This is 2012.
This is Canada.
This is the age of mobile.
Yet marketing teams continue to waste time, money and effort on deploying useless mobile engagement. The result of poor execution for the company; time, cost and failure to collect valuable user information. The result for the user; frustration.
What is most astounding to me is that during the entire process of building the strategy, mapping out the campaign and the associated collateral that somebody did not test this execution and say, “Wait a minute, this is not functional. We need a different execution”.
So, what has me going. Here is the scenario.
Early this week I met a long-time friend of mine for lunch at Original Joe’s in Kensington. I had the Fish and Chips and my friend had the Cob Salad. All in all the meal was good and the conversation even better. When we received the bill they included the following;
I was impressed that they included a QR Code on the survey. To me this makes a lot of sense to capture feedback at the time of checkout. What also is smart is that by including a QR Code, it gives a person immediate access to the survey on their smartphone. This is definitely going to generate a higher volume of responses than waiting for a person to get to their home/office to complete the survey at OriginalJoesSurvey.com.
As I pulled out my iPhone, ready to provide some good feedback, here is what I encountered. Read More…
I will be in Boston attending ILMEast at the end of this month (March 25-28). I am seriously contemplating not bringing business cards to this event. Instead I am thinking of bringing only one card that contains a QR code with all my vCARD information and give this to people to scan with their smartphone. Of course I also use the LinkedIn and Bump apps which are both great ways to share contact information.
My motivation in taking this approach is three-fold,
- I don’t really need to be carrying more stuff with me when I travel,
- It is a convenient feature for potential contacts as they no longer need to enter my information manually
- I have to believe their is a positive environmental impact of not using business cards.
What do you think? Would you consider not bringing business cards to an event or conference?
QR Code Generation
A really interesting site that allows you to make a QR code that links to practically any source such as a vCard, webiste, email, Google Maps location, twitter account, etc. is QRStuff.com. Here is my QR Code that will take you to my LinkedIn profile.
If are you looking for a quick and easy way to create a QR code, this is a great site to start with.
Canadian QR Code Data
Of course the first question any marketer is going to ask is what is the usage. I have some data that I compiled from the US that shows what people are using QR Codes for. I also have some Canadian Data of QR Code usage.
Over the past few years I have blogged often about news in the Canadian Space regarding mobile. Up until this point in time, I never stated explicitly that mobile was a necessity for SMBs in Canada but, we are at the tipping point in Canada of mobile usage (especially SmartPhone usage) and it is now very important for SMBs to start thinking mobile and most importantly make sure their content is mobile friendly.
What is mobile friendly content from a SMB? In a nutshell, it is when you can view your content on a mobile device (Apple iPhone, Blackberry, Android, etc.) in a native format by which the user does not have to zoom or pinch the screen (for all your iPhone users). For this example, I am going to use my personal Dentist, Optimum Dentistry in Marda Loop to demonstrate the difference between Mobile Enhanced Content and Rendering on a Mobile Phone.
This is Rendering on a iPhone (and is not mobile enhanced content):
Hours of Operations Page:
This is Mobile Enhanced Content:
Hours of Operations Page:
As a user – which one your you prefer to land on?
Mobile enhanced content basically means rendering for the native device in which the user is viewing, which really means that your website designer need to put some specific code on your website that detects the users device and serves up content formatted for that device.
Normally, mobile sites will consist of less content than website. Keep in simple – a) what you do, b) hours of operations, c) map and driving directions (you can usually use the native device for this), d) what you sell. Keep all the enhanced content, flash, massive photo galleris and in some cases if you have advanced forms or e-commerce off you mobile site; devices are too small and in mobile, LESS = MORE.
1) If you don’t own a iPhone or Blackberry, find somebody who does and type in your website URL on the phone’s browser
2) If your site looks like the first example above, it is not mobile enhanced, call your web designer and if he/she can’t help, fire them and find somebody else
3) If your site looks like the second example above, then you are good to go
What About Mobile Marketing in Canada?
Well this is where it gets very easy. There are really 2 key places that you need to be concerned about when it comes to mobile marketing in Canada. Google and YellowPages.ca. NOTE: if you are a client of YellowPages.ca, all your business listing information gets syndicated to Google (as well as MSN and Yahoo). If you want a quick snapshot of syndication in Canada, check out an old blog post titled – Directory Assistance in Canada – Paid and Free DA – Facts Every Consumer and Small Business Owner Should Know.
Both Google and YellowPages.ca are completely mobile enhanced web properties. See examples below for looking at data on Ramanda Hotel and Suites in Vancouver.
To learn more about Google Mobile click here.
To learn more about YellowPages.ca Mobile click here.
The above are mobile web. In the application space, Google does not disclose its download numbers, but YellowPages.ca has now been downloaded over 1.8M times, which by all accounts makes it the most downloaded local application in Canada. At this point, any content that you have on YellowPages.ca is automatically ported over to YellowPages.ca Mobile + YellowPages.ca Mobile Applications, so SMBs are getting growing coverage.
In March of this year, I posted the following blog post which shows you some screenshots of the iPhone application by YellowPages.ca – New YellowPages.ca Mobile Application Available. In June, I followed up with the following post introducing the iPad application for YellowPages.ca – First Look – YellowPages.ca iPad Application which managed to become #1 within 24-hours of its launch and has consistently stayed in the top 50 downloaded applications.
Screenshot of iPad Application Search Results:
Enhanced SMB Content on the iPad:
Lastly, back in April I did a comparison of the top mobile applications in Canada, from a SMB perspective – the voting is still open if you want to vote for your favorite mobile interface, please do so.
In Conclusion …. 3 Tips for Canadian SMBs on Mobile Thinking
1) Make sure your content is mobile enhanced on your website URL (talk to your web design company)
2) Make sure your content is distributed in YellowPages.ca and Google (this will give you the majority of coverage and at this point is included in both offerings, no need to pay extra)
3) In your analytics, track the number of mobile views (you will probably be surprised at the increasing number of your customers who are accessing your basic business data via mobile).
Overtime as the mobile space heats up, this simplified strategy will change, but for now, keep it simple, prep your content and start to monitor usage.
Well it is Friday night and I had another week of travelling. This week I was down at the Chirp Conference (first developers conference for Twitter) in San Francisco. The team at TechCrunch did a great job of covering the conference, here are some articles to check out if you have not already:
– Twitter has 105,779,710 Registered Users, Adding 300K A Day
- Twitter Adds Places To Its Geo-Tweets, Just Don’t Call It A Check-In
- Live From Chirp: Twitter’s Platform Roadmap
- Ev Explains Twitter’s Move Into Mobile Apps: “Otherwise We Are Failing Users”
So enough about Chirp, this has been covered extensively this week.
While I am waiting for my wife I was playing with my iPhone, actually wishing I had an iPad (after the Chirp conference and speaking to a number of people about their iPads, I am convinced that I need to buy one, but that for another day). Back to my iPhone – I was playing with Mobile Web, not iPhone applications and I got to wondering about the Mobile Web experiences for Canadians?
So here is what I did.
I visited the following sites through my Safari browser on my phone. Google.ca, YellowPages.ca, Yahoo.ca, and 411.ca. I tried to visit yelp.ca, but it gave me their actual website, not their mobile enhanced so they are not included.
I then entered the exact search term “restaurants toronto” for each site and was presented with their results. The screenshots below are the results page for each of the above websites. Check them out yourself.
So here is what I want to know? Based on the screenshots below for the search “restaurants toronto” and nothing but the screenshots below, which mobile application provides the best results? I am going to leave it as best results, you decide whether best results mean content, look and feel or brand loyalty.
In alphabetical order:
One more screenshot from an application that I am testing on my iPhone (it is not available to the general public yet) called Urbanizer, mood based searching. This application is going to rock. You can subscribe to get notified when it is available in the app store.
If we are missing your favorite mobile web application, put the URL in the comments, I would be happy to add it to this post.
If you did not have a chance to read the press release for Yellow Pages Group 3rd Quarter Results this past Wednesday, there is one paragraph that is interesting for local search enthusiasts:
The priority in Directories continues to be the introduction of new products. During the quarter, YPG launched a new version of its popular YellowPages.ca™ local search application for the Apple iPhone. The latest version features advertiser video content and continues to put the power of Yellowpages.ca in the hands of on-the-go users. The YellowPages.ca™ mobile application remains in the leading free downloaded apps since launching at the iTunes App Store. To date, the company reports over 500,000 downloads of the iPhone and Blackberry® apps.
I originally posted about Canada’s First Integrated Business and People Search App back in April 2009. At that time, the application was #7 most popular free application within the first week.
Fast forward 6-months and the YellowPages.ca application is still in the top 20 free applications, here is a screenshot from this morning:
So What Makes This iPhone Application So Successful. I get this question alot in discussions with local search experts around the globe. I have summarized the success of this application to the following key points:
This is a under 1mb download that gives Canadian’s access to a Business Directory, People Directory and Reverse Look-up where a user can search by City, Landmark, Neighborhood or GPS. This follows in line with the new YellowPages.ca launched on October 12 – check out my post 15 Local Searches I have a Comment On, to see some example hyperlocal searches. The user ratings on iTunes as well as our user feedback prove this with over 200 of 500 ratings given it 5-stars and an average rating of 3.5. Here is the screenshot:
Note: many of the 1-star ratings are from a competitor of this app who have decided to use multiple user names to say negative things and promote their own application. Personally, I think it’s a pathetic marketing strategy that consists of flaming a ratings/reviews engine, but to each their own. There are some legitimate users who have bashed this application and I can assure you that YPG reads your comments and will act accordingly.
This application has a boat load of content including up-to-date business and people information, tens of thousands of videos and hundreds of thousands of pieces of enhanced content like hours of operations, payment types, etc. There is more content coming, but as a starting point, there is no other application in Canada that boosts such an impressive array of local content.
There has only been 2 iterations of this application since its launch. The second version of adding video was a very common user request and YPG is working on some new features that users are asking for. Stay Tuned.
Why is this significant. Many local applications release half-baked features (mostly in the hopes of getting some PR value) that either don’t work, work sporadically, have limited usability on a mobile platform, or simply don’t have enough content to be functional.
The YellowPages.ca application is a highly efficient app that delivers value by giving user what they want and when they need it. It delivers on a simple promise to connect buyers and sellers and this seems to resonant with Canadian mobile users. Sometimes simplicity can actually be the most efficient user experience.
What are you thoughts on the local mobile space? Will “cool” beat “functional”? Like the web, is content the king on mobile as well? What features would you like to see on a local application?