This article originally appeared on EatDrinkPlayApps.com More good stuff there! ~Ed
To our clients and friends: You may not know it, but your business could be missing out on some great exposure. This happens when deadline-driven publishers who also publish to mobile channels often don’t have time to backtrack to each and every content sponsor and advertiser (like you) to obtain the necessary graphic design elements that will work on the small screen. The result: your branding opportunity misses their deadline, limiting your exposure and diminishing your ROI, while the more experienced brands that collaborate well receive better coverage from mobile distribution. Here’s just one simple thing you can do to ensure you get maximum coverage for all your different mobile channel marketing efforts: Have your link buttons at the ready…and send them ahead!
No Buts about Buttons
Mobile marketing means your brand has to work well on the small screen. This means that your laptop-sized, screen-width banners and multi-color, fancy-font signs, photos, graphics and background patterns are probably not going to render well. Solution: create two or three “button” sized graphics with a minimum 300dpi density, using various standard sizes.
Link Button Basics
Start with a gallery of 3 link buttons. One should be exactly square shaped, the second should be approximately 4H x 6W (photo-landscape) proportions, and the third one should be 6H x 4W (photo portrait) proportions. Of course, your partners may specify different proportions, but this set of buttons is a good utilitarian start and should work well in most situations. If you’d like some assistance with this, contact us.
Each button’s image should be visible when the button is the approximate height of 2 or 3 lines of adjacent text onscreen. Lettering on your button should fit comfortably and legibly within the button’s dimensions.
Links, Alt Text & Tags
When you submit your graphic buttons to your mobile channel partner, be certain to specify the link URL, so that viewers who click your link button are taken to the appropriate destination online. This may sound like a big “duh” statement, yet we find this faux pas about as common as accidentally omitting email attachments. Also remember to provide “alt text” – a descriptive phrase – that will be visible to the legions of text-only message recipients. Many mobile users receive text-only messages due to either budget constraints, corporate policy, or their personal mobile account settings which may limit file size to improve download speed and conserve device memory. Most email programs send messages in both html and text formats to reach as broad an audience as possible. The alt tag and alt text are a great way to boost audience response, and an essential step for communicating in both a text-only environment and a graphics-rich one.
Reinforce Your Brand
Be sure that your link buttons conform to your own brand guidelines in terms of color choice, font style etc., so your brand and good reputation are consistently reinforced wherever your link buttons appear online. Remember to use contrasting colors! if your unfortunate choice of brand colors does not provide enough contrast (gray on black, pink on yellow, etc.) consider employing a new high-contrast color for your lettering (white on dark background, black on light, etc.) to boost clarity of your message on the small screen.
Why Buttons Work
Behavioral scientist B.F. Skinner discovered that pigeons pecked more vigorously on a food pellet dispenser bar when the reward pellet was dispensed at random intervals than when it was evenly timed. Such is the effect with the random importance of device alerts on humans. People can’t resist responding to device alerts and clicking online buttons, and these days we expect one another to be readily available via email. Link buttons are an irresistible, universally understood online navigation aid, and thus an essential item in any marketer’s toolkit. Just by being there, your link button will boost your brand’s credibility. All you need to do is reinforce it by linking to your great content.
After the Click
Be sure your destination content is also optimized for the small screen and supports the burst-like, quick response, “snackable” flow of the mobile user experience. Mobile user response is typically a matter of minutes, whereas desktop email responses can take days. Think about what type of conversion, transaction or other experience a mobile user can reasonably complete using a mobile device. Your goal is to foster a satisfying experience. What kind of benefit, reward or deeper engagement can you offer in a mobile format?
Ease of use counts, too. Use social sharing icons and social sign-on. The destination is as important as the journey, and if your goal is to engage your audiences more deeply, you need to treat your mobile content and destination content as a seamless, immersive experience.
What has your experience been with graphics on the small screen? We’d be very interested to know, and welcome your comments. Use the public Comments forum below, or ask us privately using the “Got a question?” button. Thanks! ~Ed