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Profaizer: Mobile Marketing, Hot Trend in 2013

March 6, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Linda Profaizer

Linda Profaizer, a Colorado resident and immediate past-president of ARVC, wrote the following column for Woodall’s Campground Management. She can be contacted at lprofaizer27@gmail.com. Having stepped away from her association duties at the end of 2010, she welcomes input on topics of importance to campground owners for upcoming columns.

As you might imagine, much of the talk for 2013 and the future is about mobile marketing. While I am personally still a believer in some print advertising as part of your marketing mix, the growing trend to mobile marketing and social media cannot be ignored. As one smart, small businessperson stated, “Another way to lose control is to ignore something when you should address it.”

A few years ago, we were talking about e-mails and websites combined with some traditional offline marketing like print ads and brochures. Today, it can be a bit overwhelming with so many social media options, e-mail marketing, e-commerce and search engine optimization. Many park owners are involved with social media and many have either their current website viewed via smart phones and or have had special sites designed for the mobile media.

If you haven’t done anything to address the mobile market, now is the time and if you are already involved in this media, now is a good time to make sure that what you are offering to the public is easy to use and that your marketing objectives are being addressed.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware of the growing number of mobile users and the need to offer mobile versions of your web pages and marketing campaigns. More and more of your customers will go online with mobile devices this year. Vendors can make your website mobile-friendly at a reasonable cost, but not all sites can be copied and replicated. You might need to outsource the mobile design. It is important to have either a mobile-specific website or a responsive website that views properly on different devices. If your budget can’t handle going fully mobile, you could utilize Facebook or Twitter applications that are mobile friendly.

Some Mobile Marketing Tips

Today, people are reading your content on their mobile devices while waiting at stoplights in their cars, as they’re watching TV, eating dinner and while walking down the street. As a result, your mobile content may need to be bigger, shorter and simpler.

Here are a few points to consider:

  • Make your website scanable. You want the reader to get the gist in the first screen without having to scroll down two or three screens to find your call to action or key content.
  • Design for the tap instead of the click. The fingertip is the new mouse – it is more portable, but much less accurate. So, you have to give it more room. Use a larger font size and a bigger Call to Action (CTA) button to help facilitate this. Avoid scrunched-up lists of tap-able links. I’ve found these lists on many mobile sites and it’s very frustrating to try to tap on the correct one.
  • Pay attention to the landing pages that will typically be navigated to from mobile phones. If users are tapping on a link to the reservations page, make sure you don’t deliver them content that displays awkwardly on a mobile device and make sure it works.
  • Make sure that you have the most crucial information on your mobile site. Having too much content can minimize the important points and decrease your site’s usability.

According to an article in the October 2012 issue of eMarketer, the number of U.S. smartphone users is projected to reach nearly 200 million by 2016 from the current 120 million and the number of tablet users is expected to jump to 133 million in 2015, so don’t ignore this growing marketing medium. As the popularity of these mobile devices continues to rise, customers will increasingly expect your content to be delivered in a mobile-friendly fashion. Thinking of not going mobile is like not showing up in a “search” these days – if you’re not there, you’re out of the game. Don’t disappoint.

 

 

More Campers Staying Connected on Vacation

June 8, 2012 by · Comments Off on More Campers Staying Connected on Vacation 

Tablets, smartphones and other devices are becoming popular at campgrounds across the U.S.

Scanning smartphones, tablets and laptops is as much a part of vacations as slathering on sunscreen, according to a Michigan State University study.

The results, which will appear in the forthcoming issue of Annals of Tourism Research, show that easy online access and ubiquitous personal devices have made the digital divide disappear, even for folks on holiday, according to a news release.

“Not that long ago, travelers would need to find a payphone or send postcards to brag about their vacations. Now they just log on and send photos and text,” said Christine Vogt, MSU professor of community agriculture, recreation and resource studies, who co-authored the study with Kelly MacKay of Ryerson University (Canada). “Our results show clearly how the changing nature of IT behavior in everyday life is spilling over into our vacations.”

The study showed that people using smart phones have tripled. The study also revealed that wireless use was higher on vacation (40 percent) than at home (25 percent). Also telling, were figures that show that people used the Web more to plan vacations (80 percent) than for work (70 percent).

“Travelers are using their laptops and phones more often, and not just to plan vacations,” Vogt said. “Since Wi-Fi is available at most destinations, tourists are checking local weather forecasts, transportation schedules, restaurant recommendations, fishing reports, safe bicycling routes and much more.”

Pulling out computers, iPads and smartphones at home and work is addictive. It looks like the habit doesn’t take a vacation, either, she added. Future research will give the tourism industry insight on the best ways to serve vacationers’ online needs.

“We hope to conduct more research across the various stages of vacations,” Vogt said. “This will help vacation service providers better understand what information travelers are looking for during trip planning and how it differs from the details they’re searching for after arrival.”

The study was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Vogt’s research is supported in part by MSU AgBioResearch.

PCOA Launches New Mobile Content

April 3, 2012 by · Comments Off on PCOA Launches New Mobile Content 

PCOA adds another phone feature for campers.

The Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association (PCOA) announced the launch of its new mobile content at http://pacamping.mobi.

This site allows users to see the most essential content of the full PCOA website at http://pacamping.com, optimized for the display size and functionality of SmartPhones, according to a news release.

Studies have shown that most SmartPhone users are much further along in their decision-making process, typically looking for a place to camp this weekend rather than two months from now. With those usage patterns in mind, the new PCOA mobile site provides basic search capabilities (by campground name, town name, or region) and presents special camping deals from participating campgrounds.

Search results include basic information, one photo, and links to the campground’s website, online reservations page, e-mail, telephone, and integration with the device’s native mapping application, which takes advantage of the navigational features offered by those apps. Members with enhanced listings will also have links to their Facebook page.

Users may also obtain more information about the six regions in Pennsylvania, order a printed directory, or even download the full directory (which might be a useful option for people using i-Pads or netbooks). They also have access to essential information about PCOA and camping in Pennsylvania. Of course, the site provides direct access to the main website for those who would like to access the full range of content. Additional features may be added to the mobile site as users express their interests.

There are different approaches to the presentation of mobile content. One is to simply produce an alternate, “mobile-friendly” site, with slimmed down content and minimal text and graphics. Another option is to produce a native app that must be downloaded, installed, and frequently updated by users. This is a more expensive option and generally requires the production of separate apps for i-Phones and Android devices. It can also present a potential drain on your phone battery.

The PCOA mobile site takes a third approach, developing a hosted mobile framework web app that is developed using the jQuery Mobile framework. No downloads are required and content is dynamically generated, simulating the features of a native app, and always up to date. The framework is compatible with all major mobile and desktop applications including iOS (i-Phones and i-Pads), Android, Blackberry, Palm WebOS, Nokia/Symbian, Windows Mobile, Opera Mobile/Mini, Firefox Mobile and all modern desktop browsers. The resulting site is lightweight and fast.

Statistics show that many mobile apps are downloaded, installed, then used only once. Downloaded apps can be found on a phone’s app store and can be added to a phone’s desktop screen, but most people are likely to find the type of content that PCOA is providing through a direct link on our main website or a link or QR code on a directory or other print advertising. The development of mobile Web content is still in its infancy, but we feel that we have taken the proper approach at this time, with a product that came at about half the cost of the development of separate downloaded apps for the two major platforms.

PCOA’s new mobile content was developed by Pelland Advertising (https://pelland.com/), PCOA’s website development and hosting services partner since 2002.

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