Hi all! Well, I got my snow day–and then some. While the ice melts & re-freezes outside, please enjoy reading my last write-up for WSI’s Digital Minds!


CHAPTER TEN: RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN BY DOUG SCHUST

Responsive web design sounds super-duper futuristic (I’m thinking, like, a Google search suggestion type of situation where the web browser knows what you’re going to click on or search before you do it and automatically takes you to the page AKA MIND READING WEB SITES, because that makes total sense), but really, it’s just the term used to describe designing different web formats for different devices.

I have a friend who’s a graphic designer, and she talks a lot about how, by default, their designs are made for a “960 grid system” (153). Then, if the manager or computer coder comes to them requesting a different size, they create accordingly.

That’s essentially the summary of the chapter; responsive web design takes into account the tendency for humans in the modern age to multitask. We may start browsing for a product on our computers but will probably end up moving to a different format like a tablet or smartphone. If the website is hard to navigate on this new platform, a potential customer might click away and changes their minds about patronizing your business.

Keeping this in mind, it could be beneficial for a business to explore designing–calling in graphic designers for mock-ups, truly sitting down and deciding which links are most important to advertise and which can be streamlined in different formats–development (Schust urges the reader to be aware of and expectant of minor design changes in this process), and testing. There always needs to be a trial run that is demonstrated to managers, stakeholders, etc.

When looking into this concept of responsive web design, businesses also need to be aware of the importance of upgrades–another cost throughout the years as platforms develop–and retina display–making screens and images so intense and high definition that pixels aren’t visible to the human eye (157).

Despite the time and money required, Schust argues that every business needs to look into responsive web design in order to stay relevant and competitive in this modern marketplace.


CHAPTER ELEVEN: MOBILE MARKETING: ON THE MOVE BY ERIC COOK


 

The thesis of this chapter: we use mobile phones and tablets non-stop in this modern world with access to WiFi and 4/3G networks–while waiting in line, while eating, while watching TV–so businesses NEED to be in the know for mobile marketing!

Cook starts by briefly discussing the basic “screen” or communication revolutions: the “first screen,” TV, the “second screen,” the Internet, and the “third screen,” the smartphone (162). People spend a huge amount of time surfing and communicating on this third screen. We’re more likely to send a text message or Tweet someone rather than call them, and we look up product reviews online before and DURING shopping (163-65).

Businesses need to be available on social media so that customers can access them on-the-move via mobile web browsers or apps, and businesses should also explore the power of SMS marketing or texting.

This is a potentially huge source of income (Cook cites a study that claims profits can increase up to 112% when successfully implementing SMS marketing), but it needs to be approached intelligently. You don’t want to anger customers by forcing them into text groups or costing them extra money with incoming messages!

So, Cook suggests you offer different types of categories into which customers can opt. He gives the example of a coffee shop owner: you can offer updates for MUSIC or café performers, JAVA for food & drink specials, or BOOKS if you sell books or magazines, as well. That way, people who love your espresso will enjoy getting those coupons without having to also receive updates for the acoustic show that Friday night (168). You can also use SMS to remind your customers about events, deadlines, or activities that are happening at your business, voting for new ideas or selecting promotions/winners, donations, security or weather alerts, business info, or text to win sweepstakes.

Cook also delves into the fun of QR codes–or, those little barcode shapes on flyers or web pages that phone cameras recognize and take you straight to a mobile site or text message with the encoded information. He does caution marketers to still offer a basic text option for those who don’t have smartphones or to keep up with QR evolution, as certain new apps are becoming more advanced at identifying products and are moving away from QR codes (171).

Location check-in can be a fun way to take stock of and reward your most loyal customers (for example, Foursquare has a “mayor” of a business–or, a most frequent customer). Also, there are options for companies to start partnerships with other businesses, such as credit cards offering deals when people check into certain restaurants with Foursquare (172-3).

To end, Cook urges businesses to be aware that all of this mobile interaction ends on a website (people will take info provided by text, GPS check-in, etc. and hopefully visit your website to book an appointment or purchase a product), so make sure your website is spiffy, up-to-date, and easy to maneuver on different platforms (see: chapter 10).


CHAPTER TWELVE: DON’T FORGET ABOUT MEASUREMENT BY MIKO KERSHBERG


The last chapter in Digital Minds touches on an intimidating topic: analytics. Kershberg, thankfully, breaks down the subject into easy-to-follow tips, and I was very encouraged to explore analytics more after reading his segment!

First: he emphasizes the importance of analytics. That’s what businesses do, after all: they measure. That being said, don’t just gather any ol’ data and try to crunch numbers. There’s a plethora of data available thanks to web tracking advancements, so make sure data is high quality, accurate according to your goals and demographics, and relevant to your company’s goals.

Next, Kershberg uses Avinash Kaushik’s Digital Marketing Measurement Model (DMMM) to discuss other topics for the last half of the chapter.

Figure out what your business objective is! Different websites have different “purpose[s]” (180):

Commerce: Get customers to buy directly online

Lead generation: Customers submit contact info so that you can nurture potentials into consumers

Content: Keep visitors coming back to consume content

Support/self-service: Provide customers with opportunities to find answers they need concerning your business’s products or services

Next, establish goals to fit with these objectives, and keep in mind the following categories:

Acquisition: anything concerning generating traffic to your website (i.e. social media, SEO, PPC)

Behavior: how do you want people to act when they come to your website? How much time should they spend? Are there videos you really want to be watched or links you really want to be clicked on?
Outcomes: How do you measure success: filling out a form, downloading something, putting something in a shopping cart or watch list?

Now, take a look at key performance indicators or KPIs. KPIs must be relevant, timely, uncomplicated, and instantly useful. Examples are: conversion rate (number of conversions divided by number of visits), days/visits to purchase, customer or consumer loyalty, and time.

Also, segment your data. Customers “behave differently” based on demographics and day of the week or time of day (i.e. returning versus new customers, originating country, traffic source).

Lastly, establish targets or numerical goals based off of the above information that’s been designed and thought-out specifically for your company.

Always be willing to re-visit this model, too, because as time changes, your business and goals might change, as well.

As for HOW to do all of this, Kershberg assures the reader that there are plenty of tools online to read up on how to do all of this yourself, or an analytics expert can be hired to clarify issues.

His final note: never stop measuring! “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it (188).”

Makes sense to me!


Thanks to WSI for such a great read with rich content, and thanks to you all for following along!