[This article was written by Dean Vella, who writes for University Alliance.]
With smartphone use exploding in the United States—about 50% of adults now own a smartphone, according to Pew Internet—businesses need a mobile marketing strategy if they want to stay in the game. Indeed, not only do more people own smartphones, more of them are using their mobile devices to shop and pay for goods and services. Retail purchases totaling $8 billion were made using smartphones in 2012, Forrester Research reported.
Of course, having a strategy isn’t the same thing as having an effective strategy. Consider these four tips for increasing the bottom line with a mobile marketing plan:
1. Know Your Audience
By knowing the demographics of a target audience, marketers can better tailor a message without unnecessary trial and error. This knowledge should include an understanding of how and when potential customers are accessing information. What other websites do they visit? Are they active on social media and, if so, which networks do they favor? Are they viewing websites on laptops, tablet computers or smartphones? This can have immense impact on how a company structures its mobile marketing strategy.
2. Make Websites Mobile-Friendly
Sure, it may seem obvious, but a company’s online footprint must be mobile-friendly. Text, videos and images will appear only partially, or won’t appear at all, unless a site is formatted for tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices. Additionally, there’s the likelihood of slow load times and other problems of functionality. Online visitors, particularly those accessing the Internet while on the go, will quickly bounce off a web page that doesn’t provide them with the user experience they expect and demand.
3. Make Room for Apps
Smartphone and tablet owners purchase their mobile devices—in large part—for the convenience they offer. That’s a vital point for marketers to remember. Mobile device owners want a smooth and streamlined online experience. Tapping into Google or Bing to search for information is no big deal on a desktop computer. On the smaller screen of a smartphone, however, scrolling through search engine results can be problematic. So, more and more people are turning to apps. By one estimate, there already are in excess of 1.7 million apps available through major players such as Apple and Google Play, with approximately 1,000 new apps introduced every day. Today, mobile marketing strategies must make room for apps.
4. Maximize Convenience
Whether it’s offering an array of time-saving apps or ensuring that social media sharing is readily available, marketers must make the online experience as painless as possible for mobile device owners. Information is coming at consumers faster than ever before, meaning it’s imperative that businesses provide fresh and engaging content in a variety of formats and across multiple platforms.
Mobile continues to account for a growing share of the e-commerce marketplace. More than half of tablet owners have purchased services or good using their device, Adobe reported in January 2013. Meanwhile, Forrester Research projected that smartphones will be used to make retail purchases totaling $31 billion in 2017, an almost 300% increase within just five years.
Clearly, any marketing strategy that fails to make room for mobile is unlikely to reach its full potential.