Is Your Site Mobile-Friendly?

Is your site Mobile-Friendly? Can you imagine life without a smartphone or tablet? Before 1994, access to the Internet was limited to desktops and laptops, confining website commerce to the home and business. Believe it or not, the first micro/mobile browser made its debut that year. And 13 years later, how we all use the Internet changed immeasurably with the introduction of the iPhone. And it continues to change for businesses such as yours and your customers’.

Google has begun to think beyond the desktop and is now catering to the mobile user. This makes continued sense, as 1) Google is always thinking of the search engine user’s experience and 2) e-commerce transactions via mobile browsers are slowly overtaking desktop purchases:

• Fifty percent of website traffic is coming from mobile devices.
• We spend almost 30 hours per month accessing media via mobile browsers and mobile apps.
• Mobile browsers accounted for more than 20 percent of 2014 holiday sales. And that number should be much higher this year.

(From my own personal experience, I have found that I am ordering much more through my mobile devices than I was a year ago. I’m sure that most of you reading this are as well.)

The end result, as of April 2015, is that Google’s algorithm has added “mobile-friendly” as a factor in ranking your website on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). So what does this mean to the book publishing industry? It means that in order to stay competitive with your peers and the major retailers, you’ll need to bring your website to your customers wherever they are on whatever device they are on (including the full e-commerce transactional experience).

Some of you are already there. In our evaluation of the 12 participants, half have optimized their sites for mobile browsers. The average score for this Search Engine Optimization (SEO) factor was a 3.1 (a “C” grade). For this factor, the site was either “mobile-friendly” and received a score of 5, or wasn’t mobile-friendly and received a score of 1. One site (Dragon Moon Press) had some mobile-friendly features on the book page, but not the homepage (we tested both for each publisher). And the book page had some errors that prevented the testing tool from finishing the test. So let’s delve deeper into what being mobile-friendly entails and how to adjust your website accordingly.

Source: Digital Book World


The 5 S’s of Email Marketing

The 5 S’s of Email Marketing. This week, I want to get back to the basics.

I feel with a slew of technology, algorithms, and marketing automation tools sometimes we forget the simple attributes that make an email message effective. Here, I’ve listed what I feel are the top five qualities of successful email marketing.

Recently, Alaska Airlines sent out an email campaign that promised $44 flights to and from major cities across the United States. I was excited—until I clicked on the offers and none of them flew to or from the New York area. And none of the flights flew to or from any of the cities that I frequently visit. Instead, the offers were for cities such as Boise, ID, to San Diego or from Birmingham to Boston.

I’m sure that since I’ve flown with this airline several times—and since marketers are sending me email messages—that they have my transaction history as a customer. That means marketers are able to determine which offers for certain cities would be the most enticing for customers. Be straightforward with your offers, rather than luring in a customer with offers that have no relevancy. Create up-front deals that are significant to customers. Marketers need to be black and white about the value of the message. Clarity allows people to make easy decisions about your brand and the brand’s products.

Which brings me to my next point: only send email messages that are relevant and suit the reader’s needs. Predictive analytics, A/B testing, purchase history, feedback, and other tools can help you create messages that are crafted to consumers’ wants. And don’t forget tech tools. According to the Aberdeen Group, using marketing automation can increase conversion rates by more than 50%.

Ultimately, the right strategy will be customer-focused and omnichannel. Create a strategy that meets shoppers wherever they are. Technology is already encouraging this fusion with social feeds inside of emails and the blending of email and mobile. When marketers work to bring all of the unique benefits of each channel together, that’s when they’ll begin to see the most return.

On average, users get about 150 messages in their inboxes each day, and those emails are coming from family, friends, and coworkers. So the succinctness allows readers to consider an offer or read a message in a matter of moments—perfect in an age of digital noise that often drowns out marketing messages. In fact, a succinct message or subject line is really the piece that allows marketers to move from something that feels like inbox clutter to something of value that someone wants to open. It’s the beginning statement of the story.

People share stories on social media when they find the content interesting, shocking, or inspiring. One of the best steps that a marketer can take is to create email content that prompts readers to share on social media. Connecting directly with your customers and fans through social media shows you what content engages them; capitalize on that information by creating fun emails your readers would likely share as forwards or on their own social channels.


Source: Direct Marketing


5 Reasons Why SMS Marketing is Smart for Small Businesses

5 reasons why SMS marketing is smart for small businesses.

If you’re a small business owner, you’re probably no stranger to the vast array of digital resources at your disposal for connecting with current and prospective customers.

Unquestionably, the advent of smartphones and tablets has delivered what are now the most powerful tools in the marketing arsenal of many small businesses. Correspondingly, the value of SMS marketing has become equally as apparent.

SMS, which stands for “short message service,” is regarded today as an indispensable resource within the mobile marketing ecosystem. And if you’re not yet tapping into this immensely valuable resource, there are (at least) 5 compelling reasons why you should get off the fence and into SMS marketing.

1. Your message will be read in minutes

With a 90% (or better) average open rate, text messages are far more effective than email notifications when communicating with customers, particularly when time is of the essence. Most text messages are read in fewer than 5 minutes after they’ve been received. As a result, you can count on text messaging to effectively deliver short, time sensitive communications, appointment alerts, or expiring promotional offers.

2. SMS marketing builds brand loyalty

Studies show that nearly three-quarters of smartphone users are now interested in loyalty programs accessible from their handsets. Since 95% of all mobile phones now have SMS capabilities, it’s understandable why so many businesses now view SMS marketing as being perfectly suited for engaging customers with loyalty program offers, rewards updates, or other relevant account details.

3. SMS marketing is surprisingly easy

According to mobileStorm, a veteran industry-leading provider of email, mobile, and social communication tools, small businesses can quickly, easily, and economically implement mobile campaigns and “spin their database into gold.” With the right tools in place, anyone familiar with the basics of small business marketing is capable of orchestrating an effective SMS campaign.

4. SMS marketing is shockingly affordable

Compared to some of the relatively exorbitant expenditures that quickly erode marketing budgets often without a clear and inspiring ROI, a typical small business can plan and carry out an SMS marketing campaign for a fraction of the price tag that corresponds to other marketing efforts.

5. SMS marketing is targeted marketing at its best

The new age of device targeting has allowed marketers to reach mobile users via SMS with campaigns tailored specifically to a variety of interests and needs. With message relevance deemed critical to the effectiveness of a campaign, the availability and affordability of quality SMS marketing services have allowed businesses, entrepreneurs, and advertisers of all sizes to equally capitalize on this powerful resource.