If you’re a skeptic of the power and value of mobile marketing, consider the following. During Google’s most recent earnings update, CEO Larry Page shared with investors that the company is currently on track to finish the fiscal year with $2.5 billion in mobile ad revenue. This, coupled with the widespread adoption of mobile devices capable of browsing the Internet and being served advertisements, indicates that mobile marketing is only increasing in importance.
Unfortunately lots of Internet marketing experts stress the importance of mobile marketing without communicating the parts a firm needs to take in order to become vested in this new movement. I believe that it is critical to highlight what you need to begin leveraging mobile marketing to your business’s advantage.
The most essential aspect of any mobile marketing campaign is a website that is optimized for smartphone and tablet browsers. What this means is that when a website loads on a person’s phone, they see it as a simplified, easy-to-read version of your regular site, not a shrunken copy of your regular website. You’ve probably encountered a mobile version of a website before or seen a hyperlink on a page that directs you to one. As more people recognize their importance, the more common they become.
Mobile websites should be built with the user in mind. Typically you’ll want to minimize the amount of text a user has to read or information they are required to share with you. This is to keep visitors from being overwhelmed by content or frustrated by submitting information. Navigation should be easy to use so that a user only needs to scroll up and down instead of in multiple directions. Lastly, a mobile site should load quickly as most users don’t have a whole lot of patience when it comes to finding what they need with their smartphone. For more information, check out my post on mobile landing pages.
Mobile marketing requires advertising messages that are specifically catered to smartphone and tablet users. This is because the search habits and needs of mobile users are much different than those of someone simply searching for something from their laptop or desktop. Typically, less is more with mobile users. Their search queries are shorter than those of users browsing less-portable machines and as no surprise; they expect faster, more concise answers.
Google Adwords has the unique ability to allow paid search advertisers to create campaigns and target mobile users with them. A few changes in the targeting settings combined with a simplified keyword list and shortened ad text lets advertisers easily market to smartphone users. This is all contingent on having a website that has been optimized for mobile browsing. Google also allows advertisers to share their phone numbers with searchers in a format that allows calls to be made instantly after clicking on a number.
Some experts also recommend leveraging quick response (QR) codes as a part of your mobile marketing mix. Although, QR codes link offline marketing (print media, billboards, etc) with web traffic, they require significant investments in traditional advertising. Using codes can be a useful part of mobile marketing, but can be burdensome for advertisers who need cost effective marketing solutions. Therefore, they are not an essential component of mobile marketing.
Social media networks like Twitter and Facebook are extremely popular with smartphone and tablet users and constitute the last important component of mobile marketing. Many people regularly access social media from their tablet or smartphone, which creates enormous potential for companies to reach people with marketing messages. Maintaining an active presence on these social networks can be critical in the event that searchers use them to find information while on the go.
Consider how people check Yelp, Urban Spoon or foursquare on their smartphones to find information on local businesses. Although not every social network will be appropriate for your business, being a part of some of them is important for mobile marketing.
Although mobile marketing is growing and promises a lot of future opportunity, it should be treated as a component of a much larger marketing mix. Focusing only on one component is akin to putting your eggs all in one basket. Sometimes trying to diversify can be difficult for owners and managers of businesses, but all in all, reaching more consumers with marketing messages is generally worth the extra effort.