Smart phones are no longer just an electronic device. They may have started off as a means to contact people but now they have become the ultimate hub for information, entertainment and many other utilities. Smartphone usage has seeped deep into our habits and it is evident from the fact that about 5 billion people, approximately 72% of global population, are now mobile phone users.
Potential of Mobile Devices for Marketing
A technology that is used on a daily basis, by such a significant portion of our population, obviously has massive potential. You can get an idea about the ability of mobile devices to drive sales across industries from the fact that they were responsible for influencing close to $2 trillion worth of offline retail purchases in 2016.
Smart phones have opened up a world of possibilities for marketers and here are some reasons why:
Mobile is Omni-present
If we were to ask you at this moment where is your smart phone, there is a 90% probability that it is within your arms reach. There is also a 56% chance that you are reading this article on a mobile device. This means that a person with a mobile device can be contacted at any hour of the clock and I’m sure as a marketer nothing excites you more.
Something just came up in the news, it is relevant to your product and you are excited to share this update with your target audience. How do you go about it? You will probably tweet about it, post something on Facebook or send an SMS and it will be instantly delivered to thousands of Smartphone users. In this way mobile devices make it possible for us to communicate and engage with our customers directly. They also help us to make the most out of a current situation which may not be as effective once a lot of time passes.
When you receive a message on your phone, you know it isn’t for your family or friend, it is for you. It is personal and this is exactly the kind of relationship that marketers wish to have with their customers. There is something special about receiving messages from brands which are clearly addressed to you. You’re also more likely to open a promotional message that has your name mentioned in it. In this way mobile marketing nurtures a personal relationship between a brand and its customers which apart from being beneficial for businesses also enriches the quality of customer service.
Mobile devices ever since their launch have been popular among users. Their functionality is great and they help us to manoeuvre our way through many daily tasks. Moreover they are not as expensive as they used to be when they were newly launched. They are quite affordable and for this reason we believe, mobile devices will be here for a long time. It makes a lot of sense to create a strategy for something that has had a past, has a present and also has a bright future.
Better Market Segmentation
When you are distributing flyers in a locality, putting up a billboard in the neighbourhood or advertising your brand on air, you are targeting a wide audience out of which many are not even a part of your target audience. But mobile marketing can be made focused and targeted towards a select group of individuals. You can shortlist the number of people whom you wish to contact based on their various characteristics and send them coupons, deals or any such communication to engage them.
Mobile Marketing Strategies
Now that you have realised why you need a mobile marketing strategy for your business, let’s delve deeper into the various strategies that you can adopt to provide a rich customer experience. The most basic step marketers take in their mobile marketing strategy is to create an app or a mobile optimised website. But there are many more things that you can do to enhance your customer’s mobile experience.
User focused optimisation
Most of the searches we perform online are to address specific requirements such as a place we are looking for dinner or some other precise information. When we perform such searches we usually expect concise information. We are not looking for a detailed research but just a crisp concise information.
For example a user performing a search for ‘how much sugar should I add to my blueberry cheese cake’ wants a bite-sized piece of accurate information. They don’t want videos, graphs, charts or an in-depth research or comparison of various recipes.
There are 4 types of similar queries that people expect such type of information for
- I want to go – a location you may want to visit.
- I want to do – an activity you wish to do.
- I want to know – a piece of information you want at that moment.
- I want to buy – an item you wish to shop for.
In order to optimise content for such queries a business first needs to anticipate ahead of time what his customers may need, create content for such searches and make it available instantly at the tap of a screen.
QR codes are an effective way to streamline a user’s mobile experience. Moreover QR codes can be used to process relevant information quicker than most other mediums. Instead of having to reach a counter early to obtain movie ticket stubs, you can book tickets online, have a QR code sent to your phone and simply scan it at the entrance to gain an entry into the theatre. QR codes can also be used to compare prices of products online and also in the retail stores. QR codes should not ideally lead to a landing page as this is not what they are intended for. QR codes are generally shortcuts that are used to lead us to the concise information, the categories of which we discussed in the point above. The only thing that marketers need to be aware of when using QR codes is that they are being used to make things simpler and not more complicated.
Take into account local searches
Local, location specific searches have increased tremendously over the last few years. So many of our online searches are related to products and services that we wish to find in our neighbourhood such as a good place to eat or a place to catch a movie or event. There are various things you can do to optimise your content for local searches such as targeting location specific keywords, listing your business in local directories, building links back to your website from local blogs and contributing to local publications such as newspapers and local newsletters. Hyperlocal advertising has many benefits such as boosting local sales and making your brand popular in local communities.
As a marketer a strategy that you simply should not miss out on including in your mobile advertising campaign is SMS marketing. It has massive potential when it comes to converting leads or click-through rate as it is more popularly known. According to a study by SlickText, SMS marketing offers a much higher CTR of 36% compared to email marketing which has a CTR of about 7%. There are several ways in which you can increase the effectiveness of your SMS marketing strategy such as providing them with an incentive to sign up, publicising your events and sales activities and asking them for feedback of your services.If you wish to learn more about lead generation here is an article you should read.
Need for Mobile Optimisation
It was anticipated for quite some time but it finally happened in 2016, mobile devices overtook desktop as the primary device used to access internet. When such a large number of people access websites from their mobile devices, it becomes a necessity to optimise content accordingly. While many marketers have realised the importance of mobile optimisation, it still remains to be one of the leading reasons why companies lose out on a lot of business. We’re heading towards a mobile first world and not optimising content for mobile is inexcusable and not to mention, suicidal for your marketing efforts.
What is Mobile Optimisation?
The number of visitors accessing the internet from mobile devices is rising and so is the amount of time that they spend on it. In this scenario, it becomes imperative to take efforts to improve their mobile experience. The process of giving your visitors a rich mobile experience is known as mobile optimisation. There are various factors that need to be taken into account for mobile optimisation such as site structure, site design, page speed etc.
Effective SEO practices for Mobile Marketing
Even the big players on the internet need to optimise their site for search engines. There are only a few basic steps that you need to take to ensure that you have a properly optimised website for mobile.
Compared to desktop, mobile devices face many limitations when it comes to hardware and connectivity. This makes it even more important for developers to optimise their website for mobile users. There are few steps that you need to take to improve a user’s mobile experience and these include optimising images, minimalizing code, reducing redirects and leveraging browser caching.
Don’t block essential elements
Refrain from Using Flash
The flash plugin may not be available on many phones and this means your users could lose out on a lot of fun if you use flash on your websites. If you are looking to create special effects, you should instead use HTML5.
Also refrain from using Pop-ups
How much do you hate it when you’re accessing important information on the internet and your browser suddenly goes crazy with pop-ups? Pop-ups not only disrupt the flow of a reader but they are also considered to be a symptom of a spam infected website. Having pop-ups on your website can lead to a higher bounce rate.
Keep the fat finger in mind
On a mobile device, especially smartphones you have a crunch for space. You need to optimise a full-sized desktop site into a compact screen having a maximum screen size of6 inches, that too diagonally. If the optimisation is done solely for the slim sized fingers, your fat fingered customers may find it difficult to navigate around the site. Designing the buttons to be too small or big can lead to accidental clicks.
Optimise Meta descriptions and titles
Working with less screen space makes it challenging to maintain the quality of information throughout the website. The aspects of a website that suffer when a site is being optimised for mobile is titles and meta descriptions. For this reason when you are creating URLs, titles and Meta descriptions, you need to ensure that the quality of information is not sacrificed and the information is as concise as possible.
Configuration of the mobile site
There are many important decisions to be taken when optimising a website for mobile devices and deciding the configuration of the site is one of them. Google supports all three configurations of dynamic serving, responsive and separate site configuration. Each have their own set of advantages and disadvantages and therefore you have the liberty to use any configuration you wish to have for your mobile site. However, it is worth noting that Google prefers responsive design over the other mobile configurations.
Fix the Faulty Redirects
Suppose you are browsing a website and click on a tab that interests you, but you get redirected to a ‘404 Error’ page instead. Without doubt, you will be annoyed and you will question the credibility of the website. There’s also a high chance that you will never access the website again. For this reason, you should not have any elements in your website that can completely ruin the user’s mobile browsing experience. There are many software available these days such as Google Webmaster that allows us to get rid of any faulty redirects that could be present in your website. You will also be provided with a detailed analysis regarding your website so that you can fix the errors and get the website high and running again.
When large sized images are used on websites they significantly increase the loading time of the website. When optimising a website for mobile devices it is important that you compress the images and bring them down to a size which makes the site load faster.
Let’s perform a simple experiment. Think of a keyword and look it up on your desktop. Now perform the same search on your mobile device and observe the results. There’s a huge possibility that mobile and desktop search results are different. It happens because Google is now giving priority to AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages and as a result such pages are getting higher visibility. It is especially useful for those who are into publishing or Google News.
Future Trends of Mobile Advertising
To say that the market for mobile advertising is merely growing would be an understatement. It is in reality exploding. Mobile devices have already over taken desktop when it comes to the preferred choice of customers to consume digital content. Keeping this in mind there are several future trends that should be paid attention to, in order to fully capitalise on the potential of mobile devices.
Growing Focus on Apps
Applications have revolutionised the way content is made available to consumers. It is evident from the fact that users spend close to 90% of their time in apps compared to mobile web. If there’s a type of information you need to access often then things become a lot simpler by developing an app for the same. Especially if the website is into e-commerce or works as a utility tool.
The statistics too are in favour of mobile marketing, it is estimated that by 2020 mobile broadband connections are likely to increase to 71% from the present 47%. It is also a reason why you should focus on developing the type of app that becomes popular among users. According to a study by Google, 25% of applications are abandoned after being used for the first time after installation.
Also try to make the app or mobile website as less intrusive as possible because as many as 41% of young customers now use AdBlock technology to completely eliminate ads from their browsing experience.
Mobile Advertising to be prioritised over Desktop Advertising
According to the statistics of 2015, marketing professionals have spent just over a billion dollars more on desktop advertising compared to mobile advertising. Crossing this mark will not just be a major milestone for mobile advertising but it’ll also prove the age old belief that ‘size doesn’t matter’. Marketers have already realised that reaching out to consumers on a small screen is a lot more effective and it will only be a matter of time before they start advertising their brand exclusively on mobile devices.
There’s no denying that the future of mobile advertising is really bright and there’s also no denying that it offers better return on investment and customer engagement. The fact that users do not have to go through much effort to find what they are looking for and marketers can personalise the way they reach out to their consumers, makes mobile marketing a win-win situation for both the consumers and marketers.
Anna Barton is a problem solver. Coffee trailblazer. Passionate creator and a digital aficionado.