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The Importance of Mobile K.I.S.S.

October 1, 2010

KISS MobileA recent study from Gomez “When Seconds Count” National Consumer Survey on Website and Mobile Performance Expectations notes that slow-loading mobile Internet sites continue to turn off consumers.

The article makes some vital points for any business interested in engaging in mobile marketing

  • 32% of consumers will start abandoning slow sites between 1 and 5 seconds
  • Over 37% say it makes them less likely to return to the site.
  • Half of users expect websites to load as quickly, almost as quickly or faster on their mobile phone, compared to their home computer
  • Web users say that speed is much more important than functionality for most sits. Only banking, medical and travel sites are evenly split between the two.

In talking to small businesses about mobile marketing, our position at Ruxter is that effective mobile marketing combines ‘being seen’ (with a mobile website) with ‘being heard’ (by texting to reach customers directly).

As the Gomez report thoroughly indicates, the vital piece of ‘being seen’ with a mobile website is not about additional features and functionality that make the site more of a PC web experience; the important part is in ensuring that the site loads quickly and provides useful information to the consumer.

At Ruxter, we’ve taken the approach that a self-service template keeps businesses within a framework of quick-to-load and easy to navigate content.  It’s simple and effective.

But whether you’re using the Ruxter mobile template to begin a mobile marketing campaign or developing a custom page for your business, the importance of developing a ‘mobile internet home’ that is designed for a fast customer experience is absolutely vital.

As the Gomez report notes, seconds count in mobile performance.  The mobile web experience is not the PC experience in miniature – remember your mobile K.I.S.S – Keep it Short and Simple.  Design your home on the mobile web to give your customers the vital information about your business quickly and you’ll be well on your way to effective mobile marketing.


Mike Craig - VP Marketing at RuxterMike Craig is a co-founder and VP of Marketing of Ruxter.  Mike has worked in IT consulting, project management, design and marketing for 15 years on projects throughout the U.S., Europe and the Middle East.  Together with the Ruxter team he has developed a web-based application that allows anyone to quickly and easily harness the power of the mobile internet. You can contact Mike here and follow @ruxtermobi on Twitter.

I predict Push will beat Pull

October 1, 2010

TechCrunch posted a blog earlier this week titled The Future Of Mobile Advertising Is In Pull, Not Push.  The subject was a TechCrunch Disrupt interview of Zaw Thet (4Info), Mihir Shah (Groupon) and John Hadl (Brand In Hand) by Jason Kincaid.

Push Versus PullFrom an advertising standpoint the blog title has some validity.  After all, who wants to be bombarded with text (or other push type) messages while driving by the local Mall of Generica – messages hitting your phone from the Gap, Lowes, Burger King, etc. as you head home from work?  Most likely, the content isn’t going to be much more relevant than garden variety spam.  So it makes sense, right?

Caution, clunky segue ahead…

Earlier this year a friend posed this question to me: What if mobile is not about search?  What he was postulating is that when people are on-the-go they are more likely to be heading to a pre-planned destination rather than trying to find it while on the go.  This also seems to make some sense.  Mobile search traffic is growing at a tremendous rate, but so is mobile web traffic in general (see RWW’s take).  But it’s still difficult to see any evolving trends to put this idea to the test yet.

Let’s put those traffic statistics aside for a minute and think about where business and consumer interests intersect in the mobile space.  It’s pretty straightforward – consumers are interested in finding or purchasing things and businesses are interested in attracting consumers and selling their goods.  Per the TechCrunch piece, some of the industry leaders believe the future of mobile advertising isn’t push.  Does that mean we’re just going to extend and morph the current ad market into mobile, albeit with a much more local focus?  I don’t think so.  The online advertising medium cannot just be resized and slipped into the mobile environment.  Mobile is an entirely different medium.

So to wrap all these thoughts together, I’m going to make a prediction.  Businesses are now using mobile technology to tell their customers about specials, upcoming events and other pertinent information in a timely manner.  This is one of the purposes advertising has previously been used for.  Now for the prediction:  Within the next year customers receiving mobile messages from their favorite businesses/organizations will be able to seamlessly share those updates with their existing social networks on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

At that point, because of the reach and power of online social networks, mobile local advertising becomes much less of a necessity to small retailers.  There’s still amazing potential for brands, events and others trying to create awareness – which is the other purpose of advertising – but it is removed from the must-do list for SMBs.

So in summary, I think very soon it is entirely possible that a properly implemented mobile marketing solution could virtually eliminate the need for “advertising” for small retail businesses – the sustaining force behind traditional local advertising mediums.  You heard it here first: push will beat pull.

John EppersonJohn Epperson is a co-founder and President of Ruxter. Having worked in various fields across the technology spectrum in the last 20+ years, John has gained a broad understanding of technology. Together with the Ruxter team he has developed a web-based application that allows anyone to quickly and easily harness the power of the mobile internet. You can contact him here. Follow Ruxter on Twitter.

The mobile landscape is vast!

June 23, 2010

Vast mobile landscapeOur local Social Media Club (SMCKC) hosted an event last night that focused exclusively on the mobile space.  Three presenters, Mike Craig (Ruxter), Barbara Ballard (Little Springs Design), and Dustin Jacobsen (Barkley) provided respectively, a high-level view of the space, basics and best practices of UI design, and the role of location based services (LBS).

My first takeaway was, “Holy cow this landscape is huge!”  Of course I’m not referring to the screen size of mobile devices, but the numerous avenues available to businesses to market to their current and potential customers.  I spend my days in the mobile space, so I’m pretty familiar with everything that was covered, but having the space expertly laid out in a concise 2 hour session was a an eye opener even to me.

The amazing part of this though is that you don’t have to prepare to enter the mobile space as if you were launching a second Normandy invasion – you can approach it with small steps.  There are numerous services that allow low cost experimentation with SMS, mobile web creation, and even mobile app creation.

So, if you’re new to mobile, don’t let the enormous possibilities overwhelm you!  Here are some basic tips:

  • Start small and experiment
  • Promote your mobile presence on your other channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Talk to your mobile customers and make sure you are providing value in exchange for their loyalty
  • Continue to experiment and grow your mobile customer base

If you’re still hesitant about getting started in mobile, reach out to your local Social Media Club.  They’re a fantastic resource and will be able to help steer you in the right direction.

(The presentations can be found here: http://shakegently.com/2010/06/22/mobile-marketing-presentations-for-social-media-club-kansas-city/)

John Epperson is a co-founder and President of Ruxter. Having worked in various fields across the technology spectrum in the last 20+ years, John has gained a broad understanding of technology. Together with the Ruxter team he has developed a web-based application that allows anyone to quickly and easily harness the power of the mobile internet. You can contact him here. Follow Ruxter on Twitter.

Watch where you step, the mobile web is everywhere

May 24, 2010
The mobile web is everywhere

The mobile web is everywhere

In numerous conversations over the last few weeks where mobile phones have come up, I’ve been asked about the market share of so-called smart phones.  I quote the statistics of 17% in the U.S. (per Commscore) and just a little less globally, and then I mention that penetration in the US for smart phones will likely more than double to near 50% in the next twelve months.  To which the response is usually, “Really? No way!”  And accessing my not so bottomless depth of wit, I reply “Way!”

The interesting part of this though, is that the growth of internet usage on mobile devices is paralleling the growth of smart phones!  When you think about the sheer numbers involved, that’s pretty amazing.  If you’re a business of some sort, what this means is that your customers are now searching for your website and viewing it on their mobile device.  And to give yourself a good jolt, if you haven’t looked at your website on a mobile phone, take a minute and check it out.  I’m not talking about using an iPhone – which account for only 4% of the total US market and do a reasonable job of rendering your site – assuming it doesn’t use Flash :-).  If you don’t have a mobile optimized website yet, you might be in for quite a shock.

The bottom line is mobile phones aren’t just for phone calls and texting anymore.  So, if your marketing and awareness budget doesn’t include a plan to create a mobile presence, it’s probably time to revisit the budget.  The mobile web is here now.  And it’s growing.

What Steve Jobs said – but also didn’t say

May 3, 2010
Steve Jobs says no flash for you
Steve as the Flash Nazi. Are apps still on the menu?

From my vantage point the apps bubble seems to be bursting – at least a little bit anyway.  It’s not too difficult to discern my opinion of apps, as I just referred to the app boom as a bubble.  To me apps are temporarily bridging the gap between the true capabilities of mobile devices and the future capabilities of the web browsers that exist on those same devices.

It’s a scenario almost identical to what occurred in the late 90’s and early 00’s with the browser on the PC.  Remember ActiveX controls and thick clients?  This is the exact sequence of events that gave rise to Flash.  In case you missed it, Steve Jobs last week publicly announced what he thinks is the future of Flash – there isn’t one.  What was between the lines of his statement is that the future for apps is just as limited.  He pointed out that HTML 5 can, for the most part, equal the capabilities of Flash.  So, what does that mean for apps?

Just like the PC world, there will surely always be a place for apps, but that place is not front and center like it is now.  They will be relegated for uses where the browser isn’t capable of providing the necessary security or data layer access that the browser can now provide thanks to HTML 5.

Before apps are relegated to that level of specialty though, I think there is still somewhere they are very much needed, and that’s a role similar to that of device driver.  The biggest holes in HTML 5’s powerful capabilities are its inability to directly communicate with accelerometers, cameras and GPS on mobile devices using standardized methods.  There are draft standards and various individual efforts attempting to create some organization in this area, but it’s still falling short of what it could and should be.  What if device manufacturers supplied drivers on their devices that provided a standardized API for use by the web browser?

If you’re unfamiliar with the capabilities of HTML 5 take a look at Robert Scoble’s interview with the guys at NextStop.  Seeing what they created gives the impression that the browser is now very near the capabilities of device specific applications.

John Epperson is a co-founder and President of Ruxter. Having worked in various fields across the technology spectrum in the last 20+ years, John has gained a broad understanding of technology. Together with the Ruxter team he has developed a web-based application that allows anyone to quickly and easily harness the power of the mobile internet. You can contact him here. Follow Ruxter on Twitter.

Now I just need a Batmobile

April 9, 2010

 

bat signal

Need an instant reponse? Deploy the Bat Signal.

I was riding in a car earlier this week when my phone buzzed as it’s prone to do.  It was late morning and we had just wrapped up a client meeting and were discussing where to eat lunch.  I checked my phone and saw that I had received a Ruxter Message from a local restaurant, “Free Lunch at Papa Lew’s Today”.  Well that got my attention, so I clicked the URL to see what it was all about.  Turns out Papa Lew’s was giving away free BBQ Riptips and fries to the first two people to show the message between noon and 1pm.  So much for needing to discuss where we were going for lunch.

Although my business is mobile websites and SMS, I was still a little surprised at my reaction to Papa Lew’s message.  At the time my phone initially buzzed I assumed it was another email relaying another task I needed to complete or a response to a query I sent – you know, something work related.  Seeing the message from Papa Lew’s changed my whole mindset.  I instantly knew where I was going for lunch, and because I was already in the car, there was a good chance it would FREE!  And since it was Papa Lew’s, I knew it would be excellent food.

Discussing it over lunch that day, I realized it reminded me of the infamous Bat Signal.  Using Ruxter, a business is able to immediately broadcast a rich message to all of their subscribers, and no matter where they are, the message is instantly received.  That’s pretty powerful stuff.   Watch out traditional media, the mobile web and SMS are about to take a bite out of your lunch.

Papa Lew’s is located near downtown Kansas City. You can check out their mobile site here:  Papa Lew’s

Or on your phone here: http://ruxter.mobi/soulfood

John Epperson is a co-founder and President of Ruxter. Having worked in various fields across the technology spectrum in the last 20+ years, John has gained a broad understanding of technology. Together with the Ruxter team he has developed a web-based application that allows anyone to quickly and easily harness the power of the mobile internet. You can contact him here. Follow Ruxter on Twitter.

Slicing through the noise

April 6, 2010

Listening to the noise

It’s been a year or so since Twitter stormed into everyday life.  Facebook made a steadier approach, but is now just as ubiquitous.  And now there’s another must-have app that seems to be teetering on stardom called FourSquare.  Some might argue that it has already made it to the big time, but I think its best days are still just around the corner.

For those unfamiliar with FourSquare, it falls in the social media category, but has some differentiating characteristics. The basics are that an individual can “check-in” to establishments and earn badges based on their daily social activities.  For instance a person who has checked in to an establishment the most becomes “mayor” of the place.  They offer a multitude other badges such as if you visit a certain number of places in a day you get the “tourist” badge.  You can also check to see where your friends are.  There’s a lot more to their application, and if you’re interested you can check it out at www.foursquare.com.

I wrote a post a while ago titled “Is the internet where websites go to die?”  My reasoning for asking that question is that with the rise and evolution of social media, traditional websites are becoming increasingly marginalized.  If you’re a small business you probably haven’t gotten around to creating a Facebook fan page yet, but chances are good your customers are finding you through social media applications anyway, like crowd sourced sites such as Yelp or Urban Spoon.

There’s a commonality in all of the applications I have mentioned so far in that they allow people to discuss their varied experiences and interactions with businesses and organizations in a shared (and public) forum.  And if you’re a business, you may very well find that your customers are talking about you behind your back – right in front of you!

Of course, this type of communication has been going on since the beginning of time, but now it’s out there for everyone to see and participate.  Businesses small and large are struggling and learning how to interact with their current and potential customers in these noisy new mediums.  The struggle is that the organizations that are the topic of conversation cannot control the tenor of the discussion.  At best, they can interact, react and maybe do some moderation – but they have no control over the direction.

To me, there seems to be a really important channel that is missing in the new media, which is a way for businesses to communicate directly with their customers in a medium that is more evolved than email.  It also needs to be something that slices through all of the noise inherent in social media.  Dare I say that it will be SMS?

John Epperson is a co-founder and President of Ruxter. Having worked in various fields across the technology spectrum in the last 20+ years, John has gained a broad understanding of technology. Together with the Ruxter team he has developed a web-based application that allows anyone to quickly and easily harness the power of the mobile internet. You can contact him here. Follow Ruxter on Twitter.

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