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What is mobile marketing?

Marketers need to be where their customers are. In today’s world, your customers are on their mobile devices. From smartphones to phablets (half phone/half tablet)—we are all doing more and more on our mobile devices. Which means that a mobile marketing strategy is an absolute must to survive.

We have identified the following five key things you need to know when it comes to mobile marketing:

  1. Market with cross-channel orchestration
  2. Use smart data and signals to inform your mobile communications strategy
  3. Create a holistic view of customer interactions
  4. Deliver personalized marketing experiences
  5. Prove the value of your mobile marketing strategy

Mobile marketing strategies

This form of marketing effectively targets the mobile digital environment of customers and prospects. Mobile marketing strategies take advantage of the amount of time that people are spending on their phones. Mobile marketing uses ads that are specifically designed to appear on mobile phones and devices.

Knowing that your audience is viewing all or most of your marketing materials on their phones or mobile devices, marketers should design their content accordingly. Depending on your strategy and the resources you have available, it may be worthwhile to optimize all of your web-based marketing collateral (emails, landing pages, newsletters, etc.) for mobile, or have one version of your content for the web and another for mobile.

Mobile marketing is aimed at people on the go. Which is why it is vital that your marketing content provides customers and prospects with personalized, time- and location-sensitive information. That way, they receive the right information at the right time, when they need it.

An effective mobile marketing campaign can leverage many different methods, including social media, mobile-friendly emails, text message marketing, location-based marketing, apps, and ecommerce. Which ones you choose to employ will vary depending on your campaign goals, target audience, and budget. Here are a few of the most popular ways to use mobile marketing to engage with your audience.

App-based marketing

Mobile users spend a huge chunk of their time on their phones and mobile devices using various apps. To reach them successfully and get them to engage with your message, marketers often adjust their digital marketing strategy to create an app-based campaign. Your company might even have its own app. Even if you don’t have your own app, platforms, such as Google and Facebook, provide services that help you place ads within third-party apps.

Location-based marketing

Location-based marketing uses proximity devices to deliver app-based advertisements to a target market based on their specific location. For example, a restaurant could send a mobile ad when a user is within a few miles of their location.

Text message marketing

Text message marketing reaches your prospects and customers with a text about an offer, announcement, or other news. There are two types of text messages: short message service (SMS), which sends short messages to mobile devices, and multimedia message service (MMS), which sends different types of media, such as videos, images, and GIFs. The benefits of text message marketing include:

  • Texts are easy to personalize
  • Texts are easy to track to find out whether the text is opened or ignored
  • Texts can be delivered immediately to hundreds of prospects
  • Texts can generate quick, direct replies or feedback
  • Texts are cost effective and easy to set up and manage

As with email marketing, your list can be built by gathering contact information from prospects and customers through other interactions your business has with them (signing up for a newsletter or webinar, a previous purchase, and so forth).

Text message marketing works best when you target the right audience—people who have indicated that they want to hear from you. To be get the best results, text ads must be concise and to the point. You have a very short timeframe to capture the reader’s attention and get them to engage with your brand. The ad that you send should offer something of value, such as a coupon or a notification of a special event or sale. Make your offer in as few words as possible, as the reader’s attention—especially when it comes to mobile—is a precious commodity.

In-game mobile marketing

Mobile gaming is a billion-dollar industry that attracts a huge, global audience of potential customers. In-game mobile marketing refers to the ads that appear within mobile games. In-game ads can be full-page ads, rewarded video ads, interstitial ads, playable ads, native banner ads, and offer-walls. Over the years, the quality of mobile games has improved dramatically, making them more immersive than ever.

Mobile marketing integration

When mobile devices first came on the scene, marketers could get by with just having a mobile-optimized version of their website.

That was then. Nowadays, mobile marketing campaigns require more than just having your website visible on a small screen. To create a mobile marketing strategy that will engage prospects and deliver results, marketers need to take advantage of a whole range of digital mobile marketing techniques.

At the top of the list is integration. Marketers need to take a strategic approach to integrate their campaigns across all aspects of the marketing communications mix—advertising, social media, website design, direct mail, promotions, etc. Are the marketing messages you’re delivering fully integrated across all channels, including mobile? As your target audience starts to engage with your brand and move through the sales funnel, are they receiving consistent marketing messages?

Mobile marketing best practices

Mobile marketing can offer a whole new world of possibilities to connect with untapped audiences and build your brand. To generate the best results from your mobile marketing strategy, keep the following best practices in mind.

Simplicity, clarity, and conciseness of content

You have a small amount of space to work with. When it comes to words, less is more. Use them sparingly and make your point quickly. Visualizations, infographics or charts, often communicate your marketing message better than text, and are far likely to be read than an ebook or a report.

Strive to make your ads as simple as possible, for a cluttered mobile ad only creates confusion.

Think about your target audience

Are your prospects gamers? When they are on the go, do they constantly check their emails? Are they using dating apps? What type of social media might they be into? Put some thought into who your audience is and how you want to reach them through mobile channels.

Location data is vital

Location-based marketing does not need to be a separate strategy from everything else. You can optimize a good chunk (if not all) of your marketing based on a user’s location to add more relevance and a personalized touch. Could your prospects be looking for where to grab some lunch? Find an ATM? Maybe they need to rent a car. Your mobile marketing can help them solve those problems.

Once you have embraced the need to collect and honor consumer preferences, you can begin taking advantage of the wealth of new data available to marketers being collected through apps and connected devices. By integrating marketing technology into apps on mobile and connected devices across the Internet of Things, you can begin to capture new types of data that were not possible in previous years. This information gives you the ability to further develop customer profiles and improve customer journeys.

For example, apps on connected devices can collect information such as: device type, app engagement, app operating system, loyalty information, and geographic location. By collecting these new types of smart data, marketers can sense and respond to real-time contextual information about the customer. With this data, marketers can deliver relevant information in a way that was never before possible—both on the mobile device and in an orchestrated way across traditional marketing channels.

Mobile-friendly marketing

Marketing messages should be simple and easy to understand. Are your emails easy to read on mobile? Are your landing pages easy to navigate? Take the mobile customer experience into account and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Your advertising should deliver a rewarding and consistent experience to your prospects—from text to landing page.

Optimize marketing for mobile with these steps:

  • Mobile content should load quickly and fit onto a mobile screen.
  • Don’t make users scroll or zoom in to read it.
  • Make sure that the images are resizable for different devices.
  • Use a simple layout with image buttons that stand out.
  • Use a clear, direct CTA that is easy to find.
  • Only insert links into the email that work and do not return mobile-specific errors.
  • If you use videos, they should be playable on mobile devices.
  • For emails and landing pages, make sure to put your main offer and most important content above the fold.
  • Make sure your content looks good both vertically and horizontally.
  • Check to see how everything looks on a mobile device before sending or publishing.

Mobile marketing is both the present and the future. It’s where your customers are. To survive in this environment, your business needs a mobile marketing strategy. And if you can master mobile marketing, you will be able to capture more prospects and improve the bottom line for your brand.

Mobile marketing ROI

The holy grail for any marketer trying to prove the worth of a given campaign or strategy and within mobile marketing it is no different.

Granted, it’s hard to link long-term customer loyalty to any specific campaign, mobile or otherwise. But there are steps marketers can take to track the value of their mobile campaign.

Many mobile marketing platforms now have a link tracking capability which allow marketers to embed branded short URLs in their SMS messages to get data on how well campaigns perform by monitoring SMS click-through rates, conversions, and click recency. SMS click-recency behavior is recorded at the individual level and can be used for targeting.

For example, marketers can get conversion metrics by using a mobile-specific, geo-tracking landing page. Or they can track the campaign results with a specific call to action, such as "Order now and you’ll get a $5 credit toward your next purchase," with a point-of-sale code.

Marketers can then use response data to monitor, track, and create more relevant campaigns. This results in better conversion rates and a faster return on investment.

It is important to set clear goals that are tied to business objectives from the outset. Marketers should set up custom events based on KPIs, such as installs, in app purchases, or time spent on the app. If the custom events are set up properly, third-party tracking companies provide invaluable tools to measure which traffic sources drove the most revenue. This then allows marketers to optimize their marketing spend and shift their budgets accordingly.

The future of mobile marketing

Once you decide to go all-in on mobile marketing, there are many more roads to explore. As you get to know more about this type of platform, and you’ll discover more opportunities to get creative with the technology and engage with your audience in new ways. Much like years ago when everyone needed to be social for social’s sake, mobile is a moving target and has many rivers for marketers to cross before that journey is done.

But a few things are clear. Your website must be mobile friendly. You need the SMS and push features. You must have the data from both online behaviors and offline purchases. You need to track and use preference information to truly personalize the experience. You’ll probably be asked to quantify your results to justify your investment in mobile marketing and show ROI.

In today’s digital world, your customers and prospects want to engage with your brand across every channel and on every device—including mobile. The challenge for marketers is to keep up with their preferences. Cross-channel marketing creates more visibility and touchpoints for you to interact with your customers by being able to cross over to different channels seamlessly.