Getting Started with Mobile Marketing

It doesn’t take another blog post from me on the importance of mobile to convince you that it’s a topic critical to your marketing strategy. I hope not, at least.

But for most people, the concept of mobile marketing is still a confusing one. It’s vague, and broad. And even though I know that I need to be thinking mobile, I’m not totally sure what that means.

When people talk about mobile marketing, they could be talking about any number of things. So let’s list them all here:

  1. Mobile websites – you should have a mobile version of your website, or build your website in a responsive design template, to attract and keep more people who are searching and browsing on their mobile devices.
  2. Email – email marketing is essentially a form of mobile marketing today. That’s because so many people are using their phones as their primary email consumption method. So you should make sure your emails are optimized for viewing on smartphones.
  3. Text messages – many companies now allow prospects and customers the ability to sign up for text message alerts. It’s referred to often as SMS marketing.
  4. Search marketing – search is more and more becoming a mobile activity. And if you’re advertising through Google or Bing, you need to be thinking about how your ads are targeting people searching on their phones and tablets.
  5. Native apps – companies are creating apps to reach people on tablets and smartphones in a more effective way. If your products or services lend themselves to an app, think about investing in one.
  6. Third Party apps – you can leverage popular apps that are already out there, like Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook to attract people on their phones to your brand via advertising or organic participation.
  7. In-app ads – iAds is Apple’s advertising platform for iPhones and iPads and there are others like it for all devices. You can create banners that pop up while people are using apps to promote your brand.
  8. Location management – smart companies with brick and mortar locations are actively managing their locations on Google Maps, Yelp and other popular location-based sites to attract more people who are using their mobile devices to find places or products on the go.
  9. Telemarketing – there are specific rules around calling cell phones vs. landlines and if you’re in the telemarketing business, you need to know what they are.

Every company needs a mobile strategy. But that does not mean that every company needs to do all of the above. Pick the areas that are most important, that offer the biggest opportunity, and move forward. Do not let a lack of understanding hold you back any longer.

Mobile Marketing: Past, Present, and Future

Previous posts in this series:
Mobile Marketing: Past, Present, and Future (Part 1)
Mobile Marketing: Past, Present, and Future (Part 2)

Part 3: The Future

It’s growing. The number of people with smartphones is growing. The percentage of people who use the mobile internet is growing. The popularity of tablets is growing.

So what are you going to do about it?

The way we market our companies, our products, our services, our causes must change. We must adapt to a more mobile world.

As more and more casual surfing and searching is done on the mobile web, it becomes vital for you to optimize all of your web pages for mobile. Create a mobile version of your site that allows visitors a more efficient and intuitive experience. Add push to call options wherever you have a sales message and encourage people to call for sales, questions, etc.

Re-focus some of your paid search strategy. If you use search engine marketing as a source of new leads or new business, you’ll want to develop a mobile search strategy as well. In mobile search, ads become even more important because they get a much greater percentage of the page. Since screens are smaller, results are customized to fit, meaning only 1 or 2 ads show over fewer results, giving them more importance than they would have on a traditional desktop search.

Mobile apps are a great way for consumers to interact with your brand on the go. If you don’t already have one, think about creating one soon. Think about how your brand relates to something fun or interesting that consumers might find useful. If you don’t have the means to create your own app, think about advertising with some relevant apps. Restaurants might advertise with UrbanSpoon, artists might advertise with Shazaam, etc.

Other ideas like an opt-in text messaging sequence (receive our tax tip of the week) or supporting follow up emails with follow up texts may also begin to gain popularity.

The message is this: the future holds enormous potential for companies who can innovate, or even keep up with, mobile trends. As “the mobile web” becomes “The web”, companies without a mobile strategy are going to get left so far behind that they risk failing.

Mobile Marketing: Past, Present, and Future

Previous posts in this series:
Mobile Marketing: Past, Present, and Future (Part 1)

Part 2: The Present

Take a quick look at some of the stats presented here, from a report that AdMob put together just over a year ago.

AdMob Mobile Metrics - May 2010 - Highlights
View more presentations from AdMob Inc

If you look at mobile internet usage today and assume that current growth will continue over the next 5 years, than mobile internet usage will surpass traditional desktop/laptop internet usage in 2015.

Smartphones and tablets are the way of the world. Consumers have spoken. And marketers had better start taking notice. Today’s marketers not only have an enormous opportunity in the mobile environment, but those of us that fail to realize that this is an important part of our ongoing marketing efforts will fall behind and get lost in the yesterday’s business world.

Take a look at how people use their smartphones.

  1. Email: Marketers who use email as a regular part of their efforts must realize that as more and more people use their phone to check their email, both work and personal, than formatting your emails for mobile devices must move from being an afterthought to a priority. Design your email with mobile devices in mind first. Shorten them, get rid of unneeded images, start the subject line with the most important part, and make the landing page on any clickthrough easy to view on a mobile device as well.

  2. Games and Apps: One of the most appealing aspects of the mobile internet trend to its users are the applications that have been developed to be used in conjunction with the various platforms (iOS, Android, etc.). And marketers have begun to take advantage of this appeal. Creating a mobile application is a great way to create interest in your brand, or to keep customers coming back for more. They’re already looking for ways to interact with you in the mobile world, so give it to them.

  3. Internet: As these devices continue to become the preferred way consumers are, for lack of a better word, consuming the internet, it’s your job as a marketer to make sure that when they stumble across your site they are greeted with a mobile friendly look and feel. This post from Mashable is a good one highlighting the importance of mobile optimization.

In part 3 of this series I will discuss the future of mobile marketing and present some ideas that marketers can begin to explore.

Mobile Marketing: Past, Present, and Future

Part 1: The Past

I can still remember the first iPhone commercial that ever aired. It stuck with me in a way that few commercials ever have, or ever will. For those of you that don’t remember it, I happened to stumble across it here:

At the time, Apple knew something that very few other companies, and even fewer consumers knew. The world was about to change. “Mobile” was about the take on a new meaning.

For marketers, cell phones have long represented a growing opportunity. As more and more consumers had access to a phone outside of the house, telemarketing efforts increased. With the advent of SMS came text message marketing. As soon as people started to connect their email accounts to their phones so they could stay on top of email from anywhere, marketers realized that any promotional emails they sent out might be viewed on a mobile device.

To be perfectly honest, the idea of mobile marketing is nothing new. Many companies have found tremendous successes in taking advantage of cell phone usage as a part of their overall marketing efforts.

But that was yesterday. In the years since the first Blackberry was introduced, phones have continued to take on more and more of the look and functionality of computers. Today, our phones can do anything. And because our phones can do anything, marketers are out there trying to take advantage of every angle.

In parts 2 and 3 of this series I will discuss some of the ways that companies can, are, and should be taking advantage of the huge opportunity that “mobile” presents.