Responsive Design & Marketing in a Multi-Screen World

Posted by Tracy Lewis on Apr 16, 2013 7:17:00 AM

People consume online content via three screens: desktop, mobile phone and tablet. Given the proliferation of each, marketers should build their programs to accommodate all three. Consider the statistics: 

That said, consumers interact with each device differently, and screen dimensions play a large role in preferred content, layout and presentation. So, how can marketers ensure that their content is in the proper format—regardless of how it’s being accessed?

Responsive.DesignGoogle recommends responsive design, in which the site detects the device and size of screen, and then automatically sizes the content to fit. For a quick overview, check out What the Heck is Responsive Design? by John Polacek (@johnpolacek), or these examples of responsive design in action from the Disney Store, Boston Globe and more.

Another option, although less preferred, is to have a separate mobile website with its own URLs.  In the words of my PR 20/20 colleagues in Do I Need a Mobile Website, “if you aren’t debating whether to launch a mobile version of your website, you might want to start.” They recommend assessing your site analytics and overall user experience to make a case.

But, What’s Next?

As Pete Cashmore (@mashable) detailed in the Mashable Variety Show at SXSW, the number of screens people use to access information is only going to increase. Screens are going to get smaller, larger, on our bodies, etc. A few examples he shared include: 

While many of these technologies are just in the prototype phases, the implications they could have on how people consume information and interact with content are profound. As we’ve seen with smartphones and tablets, this trickles down into how marketers do their jobs.

For me, innovations like these reaffirm my belief that technology and marketing are only going to become more intertwined. It’s up to us to stay abreast of the trends, evaluate implications on marketing strategy and adapt. 

What strategies are you using to succeed in the era of multiple screens? What tech innovations have you seen that that could disrupt how people communicate? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Author: Tracy Lewis is an inbound marketing consultant with PR 20/20, a certified Gold HubSpot partner and inbound marketing agency that combines content, public relations, social media and search marketing into integrated campaigns. She is also the community manager for Marketing Agency Insider, the hub for agency news, information and resources.

Image Source: IntelFreePress

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Topics: iPad, Mobile Websites, web design, PR 20/20

Using the iPad and LinkedIn to Grow your Network

Posted by Jeff Coon on Nov 13, 2012 9:03:00 AM

Using the iPad for businessAre you looking for creative ways to use the iPad for business? Have you ever wanted to do more with your LinkedIn Connections? In this article, I'll share some ideas on how you can do both to help grow your network and strengthen relationships with your current customers.

I had the opportunity to interview Tom Boudreau of R&R Insurance (a client of ours). Tom is a Commercial Insurance Account Executive who was looking to provide better resources for his current and prospective customers. Tom was kind enough to share his thoughts and process in how he's using his iPad and LinkedIn network to do a "52 in 52" video interview series featuring Wisconsin business professionals.

Below is a recap of my interview with Tom:

Q: Tom, what is "52 in 52"?
A: "52 in 52" is a video interview series where I'm interviewing 52 Wisconsin Business Professionals, with nothing but my iPad, over a time period of 52 weeks. I've wanted to do this "52 in 52" initiative for years, but it took time to build my network of Wisconsin experts. I am now in a position in my career to leverage the collective expertise of my network. They are a great group of people and I'm happy to be able to share their knowledge in a way that can help all of us grow our businesses.

Q: Where did the idea come from?
A: I sell business insurance like a lot of individuals. But my goal is not only to be the best at that, but to also help my clients build their businesses — whether it's insurance related or not. "52 in 52" is my attempt at putting the "social" back in my social networking.

I really wanted to offer my clients and prospective clients something of value. I also wanted to do something with my LinkedIn Connections. In the past, I was simply accepting new connection requests on LinkedIn and then not doing much more with it. I wanted to reach out to my network and learn more about what their businesses do to see if they could help my clients. Ultimately, my goal of "52 in 52" is to share knowledge.

Q: How has this worked for you?
A: It's been great! I'm spending an hour with each individual for the interview - and prior to that we're communicating about what we'll be discussing in that interview and what we can provide the audience as a leave-behind.

It's really strengthening my relationship with these individuals. This process is kind of a bonding process. I share with them the analytics and they feel that I'm truly trying to help them - and that's my goal.

This has also resulted in new and additional business for me. I had a client that I was working with sign an 'Agency of Record' letter for additional services because he appreciated the fact that I was differentiating myself from other insurance agents and working hard to help my clients grow their businesses.

I've also had several opportunities present themselves in ways that I didn't expect. Just by staying in front of my clients, I'm having them refer opportunities my way, as well as introduce me to other professionals that help me strengthen my business network. Even beyond the sales, this has helped build brand awareness for me in a way that doesn't come across as salesy.

Q: How has this benefited your network?
A: It's been very beneficial for them as well. As an example, the interview I posted a couple weeks ago resulted in business leads for the individual being interviewed. A couple hours after I sent out the email to my network letting them know that I posted the new video, three people reached out to me asking to have my guest speaker contact them about quoting some business. It really was a win, win, win for all of us involved.

Q: From a production standpoint, how are you doing the video interviews?
A: I'm using nothing but my iPad set up on a tripod. My father-in-law was kind enough to let me set up a little studio at their office (Circular Marketing in Waukesha, WI). I purchased a couple lights and printed up a sign, but the rest of it is just setting up the iPad and shooting the interview.

I purchased the iMovie App for the iPad and do the editing right on my iPad. When completed, I upload the video to our YouTube Channel and then with your help (Stream Creative), we build out the blog post, create a landing page and upload the leave-behind piece.

When those pieces are in place, I create an email in SubscriberMail and send that out to my network. From start to finish, including the interview, the entire process takes about 4 hours.

Q: In closing, do you have anything else you'd like to share with readers?
A: As a sales person we try very hard to get that initial meeting to learn what our prospects' businesses are all about and where R&R Insurance can help them. Through these "52 in 52" interviews, I can ask these same questions through a totally different process that doesn't feel like I'm selling to them - which I'm not selling - I'm trying to help them reach a new audience, and they get a better value out of that.

If I had to do something different, it would be finding a way to shorten the final videos - but I just can't find a way to get them between three to five minutes without cutting out a lot of the content or sacrificing the personal element involved with these interviews.

Overall, this has been a great experience!

So how are you engaging with your LinkedIn Network? How are you using your iPad for business? Please share any of your ideas in the comment section below.

About the Author: Jeff Coon is a partner and creative director of Stream Creative, a certified HubSpot partner and full service digital marketing and design firm specializing in inbound marketing, web design and development, and social media.

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Topics: online networking, online business networking, online referrals, iPad, Tom Boudreau, inbound networking, linkedin, stream creative

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