Guest post by Deltina Hay
Thinking of the mobile web as just a new way of using the same old Internet is a mistake. The mobile web is more than people using smaller screens to access the Internet. It is also about how people are changing the way they use the Internet - and the new tools that are emerging as a result.
Almost all people with mobile devices (over 5 billion) have Internet access via their mobile device. More importantly, people are taking advantage of that access by searching, purchasing products, and clicking through on mobile ads at unprecedented rates.
This is great news for those of us who market on the Internet. But it can be equally bad news for those who are not prepared for this mobile opportunity. Luckily, there are many affordable ways you can prepare your existing online presence and market your books on the mobile web.
If you rely on your website to market your books, then it is imperative that you offer a mobile version of your website. But before leaping in and creating a mobile website just because you need one, pull back and plan for a mobile site that meets your readers' needs, fulfills your marketing objectives, and integrates the features you need now and in the future.
Plan for User Expectations - People use the Internet differently on mobile devices than they do on PCs. Mobile device users typically know what they want when they reach a mobile website, and are more likely to take action once they get there. Plan for this behavior by prioritizing the content on your mobile site.
Plan for Marketing Objectives - Mobile visitors are not going to navigate around your site the way they might on a PC, so have your immediate goals in mind when planning your mobile site. What are the goals of your mobile website: sell more books, get book reviews, drive traffic?
Plan for Mobile Features - Mobile device users love to access social media sites and share information, and they are location and action motivated. Using this insight, include mobile-friendly features on your website that encourage visitors to share and review your books, access your social media sites, and make purchases.
Choosing the Best Solution - There are a host of mobile website solutions available, and choosing the right one can seem daunting. But with careful planning, you can narrow your choices to the solutions that best fit your needs. Here is an article that can help you make sense of the mobile website solutions available: http://mobilewebslinger.com/2012/04/18/mobile-website-solutions-for-everyone.
Use Mobile Website Best Practices - Regardless of the mobile website solution you choose, there are some mobile website best practices that should be applied to mobile sites (http://mobilewebslinger.com/2012/04/20/16-mobile-website-best-practices). These practices can help you create your own mobile site and help you narrow your options if you are considering a service.
Mobile applications can offer an unencumbered environment in which to engage your audience. A well-planned mobile app can give you additional exposure and improve reader interaction. Mobile apps can also be great outlets for selling books and ancillary material.
But mobile apps are not for everyone. Depending on their complexity, mobile apps can be expensive to develop and maintain. It may be best to focus on optimizing your mobile website and on making it easy for users to save your website as a shortcut on their mobile devices’ home screen.
If you decide to add a mobile app to your mobile web strategy, there are a number of affordable tools to help you get started. The Bootstrapper's Guide website is a great resource for services, tools, and tutorials for creating mobile apps.
Mobile Landing Pages
When planning a mobile ad campaign, plan it all the way through. When targeting a mobile audience, make certain your ads direct users to a mobile-optimized landing page. Further, any calls-to-action on your mobile landing page should direct users to mobile-friendly destinations.
QR codes are two-dimensional bar codes that, when scanned by a mobile device, return information like maps or product info, or direct users to a specific URL or mobile app.
QR codes can be beneficial to marketing and useful to your readers. In addition to placing them on business cards and posters, place QR codes inside your books directing readers to ancillary material, further reading, mobile apps, videos, etc.
Placing a QR code on the cover of your book can direct users to landing pages with more information or special offers. This could mean the difference between a reader buying your book or the next one on the shelf.
QR code on back cover and interior page of a book.
Location-based services offer people a way to connect around a particular location, whether it be a café, a theater, or a park. Users check in (letting others in their network know where they are) from that location and comment, leave reviews, and even reap rewards from within the service. Some popular location-based services are Foursquare, Google Places, Yelp, and Facebook Places.
Even if your book has nothing to do with locale, you can take advantage of location-based services. Use these services to check in with your readers from location-based hot spots. You might also consider partnering with a local coffee shop or bookstore to promote your book through their check-in rewards. There are many useful location-based marketing strategies to explore: http://thebootstrappersguide.com/locationbasedservices.html.
When you hear the term augmented reality, you may have a futuristic vision of people walking around viewing the world through Internet-powered glasses. But there is another facet to this technology that is relevant to marketing your books in the present: object recognition.
Google Goggles is a case in point. Goggles is a mobile application that recognizes objects that a user scans and returns information on that object. It recognizes location information, common objects, logos, and so forth. This may seem frivolous at first, but watch what happens when I scan one of my book covers using Goggles.
Book cover scanned by Google Goggles
Not only does Goggles recognize the cover and return the title information, it directs the user to Google Product Search which lists many options for purchasing the book.
Near Field Communication
Near field communication (NFC) is chip technology that allows close proximity transactions to take place. Unlike QR codes, NFC provides two-way communication. Thus a user can swipe an NFC chip embedded in a poster or on a product with their smartphone and a transaction takes place – like purchasing tickets, making a reservation, or buying a product. If you have heard of Google Wallet, then you have heard of NFC technology.
But let's think beyond Google Wallet. Imagine placing NFC stickers (http://www.tagstand.com) on your book's promotional material like posters or bookmarks. This type of promotion enables prospects to purchase your book on the spot with a simple swipe. And with all new smartphones coming off the assembly line with built-in NFC chips, this is less of a futuristic view than an opportunity for the taking.
About the Author: Deltina Hay
This article is based on Deltina Hay’s new book, The Bootstrapper’s Guide to the Mobile Web: Practical Plans to Get Your Business Mobile in Just a Few Days for Just a Few Bucks, scheduled for release on May 1, 2012, from Quill Driver Books.
Visit the book's companion site, http://www.TheBootstrappersGuide.com for tons of free resources, worksheets, and examples to help build your mobile web strategy.
Deltina Hay is the author of the critically acclaimed books, The Social Media Survival Guide and The Bootstrapper’s Guide to the Mobile Web.
She teaches the online version of Drury University’s Social Media Certificate program and offers a video tutorial series on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/deltinahay).