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The Top 7 Mobile Marketing Must-Knows

Whether we like it or not, our mobile devices are becoming a bigger and bigger part of our everyday lives. Some studies have even predicted that by 2018 there will be about one billion people on the planet using smartphones.

Marketers should see this as a great opportunity to come up with unique, personalized, and real-time ways to connect and engage with customers.

But what exactly are the must know things about mobile marketing?

Here we’ll highlight some of the most important ones to keep in mind for 2016:

1. There’s More to Mobile Than Phones

Mobile marketing doesn’t just mean reaching people on their smartphones, it encompasses a myriad of different devices and technologies that you should

consider. You need to think about the size of the device, operating system and what kinds of activities people are actually doing on various phones or tablets. For example, according to a recent Forrester study, 66% of smartphone users utilize their devices while in a store, compared to only 9% of tablet users.

2. Basic Marketing Principles Still Apply

Regardless of whether you’re engaging in radio, print, or mobile advertising, the time-held truths of marketing still apply. In the end, it’s all about getting the right message to the right customer at the right time. Operate under the assumption that mobile is the first way that customers experience your brand, and use tools like Google Analytics to learn as much as possible about their location, device, and behavior.

3. Change Is Constant in Mobile Marketing

While it’s always great to have a plan, one of the must-knows of mobile marketing is that your marketing plan should reflect the rate of change in the industry. New devices, apps, and operating systems will come and go, all impacting your mobile marketing efforts in one way or another. Building periodic reviews into your mobile marketing plan will help you assess what changes are taking place and make the appropriate adjustments.

4. Focus on Responsive Design

Having a responsive website means that your web content is always optimized for viewing on a multitude of devices. Aside from ensuring a positive user experience regardless of the device visitors are using, responsive design is important because Google’s latest algorithm change ranks pages by their mobile-friendliness. Those who haven’t made the effort to optimize will be penalized with a lower search ranking.

5. Don’t Rush Into App Development

Developing your own app is often time-consuming and costly, and might not even be necessary depending upon your business. If you can achieve the functionality you’re looking for with your website, why spend the time and effort of app development? The key to this working is to understand what your visitors most need from your business (hours, location, phone number, promotions, etc.) and deliver that to them on your recently optimized, responsive website.

6. Video Is Trending

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have seamlessly integrated easy to watch video content into their mobile experience. Using video to advertise on mobile is still in it’s infancy, but it’s one of the fastest growing areas. A recent Google study suggests that people who view videos on their phones are 1.4 times as likely to watch ads as those who view videos on desktop computers or televisions. Smartphone viewers are also 1.8 times more likely to share videos than those on personal computers.

7. Listen to Your Customers

While you may be eager to get the word out to your subscribers via mobile, keep in mind that mobile is a very personal form of communication. A “batch and blast” approach is likely to yield negative results, so it’s important to listen to your customers and read their “digital body language” in order to communicate the right message at the right time. A recent PWC survey found that most users indicate that they approve of a more conversational approach to mobile advertising, rather than one that is impersonal.

By keeping these must-know mobile marketing trends in mind when formulating your mobile strategy, you’ll be able to attract more customers and engage them long-term. Mobile marketing is constantly evolving, and by staying abreast of new techniques and technologies, you’ll be able to successfully leverage mobile as a key part of building your brand.

Can you think of any other mobile marketing must-knows? If so, feel free to share them below in the comments.

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Houston Online Marketing Trends to Plan for in 2016

When it comes to digital marketing, it’s not enough to follow the herd. Amidst fierce competition, brands, now more than ever, must really stay on the cutting edge of marketing techniques in order to maintain relevance with their audiences. In this post we’ll take a look at some online marketing trends to plan for in 2016 to help your business’ marketing soar into the new year.

More and More Focus on Mobile!

Mobile devices have been an important target to marketers and that trend shows no sign of slowing down in 2016. At present, 64% of all adults in the US own a smartphone, and by 2016, worldwide smartphone ownership is expected to exceed two billion people. That’s over a quarter of everyone on earth! Can your marketing afford to lose such a massive audience?

In addition to smartphones continuing to dominate in 2016, expect to see increased ownership of other mobile devices. By the end of next year, 1 in 10 people in the US will be tablet owners, and wearable tech ownership — like smart watches — will have tripled. Brands that want to thrive would be well served to capitalize on the popularity of these devices by tailoring their marketing campaigns to accommodate a variety of mobile screens and platforms.

Focus on New and Niche Social Platforms

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn may have the market cornered when it comes to social media, but as a marketer you ultimately need to be where your audience is. With these “old-guard” networking sites mostly saturated — over a quarter of teens have recently left Facebook, for example — 2016 is the time for brands to broaden their social horizons by reaching out to their audiences on sites like Instagram, Snapchat, and Periscope.

While Instagram is owned by Facebook, and Periscope by Twitter, these sites boast an entirely different experience than their parent sites. Fresh and fun, sites like Instagram and Periscope offer instant, real-time connections. And their emphasis on photos and videos makes them great for brands too! Just take a look at how users are engaging with brands through Snapchat’s new, innovative “Discover” section.

Predictive Analytics

Think of predictive analytics like market segmentation on steroids. Predictive analytics looks at the past behavior of consumers and analyzes it for patterns that can predict future actions. Not only can it let marketers nurture their audience with personalized messages, it can help to predict the outcomes of proposed marketing campaigns, letting brands minimize risks and maximize ROI.

Video Ads Will Dominate

Whether it’s pre-roll, post-roll, or native, advertising in digital video will continue to grow this year,  doubling in ad spends compared to three years ago ($2.8 billion in 2013 vs. $5 billion in 2016). While impressive, these numbers are hardly surprising, given how popular streaming video is for consumers and what a powerfully engaging medium it is for marketers.

App Indexing Will Lead to an Explosion of Apps

Recent moves by Google to enable better indexing of Android apps in its Play store is as important for businesses looking to get their apps noticed as SEO is for content marketers. Rather than apps being organized very generally (games, utilities, etc.) new indexing algorithms let users search for just the right app to suit their needs, in much the same way they would a website.

If your business has an app, or is considering releasing one, it’s easy to get it indexed, and doing so can provide a helpful push in getting your app noticed.

Digital Assistants Will Lead to a New Kind of Optimization

Digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri, or Microsoft’s Cortana have changed the way users interact with the web. Businesses need to optimize their web presence in order make their information easily accessible to digital assistants so that when a user says something like “Siri, show me hardware stores in Houston,” your store comes up.

When predicting trends, it’s hard not to feel like some of them are more science fiction than reality. But while things like wearable tech, and complex algorithms might seem “far-out” right now, it’s important to remember how far technology has advanced in the past decade. As tech advances, it’s important for digital marketers to keep up. In the vastness of the world wide web, failing to do so is the quickest route to obsolescence.

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10 Scary Digital Marketing Mistakes You DON’T Want to Make

Halloween is right around the corner, but here in Houston, it’s not ghosts and ghouls were afraid of, it’s bad marketing. So bring your tablet around the campfire and check out these 10 very scary digital marketing mistakes you most definitely DON’T want to make.

1. Failing to Understand Your Audience

Come on now, it’s 2015. With all of the different ways there are to engage with, and learn about your audience there’s no excuse for not understanding them. And even if your target audience is zombies, if your base thinks you’re out of touch you can bet they won’t be paying you any attention.

2. Not Having Defined Goals

This is one of the scariest digital marketing mistakes you can make, because having ill defined marketing goals can throw a whole campaign out of whack. If you don’t know what you want to achieve with your marketing, you risk choosing a marketing technique that is ineffective for the situation, or else not tracking the proper metrics to allow you to accurately see whether the campaign was a success or a failure. You’ll be marketing-walking dead, wandering aimlessly, arms outstretched.

3. You’re Trying Too Much

No one expects you to become a marketing superhero overnight, especially if you’re just starting out. Think of yourself as more like a marketing Karate Kid instead. Start small, and see what works. Wax on. Wax off. Learn how to A/B test your campaigns, and you’ll be able to identify what works best for you in no time.

4. You Have Unrealistic Expectations

The internet is really a wonderful thing. While you’re reading this post you could, in mere seconds, order that gorilla costume you wanted for Halloween, and have it appear at your doorstep tomorrow morning. Instant gratification at it’s finest. But (unfortunately) digital marketing doesn’t work like ordering a gorilla costume online. It takes time.

Often times advertisers get frustrated with a digital campaign when it doesn’t immediately yield results. But let’s use this as an example, the average social media campaign takes six months before it shows results. That’s a lot of tweets, but patience pays off in the end.

5. Not Budgeting Properly

Creating a digital advertising budget can seem daunting to the uninitiated, but it’s really quite simple. So simple that even the slowest of digital marketing zombies could follow it.

6. Too Much Social Media

When it comes to social media, your business doesn’t need to be everywhere. As long as you’re engaging your audience where it counts. Pick one or two social media sites that are most appropriate for your strategy and stick with them! Professional businesses seem to do best on sites like Twitter and LinkedIn, while restaurants and retail stores, for example, might find a more welcoming audience on Facebook or Instagram.

Wherever you choose to get social, don’t post too much, lest you see your audience begin to tune you out, and your social pages turn into digital ghost towns.

7. You Don’t Understand the Importance of Content

Creating content and/or blogging not only helps you get found online but it helps educate your customers and position you as a leader in your industry. And even more, it works for driving conversions! In fact, inbound marketing drives 54% more leads into your marketing funnel than traditional methods.

8. You Don’t Understand Keywords

Keyword stuffing is a terrifying digital marketing mistake, and there is a lot to learn about how keywords work today. It’s more about the quality and placement of your keywords and not the quantity. Search engines algorithms have gotten smarter and are ranking your website based on how useful viewers find the content, not by how many times a keyword appears. Brush up on your SEO best practices and watch your site climb the ranks today!

9. You’re Not Thinking About Mobile

Mobilegeddon — Google’s latest algorithm update — was six months ago, and if you haven’t optimized your site for mobile yet, you are seriously harming your search engine rankings, and regardless of what updates are made to the search engines we know that mobile matters today more than any other time. With 60% of internet access mostly mobile, it might even matter more than any other format.

10. You’re Not Tracking Your Efforts

One of the biggest advantages that digital marketing has over other mediums is its enhanced ability to track the success (or failure) of your marketing efforts, so that you may improve future campaigns based on what did/didn’t work in the past. It’s what separates a banner ad from skywriting.

So there you have it. Can you identify if your business is making any of these fatal digital marketing mistakes? Heed these warnings, and begin to improve your overall digital strategy today. If you dare!

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A 101 on Mobile Geo-Fencing for Houston Businesses

Technology has opened new doors and broadened the ability to reach customers. In particular, geo-fencing, a mobile marketing technique, has become a go-to strategy for many Houston businesses. Understanding the intricacies and abilities of geographically based mobile advertising techniques and the latest in geo-fencing best practices can open up new opportunities for business to connect with customers on a more personal level.

What is Geo-Fencing?

Over the last five years, advertisers have increasingly looked to mobile technologies to push their products, drawing on a phone’s ability to provide data on a customer’s real-time location data. This has provided invaluable information, such as when and where consumers shop, to help marketers target users in real-time as they shop. Marketers began drawing data from cell tower pins, WiFi data, and GPS locations to advertise to customers when they are physically present at a store or business—a technique known as “geo-conquesting.”

Geo-fencing takes this one step further by hyper-targeting the location. In this case, the person at the shoe store would not just see an advertisement for a different shoe business, but the advertisement would be for a shoe store within walking distance. For Houston marketing, this includes “fencing” off an area within a quarter mile of a business. When the person’s phone data indicates they have stepped into the “fenced” area, they will receive targeted advertisements for the business.

Geo-conquesting and geo-fencing directly increase the chances that the shopper would be willing to modify his or her behavior in real time. It also ensures that targeted results are even more specific to the intended customer while continuing to push for advertising the provides clear ROI.

Geo-Fencing Strategies for 2015

Before jumping into geo-fencing, there are some basic best practices that will especially be relevant in 2015. First and foremost, Houston marketers should understand the format and the limitations of the mobile geo-fenced advertisements in order to select which type will make the most impact. Currently, geo-fencing marketing placement are used in content, display ads, and through SMS (text) messages.

However, not all geo-fencing strategies are created equal. While a SMS or push notification message may be direct and to-the-point, many users opt not to sign up for these alerts. On the other hand, the subtlety of display ads may be lost when a person is distracted.

For 2015, mobile marketers should try tapping into the market via applications that capitalize on a person’s location specifically. For example, Uber, the socially driven car service, uses geo-fencing to target customers who have landed at an airport. When the consumer enters the geo-fenced location, the consumer is greeted with a message welcoming them to their new city and asking if they would like a ride. Other apps, such as those that suggest restaurants or stores, could be invaluable for pushing out messages without being directly from the source.

A Must for Mobile Marketing

For Houston marketers interested in mobile marketing, geo-fencing is the best and latest strategy to effectively target a consumer group. By using real-time data mixed with a knowledge of a consumer base, geo-fencing and geo-conquesting will only improve as the technology expands and consumers become more amenable to such targeted advertising. For Houston marketing, geo-fencing, when done smartly, could bring a major change to how advertisers and consumers connect.

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Responsive Design & Mobile Display Advertising 101

You’ve heard about mobile advertising and know that your website must be mobile optimized, but you still aren’t 100% sure how to take the best advantage of mobile display advertising for your Houston business. Understanding the benefits of an effective mobile advertising plan is crucial and starts with having a responsive design website. So – here are the goods you need to know.

Mobile Display Advertising vs. Regular Display Advertising

Mobile display advertising is a form of advertising on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Regular display advertising can be seen on desktop computers. Examples of mobile display advertising include: apps, mobile image ads, QR codes, mobile searches, SMS (text messages), and local ads.

Responsive Design vs. Mobile Website Design

Smart mobile advertising is only successful if your business has a website that is mobile optimized. Furthermore, having a responsive design website is pertinent to today’s success as a business owner. Mobile design entails creating an entirely different website to accommodate mobile devices. Using the desktop design website is not conducive or practical for mobile use. However, in today’s rapidly evolving, technologically-driven marketing world, having a mobile website and a desktop URL are not sufficient anymore.

Responsive design is becoming the standard in the digital and marketing world. TechTerms states that responsive web design (RWD) “provides a customized viewing experience for different browser platforms. A website created with RWD will display a different interface depending on what device is used to access the site.” This is especially helpful when displaying content on small screens. Responsive web design ensures that the user can receive and read all content, no matter the size of the screen being used.

The Benefits of Mobile Advertising/Responsive Design

1. Cost-$$avings

Mobile display advertising costs are significantly lower than radio, TV, and print ads, helping you to reach more people for less money. You will see a higher return on investment (ROI) using mobile display ads, while maintaining the same level of quality that traditional advertising previously provided.

2. Accessibility 24/7

People don’t stray far from their mobile devices these days, therefore, your Houston business can reach customers at all times of the day. They can read your time-sensitive messages any time and at their convenience. The best part is that businesses don’t have to wait for customers to sit down at their desktop computers, you can reach them where they are. In addition, most people have their devices “on” at all times, which means your mobile display advertising is always “on”.

3. Larger Audiences (and Growing)

More people are accessing the internet using a mobile device, giving you larger access to the general public and to an audience that is constantly growing. A 2013 survey showed that 73.4% of smartphone owners used their devices to access the internet. This number is expected to exceed 90% by 2017. Consequently, you have the opportunity to reach an audience you might not have using traditional display advertising, only accessed via a desktop computer.

4. Relationship Building

People have a deep connection with and dependency upon their mobile devices now more than ever. You can use this to your advantage by creating a responsive ad campaign that connects intimately with customers to meets their expectations. This low-pressure advertising will garner repeat customers for your business, while allowing a casual, friendly relationship.

5. 2014 Mobile Advertising Results and 2015 Predictions

As of January 2014, 58% of adults own a smartphone; 32% own an e-reader; and 42% own a tablet. Needless to say, it would greatly benefit your Houston business to take advantage of mobile display advertising, as the mobile market is expected to generate $400 billion dollars in sales by 2015 compared to $139 billion in 2012.

recent study has revealed that 50.1% of spending on paid search ads and SEO efforts will go towards mobile advertising in 2015. It is predicted that 76.7% of search spend will go to mobile marketing by 2018.

The idea that your ads can go straight to your customers’ phones is not surprising, yet can make a significant difference, almost immediately for your business. The caveat to this success, however, is to make sure you plan and prepare your mobile display advertising plan correctly and efficiently, while understanding the benefits of such marketing choices and responsive design.