The evolution of the e-commerce industry has made access “unprecedented—and not just for shoppers; retailers also have 24/7 access to their consumers. As a result, e-commerce has transformed the business model and changed how shoppers approach retail.”
Alongside this transformation of retail is the widespread adoption of mobile devices. Mobile has cleared the path for and marketing strategies that can meet customers where they are — across any screen.
Marketing in a hand-held world
Mobile marketing is promising. Companies that leverage the opportunity to provide customers with time and location sensitive, personalized information to promote their products and services are gaining a competitive edge.
Smartphone owners are increasingly using their phones to make online purchases. According to a study by Internet Retailer “2016 Mobile 500″, in 2015, U.S. mobile commerce sales are expected to total $104.05 billion, up 38.7% from $75.03 billion in 2014.”
In fact, eMarketer reports that “In 2015, US smartphone and tablet users [would spend] an average of 3 hours and 5 minutes a day using mobile apps.”
Smart marketers are paying attention, as “68% of companies have integrated mobile marketing into their overall marketing strategy” and “71% of marketers believe mobile marketing is core to their business,” says Salesforce.
Benefit from these mobile marketing strategies
It goes without saying that the mobile web offers tremendous potential for businesses who leverage mobile marketing strategies to gain maximum exposure.
So, where should you start if you’re ready to leverage mobile marketing? Here’s a look at 6 practical tips:
1. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and responsive
The latest reports suggest that 60 percent of online traffic now comes from mobile devices. Need I say more? If your company website is not mobile-friendly, you’re bound to lose a large number of customers who will inevitably click away from your non-responsive site in search of greener (and more user-friendly) pastures.
Use Google’s mobile-friendly test tool to analyze your site and get free mobile-friendly design and optimization recommendations.
Responsive design is no longer a luxury — it is a necessity. If you plan to overhaul your site, use website designs that are fully responsive. This means that your website design and content will respond to various mobile devices and screen sizes.
Simply put, “if you’re not able to reach your audience through mobile search or display, or you’re not providing a satisfactory mobile experience you will miss out compared to competitors who are. The trend in mobile device usage […] is well past the tipping point.”
2. Use URL shorteners
All of your mobile marketing URLs should be short and simple. When online shoppers use their mobile phone to surf the web they prefer short URLs that are easy to remember.
Also, by shortening URLs you are able to gain better insights into your campaign analytics and discover who clicked a link, when the clicked through and where they went. This gives you further learnings about your target audience, which helps you become more effective.
3. Extract value from mobile apps
Mobile apps can’t be overlooked either. “Mobile apps are still hugely popular among smartphone users even though it is now possible to create mobile-optimized website which works as good as an app if not better.”
Yet, the revenue and reach opportunities associated with launching a mobile app are clear. For example, “BI Intelligence estimated that U.S. mobile app-install ad revenue should reach $4.6 billion in 2015 and increase to $6.8 billion by the end of 2019.”
Before you starting planning a mobile app launch, consider the best revenue model for your business (i.e., paid app downloads, in-app purchases (or subscriptions), and in-app ads. Then decide how you will execute your monetization strategy and which mobile advertising platforms work best for your business.
4. Test QR codes
Are QR codes relevant? The answer: It depends. While they’ve waned in popularity it doesn’t mean they can’t be a useful tool for your business.
QR codes offer a quick and easy way to connect with mobile consumers on the go, at events and in-store. For example, they can send a special message (and incentive) to a phone, direct a customer to your website, connect with other services, or foster customer loyalty.
Hubspot recommends testing their usefulness first: “For example, at your next event, you could include a QR code on half of your programs, and a shortened, easy-to-remember URL in the other half, both linking to the same page on your website. Put separate UTM tracking codes on the QR code link and shortened URL so you can compare how many people visit from each, and voila — you can see if your audience likes to use QR codes.”
5. Target mobile users with Google Adwords
Google AdWords is a proven pay per click (PPC) ad platform that can enhance your mobile marketing strategies. By capitalizing on active searches you can reach mobile shoppers when they are looking for relevant products and services.
For example, in Google AdWords “display campaigns, you can target specific device types, operating systems, models, and ad inventory, as well as carriers and wireless networks”
6. Test mobile advertising platforms
Mobile advertising can be confusing.
There are two types of mobile platforms where you can target your ads: mobile web and in-app. You can advertise on mobile and social media (mobile-targeted) websites and via in-app advertising, where apps are downloaded and advertiser ads are visible to the end user. Platforms vary in ad format (i.e., size, shape, layout, pricing, etc.)
You can work with targeted publishers directly or mobile ad networks with access to multiple publishers. The targeting capabilites are robust as well given you can select a narrow segment of a broad audience by geography, device, carrier, OS, connection, interests, gender, etc.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Sheza Gary, a NY-based Project Strategist since 2009, has been involved with launching startups and tech companies for 5+ years. Sheza has a keen interest in sharing her own experiences with business plans and upcoming business supporting technologies. She loves public speaking. Connect with @shezagary on Twitter.