, and the all-too-common markers of a neglected online presence on mobile, such as poor loading times and cramped layouts, can leave your potential customers feeling frustrated and your business looking unprofessional.
Thankfully, creating an effective mobile-friendly marketing campaign is not hard to do, especially when you consider these simple tips to optimize your online presence for mobile:
All text and images on your site, as well as the format of pages themselves, must take into account the small amount of available screen space on mobile. Platforms like WordPress or other website builders make it easy to create a basic conversion of your content to mobile, but this is just a base for you to build on.
Due to the limited screen space available, the content your audience is here for should be given the most prominence, and you will likely have to cut back elsewhere in order to do this. For example, while each of your blogs might be accompanied by a short About Us section on desktop, you may want to save space and put this on a separate page for mobile.
Make font sizes as large and easy to read as possible, in particular titles and headings. Shortening titles for mobile will make this easier.
Square images are the easiest to format into a mobile page as they are easily scaled to fill the width of the screen. Avoid widescreen images like these may end up getting stretched or squashed, or will simply be too large or small on the page.
Phone screens may be small, but they are very powerful, usually featuring higher resolution to screen size ratios and color vibrancy than their desktop counterparts. Take advantage of this with crisp, high resolution and brightly colored appealing images, but don’t use too much detail – remember that you are still working with a very small screen.
In order to maintain consistent brand identity, it is smart to have a unified look and feel to your site across all devices.
In addition to the obvious, such as using the same fonts and colors, it is worth taking the opportunity to simplify the layout of your desktop pages to reduce the noticeable differences, such as confining content to a vertical column with minimal sidebar usage.
Back in April 2018, Google introduced mobile-first indexing, meaning the mobile version of your site is now indexed separately to your desktop site and has its own ranking.
What this means for you is that having lots of indexed content on your desktop site won’t necessarily transfer over to a high ranking on the mobile version, so it is more important than ever to ensure your content is fully accessible and indexed on mobile.
Much like the static images on your site, any videos you put up on your site, social media or YouTube should take into account a smartphone’s limited screen space. On your website and social media, videos will occupy the full width of the screen, making a square (1:1) format the best use of space without requiring the additional user inputs for full-screen. On YouTube, users expect and prefer to use full-screen, and maybe casting to their TV, so stick to standard (16:9) widescreen.
There are no hard rules when it comes to the length of your video and this will in part depend on your industry and audience, but bear in mind the short amount of time and attention mobile users may have to dedicate to your video.
It is critical to consider the user’s audio environment when creating a mobile-friendly marketing video.
Since many mobile users will be viewing your content in a busy place such as during their commute, they may be listening at low volume or with a high level of background noise, so focus on the audio clarity. Voiceovers should be spoken clearly and given a higher volume than any music or ambient sound used in the video.
Professional recording equipment and expertise make a big difference here!
The user could also be unable to use sound on their device at all, and these users will get nothing from your video unless it is able to communicate its message through visuals and sparing use of subtitles and captions.
Your post will be hard to ignore when it occupies most of the user’s feed, so it pays to take up as much space as possible when creating social media posts. That doesn’t mean paragraphs of text, in fact, many recommend as little as 40 characters per post, but simple tricks like always including an image or video, and leaving blank space between each line will make your post the most prominent on the screen.
While longer posts can be effective with desktop users, with mobile a greater proportion of your audience is simply taking a quick scroll through their feed while out and about, and you might have less than a second of your post being onscreen before the user scrolls onward. Short and punchy posts are an effective way to stand out from the crowd and grab the user’s attention in this short window.
One of the most important aspects of formatting your posts that is particular to Facebook is controlling what appears “above the fold”. You have up to 477 characters before your post gets shortened by the "See More" button, with the post shortened at the last full word before the 477th character. Your value proposition, call to action and relevant link all need to fit into that 477 character limit, while other links and hashtags can go below the fold.
Mobile users generally check their texts as soon as they receive them or shortly after, making SMS one of the fastest ways to get in touch with customers. SMS marketing campaigns with the highest conversion rates typically use limited-time discounts and offers to leverage this immediacy by incentivizing consumers to not delay and respond to the offer straight away.
A standard SMS can contain up to 160 characters, and depending on your SMS marketing service you can send up 918 characters, or 6 texts, as a continuous message. Messages sent like this are not 100% reliable however and can be received separately or in incorrect order due to problems with the carrier or end device, so it is smart to keep marketing texts short and sweet. People aren’t expecting an essay from you over SMS, so a simple 3-4 lines opening with the value you are offering to grab attention, along with the discount or link, are all you need to create an effective message:
SMS with the highest response rates are sent to customers who are able to immediately open the text and willing to act on the offer, so it is very important to schedule when your texts go out.
Don’t text at a time your audience is likely to be asleep or busy at work, instead aim to catch them on their lunch break or later in the afternoon after work. Avoid Mondays, as people are often in a less receptive frame of mind coming back to work after the weekend, along with early morning and late evening, when your text may feel invasive.
In short, take your average customer’s lifestyle and schedule into account when planning your texts. For example, if you are marketing to people in the pub and bar industry, they will probably be far too busy to pay attention to your message at 6 pm on Friday but could have virtually no customers at midday earlier in the week.
Adopting a mobile-friendly marketing strategy is all about working with the advantages of smartphones rather than against their limitations.
Create content that is suitable for the small form factor and above all, check your results!
Very few marketing campaigns are perfect right out of the gate, so analyze all your available metrics to work out what needs tweaking, and keep iterating on your content and strategy.
Alexa Lemzy is the customer service expert and content editor at business SMS service TextMagic. She is passionate about innovations in customer experience, mobile marketing, and business operations. You can reach her at @Alexa_Lemzy.
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