We are pleased to announce the availability of the Riskin Associates mobile application. Based in Montecito, CA, Riskin Associates has been the top selling Santa Barbara real estate team for the past decade. The award-winning team lists some of the most coveted estates on the south Santa Barbara coast. We were engaged by them to create a mobile application that would add to the services they provide their buying and selling clients that have made them a market leader.
Goals and Approach
For the design of the application, we took queues from the Village Properties mobile website we developed since the Riskin Associates team is part of the brokerage. We decided to keep the overall flow of the application intact, but the branding, content and functionality needed customized for Riskin Associates. We wanted to accomplish a number of goals with the modified design:
- Produce a clean, elegant design that conveys the elegance and luxury of the properties they represent
- Provide a vehicle for them to highlight and market their distinctive properties
- Incorporate visual imagery that reflects the unique nature and beauty of their listings and the surrounding area
- Create a finished product that would further differentiate their brand and set them apart as a leader in the market
Key features of the application
In order to develop the key features of the application, we evaluated their online presence which uses vivid photos and imagery to highlight their property listings. We wanted to provide a similar visual experience on mobile and give Riskin Associates the flexibility to highlight the different properties they represent. In addition to the essential features such as property search (both by location and by criteria), methods to contact the team, and an about us section, we incorporated the following:
- A vivid home page focused on a full width image that can be dynamically changed by Riskin Associates
- A featured listing section that allows them to highlight the properties they represent – each listing is its own interactive photo gallery that can be compiled and controlled by the Riskin Associates marketing team
- Links to custom content created by the marketing team such as property brochures that are hosted through Calaméo
You can access the application via any iPhone or Android device by opening the browser (or Safari) on your phone and going to www.montecito-realestate.com. You will be automatically redirected to the mobile application where you can learn more about the Riskin Associates team and explore their featured listings.
Raising the bar for service and performance
It was a pleasure working with the Riskin Associates team on the development of their mobile application. The energy and enthusiasm they brought to the project is evident in the finished product. It is a reflection of the time and personal attention that they give each of their clients. It shows in all aspects of their business, particularly in the level of service they provide their clients and the attention-to-detail they put into their marketing materials. With the availability of their mobile application, they have another tool that reinforces this high level of service, whether it is used for marketing properties or helping prospective buyers identify properties to purchase.
The Riskin Associates mobile application is another example of how leading brokerages and agent teams are embracing mobile to raise the bar on the services the provide their clients, differentiate themselves in the market, and further reinforce their leadership position in the market
Let’s face it, the mobile device has become an integral part of a person’s life. From the time a person hits their teen years, it’s a pretty safe bet that they have a mobile device of some sort on their person. More than any other medium, the mobile device is in a person’s possession at virtually all times of the day. With the lowered costs of mobile data plans and with more of these mobile devices connecting to the internet, people are able to access information on-demand whenever they want. More than ever, it is important to have a strong mobile brand presence for your business and product. I present to you five reasons why you need to consider a mobile brand for your product.
1. Statistics, not hype, are showing that consumers are using the mobile internet more than ever before.
Statistics are showing a clear increase in usage of the internet, particularly over the last two years. What changed to turn the mobile internet into a reality, I would argue that it was Apple’s release of the iPhone. Whatever has caused it, the following statistics show an impressive trend over the last 2-3 years:
- Overall mobile internet usage has doubled from 2006-2008
- 21 million users in the US used some type of mobile search in 2008, a 68% year-over-year increase
- 1/2 of all new connections to the internet are coming from a mobile device
- There are 54.5 million mobile internet users in the US – that represents over 25% of all online users
Even if the statistics are off by 10-20%, these are still impressive numbers and demonstrate a trend that is showing no signs of letting up. In fact, estimates are that over half the devices browsing the web will be mobile by 2012.
2. An internet website that is not optimized for mobile gives your brand a poor first impression
The first rule of any interaction is first impressions. You only get one chance to make a positive impression with your brand or company. When a mobile user clicks on your website, is your current web presence satisfying what they are looking for? In the vast majority of sites that I review, the answer is a resounding “NO”. It leaves for a frustrating and disappointing experience when I can’t get simple information like a business’ phone number, address, or directions by quickly accessing their site on my mobile device. Is this the first experience you want users to have with your brand?
3. A strong mobile presence is a competitive advantage and differentiator
With the emergence of this new medium, as with the web itself, early adopters will get a jump on their competitors and capture market share. Mobile device usage is not a passing fad. Those companies who stake out a strong mobile presence will have an advantage over their lagging counterparts. As with any consumer, if they can’t find what they want from you, they will go somewhere else, most likely a competitor’s site. The result – lost business!
4. Mobile branding can augment and enhance the effectiveness of traditional media
A well designed mobile campaign can help increase and measure the effectiveness of traditional media. Using text messaging, mobile coupons, and the mobile internet, a business can measure real-time response to newspaper ads, radio ads, television ads, or other traditional media. Here is one example of how a mexican food maker used a mobile campaign with traditional media to improve its sales. The best part, the results were highly measurable thanks to the mobile piece of the campaign!
5. Going mobile allows your brand to be accessed by consumers anytime, anywhere
This one really needs no further clarification. Today’s consumer wants information immediately. What better way to give the consumer that information but through a mobile version of your brand. On-demand, when the consumer wants it.
Are all of these items measurable ROI reasons, not necessarily. However, magazine ads, yellow page ads, newspaper ads, and other traditional media are not measurable either, yet people do them because they work. In fact, a well organized mobile campaign can be easily measured by tying in codes, coupons, and website analytics.
In this extremely competitive sales environment, your brand and your business need every advantage it can get. There are plenty of ways out there to develop a mobile presence, whether it is through the mobile internet, smartphone applications or SMS text messaging campaigns. You need to choose a campaign that fits your style and brand, and get out there. There are plenty of mobile consumers just waiting to interact with you.
If you have made the leap to mobile marketing your brand, I’d love to hear your experiences – both good and bad. And if you haven’t made the leap to mobile with your brand, I’d also be curious as to what is holding you back. By all means, feel free to comment!
A few days ago, Devesh wrote a blog entry on the mobile internet, “is it really worth the hype?” Well, to build on that thought, I wanted to share an interview Charlie Rose did with Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, earlier this month (the interview and its transcript can be found over at Techcrunch).
In the interview, Eric Schmidt talks about the importance of mobile technology and how Google plans to invest in and use it going forward. He confirms our beliefs that mobile phone usage worldwide is growing faster than PC usage, citing statistics of over 4 billion mobile users today growing to over 5 billion in the next 3-5 years. These numbers equate to over ½ the world’s population being mobile connected within 5 years! According to Eric, Google is intent on bringing more content to mobile phones in the form of television, books, and more, as well as providing a personalized experience to the user. Location-based services are also mentioned as an important piece of their mobile strategy. Clearly, Google has decided to make significant investments in mobile technologies. Still thinking the mobile internet is nothing but hype?
By the way, if you are interested in learning more about where Google is headed, there are a number of other interesting comments in the interview. For example, Eric is asked about acquiring Twitter, how Google treats privacy given the amount of personalized data it handles, and how user generated content is the “defining aspect of the internet” among many other items. It’s a great interview to watch if you have the time.
The quick answer is … YES.
As my first blog post, I thought I would answer a question I get all the time. A lot of business owners and executives ask me if the mobile internet is really something they need to include in their interactive marketing strategy. I always respond with a series of questions that lets them come to the same conclusion as me:
Does your business have a website? … their typical answer is “YES.”
Why? … their typical answer is that “we need it because so our customers can easily get information on our products, services, location, etc. It is our primary business card.”
What happens if your customers want to get info on-the-go? … their typical response is “hmm, can’t they just load my existing website on their phones?”
That’s when I tell the owners and executives, “probably not” and have them try accessing their website on their phones in front of me. Within a few minutes, they come to the realization of why they need a mobile internet strategy. They realize that a mobilesite is not the same thing as their website. Your website is generally the first impression you establish with your customers, and I’m sure you spend a lot of money making sure that your website is an accurate reflection of your business. It’s the online face of your company.
Now what do your customers see when they access your website using their mobile phone? Do they get the same impression? Probably not. Forget about branding, your website is most likely unreadable and/or unusable which leads to frustrated customers and lost business. Considering that more and more consumers are using the mobile internet, you need to create a mobile face for your company.
Don’t smartphones like the iPhone and Blackberry solve this problem? They do let your customers see your website but for a small screen, it’s too much information. On-the-go customers want access to a finite set of info, services, and content, so you need to tailor your mobilesite for quick and easy access to what your users want. In addition, there are a large number of users that don’t have an iPhone or Blackberry but still use the mobile internet and you won’t be able to interact with them effectively.
I’m sure by now you are thinking that the mobile internet sounds like a real burden. On the contrary, I like to think of it as a marketing opportunity. With the large variety of mobile phones, operating systems, and browsers, it opens the door to a new opportunity for branding based on demographics, market segments, etc. Each phone represents a specific market segment for you to target and you can uniquely tailor info, services, and content for each user giving them an optimized mobile experience they desire.
To make it easy for you to manage your mobile initiatives, there are companies (like us) that provide a platform that automatically extends your existing website into the mobile environment with support for the different phones, operating systems, and browsers.
The mobile internet is absolutely worth the hype and will become a requirement for any business that has a website today. It’s time for your business to go mobile!