Is it time for your brand to get mobile?
Mobile marketing, if you’re not already familiar, is a set of business strategies that enable organizations to communicate with people in an interactive and relevant way through any mobile device. While your approach to mobile marketing may change over time, the reason for doing it remains the same: to delight, engage, and sell!
Mobile marketing is special in that it requires your audience to opt-in and is therefore a great way to communicate with highly engaged buyers. And because they’re more engaged, they’re more likely to respond to your calls-to-action, driving more conversions and revenue down the line. So, take advantage of their interest to the fullest by implementing the right tactics.
Let’s take a look five popular and cutting-edge mobile marketing tactics:
1. Mobile Messaging
Traditionally, mobile messaging came in two flavors: SMS (Short Message Service), which is your traditional text-only message and MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), which can include pictures, videos, audio, and more. But with the emergence of messaging apps like SnapChat, WeChat, and LINE, mobile messaging goes beyond the standard text message to a buyer’s platform of choice.
However, SMS and MMS are still incredibly powerful channels when you consider the fact that the open rate of SMS is 98%, according to VentureBeat, and MMS messages have an average click-through rate of 15%. Talk about access! But, use that access with caution–because it’s often a personal device, it’s important that your activities and communication don’t feel spammy or like an invasion.
One of the best ways to leverage SMS/MMS is to set up a shortcode, which is a numeric code that can be acquired from your wireless provider that acts as a URL replacement. Using your shortcode, you can send a mobile message to your audience that reads something like this: “Text ‘shop’ to 99999 and receive a 10% coupon towards your next purchase.” Bed Bath and Beyond, for example, sends 20% coupons to their subscribers and asks them to text ‘resend’ if they need the link again. This is an easy way for brands to drive engagement at scale, since the same shortcode can be used for mobile users within different area codes.
2. Mobile Website
While having a mobile website may seem like common sense, it’s important to emphasize that there are more people using their phones to access the internet than desktops, as reported by comScore, so it’s imperative that you have a delightful presence accessible via any mobile device. For many companies, their mobile website is the primary access point for their entire business–a virtual front door. To properly leverage the mobile web, your website needs to load quickly and properly across all devices. With a responsive design, your website is viewable on any device size without creating the need for separate, siloed websites. It ensures your content can be read and consumed on any device to improve the user’s experience, and it makes it easier for Google to crawl, index, and organize your site to increase search engine traffic.
If you haven’t built a mobile-responsive website yet, there are three key elements that make up the framework:
- Fluid grids: Websites were traditionally created with fixed pixels, which were always in one size. But because mobile users are accessing websites using devices with different screen sizes (e.g. laptops, phones, tablets), websites need to be designed in percentages, which are adaptive units, to automatically adjust to the right screen size. These responsive sites are designed by first defining a maximum layout size and then dividing the grid into a specific number of columns with proportional widths and heights. This way, when a screen or browser size changes resolutions, each element will adjust according to the set proportions.
- Fluid images: Similar to fluid grids, fluid images will adjust in size depending on the screen resolution and grid size. This requires creating code that ensure the browser enlarges and shrinks images when appropriate.
- Media queries: Media queries tell your code how to properly ender by allowing CSS changes to apply to your website when specific conditions are met, like when the website renders in a particular size or width.
Once you’ve set up your website for responsive design, or if you already have a mobile-responsive website and are looking to optimize it, there are different design elements to keep in mind:
- Masthead: A masthead is a graphic image or text title that appears at the top of your website (e.g. logo and menu bar). Is your masthead simple and clear so it’s not distracting your visitor from the rest of the site? Does your logo display clearly in different resolutions? Is your menu bar visible? Does it display the different navigation options when you click on it to expand it?
- Images: Is it clear what your images are displaying on a mobile device? Some images are not suited for small resolutions. Does it distract too much from the call-to-action button? Does the image link properly? If you have a carousel function, does it swipe to the correct images?
- Product descriptions: Are your descriptions clear and concise? Is it obvious what product the description goes with? If you’re displaying product ratings, can you access the reviews?
- Footer: Did you include the main navigation options within the footer? It can be frustrating for your visitors to have to scroll all the way up just to access another page. Is your contact information displayed in the footer?
While these components seem technical, some marketing automation platforms have responsive design capabilities built in so you don’t have to involve your IT or web development team. For example, in Marketo, you can easily create mobile responsive landing pages and preview what they look like on your viewer’s mobile device. If you click into the landing page editor, Marketo offers the option to choose which elements you want to show on a desktop landing page and which you want on a mobile landing page–so you can easily optimize your desktop and mobile websites in the same effort.
3. Mobile Apps
Mobile apps are built for the mobile platform and can be used online or offline, although they are intended for target audiences that are already on mobile. The benefit of having a mobile app is that you’ll not only gain opted-in mobile users, but you’ll also be able to engage them in a deeper way and collect more information about their preferences and motivations. And mobile apps aren’t just for consumer marketers. In fact, 83% of B2B marketers said mobile apps were important to content marketing, according to Strategy Trends.
There are three main categories that almost every app will fit into—productivity apps, commerce apps, and retained engagement apps. Some may be a combination of more than one of these, in which case they would be classified as a mixed-use case app.
Productivity apps are designed to enable users to become more efficient at whatever they are trying to accomplish. For example, many of us are familiar with and commonly use navigation apps like Google Maps, Apple Maps, or Waze. These apps allow you to instantly look up destination information, map your route, and estimate your arrival time—much quicker and easier than if you had to manually do this step by step.
Commerce apps support businesses looking to make a sale through their mobile apps, so success is measured by the number of conversions (e.g. purchase, recommendation, enrollment in loyalty program) and revenue generated from it. For example, this might be your typical Nordstrom, Domino’s Pizza, or Groupon app that you can make direct purchases in.
Retained engagement apps are developed to be very sticky, so that users continue to use them from day to day. These include social networking apps, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and news apps like The New York Times or ESPN, which people engage with on a daily basis.
Before endeavoring to build your app, first ask yourself what category your app would fit into and what your objectives are. There are over two million apps available, so it will be difficult to break through the noise without a solid understanding of your objectives and strategy. In fact, according to Nielsen, the average person uses 26-27 apps every month, but the majority of their usage (84%) is spent on five. So, make sure you pair this channel with killer marketing and promotional campaigns, and integrate it with your other marketing channels. With a solution like Marketo’s Mobile Engagement product, you can listen in-app for specific behaviors and respond with relevant in-app or cross-channel content to continue the conversation with your users outside of the app
4. QR Codes
QR Codes, also known as Quick Response Codes, are used to quickly download content onto a smartphone using an image. Usually, this is done by taking a picture of the QR Code or scanning it. However, these codes are not commonly adopted by marketers because they can be clunky and not all mobile users have QR code readers. That being said, there are new creative ways to drive your audience to engage with you on mobile using a QR code-like function. For example, Snapchat has adopted the QR code and made it its own Snapcode with ghosts that are essentially QR codes for a user’s individual account. Think about how you can grab your audience’s attention and drive them engage with you on their mobile device, especially in a reoccurring way. You could print your Snapcode onto branded swag, upload it as a Twitter profile picture, add it to your blogs, and share it across your other channels to build your brand presence and grow your social media following.
5. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR) is a live view of the real world enhanced by computer-generated output such as sound, output, or images and seen through a smart device or display such as Google Glass. While virtual reality (VR) is a compete simulation of a real-world environment where users are fully immersed in a virtual world, with AR, the user sees the real world with virtual outputs overlaid on top with software that scans and recognizes different images to display the right outputs.
AR uses an already personal channel to educate and sell your products, placing unique outputs on a buyer’s face or surroundings, making it even more personal. In fact, researchers at Harvard University have found that integrating AR apps into the buying experience generates a positive feeling from your buyers for the technology as well as your products and, more importantly, leads to higher sales.
There are solutions created specifically for AR that can help you develop a virtual experience for your buyers, but the key to successfully deploying it is to truly provide value to your end-user and integrate it with their buying journey. For example, IKEA will be releasing AR options in their app for their 2017 catalog that will allow you to scan a catalog to see interactive content and place furniture into your room. Covergirl’s AR feature in their app, available now, allows users to see how different types of makeup will look on them without actually applying anything.
Whether you’re a small business, selling to businesses, a global enterprise or a consumer company—your followers, fans and potential buyers are using mobile devices. Meet them where they are by finding the opportunities in your organization to incorporate some of these mobile tips.
Which of these strategies are you ready to take on? Share your thoughts below!