Is mobile part of your marketing strategy? If not, you may want to reconsider because you could be losing customers and sales. Smartphones are the always-on, everything device people look at when they wake up and before they go to bed.
Don't take my word for it. Here are some salient mobile facts to consider.
About 40 percent of U.S. mobile phone subscribers have smartphones. Smartphones sales exceed feature phone sales, a tipping point reached in June based on comScore research.
Almost 50 percent of consumers have engaged in shopping activities via their mobile phone. Among smartphone owners, this percentage increases to two-thirds of owners according to comScore.
Top mobile shopping activities based on comScore research were taking a product photo, searching for a nearby store, looking for coupons, and research product and pricing information. So don't underestimate a shopper's need or desire for low prices.
Not sure where to start your mobile strategy? Here are five must-have tactics to ensure you've effectively integrated mobile into your overall marketing plans.
Be present on mobile search. Mobile search is how people navigate the mobile web and it's used more frequently than computer-based search. Marketing action: Have a separate, targeted mobile search budget and strategy since mobile tends to be local and closer to actual purchase. Don't forget to test keywords and advertising copy. Metrics: Track mobile search usage by keyword and category.
Create a mobile home base with a website. Regardless of where they are or where they ultimately purchase, people check your mobile website. Don't count on your traditional website to effectively deliver the information mobile users need well. Speed counts on mobile websites. Marketing action: Ensure your mobile site loads in less than five seconds and focus on the prime activity for mobile users. Of course, include click or call-to-action. Metrics: Monitor website usage and visits. Use tailored promotion codes with your call-to-action to ensure that you can track contribution to sales and phone calls. Where you can, determine which peak usage times to target mobile content in the future.
Stay top of mind with SMS. Use text messages, the granddaddy of mobile communication that's not just for smartphone owners. Marketing action: Build your house file. Remember subscribers pay to receive text messages, so get their permission and deliver valuable, time-sensitive 160-character information. Use strong copywriting to keep your message short and on target. Include targeted call-to-action and related codes. Consider vanity codes to support your branding. Metrics: Assess the growth and health of your text file list in terms of size and churn rate. Also, track responses and conversions or sales.
Facilitate email marketing. Make your emailing mobile-friendly since it's where most people find out about deals on their phone. Email's the top function on mobile devices where users multi-task and fill otherwise wasted time. Marketing action: Facilitate mobile consumption by making messages short with clear calls-to-action, designing email for mobile consumption, and using relevant, action-oriented subject lines. Consider using mobile-friendly response channels. Metrics: Where possible, determine which users read your email via a mobile device. Use this information to send mobile-tailored email.
Call me. Don't overlook using mobile devices for old-fashioned, real-time connections, whether it's calling your store or your customer service department. One out of four mobile subscribers only use voice functionality! Don't forget that one out of five consumers calls or texts family and friends once they're in a store. Marketing action: Include your phone number in every piece of mobile content including your website and search ads. Metrics: Track calls made from mobile devices.
Mobile must be integrated into every marketer's plans to ensure that your business remains top of mind regardless of where your prospect is or when they're looking for your product offering. To be effective, incorporate these five mobile marketing strategies into your overall plans.
If you've already tested the mobile marketing waters, what's your experience been? Please share your stories and recommendations in the comment section below.
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Heidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies, an interactive marketing consultancy. She has over 20 years' experience helping clients increase profitability by developing innovative marketing programs to acquire and retain customers based on solid analytics. Clients include New York Times Digital, AccuWeather.com, CheapTickets, and the UJA. Additionally, Riverside Marketing Strategies has worked with numerous other online content/media companies and e-tailers.
Prior to starting Riverside Marketing Strategies, Heidi held a number of senior-level marketing positions at The Economist, the Bookspan/Doubleday Direct division of Bertelsmann, and Citibank.