Marketing is all about data. The most successful marketers base their strategies on the information they receive about their target audience’s online preferences. This includes the various mediums for advertisements. In which environment do you stand the best chance of catching the eyes of your audience?
Many companies have found that their audiences spend much more time on the Internet than they do watching television or reading magazines. And most of this Internet browsing is performed on their mobile devices, i.e. smartphones or tablets. Whether they are scouring social media, checking their email, or learning about new products or services, today’s shoppers are more likely to discover information on their mobile devices than their desktops.
If the majority of your target audience are heavy smartphone users, you must optimize your digital marketing strategies accordingly. But what does this mean exactly? Do you just have to make your website mobile-friendly? Do certain types of advertisements look better on a smartphone screen?
The differences between mobile marketing and traditional digital marketing aren’t exactly clear. If you already have digital campaigns running, you may just need to optimize your strategies for mobile devices.
In this guide, we’ll explain the core elements of an effective mobile marketing strategy, and how to develop and implement the right mobile marketing strategy for your audience.
But first, let’s go over why mobile marketing is so advantageous and important for small businesses in 2020.
What Is Mobile Marketing?
Mobile marketing is a form of digital marketing that aims to connect with specific audiences through their smartphones or tablets. A mobile marketing strategy can involve a multitude of mobile channels, or ways that brands connect with their audiences through mobile devices. Examples of mobile channels include text messages, mobile apps, email, or social media.
Though the latter two channels can also be accessed through your desktop, they can appear differently on your mobile device. And anytime you see an advertisement while scrolling through any sort of web page (be it a website or social media) on your smartphone, that technically counts as mobile marketing.
Advantages Of Mobile Marketing
Mobile ad spending is predicted to steadily increase over the coming years. In the near future, mobile ad spending could very well surpass the amount of money businesses spend on all other forms of advertising combined.
This wouldn’t be happening if businesses from countless industries weren’t seeing real results from mobile marketing strategies. Here’s a few reasons why mobile marketing has been so successful:
Highly Targeted Campaigns
Digital marketing in general is much more targeted than traditional marketing tactics, like television or billboards. You can control what kind of people see your advertisements, when they see them, and through which channels. Certain forms of mobile marketing require personal information like the user’s email address, phone number, and the downloading of your business’s mobile app. The relinquishment of this personal information denotes heightened interest in your business. For this reason, mobile marketing is considered a highly targeted marketing tactic.
1. High Intent Users
Research has found that compared to desktop users, mobile users are less likely to use their devices for casual browsing. If someone is using a smart phone to search for a product or service, then that person is probably very interested in that offering. This suggests that mobile marketing ads are less likely to go ignored, especially on search engines. Thus, mobile marketing ads are often designed to catch the eyes users who are ready to make a purchase.
Since mobile marketing strategies are highly targeted, the content of your ads can be much more personal. When mobile users see your ads, that’s the only thing in front of them at that moment. Mobile ads should feel like a direct interaction between you and your audience. Your messaging can speak to them as if they are already interested in your business, as opposed to a complete stranger who has never heard of you.
2. Rapid Data Collection
Earlier, we noted that successful digital marketing strategies revolve around audience data. With mobile marketing, you can obtain this data very quickly. For example, if you send an email, the user will either open it or scroll past it and forget about it. The same concept can be applied to text messages and social media ads. You can quickly tell how receptive users are to each channel. If someone doesn’t reply to your text, it’s probably because that user never replies to texts from businesses at all.
3. Ads Take Less Time To Produce
Mobile marketing ads are short and sweet because they appear on small screens. That means shorter copy, smaller images, and shorter videos. While it’s perfectly understandable to take your time figuring out what to say in your ads, the actual creation of the ads won’t take long at all.
4. More Shareable Content
Mobile marketing strategies often target social networks like Facebook or Instagram. This is because a great deal of activity on these networks is performed on mobile devices. One of the many advantages of social media marketing is the ability to easily share content. The heightened social media activity on mobile devices suggests that mobile users are more likely to share content than desktop users.
5. Mobile-Friendly Websites Rank Highly On Google
Mobile-friendly websites are more likely to rank highly on Google when a mobile user performs a search. Such websites load very quickly on mobile devices and are easy to navigate.
6. Creating a Mobile Marketing Strategy
With most other types of marketing, the first step is outlining your goals. But remember: mobile marketing strategies are highly targeted. So, before outlining your goals, you must first establish the specifics of your target audience. The size and preferences of your target audience will determine the most logical goals for your campaign.
Determine Your Target Audience
Mobile marketing strategies are highly targeted because they require more information about your target audience than the basics, i.e. age range, gender, education, or income level. It’s time to learn more: How do members of your target audience use their mobile devices?
Using resources like Google Analytics and online surveys, you must essentially figure out the role that mobile devices play in your audience’s life. Do they use their mobile devices primarily for social media, checking email, shopping, etc.? How often does a member of your audience make a purchase on a mobile device?
This information should ultimately give you an idea of how receptive your audience will be to your mobile ads.
Establish Your Mobile Marketing Goals
Highly targeted campaigns require highly specific goals, or key performance indicators (KPIs). Though your long-term goal is to increase sales, you need to set smaller, short-term goals to get you closer and closer towards this objective. KPIs are crucial for tracking progress because they can be measured very clearly, as opposed to vague goals that can be measured in several ways. Common examples of KPIs include attaining a certain amount of shares, comments, impressions, or link clicks within a certain time frame.
It’s up to you to use audience data to determine which KPIs will most effectively move you closer to your long-term goal of increasing sales.
For example, let’s say your data says that website visitors who access your website through social media ads are more likely to become paying customers. In this case, a sensible KPI would be increasing website visitors from social media ads. What can you do to reach that KPI? Maybe you should optimize your social media ads for mobile and improve the wording of your CTA (call to action). The time of the day when mobile users see your ads and the amount of times they see them may be huge factors as well. So, maybe you should schedule the ads at different intervals and frequencies. You could also test out multiple versions of your ad with different CTAs or other content.
7 Best Mobile Marketing Channels
A number of marketing channels can be optimized to appear more engaging when viewed on mobile devices. As we established in the previous section, the channels you choose to optimize should be based on what you already know about your audience’s preferences. If it’s successful on desktop, it should probably be optimized for mobile.
Virtually all businesses, however, should have a mobile-friendly website, regardless of their standard website’s conversion rate. Here are the various mobile channels you can market through:
1. Mobile-Friendly Website
Mobile-friendly websites load quickly and flow smoothly on mobile devices. Users can easily find the information they need and scroll up and down without the content getting jumbled together. Depending on your audience, the lack of a mobile-friendly website could be a deal-breaker.
By definition, a website is considered “mobile-friendly” if the content of each page fits the screen of a mobile device. The user doesn’t have to scroll side-to-side or zoom in to read the copy. You can test your website’s mobile capacity with Google’s mobile-friendliness calculator.
Email is considered a mobile marketing channel because an increasing amount of mobile users rarely check their email on their desktop. The majority of your audience could very well belong to that group. Thus, your marketing emails must be designed to enable the same advantages of a mobile-friendly website, like the time it takes for the email to load. Using too many images could slow down your message’s load speed.
It’s also recommended to use buttons instead of links, since the former is much easier to click on from a touch screen. Other factors include the placement of your CTA and the landing page connected to your buttons. Your CTA should be situated in the top half of the email so that users don’t have to scroll down to see it. These clicks are useless, however, if your landing page is not mobile-friendly.
As for the content itself, you won’t know what your audience prefers without sufficient data. You can obtain this information through A/B testing, in which you test different versions of the same email. Most email marketing services have A/B testing features that track the success of each version.
3. Text Messages: SMS
There are two types of text messages for mobile marketing: SMS and MMS. SMS stands for “short messaging service” because it has a 160-character limit per text, whereas MMS texts have no limit.
Before we explain how to structure each type, it’s important to remember that you must always seek permission from mobile users before sending texts. Each message should also present the option to opt-out of future messages.
The shortened length of SMS provides an opportunity to use highly personal and straightforward language. This means no slang terms or abbreviations, since they make your business look sketchy when appearing via text. The reason for your text should also be very clear in the beginning of the message. Most mobile users probably subscribe to the notion that if a business is going to make the effort to text them, it better be about something special.
And unlike emails or social media ads, mobile users are not accustomed to ignoring text messages. It’s simply in our nature to open them. So, if you structure your messages correctly, SMS could be one of your business’s most successful marketing channels.
4. Text Messages: MMS
Length is not the only difference between SMS and MMS, or “multimedia messaging service.” As the name denotes, MMS messages can include various forms of media like images and videos. The additional content gives you more room to showcase the elements of your brand identity. It also offers more ways for mobile users to engage with the message. MMS messages typically present the option to share the accompanying image, video, or GIF.
5. Mobile Ads: Banner, Native, Display, Etc.
There are several types of mobile ads, like banner ads, video ads, native ads, or display ads. What makes most types of mobile ads different than others is that they appear alongside other content. The user sees mobile ads when they are watching a video or looking at a web page.
It takes time to figure out which type of mobile ad has the best chance of success with your audience. Then you have to figure out how to structure the ad and which users to target. This is why many companies outsource mobile ads to private digital marketing agencies, rather than handling it themselves.
6. Social Media
Social media is like email in that most social media activity takes place on mobile devices. To optimize social media ads for mobile users, follow the same rules for mobile-friendly emails and web content: shorter posts, images that load easily on mobile devices, and mobile-friendly landing pages.
Successful social media campaigns for mobile devices often utilize video content. Like the other channels, video content on social media should be short, straightforward, and personal. Mobile users shouldn’t have to watch the whole video to conclude that this business aligns with their interests.
7. Your Business’s Mobile App
Your data may tell you that mobile marketing deserves the bulk of your total marketing budget because your audience are heavy mobile users. For this reason, it might make sense to invest in a mobile application for your business. Mobile apps can serve a number of purposes, like simplifying access to your products, soliciting engagement, and of course, obtaining more data.
The type of app depends on your primary goal. Are you trying to drive sales or just draw more attention to your business? In the case of the latter, your app should ask the user to provide background information in exchange for content that relates to their additional interests.
Mobile apps can also turn leads into customers through their notification function, which can involve push notifications and/or in-app notifications:
Push notifications appear on a mobile user’s home screen, regardless of whether or not your app is opened. This makes them look very similar to text messages, and we’ve already touched on the natural tendency to open texts rather than ignore them.
After downloading your app, users have the choice to opt-in or out of push notifications. Heavy mobile users typically opt-in.
The content of the notification depends on your app’s goals. If your app is trying to drive sales, your notifications might feature reminders or promotions. If your app is more about providing content, your notifications might feature something funny or educational.
While push notifications appear on the home screen, in-app notifications appear when users are actually using your app. Someone who is using your app is clearly interested in your business, right? In-app notifications capitalize on this interest by promoting new app features, new releases, or the latest news about your business in general.
Mobile Marketing Tips
A successful mobile marketing strategy doesn’t just do the bare minimum. Many businesses were only able to reach their mobile marketing goals after implementing additional resources to maximize the effectiveness of certain channels.
The following tips may help you better serve your audience’s preferences:
Create Different Ads For Different Devices
Smartphone users tend to have different preferences than tablet users. So, when reviewing performance data from campaigns, make sure to distinguish users based on device. This will allow you to create different campaigns (or make different optimizations) for each type of user. If you treat all users the same, you could end up wasting money on ads that are performing well on one device but doing poorly on another.
Click To Call Buttons
Landing pages play a big role in the success of various mobile marketing channels. In addition to being mobile-friendly, it might be in your best interest to feature a click-to-call button on these web pages. The user can simply tap the button to call your business. Remember: Mobile users are considered “high intent” because their behavior denotes heightened interest. Click-to-call buttons are just another way to capitalize on the high likelihood that this user is ready to make a purchase.
Enable Voice Search Queries
Voice recognition technology is often said to be the future of marketing. Think about the way your customers phrase common questions about your industry, or the questions they might ask to find a business like yours. One example might be “How much does __ cost?” Then, put these questions into your mobile content. This will increase the likelihood of your business showing up when a smartphone user tries to find your business via voice search.
Mobile Marketing: Getting Started
You might not know what kind of mobile marketing strategy will be most effective for your audience. What you do know, however, is that your business needs mobile marketing to survive in today’s climate. It’s time to get started on that first question by launching a strategy and simply seeing what happens.
Our relationship with mobile devices may change significantly in the near future. So, you might as well get used to constantly optimizing your campaigns as early as possible.