WriterAccess Webinar Archive
Engaging a Mobile Audience
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 – 1:00 PM ET
Let's face it. We've all avoided the mad rush to the mobile market after a false sense of hype. But the facts are the facts: mobile will be the dominant platform for communication moving forward.
Join host Byron White, CEO of ideaLaunch, and Steffan Berelowitz, CEO of BlueTrain Mobile at this month's content marketing webinar, offering tips and advice to make mobile marketing work anytime, anywhere, all-the-time.
In this special mobile marketing webinar, learn:
- Copywriting best practice for mobile readers
- How to engage readers orbiting at high speeds
- Best practices for building Mobile sites
- Which content to include in your mobile website
- How much content is appropriate and how to lay it out on the page
- Examples of Mobile sites that convert sales
- Distinction of Mobile vs Web CMS platforms
- Best practices to engage mobile readers
- How to optimize content for Mobile sites
- Advice on lead generation for the mobile market
The slidedeck from this webinar is available for download.
Byron: We're happy to have everyone onboard today. We have a couple of house rules that I'll go over, but for starters I'll be joined today by my guest Steffan Berelowitz, the CEO and founder of Bluetrain Mobile. He has a fantastic presentation. As a matter of fact, it's so great I really want him to have the lion's share of time with everyone today being the mobile expert and someone that can really educate and acclimate us to how to make mobile work.
So, a couple house rules for everyone. First of all, feel free to send comments to us on Twitter. I can be reached at, and love feedback by the way, @ByronWhite which you can see there. If you have feedback or any follow up questions from Steffan or his team, you can connect with him on Twitter via Bluetrain Mobile.
Regarding questions - we love questions. We're going to talk with you today for about 30 or 40 minutes. I'm only going to talk for about five, you'll see in a second. We love fielding questions. So, try to input your questions into the chat box that everybody has access to, and I'll moderate those questions. I'll actually respond to those questions as Steffan is speaking and try to answer any questions you have. If anybody needs to have a quick answer to something, I'll try to help there.
Without further ado, I'm going to dive right into today's presentation and then I'm going to turn things over to Steffan. So, let's go at it. For starters, we're going to talk a little about what is content marketing. I always enjoy beginning these webinars with a thorough explanation of what content marketing is in about five or six slides. We'll blow through that quickly. On them, I've assembled a couple facts and figures that I think set the tone for both some good questions that people may have in the end and some lead-in to what Steffan is going to be talking about today. Then we'll dive right into his presentation.
Without further ado a couple quick minutes on the art of content marketing. So what is content marketing? It truly is the art of listening to the wants and needs of your customers. I've spoken about 30 times in the last year at various conferences and presentations, and I always tell everyone this is by far the hardest thing to do. We need some revelations, some breakthrough on how to listen to customers. I think that is very overlooked in this marketplace. A lot of us marketers rather blindly guess at what the customer's wants and needs are. But I think the next revolution and the next revelation we're going to find is not just listening to consumer conversations, which is certainly happening.
But the real question is what's next? How do we listen to customer needs? How do customers drive our marketing strategy and our products and our services. I think that's an interesting topic that we'll look forward to talking a lot more about in 2012. But of course content marketing is a science - it's a science of delivering them great content in a compelling way. And you need a portfolio of assets these days. You know articles and websites of course are helpful, but you need to print books which is one of the secrets I think we're going to find out very quickly in the search engine optimization world. We're going to find out that becoming a published authority in your industry helps a great deal with the content that you publish on your website, that content getting picked up by the search engines, getting followed and read by other people. It's time to look very closely at the publishing industry and at printing books - particularly printing on demand. We'll have a few announcements on that in 2012.
But it's a diverse portfolio - sure. Of course, that's where mobile kicks in. With many different vehicles and platforms by which you can really look at catching people that are way beyond your website, which is something everyone needs to come to grips with. We also need to of course provide information that people want and need and that means we can't ram our product and services down people's throats any longer. No one wants to be sold to.
Someone needs to provide a helpful solution. We need the latest and greatest technology that's targeting people in a geocentric way with an interest generated way and we need to look closely at what that quality information really is. I like telling people and I've made this statement over the years, "if you're not testing your web pages, you're living in the dinosaur age." I was out speaking at the conversion conference recently. There is a perpetual glass ceiling I'm afraid with people doing too much testing. There's almost these radical extremes of people that look at an isolated single page to say, "okay, my whole marketing world revolves around the conversion of this page. It's certainly not the case and people are overdoing that. When I'm at a conversion conference, I make a case to do less testing and more quality content creation. With everybody else, it's probably the opposite. It's probably that you need to do more testing to find out what really works, so there you have it. And the key I think is just finding the sufficient path.
As I've been working on my marketing plans for 2012, I find myself really crossing a lot of things off the list that haven't worked in the past and are not really moving the needle with engagement. It's hard to do that. These are tough decisions that we all have to make at this time when we're planning for budgets and the future, but it really is time to figure out what really worked and what is the best use of your time, your energy, and your efforts and what's the quickest path to engagement. I assure you that quality content will be the centerpiece.
It's a big process - content marketing - and it starts with planning. We've developed hundreds of plans and strategies for customers in the last decade or so, particularly in the last year. It's heavy duty work. But more and more now I've really come to believe that of all these six things you see on here, it's just really creating a steady stream of high quality content. That's what's really working and of course distributing that content to multiple platforms including mobile.
But of course it's tracking performance and content performance. That's something that everybody needs to learn how to do. New tools and technology that you download for free now or access. We have a lite version of WordVision that's amazing. So I'd encourage you to just look at some of the tools out there that allow you to track the impact and the ROI of content that you publish on the site or even content that you publish in the social sphere or anywhere else.
So, let's look at some facts here. Surprisingly, I was kind of interested to learn this, about 25% of the actual mobile users out there are smartphone users. That was pretty interesting to me as I was digging through some data here, but not surprisingly I think there are only 7 billion people in the world and there are 4 billion mobile phones out there in use. That's pretty interesting. That should be a wake up call to us all. Here's the slide, and this is what we're going to challenge Steffan with today.
We've got some issues here, and this is my own perception of how I use phones. I don't use phones for games necessarily, but I certainly use phones to check weather for wherever I'm traveling currently or where I will be going in the next five to seven days.
Maps are key. I'm finding that I'm using MapQuest to actually get phone numbers of wherever I'm going because Google is hit or miss with giving the information I need. Whereas, MapQuest is zeroing me in on a location and phone number which is much more handy for me.
Social networking - no surprises there. We're all following Twitter. We're seeing what's going on. We're checking Facebook. Apps are making all that possible.
Of course, we're carrying our music around.
Business really isn't on here. I think it needs to be. One reason that it's probably not in there is the lack of mobi sites designed and the difficulty of making transactions on a smaller, mobile device. So, there are some complexities here. I think connection, engagement, and business conversations - there's a lot of room for growth and opportunity here as the mobile market expands.
This is kind of interesting, and no surprise here really if you think about it. With so many mobile phones, it looks like in 2013 we're going to see the intersection of basically mobile usage overtaking the desktop. That's pretty interesting if you think about it. It's a little scary, but we need to think this through and to really imagine ourselves making transactions and getting the information we want and need in a very small mobile phone. We'll see how that pans out, but the stats are quite interesting.
Of course, the mobile marketing spend is in favor of Steffan and what he does for a living. The net of it is we've seen a pretty radical spike from 2009 to almost $2.3 billion estimated for 2013. Everyone is into this. It will be much more interesting to see what the B to B spending is for mobile versus B to C. What percentage is big brands spending that money versus small to medium size businesses? It's going to be interesting to dig deeper, and I'm sure that Steffan is going to help us with that.
Steffan: Thank you very much Byron. It's good to be here. I just want to say hello to everyone. Byron, also want to check in with you - are you able to see my screen just fine?
Byron: Yes, indeed.
Steffan: Okay. Excellent. I'm excited to be here and looking forward to sharing some great ideas with you today about some perspectives about mobile practices. We'll be sharing some good stats and facts about the growth of the mobile web. We'll show some good examples and talk a little about content for the mobile web as well. We'll talk about how you create good content. There are some methods and ideas about how you can create effective mobile web sites as well. Line up and we'll get started in a moment. Byron, give me an idea of how long we should go until we do some questions at the end.
Byron: The knowledge you have is great, so I would have you take all the time you need to get out all the information. I will be looking at the questions that come in and helping to moderate those at the end. So, have at it. Thirty to forty minutes - we have an hour.
Steffan: Okay. Great. So, we'll go through this, and we'll also have an opportunity to show you some websites as well. I have an emulator running on my laptop, and I'll be able to share that with you and we'll be able to look at some mobile sites together.
One thing I want to do is to set the context with you. While we go along with the presentation, I want to mention what Byron highlighted earlier. You can follow along and share your thoughts and comments at Twitter#29. You can also send thoughts and comments to each of our Twitter handles.
When I think about the mobile web, one of the things I like to think about is the history of marketing technology and innovation. It's always interesting to think about a new technology in terms of how it might fit in historically.
This is one of my favorite pictures when I think about technology innovation in general. This actually is a picture of a telegraph machine from the 1800's. One interesting fact here is that the telegraph was used to send offers. In 1864, the telegraph was used to send investment offers that went to wealthy Americans.
This is an example of a very early technology innovation. As we think of marketing technology, I want to put mobile marketing in context and sort of describe it fitting into a history of innovation that we've seen. I went back and thought a little bit about what marketing technology innovation has looked like, particularly going way back to the early days of marketing. In the very beginning, you might say that marketing content found its first home in flyers and brochures with the advent of the printing press.
We started seeing the telegraph, as I mentioned in the prior slide, in 1864 with the first marketing message that went out by telegraph. By the late 1800's, we started seeing things like billboard rentals. Then eventually in the 1920's, radio advertising had its birth which was quickly followed by television advertising and then moving onto database marketing and telemarketing that we're all too familiar with.
Fast forwarding to web marketing in the 1990's which has in recent years transitioned into social media marketing. It's hard to believe that Facebook and Twitter were both only founded just a few years ago, and now they're so much a part of what we do. We'll talk about each of these different media.
We look at the advent of mobile marketing really taking off in 2010 and now really hitting its stride this year in 2011. One of the things that I want to point out to you is how very different each of these technologies are. If you can think about sending a marketing message in Morse code and then sending a marketing message in a radio broadcast, these are just tremendously different media that require us to think very differently about how we're going to be marketing. It's the same if we look at modern marketing tools, whether it's a 140 character Twitter post or it's the full marketing website.
One thing that I'm going to mention now, and we'll return to this theme during the presentation, we really need to think how we're marketing when we think about mobile. It may feel like we're able to see similar content or use our marketing tools in similar ways on mobile, but in actuality it's very important to realize that this is a whole new show. That marketing is really going to change all the rules in mobile, that the rules have changed, that the tools and methods that are going to be successful are completely new, and that there's an enormous opportunity in this space for people who are able to innovate.
And speaking of opportunities and perils of innovation, I thought it might be fun for us to think a little bit about how opportunities and risks do present themselves at times of change in technology in general. So starting on the right side, we'll see a bunch of names that are enormously familiar. Powerful brands of yesteryear - brands that many of you who were using technology or were familiar with computers in the 70's and 80's would have been very familiar with. Atari, of course, coming out with incredible gaming platforms. Moving into home computing - Tandy, such an incredibly admirable computer company, Commodore and Wang. These are all major brands that for one reason or another weren't able to make a major shift from one paradigm to another.
If you're a marketer who's thinking about content and technology, I think the lessons of these times of change is that it's very important to embrace innovation, to think of it in a new and creative way, and be able to sustain a process of innovation as we continue to learn, grow, and adapt.
And on the left side are two brands that we can definitely see and admire as brands and companies that have managed to transition through the years and stay very ahead of the times. Of course, Apple being a great example of tremendous innovation, tremendous leadership, the ability to think very far forward and really take a leadership role in establishing the next paradigm certainly in the mobile world. But IBM also - a company that has been around for many, many decades and has seen and has taken a leadership role in everything from electric typewriters to mainframe computers to mini computers to personal computers and continues today incredibly successful and highly innovative in the corporate space.
I think the lesson here is really to try and embrace the changes that we're going through in marketing technology and really adopt them as an opportunity for innovation. The other message I think that's important for us to understand is let's not underestimate the size of change.
We can see some adoption numbers here. 83 million on the mobile web in 2011 and projected to grow dramatically to more than 200 million. These are numbers just within the United States. As Byron eluded to earlier, there's another sort of magic number and magic date that is coming up quite soon, and that is the date on which there will be more users of the Internet and the web on mobile devices than on the desktop. That date is rapidly approaching. While I think that that date is important as a global trend, I think what's also interesting is just to see how dramatically we are increasing our use of the mobile web relative to the use of desktop. So as individuals we're also sort of seeing our own pie chart individually increase quite dramatically.
Some other statistics to look at. If you look at the shared breakdown of devices, you will see that Apple continues to have in the United States very strong marketshare. Android has continued to show dramatic growth as well. It's important to point out, at this point and for quite a while, Android has been activating more devices week after week than Apple. It's been growing its market share faster than Apple has been.
Then BlackBerry's market share has been declining quite significantly. As we look at statistics among our customers on their mobile websites, what we've noticed is that almost no one who is using a BlackBerry 5 operating system is browsing the mobile web at all. There are folks who do browse on BlackBerrys; however, those are few as compared to some other devices.
This is a wonderful image that I wanted share with you of the Great Land Rush of the American past, of a time when folks we're being encouraged to move west and land was cheap and people were able to buy massive tracts of land for really pennies on the dollar. One of the things for us to think about as we think about the mobile web is that we are really in that land rush now. There are enormous opportunities for us to stake a huge claim on this new ground. I think that people who move early into this space, the early adopters, are going to be able to establish a space for your brands, the brands that you're marketing for, the brands you're creating content for. There are opportunities to potentially create the big brands of tomorrow in this space. The rules change dramatically. I really look to mobile as a land rush and if you're near the front of the pack you're going to have a big advantage just from being early.
I''m getting a little feedback that my voice might be a little bit soft, so I'm going to just try and switch mics for one moment and Byron you can let me know if there's a problem as I switch.
Byron are you able to hear me okay?
Byron: I kind of like it before.
Steffan: Okay. Tell you what I'll speak up.
Byron: The echo is gone. Someone says this is better.
Steffan: Okay. I'll talk a little bit louder.
Byron: Sounds better now.
Steffan: I'll try to pick up the volume a bit to make sure everyone can hear me fine.
Byron: Sounds great to me. Shout it out.
Steffan: All right. Will do.
Let me share some additional stats about the mobile web. These are some stats that really blew me away when I read them. Probably chief among them is how dramatically mobile search is increasing. This is directly from Google stats and shows the dramatic growth of searches. I think it's in the past 12 months that Google has an increase of 400% in the amount of searches happening on mobile.
What's also interesting to see is that lots of people are taking action with mobile search. So, 9 out of 10 searches have taken action. That might be clicking through to a web site. It might be quite innovative and new these days which is just a direct click to call from an ad. But people are definitely taking action, and I think you see a lot in the mobile commerce space that you'll see people buying and spending billions on the mobile Internet as well.
You know email of course is probably still the killer app on both the web and the mobile web. What's interesting about the mobile web and the use of email is that email is the launching point for clicking on a link or going directly to a website. As we're very aware that people spend a tremendous amount of time checking email and using email on their mobile devices, they're often clicking through on those email links and seeing websites that are being linked from those emails.
You can look at the total percent of your traffic that is coming from mobile, and you can do that looking at Google Analytics. There's a blog post actually on bluetrainmobile.com that explains how to tell how much traffic you're getting. I think one thing that's important to know is that while you may have let's say a large and growing percent of traffic on mobile devices, it's even more significant when you think about an email blast that you're sending out and how many of the folks that you're reaching are clicking from that email to view the mobile web.
If you're tracking your traffic on mobile web and you send an email blast to people on your marketing list, on that day that you're actually sending that email blast out you may actually have a really significant spike on mobile. If you are someone creating content for and doing email marketing, I'd say it's even more important to think about those spikes in mobile traffic that are likely to occur directly after an email campaign.
Some other stats that sort of really drive this home. Majority now of Facebook, Twitter, and Pandora users access these sites via the mobile web. There's 83% penetration in the United States of Americans with smartphones and growing rapidly. 87% of smartphone users are active on their device at least once per day to surf the web or use email with significant increases in mobile search. If you're someone out there who is using AdWords and you haven't yet experimented by specifically targeting mobile, this is a great time. Think about making sure you have a mobile friendly website or landing page and that you're able to take advantage of some of the very attractive AdWords features and great opportunities for mobile search.
This is an interesting visual that shows the kind of land rush phenomenon that I was talking about earlier. This shows a graph - a time series of the growth of the mobile channel for Pandora, Twitter, and Facebook. As you can see, it has exploded in the past couple years.
Now I'm going to switch gears and take a step back and talk a little more about mobile websites. The growth of the mobile web, the importance of the mobile web, a subtext to help us out and understand the mobile web as a major technology that is akin to shifts from billboard and print ads to radio ads to TV to the Internet. I now want us to think about mobile websites, how you create them, what your options are, and how you should think about them.
I'm going to start with this graphic here. You're probably wondering what on earth does this have to do with mobile websites. I'm going to explain in a kind of analogy of how I like to think about mobile websites. What we have here is a nice metaphor with the goldfish. It seems to be a potentially easy framework or easy way for us to think about creating a mobile website. Big fish, we have a little fish. Well we have our main big website, our desktop website, and it's very attractive for us to think well if we need a mobile website, we basically need to take the big version of it, the big fish, and we need to shrink it down and make something that looks pretty much like the existing site that we have except its smaller in every way.
Actually the story is much more complicated than that. When you're really looking to create an effective mobile presence, you can't just think of it in the simple terms of shrinking down what you have. I'm going to extend our metaphor a little bit to show you what I mean. What we have pictured here is a 1967 Shelby GT 500. This a really cool sports car of the 1960's. The brand attributes of this car are sporty and cool. The functional attributes of this car are high performance and fast. So if I wanted to make a smaller version of this car, let's say that weighed less than 30 pounds and was only 3 feet long, I might think of doing something like this. It's a pedal car. This thing is under 30 pounds. It's only about 3 feet long. However, it does not meet our brand and functional requirements. If I tried to drive this to work across the city of Cambridge here in Massachusetts, it would take me probably a couple hours to get to work and I think I'd look pretty ridiculous.
So you can't just shrink what you have and expect it to work. Let me show you a better way to meet our brand and functional requirements made in a more compact way. What we have here is a modern light-weight bicycle. This is actually useful at under 30 pounds and only 3 feet at length and yet I've recreated the brand attributes of sporty and cool and the functional attributes of high performance and fast.
What does all this mean? The point that we're making here is that if you're trying to shrink down your website and make a smaller version of it, you can't just view it that simply. You really need to completely rethink its design and functionality, so that you achieve something that meets your brand and functional requirements on a website.
In the coming slides and our demo, we're going to show you some examples of some good mobile websites and some ones that are not very well implemented. I think you'll get a good idea of how this analogy plays out when we actually look at how you can build mobile websites and what your functions look like.
Let's also talk about what is a mobile website. Just to clarify. A typical workflow here is that your users would go to your dot-com address, or you might have a dot-net or dot-edu address. They would go to your regular website address. A mobile website typically, unlike an app which has to be downloaded from an app store, is accessible just using your browser on your smartphone. You go to whatever your domain is. If you're on a mobile device, you automatically see a mobile-format version of your website. That is generally is how it works. Most of the sites have either some kind of redirect to the mobile version or they're automatically just showing a mobile stylesheet of your mobile site when you arrive on your regular web address.
There are many advantages to mobile websites that can complement a mobile app or are better than a mobile app in terms of marketing. I would also direct you to our blog that has a specific post that addresses the question of "and versus or" when it comes to mobile sites and apps. One of the biggest advantages that I'm illustrating here is that if you have a mobile website, you really don't need to worry about how people will find it because they will automatically find it every time they come to your regular website address. They'll automatically see it.
So now I want to go over with you some options about how you can have a mobile website if you're interested in building one. I'm going to lay out what the various options look like, what technologies are available, and also give my perspective on whether I think these are good or bad options for a typical marketer.
I will share with you that this matrix is the result of several years of pretty detailed thinking that we put into mobile technologies. These are not only the recommendations for you listening into the webinar but also the same guidelines that we follow at Bluetrain Mobile to determine the best approach for building mobile websites for our customers.
The options are either a hand-coded, or custom-coded website, that means that when you build your mobile website that you're literally starting from scratch. Another alternative is to use a mobile stylesheet over your existing content management system. If you're on anything from WordPress to some of the major, larger CMS like Red Dot, Percussion, Penteco, Vectron, some of these offer mobile stylesheet options. There are transcoded websites. I'll explain what those are in a few minutes. There are some independent, what I would call do-it-yourself mobile website solutions, out there that are sort of cookie cutter. There's something called responsive design, and then finally there is a hybrid solution that I would recommend. Let me talk a little bit about the cost and benefits of each one.
Hand-coded websites are great if you're in a company like LinkedIn or Facebook because you'll be able to assign 5 to 10 engineers and designers to build something pretty incredible, but they're very expensive to build and very, very expensive to maintain as well. This is not something I would recommend unless you're in a very large company.
Another option as I said is if you have a CMS, content management system, you could apply a mobile stylesheet. The benefit is that if you're a huge company with thousands of pages, you can effectively make most of those pages viewable on a mobile device very quickly. But there are many disadvantages to just using a mobile stylesheet. Generally speaking those sites are difficult to navigate because the stylesheet does not incorporate a unique design for mobile. The navigation might be similar to the navigation that exists on your existing site. Once you have a mobile formatted or style for your site you don't get to benefit from built-in marketing features that are specific to mobile. Often your text is still going to be way too long. An average website has 250 to 400 words per page. Your images are still going to be too large or may take too long to load. If you have many images on your website, they may fit within the form factor of a mobile stylesheet but they'll still be too big to load fast. So, there are lots of problems with mobile stylesheets.
A transcoded website is typically a website that advertises that you can build it in a minute. Typically these companies claim that you're going to get a website by just putting in your URL. It's going to automatically import and then what's called transcode or alter the style of your site to make it mobile formatted. These typically don't look very good. They're the simple do-it-yourself sites. They're usually difficult to navigate and in many case there's still a huge amount of work that you need to do if you're on a higher end transcoding solution because you're going to have to pick specific pages or images that you want to view. As folks in content marketing, I think you would know that if you're on a 400-page website or a web page you can't just pick paragraph one and paragraph three and expect to get a cohesive message. So transcoding I think is a problematic approach that doesn't have a long future.
There are the cookie cutter solutions. They're a great solution if you're the corner coffee shop and your budget is anywhere between looking for a free site and spending a cup of coffee for a month or a few dollars a month. The problem is that you'll get what you'll pay for. These sites really are cookie cutter. They're a great solution if you're trying to get something inexpensive.
There is some discussion about responsive design. I call these the Rolls Royce of mobile sites. They'll polish your shoes in the morning and serve you tea. The problem with responsive is, as the joke goes, they cost as much as a small country and they take nine months to a year to a develop. And did I mention that you'd have to replace your existing site? Responsive designs are websites that automatically reconfigure themselves based on what kind of device you're on. If you're on a regular desktop website they render normally or if you go down to a small tablet form factor. You will see images disappearing and text reformatting if you go onto a mobile site. These are really great solutions for major publishers.
For example, the Boston Globe has a new responsive design. They did a lot of custom work to build it. It was a significant investment. If you're a newspaper, it's a great solution because you're looking to provide the exact same article with the exact same text to people in a variety of formats. As a marketer, responsive design is more expensive, it's more customized, and it does require that you throw out your existing site and replace your entire infrastructure.
So what we do recommend? The way we build our own solution is what I call a hybrid solution, and it mixes some of the best attributes of what's listed without some of the difficulties and challenges. Hybrid solution allows you to create pages that are completely customized for your brand and customized for your mobile audience. It means a page that is 400 words long can be reduced to 70 to 110 words for the mobile audience. An image that is too large can be removed or replaced by an image that is much smaller - not that it just renders on the mobile site but it also is smaller in file size so it doesn't take long to download.
Here's the hybrid component. You have content on your website that is frequently updated. For example, in a content management system, you might have news and events, you might have a calendar, and you might have a directory of people. That kind of content that is updated frequently can automatically be fed using XML or RSS or plug your CMS directly into to your mobile website. So the hybrid solution enables custom content copywriting and images for your mobile audience. It also allows you to directly feed lots of content that is coming from your existing site that you will only have to update once. When you update it on your main website, it will automatically flow onto your mobile website.
So let me give some examples of what this looks like in action. So here is a picture on the left side of the full-time MBA program of Northeastern University and on the right side you'll see the mobile version of that page. On the left, you're probably looking at at least 200 to 400 words of content. There's a lot of related information in the margins, but just the core content is quite lengthy. For a mobile user who is looking to get to the information quickly and not have to scroll through a screen full of content, the mobile version of this page in this example is nicely formatted into just a few key pieces of information that's useful.
In this case, we also do provide a full length site for people who want information. If there's a bunch of additional information, you can also provide some navigational links within the full-time MBA on the website to explore different elements of that program in more detail. But not overwhelming someone with five or six scrolling screenfuls of mobile content because the content has been tailored specifically to the mobile audience.
You want your desktop, once it has been optimized, to be available on multiple devices. If you are looking at a solution, then you need to make sure that that solution is compatible with multiple devices.
I want to show you a before and after screen shot of what our website would look like before it's been optimized for mobile versus when it has been optimized for mobile. Going back to the Northeastern University example, here we can see the before shot with a screen that is hard to see, branding is lost. On the right side is a very clear, legible website that is easy to view.
I'm going to zip through some best practices and recommendations. I'm not going to spend a lot of time here because I notice that we're running out of time, but this presentation will be available for you after the webinar and you'll be able to go through this in more detail. We do have some best practices and recommendations about how to build a site like the one on the right that's optimized for mobile, and I would encourage you to go through that here. We also have some content here about how to really hook your visitors with the home page to really make sure that your mobile website home page has the navigation, and branding and messages, and call to action that will ensure that it's successful. We also have a link on this page where you can read a full blog post on how to prioritize the content on your mobile site home page. We have a whole bunch of ideas that you can peruse that will give you an idea of what you might want to put on in terms of content on your mobile home page.
We also have some copywriting guidelines. As part of the follow up to this webinar, we will be sending out not just a copy of this but links to a copywriting template that you can use. Just to talk about this briefly - maybe you can return to this in more detail on your time. We set up a Microsoft Word template to write copy for mobile where we're using a 15 point font size. As you can see here, we narrowed the margins to 4 1/2 inches wide and this gives us a rough idea of how many words will fit across a typical mobile screen and will give us an idea of how many paragraphs and how much content we should be writing. Typically, we say 75 to 110 words. In this example, this template allows you to quickly and easily create a lot of content for mobile and get a rough idea of how its going to look or format on a mobile device.
We also have some recommendations on conversion, and how you can convert visitors to your mobile website into calls to action. There are various calls to action that are available. You can have mobile friendly forms. You can also have one-click to call and one-click to email. You can read some stats here about the results that you can expect if you have good calls to action on your mobile site. There are also some do's and don'ts of conversion tactics which you can read in more detail. There are some ideas and recommendations about how to create your own calls to action and effective designs.
You'll find another link to another piece of blog content where we do a deep dive on effective landing page design. If this of interest to you, we provide lots of examples and screen shots and visuals of good landing page designs and poor landing page designs and good feedback about how to create effective landing page designs. There's also some content at the back where you can learn more about Bluetrain Mobile and our platform if you're interested in seeing that. What I'd like to do now is just spend one moment just to show you a couple of mobile sites and then we can throw it open to some questions.
So, I'm going to start by showing you an example of a mobile site that has been built on our platform, which as I mentioned is the hybrid approach to building a mobile website. On our platform, you have the choice of being able to create some visuals, some calls to action in these cases, quick links, there's a menu that allows you to navigate through your site, and there's a nice home link that's available. I'm going to just show a couple sites in our mobile showcase.
What I thought would be most interesting would be Northeastern University which we saw in a variety of contexts in the example in the webinar presentation. I'm going to show you two examples that highlight the idea of the hybrid approach. The first is when I click on Events that this is a feed that comes directly off their content management system. So when Northeastern updates their events on their main website, it's automatically viewable on their mobile site and they don't need to update that content in two places. So, this actually is a feed from their content management system.
The other part of the hybrid is custom formatted content. So we'll go in as if we're a prospective student who's interested in the MBA program. Using our navigation, we're able to navigate all levels quickly and easily to find, for example, an evening MBA program. Here you can see an example of the kind of page that I was talking about that's been nicely formatted for the mobile audience with content that is short, that is very scannable, digestible on a mobile device and of course allows people, if they want, to learn more to get access to additional information. It allows them to navigate quickly and easily to what they need.
One of the things I think you'll notice too on many of the mobile platforms is that one of the hardest things to do well is to handle navigation. The way we handle it is that we spend a huge amount of time thinking about how to build a clean and effective menu system that allows people to navigate to content that they're interested in finding. If I'm, for example, interested in a Master's degree, I can navigate there. I can also go up in the navigation hierarchy to see events or faculty. As I mentioned, it's very easy to go quite a few levels deep into the graduate program and see content that you're interested in.
This is a nut that I'd say is pretty hard to crack. This is not an atypical experience of mobile websites that are not well done, that are not very well formatted, and that are difficult to navigate, and have very, very small text. Clearly they built a mobile website, but in this particular case, navigation and content are not very well formatted and very effectively rendered for the mobile device. I'm going to leave it there because I do want to leave some time for questions. I'll just throw it open to see if we can answer some questions.
Byron: Terrific Steffan. That was a really great example particularly in the end you landed on some really juicy stuff so thanks for that. We do have quite a few questions. We'll try to get through them quickly. We have maybe 5 or 10 minutes, and I have Tweeted a bunch of questions as well. We can probably go on for an hour with my questions alone. We'll get to some of your questions here first.
Do you have any thoughts on HTML 5? We've had a couple questions about HTML 5. Do you recommend coding mobile sites in HTML 5?
Steffan: I would say that it is a good idea to consider your mobile sites in HTML 5. It's definitely the direction the devices and carriers are going in or are already compatible with. What we discovered is that in the early days of Bluetrain Mobile, we were quite focused on making sure that we were compatible with older devices and BlackBerrys and devices like that. What we discovered was that people are quite concerned about users on older devices that can't see that HTML 5 rendered content. In actuality, those users are not using the mobile web. As we mentioned earlier, we just don't see people on BlackBerry 5 devices using the mobile web. We don't see them coming to our site or to our customer's sites as we look across the statistics on our network. So, I would say definitely embrace HTML 5 and use it. Just be aware that different devices render HTML 5 differently.
Byron: Could you talk about mobile marketing, and it might be a good to give rapid fire answers to these because there are several questions. Is mobile marketing good for the B to B marketplace?
Steffan: That's a really interesting question. I would say one way to clearly answer that is to look at the percent of your traffic coming on mobile devices. I would say that my short answer is yes and that is that there are lots of contexts and scenarios where mobile marketing for B to B is effective whether it's a customer trying to find a location or it's content that you're sending out that might be in social media or on your website or in your News or Events or product information. What I think you'll find is that even in the B to B context that business people are spending more time on mobile devices as they're traveling and are more mobile themselves, and that it's a good idea to consider mobile marketing even in the B to B context. You can always check the stats on how successful you are when you send out email campaigns and you're looking at the analytics on your website.
Byron: Could you talk about analytics a little bit and how you track this? Is Google Analytics plugged into mobile applications? More specifically can you separate analytics that are from desktop users versus browser users? And if you set your site up with a mobi site, can you track analytics data on, for example in your Northeastern example, how many people are visiting Find Us versus Events versus Faculty? Can you talk about the analytics flow?
Steffan: Yeah. There are two relevant ways you can think about analytics and the mobile web. First, if you don't have a mobile website, it's a good idea. As I said, we'll send out a link after the webinar about how you can view the percent of your traffic on mobile and what they're doing on your website. What you'll find is that they have a very high bounce rate. There's definitely an opportunity to look at and just see how many people are at least trying to access your site on mobile. If you do set up a mobile website, you can typically set up dedicated analytics. So using Google, you set up a new instance of analytics and then you'll get dedicated data just for that mobile site - where people are coming from, what content they're looking at, how long they're staying, the paths they're taking. I would recommend setting up separate analytics for your mobile site.
Byron: Got it. Somebody wanted to know is there a way for you to know if someone is viewing your site with an iPhone versus an Android.
Steffan: Yes. If you're using Google Analytics as an example, their analytics will actually tell you what devices and what operating systems they're on. You may not know which Android device but you'll be able to tell how many people are coming from Androids versus iPhones versus BlackBerry devices.
Byron: We're getting crazy echoes now that I'm talking just so you know. I don't know if you can change anything on your end if you have a microphone hooked up to your speaker.
Steffan: I will try and do that.
Byron: Yeah. You might want to just back that down a little to get rid of the crazy echo. So another question - in this example that's on your screen right now is a very good example of what I would view as a lot of wasted space. You can see the Find Us button and how there's a lot of wasted space to the right of the Find Us. It seems that mobile is a lot about maximizing the space on a page. Is there any revelation happening with the design element of - like if that Find Us button could be a lot shorter and you could stagger the length of those buttons it would actually give you more room to have more text on the center part of the page. Can you talk about that and the confined space you're really working in and how if there's anything aggressive happening to maximize space on a very small screen?
Steffan: Sure. In this particular case that is actually built on our platform, this was the design the customer really wanted to go with because they wanted - and this is obviously based on their design preferences - they wanted a view that would provide them with this very attractive campus kind of image in the background. But in a good mobile website platform, whether it's Bluetrain Mobile or another platform, you really have ideally as much creative freedom as you want to be able to do a custom look and feel or brand that really matches what you're looking to create. If I just go back for a moment, we can have a quick look at one of these screens that shows a quite a diversity of designs. So on the left side, you can see a large, focused image where you have a couple of navigation buttons on the bottom. Even more sparse was this very large picture of a dentist in one of the dental practice websites that you can see second from the right. But ideally a mobile website platform should provide you with the creative freedom that you have to be able to use as much of the space as you would like to whether it's text or images.
Byron: And by the way, I can't think of a better home page for that particular dentist office that you showed there. It was Request an Appointment, Get Directions, or Call. It's like thank you that's about the only three things that I would probably want from my dentist. Thank you for giving it to me square up.
I'm just going to read a couple questions for you maybe and then you can choose which final question you want to answer because we're about 10 minutes over. Could you show us an example of the kind of responsive type solution that will shine our shoes? What are really cool mobile sites that you've looked at that completely blow you away? I would love to get that. I wanted to crowdsource to the fans out there that are listening in. What's the best mobile site that's packed with cool content? If anyone wants to throw in while Steffan is answering this final question, I'll list some mobile websites that you should check out.
Steffan: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn are all custom sites, but they're awesome sites. They're sites that are really forward looking. They're really on the cutting edge of UI and design and have done a great job. It's not that we're all going to be able to build websites like these sites, but we've taken inspiration and taken a lot of our UI by looking at some of these designs and building them in. In the example of Facebook, we're using a very similar menu icon and we've gone through usability testing that has led us in the same direction that Facebook tried. I would point that out as a mobile site that really blows me away.
Byron: And could you show some others? You used LinkedIn, Facebook - any other favorites that you have?
Steffan: I mentioned Twitter as well. I mean these are really great examples. Those are the ones that really came to mind as I was preparing. They've done an excellent job. I would say I do like the Boston Globe website a lot. I mentioned that earlier. All of these that we've mentioned have put a huge amount of time and energy into building custom websites that I think that are really cutting edge.
Byron: Beth had an interesting question here as we tail out. I bought a program that has WordPress themes for mobile to build mobile websites. Was that a good idea?
Steffan: WordPress provides in our opinion a good solution not an ideal solution - a good solution for building a mobile formatted stylesheet. I think that there are several things in a dedicated mobile platform that would provide an advantage over WordPress. For example, some have integrated mobile marketing, the ability to use specific mobile marketing formatted landing pages, integrating more with your advertising email campaigns, better use of mobile forms, some dedicated mobile marketing and mobile web features. If you're looking for a simple solution, a WordPress mobile stylesheet can provide you with a relatively inexpensive and simple way of seting up a mobile website. It may not be the prettiest conversion. It may not be as easy to navigate. It may not have some of the bells and whistles for marketing, but it will be functional.
Byron: Hey I got a really good question that just came in from somebody and thanks for that. They tweeted it to me at @ByronWhite. By the way, thanks everyone for any feedback you could offer at @ByronWhite. I really appreciate the feedback for these webinars, but someone asked what about e-commerce? Any idea on how sites are selling online as opposed to just providing information? Any data on that for us Steffan?
Steffan: Yeah. I would recommend you go to the Mobile Commerce Daily website. If you Google that, that has really outstanding stats on the growth of mobile commerce. There is a whole set of vendors that are set up to do nothing but catalog e-commerce for mobile. Mobile Commerce Daily will provide you with lots of links and information about that.
Byron: Very good. Well we're about 16 minutes over today. I want to thank everyone for listening in. Thank you so much Steffan for being on the show today.
Steffan: Thank you. It was a pleasure. Thanks for having us on.
Byron: Until next month everyone. I hope you're a little bit more wise when it comes to mobile and more knowledgeable to go mobile or go home. That's the conclusion we'll probably leave with today. Thank you for tuning in. We'll see you next month.