Let’s face it: Being mobile-centric is no longer a trend reserved for Millennials. (Case in point: Just yesterday, I received a text message from my 82-year-old grandma.) For businesses, this shift means mobile marketing no longer can take a backseat to a company’s workflow. Without a strong strategy in place, your business could miss out on endless opportunities to grow your sales and keep your client base happy. Whether you’ve just started the mobile makeover or you’re midway through your conversion, here are some expert tips to keep in mind.
1. Define your mobile goals
As with anything else, you must incorporate objectives into a mobile strategy. “The first thing you need to do is define your organization’s mobile goals so that you can guide the budget, internal efforts and development timelines to support them,” April Rassa, marketing director of Moovweb, San Francisco, said. “Is your primary goal to provide buyers with a research tool to assist them in the purchasing process, or are you looking to boost customer loyalty? Are you adding a channel to capture more sales? Do you want to attract sophisticated smartphone power users, or are you looking to provide a one-size-fits-all solution to reach a broader audience?
“Regardless of your mobile objectives, you should define how your mobile presence will improve the customer experience you are offering,” she continued.
“To do so, you should ask the following questions: What role does mobile play in our overall strategy? What are our tiered priorities for mobile? How can mobile drive cross-channel activity? What is our timeline and internal readiness for mobile?”
2. Think “mobile first”
In order to create an effective mobile strategy, it is important to shift your mindset. “You must change the way you think to be ‘mobile first,’” John Foley Jr., CEO and chief marketing officer of interlinkONE, Wilmington, Mass., said. “Now, that doesn’t mean just considering that people will view your website on a mobile device (hint: they are and they will), but what it really means is that when approaching your new website build or when designing a landing page, your wireframes and design mockups should be done in a mobile view first before you approach desktop view.
“In addition, thinking ‘mobile first’ means that you use mobile as your litmus test for all of your marketing. Sending out a catalog? What do users do with it from their mobile device[s]? How easy is it? If you don’t have pinch and zoom or a call to action for mobile, rethink your strategy.”
For Rassa, an integrated mobile experience is imperative. “The challenge today is a lot of brands still operate Web, email, social and mobile channels independently with little consistency,” she said. “Customers might click on a link in an email and be taken to a landing page with a very different look and feel, and in some cases, not even catered to mobile.
“Not aligning your mobile strategy with other marketing efforts is a recipe for disaster. Your overall marketing efforts should be cohesive, and this includes mobile. This allows consumers to enjoy a seamless and accessible experience.”
3. Design responsively
After you’ve laid out a mobile strategy with your business goals, it’s time to begin the design process. According to Foley, a responsive design tends to be more successful with users. “Rather than thinking about a mobile-friendly site, your site should be done in responsive design so that no matter what screen size you’re working on, you are getting the best experience,” he said. “If you work with the right people, you can design a site that has a great experience along with features and functionality across all devices. There are content management systems (CMS) that are built for responsive design without requiring a heavy amount of coding. It’s all about the partner you work with.”
Rassa pointed out other benefits to mobile-optimization. “Mobile optimization helps your website perform better in SEO results—it is critical to optimize for both desktop and mobile interactions,” she said. “Remember, your customers will bail if your site isn’t loading in less than four seconds. So, optimization isn’t just [how]design and content flows, it includes loading adequately.
“Lastly, make it easy for your customers to buy from you. If your checkout process is cumbersome, you will lose sales. Ask only for essential information on mobile checkout; automate as much as possible; and make the experience for consumers quick, easy and effective.”
4. Emulate a picture book
When designing a mobile website, think of what you typically enjoy reading on your smartphone. Is it text-heavy or balanced with images and videos? Chances are, you prefer a more visual experience—the same is true for your users. “We are absolutely overstuffed and over-stimulated,” said Foley. “Think of mobile like a picture book; you need to capture the user’s attention immediately. Words on a page most likely won’t do that; Get right to the point with a captivating image or video that draws them in. Keep it short, make it count and measure everything that you do.”
5. Clean up your email marketing campaigns
Once your website is ready for mobile users, the marketing possibilities are endless. However, it’s important to keep your messaging precise and relevant. “Get rid of all the clutter,” said Foley. “You can’t be crowding your email marketing anymore. Figure out your goals and objectives, then make sure each piece of the campaign fits those to a T. If there is anything extraneous, get rid of it. Get to the point quickly.”
Rassa is a proponent of pertinent messages that engage existing customers and prospects. “Always aim for developing strategies, tactics and relevant messaging that provide value and that will most likely be welcomed by users,” she said. “It is especially important to consider the context with mobile marketing. Mobile devices are particularly personal, so it is important that your messaging promotes trust, that you have permission, and that you are inviting engagement; disruptive marketing is a sure turn-off for mobile users.
“74 percent of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content (e.g., offers, ads and promotions) appear to have nothing to do with their interests,” she continued. “Marketing content needs to adapt to individual customers’ precise interests. You can’t just send email blasts with one-size-fits-all messages. Marketers must recognize that every audience is different. They must test to know what works. A/B tests can improve conversion rates by 49 percent.”
6. Use various forms of media
Just because mobile has evolved to a dominant position doesn’t mean it should entirely replace more traditional mediums. “It’s a multi-channel, multi-media world that we live in now,” said Foley. “Every type of media can drive mobile, and mobile can drive to various medias. Mobile response to print is huge; everything from texting, to QR codes, mobile pay and augmented reality—you can use anything and everything to encourage instant response. People do have their phones handy so take advantage of that in print media. Can they scan [your print media] and get an offer?”
All of this information might seem like a lot to take in, but if you get lost, remember this tip from Rassa: “Consumers may have changed, but the underlying concepts are still valid because they’re based on human behavior,” she said. “You still need to segment your marketing and develop ways of communicating that match your target market and what [it] value[s]. You still need to provide value, which requires [that] you understand the value system of your target market. You still need to understand your customers’ journeys and provide the right communication for each stage in the process.”