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This post from the Small Business Forum really drives home the importance of connecting with your customers on multiple devices and tracking the results.

Cross-Device Tracking: How Leveraging it Will Increase Sales Leads

When widespread consumer Internet usage exploded in the late 90s, it quickly became clear to marketing professionals that this mode of communication would prove to be extremely lucrative. Since then, online marketing has become a key component of every effective marketing campaign. But over the last decade, mobile usage has skyrocketed, and the way consumers access and use the Internet has continually evolved. Today, the average American uses at least three separate devices to access the web every day.

Cross-device tracking is a relatively new trend that involves marketing content to users across each of their mobile and desktop devices. Essentially, what cross-device tracking allows companies to do is monitor a person’s use of his or her desktop computer, laptop, and mobile device. For example, if people close their laptops and start browsing on the same websites from their mobile devices, the websites will see them as the same users. Your next question might be, “So what?” Well, here are a few ways this practice can increase sales leads for those companies.

Capitalize on Users’ Mindsets

Since a core factor in advertising performance is frequency of exposure, it’s logical to assume that targeting the same consumers across each of their devices will prove effective. In reality, this isn’t always the case. Sure, consumers don’t change drastically when they put their smartphone down and reach for their laptop, but they do undergo a mindset change — and marketers should account for that.

For instance, a person is still the same person when they’re watching primetime TV, shopping on eBay, and checking their Twitter feed, but they’re in a different mindset for each of those activities. Each of these contexts involve a varying degree of receptivity to advertising. Changing the way you approach your audience will drastically enhance the experience for both parties.

Be a Part of the Entire Shopping Process

Until recently, marketers gave full credit for online purchases to the device through which users ultimately made purchases. This only tells the final chapter in the shopping process. According to Google, nine out of 10 people who shop online research and read reviews on products before making their purchase.
Exercising cross-device tracking allows retailers to become a part of the entire shopping process. The most important thing to keep in mind with this idea is that consumer behavior changes according to the device of choice. People generally use their PCs for researching, wireless phones for social media and simple browsing, and tablets for entertainment purposes.

Cross-device tracking gives marketers a way of understanding how their customers are interacting with their brand on varying devices. Knowing this information opens the opportunity to tailor your messages to suit the consumer and the device, which will inherently increase your ROI.

Better Utilize the Shopping Cart Reminder

Online retailers have dreaded the fact that nearly two-thirds of online shopping carts are abandoned by consumers. For years this statistic seemed incredibly dire, but cross-device tracking has helped to paint a different picture of the scenario. Through this method, we now know that 40 percent of shoppers use the cart as part of their decision-making process. It serves as a sort of storage tool that they can return to later, after having researched and budgeted for the items in the cart.

Understanding this statistic will help you better utilize your shopping cart reminders. Take this scenario, for example. A woman is shopping for baby clothes online during her lunch break. She puts a dozen items into her cart and returns to work. That night, she plops onto her couch and whips out her tablet to review more items through her high-speed Internet service. She hones in on the items she actually wants to buy and checks out.

During the time between her lunch break and her couch surfing, her cart was technically considered abandoned. Should she have sent a reminder to review the items in her cart? Possibly. It could have been a nice reminder, or she might have perceived it to be intrusive and get turned off to the sale altogether. Cross-device tracking will give you an idea about whether your audience is likely to return to their cart on a different device, or if the cart is truly abandoned.

Cross-device tracking is the next big thing in online marketing. Thanks to the traffic monitoring software available today, we can now monitor consumer behavior and find ways to interact with them in a meaningful, profitable way.

JT Ripton is a business consultant and freelance writer who enjoys writing about a myriad of topics, including business and technology. You can follow him on Twitter @JTRipton

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Hippocrates said, “Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.” Mobile technology presents users an opportunity by means of accessibility to a myriad of health-related resources.

mHealth Technology is Changing Healthcare

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration defines mobile health (often referred to as mHealth) as, “the use of mobile and wireless devices to improve health outcomes, healthcare services and health research.” Fifty-two percent of smartphone users already access health-related information on their phones, and the number of people using app-enabled mHealth devices is projected to leap from 15 million in 2013 to 96 million by 2018.

There are more than 97,000 health- and fitness-related mobile apps available. Users can access and engage a smartphone or tablet for healthcare needs by: monitoring blood pressure and other vitals, pregnancy tracking, the tracking and analysis of medical conditions in lieu of an actual device (for example: as a stethoscope to record a heartbeat; for diabetics to check glucose levels; as a sensor on an inhaler to track asthma; and for urinalysis), and the management of sleep, moods, weight, and prescriptions.mhealth Mobile Apps

Various mobile-integrated therapy applications are available for chronic illnesses and diseases, which account for more than 3/4 of healthcare spending. According to Digitas Health, 90 percent of patients with a chronic illness reported they would accept a mobile-app prescription from their doctor (yes, that exists!) compared to 66 percent who would accept a prescription for medication. Remote monitoring with mobile technology could reduce hospitalization for these patients by 47 percent and office visits by 65 percent, and save the U.S. $197 billion over the next 25 years.

For both iTunes and Google Play, the top health-related download is the “24/7 Medical Help” application Urgent Care. Personalized, physician-reviewed content is emphasized in WebMD’s app. The soon-to-be-released app Zest Health will take a concierge-like approach to healthcare with “Talk to Me,” “Schedule Me,” “Inform Me,” and “Track Me” functions. Of Americans who seek medical info online, 67 percent say this has made them better informed as patients. Data shows that physicians agree: 93 percent said they believe in the power of mobile health to improve a patients’ health, with many citing appointment alerts and care-management reminders as a top benefit.

mHealth technology provides more opportunities to reach people who are notoriously underserved by the healthcare industry: those below the poverty line, senior citizens, the disabled, those living in rural areas, and the homeless, many of whom have unmet health needs and poor access to care. Of these, the majority say they would prefer to save time, money and trouble by connecting with a doctor online, and many have phones. A recent study of people experiencing homelessness shows 70 percent own a cell phone.

SMS can be utilized for this purpose, as well as to deliver health information to specific demographics. The program TXT4Tots encourages healthy communities by providing a downloadable library of short, relevant text messages about nutrition, physical activity, etc. to send to parents and caregivers of small children.

Data predicts that mHealth’s integration into traditional healthcare systems will continue to advance, with increasingly more opportunities to take advantage of. Over the next 10 years mHealth is expected to save the healthcare industry more than $300 billion in increased productivity, as well as improve quality, increase access, stimulate consumer involvement and decrease costs. Obstacles to mHealth evolution are far outnumbered by the possibilities. As Mobile Beat says: “Welcome to the brave new world of healthcare.”

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The Intersection of Mobile and Travel

Mobile and Travel – Giving Smartphone Users Convenience While On-the-Go

Fifty-four percent of smartphone owners use Google Maps, making it the most used app globally as of August 2013. Whatever the mode of travel, current innovation in mobile technology offers is offering city dwellers the means to navigate a variety of transportation-related issues from the palms of their hands..

Traffic apps can visualize conditions specific to your route, with accident markers and a convenient text-to-speech feature to promote safe driving. Using road sensors and data from state highway patrols, Sigalert‘s live traffic-reporting app factors speed with conditions to estimate the travel time for a given destination. Individuals can report incidents to Beat the Traffic, an app that aggregates road-related conditions to help its users achieve “a hassle-free commute.”.

For transportation via bus and train, AnyStop and Me2Bus give users quick access to basic route info such as stop locations and scheduled times of arrival. RouteShout also offers the option to mark frequent and favorite stops for future use. Some systems even sell virtual passes that can be purchased and stored on a smartphone for use as needed.

Local transportation systems can utilize a text messaging system for disseminating text-based bus and train schedule information – an intersection of mobile and travel. Dadnab‘s service is a lifesaver for the bus-riding cell -phone user without a data plan. Text (512) 981-6221 with the origin, destination and departure time, and a reply is sent right back to you.

For those who ride the same few buses every day, the super-simple Transitly app makes it quick and easy to find out what time the next one comes. Entered routes are automatically saved and displayed on the front page as soon as the app is re-opened. In addition to providing public transportation info, users can find specific things and places (ex: Coffee) by using Mapnificent’s Google-integrated search feature. The site, still in beta, is customizable for specific situations such as, “Do you have a bike with you?” Text Messaging Travel Mobile

The RideScout mobile app, one of Huffington Post’s “Favorite Technology of SXSW 2012,” aggregates real-time information on all nearby ride options for users to search and compare on demand. The integration of social media allows users to participate in group trip- planning and ride -sharing.

SideCar‘s application matches people looking for rides with people willing to offer them.  Riding with a random person may seem unsafe, SideCart takes extra precautions to ensure passenger safety: background and driving checks for those behind the wheel, a $1 million insurance policy for passengers, and a rating system for both drivers and riders.

Whatever the function, it is even more imperative that transportation websites to be optimized for mobile as interaction often happens while out and about. Here at True Dialog, we love seeing inventive sites and applications that offer smartphone users convenience while on-the-go. An interface with easy-to-navigate features is a huge help for mobile users.

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Text Message Marketing for Music and Entertainment

Those who work in the music industry strive to create and intensify fandom for a particular entity: a band or musician, record label, venue, festival, etc. Text message marketing for music offers opportunities to engage with potential audiences at any time, from any place.

Engagement Intensifies with Text Message Marketing for Music

Musicians’ desire to cultivate an intimate relationship with fans undoubtedly stems from the need to feel their art is appreciated. But in an age where it’s possible to stream instead of own, to download instead of buy, and to watch the show on YouTube instead of live, this relationship is also vital for facilitating streams of revenue to make creativity financially sustainable. A friendly, relevant text message every so often can connect fans directly to the artists they choose to keep in touch with.

texting_music_blog-218x300Imagine: a quick text from Kings of Leon reminds you they’ll be in Austin this weekend for Austin City Limits Festival and includes a link to Saturday’s schedule. Even if you already knew they’d be at the festival, this message is exciting. You follow the link to plan your day to be at the right stage on time. Maybe they’ll text the week before to ask which song you’d like to see live, with a survey-style response option. The week after, you get a link to pre-order the soon-to-be-released album.

Live-music venues are habitually hit-and-miss when it comes to providing quality customer service. Buying the ticket is a guarantee of attendance, and many times the venue doesn’t care if you know how much drinks are or the order of bands playing. Show-specific reminders can be texted to ticket holders the day before and include an option to respond with keywords for additional information: “DOOR” for what time the doors open; “TIMES” for the set times; and “DRINKS” to see what drink specials to expect. Having this relevant kind of conversation with patrons could increase perception of venue reliability and maintain interest for future events.

There are many incentives for fans to opt-in: getting discounts on or entering SMS contests to win concert tickets, band merchandise, song downloads, food and drinks, VIP passes, etc. By keeping it relevant and more casual than commercial, mobile messaging has the potential to be a great ally to those in the music industry.

 

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Text Messages Boost Revenues for Entertainment Venues, Especially Bowling Centers

The arrival of summertime brings with it the tradition of many classic, American outdoor activities: barbecues, pool parties and Fourth of July firework shows. But most people can only take so much sun, and when it Text message marketing, Entertainment, Bowlingbecomes too much they look for fun ways to beat the heat. Bowling centers offer all the necessities for a family summer hangout: air conditioning, food, games and fun. A variety of entertainment options are available to cool off – such as movie theaters and water parks. How can bowling centers convince this eager market to seek shade on their lanes? With the ping of a text message to boost attendance.

Text Message marketing offers bowling alleys the chance to increase traffic and build relationships with consumers at any time of year. By adding text message marketing to your toolkit, you can also instantly send personalized offers and promotions – from free games to discounted pizza, to your customer database. This encourages your target to remember you for their entertainment needs on a regular basis. And mobile website allows people to easily locate your center, view food and game packages and find seasonal deals.

One of the greatest benefits of mobile marketing is the ability to target a variety of demographics, from families to college students to league bowlers. These flexible, affordable mobile tools are easily integrated into your existing marketing strategy and allow you to meet the current needs and goals of your bowling center through custom, targeted messages, from holiday specials to driving traffic on slower days with limited-time discounts. Having a strong mobile presence not only brings in new bowlers, but also grants the opportunity to build relationships with them as well as strengthen existing ones.

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Easing Frustration in a Seller’s Market by Text Home Buyers

 

While buying a new house is exciting, it was also one of the most stressful home purchases I’ve ever made. It was by far a sellers’ market in the hot town of Austin, Texas. It seemed that every night I was looking at MLS for new listings , somehow thinking I had missed something or my real estate agent missed it. I was constantly receiving email notifications of new listings, but it seemed that every time I tried to setup an appointment it was too late. This missed connection puzzled me.  I kept thinking to myself, “do these people ever work? Would I need to take vacation time to actually see the house and not be the 3rd offer these folks are getting on the first day? How can I complete in this market?”

It wasn’t a matter of needing vacation time to view a listing, rather  it was the rate at which I was receiving the listing.  Email is too slow! I receive upwards of 300 emails a day and open roughly 25% of those in the same day – these new listings were getting lost in my inbox. Nearly 97% of text messages are opened in the first three minutes. If my realtor would text home buyers with notifications or used any text marketing , then I would have received listings much faster.  My generation wants to receive information immediately, especially the most vital information. Therefore, providing us the ability to send a text message to get more information about a current listing – price, square footage, neighborhood –  immediately is what we need and are looking for. Instant gratification is what your buyer under age 45 demands.

After the first two flops, I finally got an accepted offer on my 3rd house.  I found an unlisted house that I liked, found out who owned the house and reached out to the owner. After numerous text messages back and forth, the offer was accepted. I wonder how many other buyers in this market are resorting to mobile technology to make deals happen.

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