What is Mobile Marketing?
Mobile marketing is a multi-channel, digital marketing strategy aimed at reaching a target audience on their smartphones, tablets, and/or other mobile devices, via websites, email, SMS and MMS, social media, and apps.
Mobile is disrupting the way people engage with brands. Everything that can be done on a desktop computer is now available on a mobile device. From opening an email to visiting your website to reading your content, it’s all accessible through a small mobile screen. Consider:
- 80% of internet users own a smartphone.
- Mobile platforms, such as smartphones and tablets, host up to 60% of digital media time for users in the U.S.
- Google anticipates search queries on mobile devices to surpass desktop searches by the end of 2015.
Effective mobile advertising means understanding your mobile audience, designing content with mobile platforms in mind, and making strategic use of SMS/MMS marketing and mobile apps.
How to Create a Mobile Marketing Strategy
As with any marketing effort, every brand and organization will develop a unique mobile strategy based on the industry and target audience. Mobile technology is all about customization and personalization, which means mobile marketing is, too.
Step 1 - Create Mobile Buyer Personas
Understanding your audience is the first step to any marketing strategy, and buyer personas are a valuable tool to aid in that understanding. Buyer personas are simply fictional representations of your various types of customers. Create a profile that describes each one’s background, job description, main sources of information, goals, challenges, preferred type of content, objections, and/or role in the purchase process. It is easier to determine a channel and voice for your marketing messages when you have a clear picture of your target audience.
Make a specific point to detail your target audience’s mobile habits as well. How much of their web usage happens on mobile devices? Are they comfortable completing a purchase on a smartphone? A simple way to start is to research big data reports on mobile usage. Some interesting observations include:
- 65% of all email is first opened on a mobile device.
- 48% of users start their mobile internet sessions on a search engine.
- 56% of B2B buyers frequently use smartphones to access vendors’ content.
- 95% of adults primarily use their smartphones to access content/information.
To better understand your specific target market, monitor Google Analytics for your site’s mobile traffic numbers. You can also ask or survey clients and prospects about their mobile web usage.
A/B testing—which compares two versions of the same campaign on a certain channel—can also be informative for developing any aspect of buyer personas. When all other factors are the same, do your email campaign landing pages get more views when you send a related email on weekends or on weekdays? In the mornings or in the evenings? Which title or email subject gets more click-throughs?
Both the general and specific data will help develop audience personas that include mobile usage.
Step 2 - Set Goals
The key to defining any effective strategy is to first decide what success looks like. Get the key stakeholders together to map your mobile marketing strategy. Identify goals by asking your team some of these questions:
- What are we currently doing for mobile? This will define your starting point, and make sure everyone is on the same page as you begin.
- If you are already doing mobile marketing, how are those initiatives performing? This conversation will identify what is already working, what is not, and what’s not even being measured.
- What are your main objectives for including mobile marketing in your overall strategy? Discuss why you’re considering mobile now, what conversations have led up to this point, and what you expect from mobile marketing.
- Who are your key audiences for mobile marketing? Talk about your customer personas in light of mobile usage updates. How similar or different is each persona’s mobile usage?
- How are you engaging your mobile audience cross-channel? This discussion will help analyze how the channels you’re currently using can be included in your mobile marketing strategy.
Step 3 - Establish KPIs
Just like your other marketing efforts, mobile marketing needs to be tested and optimized. Determine which realistic, measurable KPIs define your mobile campaign’s success. For example:
- Engagement—Provide mobile-friendly content for potential customers who are searching for information about your industry or product. Make sure your website is mobile-responsive to improve mobile SEO.
- Acquisition—Make sure lead nurturing emails are mobile-friendly with clear calls-to-action. Buttons in emails should be near the top of the message and be big enough to easily tap in order to facilitate click-throughs. Then make it as easy as possible for someone to fill out a form on your mobile-optimized landing page.
- Customer Service—In a connected, social marketplace, customer service is very much a marketing opportunity. Allow your customers to easily reach you through any platform they want, including simple click-to-call buttons for smartphone users.
In order to identify the right KPIs for your mobile marketing campaign, ask yourself:
- Do I want to increase conversions from email messages?
- Am I trying to improve traffic to sales pages?
- How important is it that I generate more qualified prospects?
- Does our brand need to improve sales by converting more traffic on certain pages?
Step 4 - Monitor Mobile Metrics
Google Analytics can help monitor mobile usage of your site:
- Mobile behavior data reveals how well your mobile content engages your audience.
- Mobile conversion data will indicate whether or not some of your key landing pages still need to be optimized for mobile browsing.
Adding the Device Category field to the Site Content dashboard will display the quantity and quality of much mobile traffic to each individual page on your site.
The table on the Site Content dashboard includes metrics like pageviews and bounce rate. Add the Device Category by clicking the “Secondary dimension” menu above the first column and selecting “Device Category” from the “Users” submenu. The table will then display the most-viewed pages on your site, per device, so you can see how mobile actually affects your web traffic.
That information can hint at which search queries may be leading mobile traffic to your site, what content your mobile audience is most interested in, and which pages to optimize for mobile browsing first.
A mobile-friendly website is no longer an option—it’s a must. The rise in mobile traffic coupled with Google’s mobile-friendliness ranking factor means a brand’s site must adapt to mobile devices in order to stay competitive.
For search engines, “mobile-friendliness” means that:
- Content fits on the screen without side-to-side scrolling or zooming.
- Content loads quickly.
- Site returns no mobile-specific errors.
Google has even provided a free mobile-friendliness tool to help marketers determine how to best improve their sites.
The most important reason to maintain a mobile-friendly site is to create a consistent and engaging user experience. Mobile UX has a dramatic effect on every stage of the buying cycle:
- 64% of mobile web users abandon pages if they don’t load within 10 seconds.
- 35% of executives could not make an intended purchase because the website they visited wasn’t mobile-friendly.
- 90% of the C-suite uses mobile devices to research business purchases.
Making sure your mobile user experience is as easy and seamless as possible should be a primary marketing goal.
Mobile Advertising for Email
With 57% of email opened on mobile platforms and 69% of mobile users deleting email that isn’t optimized for mobile, it’s clear that your audience is engaging with email campaigns on mobile devices.
Most email marketing providers will use responsive design—a strategy that automatically formats web page content for optimal viewing on any device—but there are still some key considerations for designing email CTAs with mobile users in mind:
- Place the CTA early in the message (above the fold whenever possible).
- Make buttons at least 44×44 pixels, so they are easily “tap-able.”
Email sends should optimize what is displayed in the mobile inbox—“From” fields max out at 23 characters, and subject lines at 38 characters.
Finally, don’t forget about those landing pages. If your email is mobile friendly, but the click-through goes to a landing page that isn’t optimized for mobile, that visitor will likely become frustrated and bounce from the page.
Creating a unique landing page for an email campaign is a great way to optimize for the mobile user. A unique landing page also allows you to create a range of metrics that will help monitor the mobile success of the campaign. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you design this unique, mobile-friendly landing page:
- Remember that readers are using their fingers to select items. Use pronounced image buttons and keep the layout simple.
- Keep forms minimal. The fewer fields, the better.
- Make sure your images are re-sizable for different devices.
- Verify that the page looks as good vertically as it does horizontally.
Not sure where to start with your landing page? Check out these templates for inspiration.
SMS and MMS Marketing Is Personal
SMS, also known as “short messaging service,” really puts into context how personal mobile marketing can be because you are sending a message directly to a customer or potential customer’s personal device.
SMS and MMS are very powerful channels for mobile marketing. Over 3.6 billion people are able to receive SMS messages, and 90% of those messages are opened within three minutes (compared to 90 minutes for the average email). Consider:
- The open rate of SMS is 98% compared to 22% for emails.
- Text messages can be 8x more effective at engaging customers.
- Almost 50% of consumers in the U.S. make direct purchases after receiving an SMS-branded text.
It’s important to remember that marketing directly to mobile devices is more personal than targeting an audience through other channels. When reaching someone on a mobile device either through email, SMS, or MMS, you are reaching that person in his/her pocket or purse. Be personal, respectful, and clear:
- Keep the text under 160 characters.
- Don’t use slang or abbreviations.
- Offer the recipient something of value.
- Make it clear who is sending the message.
- Craft a clear call-to-action.
A similar way to reach your audience on mobile devices is MMS, or multimedia message service. The difference is that MMS is a multimedia message that can be sent peer-to-peer, from a mobile messaging service provider or from a website to a mobile phone. MMS messages can include text, photos, videos, audios, or GIFs. Expanded media options allow for a more branded message and create a better tie-in to other marketing campaigns.
Why should you use MMS marketing to reach your mobile audience?
- MMS texts have a higher customer engagement with a 15% average CTR (click-through-rate).
- MMS increases campaign opt-ins by 20% over SMS.
- Subscribers are eight times more likely to share MMS content on social networks.
Because MMS offers a richer media experience than simple SMS messaging, you should make the most of those extra media options:
- Include engaging visuals.
- Tie the MMS send to a multi-channel marketing campaign.
- Make the message easily shareable via social media buttons.
It’s important to take privacy regulations into consideration with SMS and MMS marketing. Because these messages are considered automated calls, they fall under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991. That means there are three privacy principles that should govern how you implement SMS and MMS into your marketing:
- Adequate notice—You should inform consumers that they will be receiving SMS messages from a concrete shortcode-based program.
- Opt-in consent—You must get opt-in confirmation before sending marketing SMS and MMS messages. Online forms to enter your SMS or MMS program requires a double opt-in.
- Opting out—It should be very clear how someone can opt out of your program.
SMS and MMS are very personal, and thus very powerful, mobile marketing options. Make sure to handle them with tact and detailed strategy.
Adding Mobile Apps to the Mix
Mobile apps can support many business goals, including extending your product, driving engagement, and even supporting e-commerce. To maximize an app’s impact on your marketing, you will want to be involved in the entire process, from app development through implementation.
Just like any other marketing channel, it’s important to consider how the app can be used for acquisition. You may offer extra features or more mobile content in exchange for a user’s contact information, similar to how you would gate content on your website for the same purpose. You will also want to make sure the app encourages user engagement in order to build relationships and loyalty, and—of course—drive conversions.
Those conversations are driven by two types of messages: push notifications and in-app notifications. Both communicate directly to your audience, so both should be considered strategic marketing channels.
Push notifications are messages or alerts delivered by your app to the user. These messages appear on the home screen of a user’s mobile device regardless of whether the user is engaged with the app or even has it open. For a push notification to work, the user needs to have already downloaded your app and agreed to allow push notifications. Luckily, 70% of mobile users allow push notifications.
Examples of push notifications include:
- Promotional messages
- Calls-to-action for specific events or goals
- Messages that are highly personalized based on user profiles
In-app communications direct your user’s attention to specific actions, messages, and features within the app, and are opportunities for you to engage your users. These messages give you the chance to be more personal and creative than with SMS or push notifications, because the user is already in your app and you aren’t limited by space constraints or message volume issues.
Here are three ways you can take advantage of in-app notifications:
- Introduce new app features to your users.
- Send messages to promote engagement with specific content pieces.
- Drive conversions by delivering targeted CTAs at specific levels of engagement.
Both push and in-app notifications can be powerful ways to reach your audience, particularly because they’ve already taken the time to engage with your brand by downloading your app.
Putting It All Together
A mobile marketing strategy is not a stand-alone effort, but it is a large chunk of any long-term or short-term marketing campaign—and its importance is only growing. From email, to PPC, to SEO, to content, to social media marketing, there is a mobile marketing channel to reach every part of your audience where they are most comfortable.
Optimizing your website and email sends for mobile devices, taking advantage of the SMS and MMS channels, and building a native app for your most highly engaged audience are all big projects. So, start by updating your buyer personas to get a better idea of where the majority of your target audience spends its mobile time. That will give you your start line, and the rest will fall into a logical order.
Mobile technology is not a fad that’s going away any time soon. Optimizing your marketing strategy for mobile will give your brand an edge over the competition. Don’t wait—go mobile today!