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Why Your Business Needs a Mobile Strategy

Your business needs a mobile strategy – it’s just that simple. If you don’t believe me then consider this – there are now more searches performed via mobile devices than desktops throughout the world.

Mobile devices accounted for 55% of traffic in the US at the start of last year and 47% of that was app-based. In addition, according to ComScore, the average user spends around 30 hours a month searching the web via mobile. Simply put, the web is changing. And if the web changes, your business also needs to change.

Mobile strategy for business

Image : thornleyfallis.ca

We consume information via apps on our phones, make purchases through the browser on our tablets, and read the news from a real-time updating widget. In fact, an average user checks his or her smartphone every 6 minutes.

Frankly, the whole way we interact with the Internet has changed. When you read a magazine, interact via social media, play games and even set your alarm to wake up, you do it through an app. We’ve moved far beyond browsing via search bar and inputting commands via keyboard. Therefore, your business needs to implement the right mobile strategy to target your increasingly mobile customers.

It’s not enough anymore to limit communications to websites and blogs, or for that matter even to utilise social media alone. Mobile strategy needs to be included, considered and adopted alongside and also independent of your desktop strategy.

So, what should you consider?

Optimisation Matters

Mobile devices come in a whole variety and range of sizes and styles. From low-res 3.2 inch screens to 4K 5.5 inch ones, and larger desktop screens, too. Your content should appear just right regardless of desktop or mobile access. This means implementing adaptive or responsive design.

These considerations don’t end with the website alone. Good design includes email marketing, social media campaigns and any content that appears on a screen.

Location Awareness

Often underutilised, location awareness is a very powerful tool that marketers can potentially use to provide tailor-fit and targeted information to mobile users depending on their location. Technologies such as GPS tracking, iBeacon and others allow businesses to deliver highly appropriate content that can be just the right fit for the individual’s context. With these, you can provide information on deals, products or services according to a consumer’s interests and proximity.

Mobile Coupons

Mobile coupons can be tied in with location awareness to provide customers with highly relevant coupons or offers in a certain place at a particular time. For example, through iBeacon, consumers can receive push notifications about offers or coupons when they walk within a close proximity to a product. Of course, there are dozens of other uses for this technology, but coupons are one of note.

Alternatively, loyalty apps can be used to seek out the nearest stores offering deals, offers or vouchers on a particular item. Both these examples have been shown to be a draw for businesses and also great for upselling.

Mobile Content

Needless to say, most mobile strategies are content driven. We consume so much of our content through mobile devices, and even otherwise rich and bandwidth-heavy resources like video are now being streamed to smartphones and tablets. There are few things as irritating as slow or non-loading sites or apps that freeze in the middle of loading content, because of unresponsive servers.

Given the need for unobtrusive user experience, it will be important to deliver such rich content without delays or hiccups. For best delivery results, you will want to consider running your application from a distributed infrastructure – otherwise known as a cloud-based setup – in order to better scale. Content delivery networks or CDNs will be essential in ensuring least latency when delivering cached content (such as videos, photos and other media).

If operating in a multi-server environment, performance is also to your choice of load balancing service, which can dynamically distribute traffic according to server load and capacity, as well as the content of the packets and transmission.

Traditionally, load balancing is done either through an on-premises appliance or with a DNS-based technology. However, these can either be expensive or too basic. A cloud-based approach to load balancing, would be ideal, in terms of scalability. Such platform as a service (PaaS) solution are also tend to be less costly, due to their economy-of-scale pricing models.

Mobile Advertising

Like desktop advertising, mobile advertising offers amazing opportunities for businesses to reach a larger audience and get more people to engage and convert. Using mobile advertising as part of your mobile strategy, such as through mobile advertising networks, can be a great way to reach out to more people.

Case in point: 58% of smartphone users prefer free apps with ads rather than shell out a nominal price for the premium version or pay for in-app content, according to a survey by Zogby Analytics. According to the same study, most smartphone users would prefer seeing mobile ads tailored to their specific interests.

Mobile and Productivity

Mobility has also ushered in plenty of new opportunities for employees to be more productive. Email is a fantastic form of communication, but is limited by itself. Productivity applications like Trello, Asana, Basecamp or even Google’s own enterprise tools have their own mobile apps that make collaboration far simpler and more intuitive. Cloud suites like Office 365 make content and document sharing, as well as virtual meetings and professional networking a lot easier, regardless of the device, OS or platform. In turn these greatly enhance productivity, allow ease of access on-the-go and facilitate work in the modern environment.

Ensuring your business has the right mobile strategy is a necessity that can bring immediate and long term gains to customers, employees and your business as a whole.

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Mobile Pay: The Digitization of Money

For years the smartphone has made life simpler. It has given us the power to make phone calls, send text messages, send and receive emails, surf social networks, and more – all in the palm of our hands. For many people, the smartphone is something that they simply “can’t live without.” And if you’re one of those people, the latest developments in the mobile world are only going to make it that much harder to drop your device. Specifically, you may find that by this time next year your wallet will have also been replaced by your smartphone.

According to mobile technology firm NN4M, mobile payments are primed to be the next major defining moment in the world of payments, signaling a boom in the number of virtual transactions and a significant shift in how consumers pay for goods. While person-to-person payment options such as Venmo and SquareCash have grown in popularity over the last few years, 2015 is expected to be the year when widespread adoption of mobile payment practices finally takes hold.

The Three Major Players

One of the biggest indications that mobile payment is here to stay – and grow – is the adoption of these technologies by the biggest players in the mobile world – Apple, Samsung and Google.

Apple

In 2014, Apple announced the release of Apple Pay, a mobile payment and digital wallet service that lets users make payments using the latest Apple devices, including iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, and more. Apple Pay allows users to make in-app purchases with one click, and also allows users to make real-world purchases by hovering their device over specified readers. While the announcement didn’t come as a complete surprise, Apple’s adoption of the technology accelerated interest in mobile payments and is just one of the reasons why mobile payment is expected to be a touted topic in 2015. One challenge with Apple’s approach to mobile payments, however, is that it is largely dependent on adoption by retailers, as a specialized card reader is needed. While Apple Pay is already accepted at thousands of retailers worldwide, it will take continued consumer demand for the service for all retailers to adopt it.

Samsung

Another indication that mobile payments will be on the rise in 2015, is Samsung’s recent acquisition of LoopPay, a mobile-payments technology start-up. Samsung announced the merger early last week, and buzz around how the tool will work has garnered much attention. LoopPay seeks to replace your wallet entirely by storing your credit cards, debit cards, rewards card, and even your ID. And, unlike Apple’s method which requires retailer adoption, LoopPay works with nearly all existed credit card readers. Though the tool does require users to open an app to make the payment, once the app is open users can hover their device, click a button and get on with their day.  Without the need for specific technology to be adopted by retailers, LoopPay has already made its way into 10 million locations, and has been voted as one of the top mobile payment options in America.

Samsung’s acquisition of LoopPay is not only an indication of their desire to compete in the mobile payment world, but to their commitment to make a smart life for everyone. This acquisition is the latest in their line of moves that encourage synced devices, intuitive usability and a seamless blend between technology and human interaction.

Google

Google Wallet, which was originally released in 2011, is another mobile payment option that is expected to spur the growth of mobile payment popularity. Though the application has garnered criticism for perceived security concerns, the app received a push in 2014 with the announcement of its Gmail sync feature – which allowed users to send money to other via email. Those individuals who receive money via Google Wallet payment, can use the money instantly for in-app purchases, or can “cash-out” and have the amount sent to their bank account.

The End of The Traditional Wallet?

While wallet manufacturers don’t have to worry just yet about declining sales, the latest developments in mobile payment options are certainly exciting, and showcase the deep interest that both consumers and tech companies have in this avenue. And though security and privacy concerns may slow complete adoption of mobile payments, 2015 is certainly poised to be the year where it all begins. The only question now, is which mobile payment will you use?

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Top Smartphone Features to Look for in 2015

The evolution of smartphones has now reached such a rapid pace that perhaps it makes more sense to say that smartphone tech itself exists in a dynamic state. Before new devices and features even hit the market, manufacturers and consumers alike have set their sights on the next big thing. Imaginations run wild and it’s not long before companies are pushing products that toe the line between plausibility and science fiction. Remember when the notion of a curved screen seemed fantastical? So when some of what is being predicted for 2015 sounds equally farfetched, keep in mind that it’s today’s hopes and dreams that form the basis of the technologies in our pockets tomorrow.

 

Here’s some of what you can expect to see:

 

Affordable Premium

 

In 2014, Chinese manufacturers started forcing the big players in the Android gear space to scramble to keep up with devices like the ZTE ZMAX. This year the phone to watch for is the OnePlus Two, an upcoming release from the Oppo spinoff. Unlike the OnePlus One, which was plagued by issues ranging from sexist marketing to its confusing invite-only pre-order system, the Two may just deliver the promised flagship-grade specs in a mid-priced device.

 

Monster Specs

 

LG revealed the G Flex 2 at this year’s CES, but as exciting as its amazingly durable flexing curved screen is 2015 won’t be the year of the curve. The upcoming release of the G4 is much more thrilling. Leaked specs suggest that this device featuring Snapdragon’s mobile technology is going to be hot with shutterbugs thanks to a juicy 20.7 megapixel camera. Samsung’s Galaxy S6 is also rumored to have some bodacious specs that will make up for the disappointing sales of the S5.

 

Slim Lines

 

If you think a phone can never be too powerful or too thin, check out the Oppo R5 and the Vivo X5 Max. The former may not be on the lips of many outside of its home market (China) but will be soon thanks to Oppo’s ability to squeeze solid specs into what is nearly the world’s thinnest phone at 4.85 mm thick. The latter measures in at more than .1 mm thinner, however, making it half the size of the Nexus 5 or LG G3. Other than that, both phones have remarkably similar features – including their rarity. Much easier to get in the US will be Blu’s Vivo Air, a 5.1 mm device that will cost just $199.

 

True Customization

 

Forget being able to customize your display – that’s so last year. Think of Project Ara as the LEGO of phones, making 2015 the year modular devices will finally hit market in a limited pilot. You get a phone built to your specifications featuring (almost) everything you could want in a handheld. Like a second battery for twice the power, a bigger speaker or even something as nichey as a night vision camera. Planned obsolescence and the unending upgrade cycle may be a thing of the past starting later this year.

 

If nothing above sounds like the phone of the future you’ve always dreamed of, don’t despair. Smartphone manufacturers who are serious about competing with Apple aren’t going to rest on their laurels while tech fans and artists sketch out concepts for the next big iPhone release. The one constant in the smartphone world is that everything is always changing and change happens fast. Keep hope alive for long enough and soon you’ll wake up to the device of your dreams.

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5 Bootstrapped Marketing Ideas That Don’t Scale

One of Paul Graham’s oft-quoted advices is to do things that don’t scale. Paul explains that as startup founders, you cannot sit and wait for users to come to you. Instead, in the early days, you have got to recruit them manually. Although this is precious advice, one reason why a lot of startup founders don’t take this idea to heart is the fact that user acquisition costs often seem to shoot through the roof with such a strategy. But that does not have to be the case. Here are five bootstrapped sales and marketing ideas that may not scale but can help you find users in the early days.

Meeting People Outdoors : What are the kind of events that your target prospect likes to attend? Go to local meetups that your target prospect is likely to attend. You may not get to spend time with each of your prospects individually and would often be there to only get introductions for a future appointment. But although this is not scalable, it is a good way to get that initial reference. It’s always easier to make the next call introducing yourself as the person who they met at the meetup.

Cold Calls/Emails : This is the most common strategy to get your first users – find the target prospect and call them up. And if your prospect is someone who is also expected to check emails several times a day, email them. A lot of people assume cold calling is not for them. But the reality is that it is a skill that can be refined over time. This Youtube video has personally helped me significantly reduce my rejection rate. Depending on your infrastructure budget, it is recommended that start-ups invest in a business phone service that can help you bootstrap while allowing you call your prospects anywhere in the world.

Befriend An Influencer : Every industry has influencers that people in the industry look up to. These are people who are actively followed on Twitter and who speak at a lot of industry conferences. Getting them to endorse your product is an amazing way to reach out to all your target prospects at once. But this is not something that can scale, for building a relationship with one such influencer takes a lot of time and energy. Start off by following them on Twitter and engaging with them. You may be one of the hundreds who do this – so it takes time for them to know you by your name or even your Twitter handle. But over time, it is easy to ask them to try your product or refer it to their followers. MarketingProfs has a different take on influencer marketing, but is well worth the read.

Latching On To Trends : Social media users often dismiss businesses that latch on to the trending topics of the day as spammy. That’s because they abuse the trending hashtags in order to get visibility. This is not only unscalable, but also ineffective. The more effective way to find new prospects is by doing something that will appeal to them. According to Matt Mickiewicz from 99designs, his company made a great use of this technique when GAP announced a logo design that was heavily criticized. Hating on GAP’s new logo was trending in the industry and 99designs took to their crowdsourced platform to build a better logo. The result – not only did 99designs get visibility off a trending topic, they also got to showcase their platform to prospects who may have not known them earlier.

Speak At Conferences : A lot of start-up entrepreneurs make the assumption that they have not reached a level where they can speak at conferences. So while they religiously attend events, they only focus on listening to other speakers. But what one may have not realized is how desperate various organizers are for good speakers. If you are a business owner, people want to listen to your experiences in an industry event. Write to conference organizers – big and small – offering to speak. Register at the various online speaker marketplaces – you may eventually only get to speak at an event attended by twenty odd people. But not only does this set the first step for another event with a larger audience, you may also potentially have one influencer among the audience who could write about you, and help you reach out to your target prospects.

All of these strategies take a lot of time. But when you do succeed, the visibility you gain this way can be immense. What are your thoughts?

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Stories Behind the Apps – Botpocalypse

Botpocalypse Logo4Tell us about your app! Botpocalypse is a fast-paced, survival-style arcade game where gamers can compete against friends for the highest score or longest survival time, acquire new characters, and unlock achievements.

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Via www.emarketer.com

How Mobile Is Changing the Gaming Industry

The idea that consoles will always outpace smartphones and tablets in the gaming sphere seems logical since consoles aren’t restricted by battery, size and graphics limitations. But that idea doesn’t take into account how people actually play games or the breakneck pace of mobile technology development.

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Switching from iOS to Android

Thinking of switching from iOS to Android? This post will help by addressing some of the areas of hesitation or concern, particularly as it relates to the new iOS continuity announcements.  more

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