5 tips for optimizing your brand for mobile

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I'm not going to say that 2009 will be “the year” of mobile as, like many forms of marketing, mobile will suffer due to the recessionary economy. Nonetheless, mobile advanced in 2008 to the point where Nielsen declared critical mass for the mobile Web and PEW predicted mobile web usage to overtake desktop traffic by 2020. So how can marketers optimize their brands for the mobile environment? Here are five quick tips:

Integrate Microsoft Tag into Print Advertising QR codes have been successful in Japan for years, but they haven't had a large corporate advocate outside of Asia until Microsoft introduced Tag in January of this year. Mobile barcodes are revolutionary in a sense in that they require no typing on small keyboards in order to access mobile content, and make it easy for brands to tie offline advertising to online mobile content.

Don't Clone Your Desktop Site There are a number of tools to help you make your desktop Web content accessible to mobile users, which is an essential first step in optimizing your brand for the mobile environment.  Mobile-specific keyword research using Google's mobile keyword tool can help brands identify what mobile searchers are interested in, and create content that mobile users are more likely to want.

Follow Mobile-Specific Signals As search engines continue to improve their mobile search ranking algorithms, they're likely to look for signals that indicate a query is mobile in nature, and aspects of content that indicate it is intended for a mobile user. If you're just starting in mobile search optimization, and you want your mobile content to be optimized for mobile search engines and users, including the word “mobile” in your mobile title tags and mobile-specific content is a simple step that could pay dividends in mobile search and discovery.

Create Mobile Content With the introduction of the iPhone and the current mobile search results, it's not about WAP sites anymore, but it's still about mobile content creation. A brand that wants to be visible to mobile users should be checking the following boxes::
a.    Make sure the desktop site is Mobile OK compliant
b.    Create a site (or sites) with content geared toward mobile users and host it on a new TLD or subdomain
c.    Create an app for mobile users
d.    Optimize feed-based content such as local, image, video, RSS, etc listings
e.    Have an active presence in social media outlets with mobile interfaces (Facebook, MySpace, etc.)

Make ‘Em Laugh The local aspect of mobile content is often trumpeted by marketers given the fact that hyper-local targeting is a novel aspect of mobile that could mean higher conversion rates. However, according to large-scale mobile query studies, mobile queries with local intent represent just 10% of mobile query volume. The other 90%? It varies, but the largest category is mobile entertainment. Mobile users may be in the car looking for an address, or they may be waiting in line or at the bus stop looking for something to keep them entertained. Mobile content that serves this purpose will help a brand become optimized for the mobile environment, and those bored mobile users will thank your brand for the diversion.
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