Why Brands MUST Prioritize Their Mobile Experience for Consumers

Let’s face it: The world is going more mobile by the minute. Websites and online stores that used to boast a large percentage of the market share on desktop computers are now struggling to keep up with the boost in mobile usage – a number that is growing every day.

One latest poll showed that 81% of people look at their phones in the hour before they fall asleep, while a whopping 89% of users check their phone within an hour of waking up. In addition, the same study showed that nearly half of all smartphone users look at their phone in the middle of the night.

Here’s another statistic that is likely to blow your mind. On average, smartphone users check their phones every 15 minutes throughout the course of the day, or around 47 times total. That’s a lot of face time for websites who have taken the step to optimize their site for mobile.

495 digitalPeople are More Dependent on Mobile Than Ever

The problem with many brands who are not embracing the power of mobile is the steady numbers related to desktop usage. Since those numbers aren’t declining very much, it can be easy to ignore the massive spike in mobile usage. Indeed, what many companies are finding out the hard way is that many customers prefer to perform every step of their shopping, from research, to reviews, to eventual purchase and follow-up, completely on a mobile device.

It’s not just a matter of convenience. 75% of people claim that their smartphones help them to be more productive, while 60% of users argue that extensive smartphone usage helps them calm down and feel more prepared to handle day-to-day life. Inevitably, the use of desktop computers will continue to diminish further as mobile technology grows.

What Can Brands Do Now?

If your company isn’t on board with creating a mobile website experience, there’s no time like the present. There are a few very simple things you can do to capture this demographic and the process is easier than ever.

  1. Quick Load Times: Your website should load on a mobile device within (at least) five seconds, or the customer will most likely go somewhere else.
  2. Connected Experience: Web pages and content should flow from page to page, bringing the customer through a cohesive journey, instead of jilting them around all over the place.
  3. Quality Links: A click that goes nowhere is a dead link, but it should also be a link that loads quickly too. If people are experiencing long load times every time they try to navigate your site, it’s a conversion killer.

Creating a website that is optimized for mobile will certainly increase your conversion percentage, but you will also foster a sense of customer loyalty that will help with further purchases from the customer and potential clients. Once people feel like your website can be accessed regardless of platform, they’ll be encouraged to return more frequently.

 

Why You Should Consider the Threat of Cyber Crime in Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Like it or not, we live in a world that is fraught with danger. As such, it’s imperative that we take the necessary precautions in order to keep ourselves as secure as possible. If you have an online business, it’s even more important, for the safety of both you, your business, and your team.

If you’re in the middle of forming an online marketing strategy, don’t forget to include a variety of safety measures as well. Here are a few ways hackers love to attack people the most and what to do to protect yourself.

Through Your Website

Nearly every business in the world uses some form of Content Management System (CMS) to allow them to upload various forms of content to their website. For most, this includes using the WordPress platform – a very user-friendly interface that is also, unfortunately, very familiar to nefarious individuals who can easily exploit it.

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about shutting down every single attack as much as you do making yourself less appealing as a target. To do this, remember to update your site frequently and add in some security plug-ins to put more barriers between you and the thieves. Moreover, keep your CMS free from public wi-fi spots that are unsecured and very vulnerable and change the login URL to something other than the standard /wp-admin. Even a little bit of concealment can go a long way.

One extra bit of advice. If your website is in the business of retaining customer information – which nearly every business is – install an SSL on your site to encrypt that info and reassure visitors that they can trust you. As soon as that customer info isn’t needed, delete it completely.

Through Your Email

One of the favorite places for hackers to set up shop is inside of your e-mail system. If they’re able to get control of one of your accounts, they’ll be able to send infected emails to your entire list, which will shut down servers and get your address blacklisted from every e-mail client in existence.

Look for e-mail software that monitors and provides encrypted security for all of your incoming messages, and set up filters on your outgoing messages that will flag certain phrases and malware and report them directly to you. In addition, train your staff to look for suspicious messages and files.

Through Your Social Media

Social media is one of those channels that hackers love to exploit the most, simply because most people browsing have their guard let down. A funny video, a simple downloaded file, and before you know it, your entire system is compromised.

Like with e-mail, train your staff to spot suspicious add-ons or applications, and have a system in place that allows them to report posts that may damage your company’s reputation as a result of hijacked accounts. Use strong passwords, and if possible, appoint a select few people to handle the company’s profiles. Keeping the number of people that have access to your info will help minimize the risk of invasion.

Though the threat of hijacking is very real and ever-present in our society, the reality is that with a few simple changes, you can exponentially decrease your risk of being affected. It won’t make the danger go completely away, but if it saves even one more attack from happening, the process will be worth it.

495 digital

Your Customers Are Mobile, So Why Aren’t You?

Just because customers can find your business online using a desktop computer doesn’t mean they can find it using a mobile device. Smartphones and tablets have smaller displays, different operating systems, software and other nuances. Statistics show, however, that 77 percent of U.S. adults own a smartphone, and conversions on mobile devices are 64 percent higher than those on desktop computers.

As a business owner, you can — and should — target these users with a mobile-centric marketing strategy.

Define Mobile Marketing Goals and Objectives

You should first define your mobile marketing goals and objectives. Maybe you want to beat a competitor who’s currently ranking at the top of Google for mobile searches related to your business, or perhaps you want to attract 20 new customers every week.

No two businesses are the same, so it’s important that you create goals and objectives aligned with your business’s needs.

495-digital-marketingDevelop Mobile-Friendly Web Design

Run your business’s website through Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool. If it returns the message “not mobile friendly,” visitors on smartphones and tablets will experience usability problems like content wider than the display, hard-to-read text and two or more links placed too closely together. Not only does this discourage mobile users from interacting with your site, but search engines may lower its ranking as well. Thankfully, a simple solution is to use a responsive web design, which changes your site’s layout automatically to achieve a high level of cross-compatibility on all devices.

Add Your Business to Mobile-Friendly Directories

Your website isn’t the only place where mobile customers can find your business online; they can also find it on web directories. By listing your business on mobile-friendly directories like Yelp, Yellowbook, Whitepages, Superpages.com, Angie’s List and Merchant Circle, you’ll have an easier time reaching mobile customers. Many of these directories also support customer reviews, allowing your business to develop a positive, trustworthy reputation among its audience.

Target Mobile Users With Paid Ads

When advertising your business online, consider paid advertising platforms that support mobile targeting. On AdWords, for example, you can use device targeting for Display Network campaigns, and you use mobile bid adjustments — a feature that automatically bids higher for mobile impressions — for Search Network campaigns. Even Facebook Ads supports device targeting under user behaviors.

Keep in mind that you should only target mobile users with ads after updating your site with a mobile-friendly design.

495 digitalPersonalize Your Mobile Marketing Efforts

Many business owners overlook the importance of personalization when promoting their business online. They focus on the technical aspects of digital marketing like measuring click-through rates (CTR) and conversion, forgetting the personal touch that really connects with users. Think about what makes your business unique and memorable, and try to convey that message in your mobile marketing efforts.

Partner With the Right Digital Marketing Agency

Finally, partnering with the right digital marketing agency, like 495 Digital, can maximize your business’s online visibility for mobile users. Unless they work in the digital marketing, most business owners lack the time needed to create and manage mobile marketing campaigns. They toss up a couple of mobile ads, neglecting to monitor and optimize them thereafter. Thankfully, the right digital marketing agency can take this burden off your shoulders, allowing you to focus on your other elements of your business.

Remember: Mobile marketing requires time, resources and patience. With smartphone usage on the rise, however, it can pay off for your business by attracting new customers and establishing your brand as an online authority.

squarespace-vs-wordpress

Squarespace vs WordPress: What’s Right For You?

With 29 percent of websites on the Internet powered by WordPress, it is by far the most popular content management system in the world. But, it’s not the only choice out there.  In recent years, the Squarespace site builder has gained traction, especially among those who are new to running a website, or who are lacking in HTML skills.

But really. Which one is best for you?

Here’s a brief overview of Squarespace and WordPress, featuring what we feel are the pros and cons of each platform along with cost.  As you’ll see neither is perfect, but understanding their own strengths and weaknesses will help you make an informed decision.

Squarespace

Launched in 2004, Squarespace is a full-service platform, offering hosting, blogging and ecommerce features along with domain registration. It does not have the vast array of options available with WordPress, but it does provide a simple starting point for beginners.

Cost

This is often a large consideration when choosing to build a website. Squarespace charges a flat fee of $12 for a personal site, or $18 for a business site with ecommerce features, each month even if the account does not use all of its resources.

Here’s what we like:

  • Drag-and-drop visual editor to easily add written content along with photos, audio and video.
  • Template customization.
  • Integration with social media for easy sharing.
  • Freedom from security issues and updates.
  • Affordable pricing.

Here’s what we don’t like:

  • It’s not open source, so the templates and tools are limited.
  • There is no real-time “live” editing, so you can’t see what your website will actually look like until it’s published.
  • The style editor can be overwhelming. While it’s packed full of tools, sliders, widgets, and fonts — the weather of options can be a bit excessive.
  • There’s no PayPal integration, which can be limiting for e-commerce sites.

WordPress

Self-hosted WordPress is an excellent choice for building a web presence. It can be used as a standard website or a blog and has 33,000 plugins and 2,700 free themes to expand its functionality and make it unique. Those who are just starting out will encounter more of a learning curve than with Squarespace, such as knowing the difference between pages and posts, tags and categories and plugins and themes.

Cost

WordPress, which can be downloaded for free at wordpress.org, can be built on an affordable shared hosting server and moved later, if necessary. The user will not have to pay for any resources that are not being utilized. This makes economic sense over the long term.

Here’s what we like:

  • A robust editor that makes adding media very simple and fast.
  • Excellent search engine optimization (SEO) out of the box.
  • Complete control over how the site looks and functions.
  • Support for e-commerce.
  • Complete ownership of content.
  • Host anywhere for as little as $5 per month.

Here’s what we don’t like:

  • The platform tends to be unsecure, making it a target for security hacks and malicious activity.
  • Confusion over “discussion” versus “comments.”
  • You may need to write a lot of complicated technical code while creating custom post types, taxonomies, etc.

Conclusion

Squarespace is very simple to use from the start, which gives it a slight edge over WordPress. It does lack the extended flexibility and customization that makes WordPress the worldwide CMS leader.

While WordPress is initially more challenging to use, most people adapt to it very quickly. The platform can also scale along with the user’s needs. This gives it a distinct advantage over Squarespace, where it is difficult to migrate away from the service if the user outgrows it.

In the end, Squarespace is an elegant solution for small, stable websites while WordPress is a powerhouse for sites that will grow and change. It provides flexibility, SEO and extended functionality to be anything the user wants or needs while remaining affordable and generally easy to use.