Beginning of a New Era of Mobile Marketing
With the total mobile (phone and tablet) eCommerce forecast to surpass $114 billion this year, mobile marketing needs to be on every marketer’s digital strategy right now.
If you think you’ve got some catching up to do, you’re not alone. The explosive growth of mobile has left many marketers gasping for breath. To add to fuel to the fire, mobile also claims higher and faster conversion rates. Currently, 40% of people searching on mobile devices are looking for local products or services, and 81% of them convert within 5 hours of the search (B2C).
How you can catch up and hit the target with mobile marketing? Here’s a few pointers.
- Get a responsive website design and test it rigorously
A responsive web design means that you don’t need to have separate versions of your website for desktop, tablet and mobile. The website automatically adjusts to the screen that it is being displayed on, regardless of the size and dimensions. Responsive design is now the industry standard and all websites built using contemporary versions of development software are responsive by default. These websites are composed of sections or blocks that can automatically align themselves in particular orders to adapt to the screen size and resolution.
If you have an outdated, non-responsive website, upgrading it should be your #1 priority. The only way to make it responsive is to completely rebuild it…well, almost. You’ll also need to test your website on multiple mobile devices and fix any bugs that you may notice. Testing your website in different browsers is also a must. Mobile users are in a hurry most of the times. The slightest glitch in way your website displays may be sufficient to send them packing. You could even give the design a go yourself if you are feeling creative and have a relatively small website. This comparison of website builders should help.
- Optimize mobile user experience
Mobile users are usually on-the-go when they are searching for stuff. They want to see upfront the information they are looking for. You may need to go back to the whiteboard and analyze your keywords. Try to predict the customer intent when they are coming to your website after searching for a certain keyword. See what they are doing on your regular website—the pages that they are viewing and the links that they are clicking. Look the way your competitors are presenting information.
Based on your analysis, try to create a smoother experience and natural navigation for your mobile users. Here are a few things to do.
- Click-to-map and click-to-call features are must haves for local businesses, which, incidentally, may stand to gain the most from mobile marketing
- Have straightforward and compact menus
- Make sure that all your links are working and your visitor doesn’t need to scroll aimlessly to find the required information (expandable content is a must for mobile. Use wiki as a reference)
- Don’t overload your mobile customers with a lot of text information. Again expandable content is less daunting if it definitely needs to be there. At the same time you do need to provide the content the visitors needs to convert.
- Balance the number of pages with density of content to create an intuitive navigation flow
- Use sharp, contrasting colors to make your website clearly visible in daylight
UX optimization is a continuous process. You’ll need to stay abreast of the latest technologies and keep a close eye on your mobile analytics to keep improving the way your user interact with your mobile website.
- Go for innovative advertising
Mobile advertising is growing faster than predicted, as desktop advertising gets ready for a decline after almost leveling off this year (Emarketer). The technology available today and the flexibility offered by mobile platforms give you an unlimited number of options to get creative with your mobile advertising. There are at least three new innovations that make mobile advertising more compelling than ever.
Customizable Interactivity: Conventional mobile ads gave users just one way to interact with them—click on the ad and go to a landing page. Luckily for brand, an endless number of interactivity options exist today. New call to action, social sharing, accelerometer integration, tap to add calendar, and dynamic overlays make mobile ads much more engaging.
Interactive Video and Rich Media Ads: One of the fastest growing types of mobile advertising is interactive video advertising. Last year, Fiat ran an interactive video and rich media ad for the launch of its 500L model. The ad comprised a photo gallery, a 360-degree view of the car, a color-swapping feature, a video clip, and a dealership finder.
Dynamic Ad Stitching: The rise of Dynamic Ad Stitching technology has eliminated the need for pre-caching video and rich media content. Today’s on-demand ad serving environment allows you to target different mobile users with different ads based on their specific attributes, all within the same content.
You can check out several mobile advertising networks that have cropped up as a response to the growing popularity of the new medium. Jumptap, a mobile advertising service that was recently acquired by Millennial Media, provides self-service advertising with a variety of creative interactivity and rich media features that leverage native mobile devices such as camera, voice and vibrations. Admob, a Google-owned advertising service, offers to promote your mobile app on its network of more than 300,000 apps.
- Encourage social engagement
According to a survey by Adobe, more than 71% people use mobile to access social media. The survey further reveals that people use social media on mobile when they are contemplating a purchase. They also share or like the items that they are thinking about buying, with some of them taking impulsive buying decisions. You must build virality in the core of your mobile marketing, whereby viewers are compelled to share your content.
There are several ways to encourage social sharing. On a very basic level, you can offer a free giveaway or a chance to participate in a lucky draw as incentives for sharing your stuff. Plenty of share-to-unlock plugins are available for the purpose. The idea of group discounts introduced by GroupOn also holds a lot of potential. When more people buy your product or deal, they can all save more money. Hence, when a customer is interested in a particular deal, he or she will try to invite their social media contacts by sharing the deal to their networks. Oscar Mayer encourages sharing by linking discounts with the number of social shares. The strategy has worked for them and their campaign has been featured among the best mobile marketing campaigns last year.
- Leverage mobile apps
And then, there are mobile apps, which you can use in an infinite number of ways to engage your audience. For example, Target’s Cartwheel app allows customers to choose discount offers from across hundreds of categories. Users receive customized deals that they can use over and over again until the expiration date. The app gives you a barcode that you can scan at Target stores to avail the discount. People can also share their favorite deals with their Facebook friends directly from the Cartwheel app.
This is just one example of how apps are driving mobile marketing. You can also use them to provide better services and more convenience to your customers. For instance, Starbucks uses custom-built technology to allow customers to make payments right off their mobile screens at some 68,000 company-operated outlets in America. The bill amount is deducted from the customers’ mobile card balance. Chipolte Mexican Grill developed Scarecrow, an animated film and mobile game that became hugely popular. The film was viewed 6.5 million times within two weeks of its release on YouTube and the game app was installed on more than 250,000 iPhones and iPads within four days.
Custom mobile apps have so far kept advertisers wary because of the cost involved in building and marketing them. However, looking at the results that apps like ScareCrow are delivering, it’s only a matter of time before we see mobile apps move in mainstream marketing.
Other than the expensive custom apps, there can be several mobile apps that you can use to pump up sale revenues. Apps like Uber and FourSquare are obvious examples. There may be other mobile apps in your category that can help you get customers. Do make use of them.
- Use SMS marketing
Companies are using both SMS and Push notifications to reach their customers on the go. The medium you pick will depend upon your product and customers, and you can always use both. SMS is more intrusive and aggressive than Push notification, but also has a wider reach and more flexibility. Studies show that 98% of all SMS messages are opened, which makes them a highly effective way to interact with your customers.
SMS must be used on opt-in basis only. When using SMS, you should always send something that offers value to the customer, such as a special offer or discount. You can also use SMS for engaging your customers in a conversation by asking them to reply to your questions with different number or letter options. Build a “text-to-get” feature in your advertising (including your signage). It can be a discount coupon, a free giveaway, or just anything else that your customers would like to get. This will help you get SMS subscribers and generate traffic to your website or store.
SMS has been proven to be particularly effective when used with Geo Fencing, a technology that draws a perimeter around a particular location (such as your store) and sends an SMS to the opt-in customers when they are in the area. Also check out SimplyCast, a text messaging app that allows you to easily create and send customized text messages to your subscribers.
Remember, your customers and users are spending an ever-increasing amount of time on their phones. This is only going to grow again in the coming years & will supersede desktop and tablet traffic. With more mobile becoming the standard online device, confidence in purchasing or completing transactions using mobile devices is likely to increase significantly within the next year or two and Its a space you can’t afford to miss out on.
Despite its amazing potential, mobile advertising is still in its infancy. Many companies are still struggling to get it right, especially when it comes down to tracking path to conversion across devices. This will get better when the big analytics providers crack the “signed in issues”. This obviously makes it difficult to justify spend in the mobile area. However companies are already reaping the benefits of mobile and the immense opportunities that exist for the early birds. These are the businesses that have already come up with intuitive mobile marketing ideas and campaigns.
I am a digital & online entrepreneur and marketer, specializing in the retail & eCommerce arena. I have built, purchased, optimized and sold in excess of 10 eCommerce businesses with multi-million pound revenues. I write and contribute on various websites within the digital marketing area, some of these include moz.com & searchenginepeople.com