When buying new phones, the most recent criteria we look for is its mobile browsing applications and internet capability. Looking past the previous ‘must ask questions' such as "does it send MMS's?" and "can I play music off it?" now we ask questions such as "can I get internet and how quick is it at browsing?"
South Africans like internet – we're fans of social networking sites, teenagers are addicted to mxit, and we enjoy being able to check the latest news and sports results whilst on the move. Although South Africa may not have the fastest internet, we are quickly catching up with the rest of the world. With SEACOM fibre optic cables recently placed off the coast of South Africa, internet is faster than ever and more people are now accessing it. Faster internet brings more internet browsing, expanding room and creating opportunities for internet marketing. In South Africa, mobile marketing is becoming essential, not only in the SEO process but also in the success of your business over your competitors.
According to the Mobile Marketing Association in November 2009, Mobile Marketing is "a set of practices that enables organizations to communicate and engage with audiences in an interactive and relevant manner" via cell phones and cell phone networks. This includes campaigning via sms'ing and over mxit, but mostly involves being able to access websites on cell phones. Browsing applications allow websites to be accessed – making you vulnerable to lose customers if your webpage isn't cell phone compliant.
But it can open up endless opportunities to reach a worldwide clientele and endorse your company in an easy and cost effective manner if you get it right.
To succeed at mobile marketing your website must be designed to be visible on cell phone browsers. Much of the new cell phone technologies being released, such as iPhones, have applications which allow them to browse the internet without any changes having been done to a webpage. However in South Africa, most cell phones still use basic handheld browsing features. A CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) can be attached to a website and will feed precise instructions to mobile browsers, translating their content to be visible without a pc browser and seen on a 2 X 3 inch cell phone screen.
When designing a CSS, the most important thing to remember is to simplify everything. Remove all colour backgrounds and text, all unnecessary images, ignore typography and fonts, and eliminate all advertising. The aim is to make the most of the limited space on offer and to get your message across as plainly as possible. Also take away java, remove flash, and limit all plug-in content that isn't necessary. If you don't need it, remove it or hide it.
South Africa may not have the fastest or most accessible internet connection in the world, but it is absolutely vital for companies to incorporate a CSS and mobile enabled site to their SEO
processes and business services. Not only will they be reachable via cell phone browsers in South Africa but they will also put themselves out there to be noticed overseas.