You probably don’t need convincing that a mobile strategy is necessary, but many digital marketers have been reluctant to jump in the water, waiting for all the ripples of devices, markets, and approaches to settle. They won’t. In this very fractured digital media environment, mobile plays a unique and increasingly critical role, providing a wealth of personal, immediate, and location-smart ways to interact with specific audiences.
The U.S. mobile environment is turbulent but full of growth and promise. The majority of mobile phones are now smartphones, many with larger screens and more sophisticated user options. Apps, tablets, and converging devices as well as the growing availability of good, useful, and functional mobile experiences have given consumers the opportunity to increasingly choose mobile over other digital connections. This ease of use and the attending dramatic adoption rates are largely responsible for the growth in mobile ads, mobile email, mobile websites, and mobile apps that follow and feed the consumer trends. The impact is felt across channels and verticals but it need not be an all or nothing commitment for you. Only you can assess how important mobile viewing and interactions are to your business, and the “right” strategy will be dependent on many variables including your audience demo and smartphone or tablet adoption, your competitive environment, available budget, and digital goals.
Your minimum requirements may range from a tiptoe approach that cautiously tests your mobile opportunity to a full-out plunge into the mobile waters. But what may be a small test for a large or mobile-critical organization may seem like a plunge to a smaller business or one less reliant on mobile marketing, viewing, or interactions. Keeping that in mind – here are some ways to either tiptoe into mobile or advance to take the plunge.
- Prepare for any mobile recommendations or budget requests by checking your site stats on a regular and recurring basis. What percentage of your audience is coming from a smartphone or tablet? Distinguish between the two. Set up your analytics to assess the behavioral characteristics of these groups. How did they find you? Are they new customers for you? Are they good customers?
- Make sure your site experience on the most popular mobile devices is a good one. You’ll have to do some rigorous quality assurance (QA) across devices and platforms. Mobile-friendly sites need not mimic every function or include all the content on your website, but they should satisfy the mobile user’s needs and provide a positive, integrated experience that allows for more interaction, if desired.
- If you are running a paid search program create a new ad group for mobile searchers that recognizes the different frame of mind of the on-the-go consumers. Their potentially timely and location-based needs may vary sharply from other searchers and that should impact your copy, bidding, and testing strategies. It also helps with budget management to have them in their own ad group. Make sure you have the mobile-friendly landing pages to send users.
- Ensure that your email is readable and actionable from mobile devices and test segmenting mobile readers for a different messaging strategy and cadence.
- Make good use of social options with mobile viewers. Users are an easy click away from sharing, rating, reviewing, commenting, etc…and you don’t want to lose that opportunity.
- Build mobile-specific destinations and experiences. A mobile site or an app can be a new point of entry that provides a unique experience for your viewers and may also bring new users to your brand family.
- Expand your concept of push marketing beyond email to include opt-in text advertising. While the great majority of emails are never seen by their intended target, the vast majority of SMS messages are opened and seen within minutes of sending.
- Incorporate mobile ads, including video ads, into your media plan to reach your audience where they spend an increasing portion of their time online. Take them through a mobile funnel to mobile conversions and track that separately.
- Make mobile commerce easy or integrate with other e-commerce opportunities to start or finish the sale in mobile.
What’s next for the very mobile inclined? Follow retail leaders as they wrestle with how to make their brick-and-mortar stores more online shopping-friendly or conversely work to guard against mobile price shopping comparisons. We can expect more offer pushes via text including indoor exact location positioning. Augmented reality could breathe new life into QR codes or replace them completely, and Articulated Naturality Web (coming) is augmented reality and then some: imagine pointing your smartphone to a restaurant and getting a coupon for a competing restaurant across the street; pointing your phone to the sky and getting a weather forecast.
Whether you are in tiptoe mode or plunge mode, remember that the mobile experiences and opportunities that you provide do not stand alone. Your mobile consumer may and probably does touch you in multiple ways, so strive for consistency and use each channel in the most impactful way possible.