Our world is becoming increasingly mobile. Smartphones are a must for a lot of audiences, younger ones in particular. M-commerce is a commonplace term for marketers and is on an upward trajectory predicted to reach $6.7 billion this year. More consumers have an internet-capable mobile device than do a laptop or desktop computer. And as marketers we know that if we want to connect with our target audience we need to reach them in the most effective manner—where they are.
As we continue to consolidate devices and find efficiencies for daily tasks, smartphones will become a quintessential part of everyday living—transforming into your credit card, GPS, blogging platform and more. This emerging medium instantly becomes a viable channel for launching promotions. However, navigating this quickly evolving mobile marketing landscape can be tricky. Here are some steps to take before you develop and launch your mobile marketing campaign.
Understand consumer mobility
Increasing mobile usage and the confounding nature of the technology aren’t reasons to launch a mobile campaign. Know how your audience specifically is using mobile and develop campaigns that enhance that usage. You are marketing to a consumer who is out and about waiting for suggestions about where to go or what to do next. A precisely timed discount code or notification about a special at a nearby venue can create new opportunities for consumers to interact with your brand—and even spark a purchase.
Users are also working with a device that has a limited keyboard. As such, they don’t want to fill out multiple fields and take unnecessary steps. Solutions like stored credentials and account information can expedite the experience for the on-the-go mobile user.
There is a ton of research on mobile usage trends and if you do your due diligence before setting foot in the space you can really craft a successful strategy for your mobile campaign. (Trends, Stats, Best Practices You Need to Know About Mobile Marketing)
Mobile app or mobile website?
For many marketers the appeal of mobile is the opportunity for acquisition at any given moment. With that goal in mind, the obvious question is mobile app or mobile website. They are equally effective and appealing. A branded app through the marketplace can make a deep impact on m-commerce with endless opportunities for customized functionality and enhanced user experience.
Additionally, once an app is downloaded it becomes a billboard serving as a constant reminder for the owner to interact with the brand. The downside to a dedicated app is that the app space is becoming increasingly congested making it harder for apps to stand out which hurts download rates and thus doesn’t accomplish the acquisition goal.
An optimized mobile website often has a longer shelf life and has the ability to be discovered through organic browser search which is important if you’re looking to reach a new audience. Because of the proliferation of apps and the longevity of a mobile site, it probably makes more sense to first optimize your mobile website and then determine whether a mobile app is a good strategic move for your brand. This question, however, may answer itself depending on the audience you are trying to reach and the mobile device they use. If the majority of your audience uses the Blackberry as their phone of choice you will definitely want to have an optimized mobile site. On the flipside, Android users prefer using apps to mobile sites (more than Apple users). The answer to this question is quite complex and completely dependent on your objectives and the audience you are trying to reach. (New research confirms a trend noticed last summer: U.S. smartphone users are spending more device time inside their downloaded apps and proportionately less of their day browsing the general Web.)
Stay up to date on changes
Just like any other area of marketing, the mobile marketing landscape changes frequently. If you want to play in this space you need to stay up to speed on the policies, challenges and changes and shift your strategy accordingly. Marketers face a lot of challenges in the mobile space. Privacy and disclosures are some of the biggest challengers for marketers. Recent reports are showing that the FTC may soon require stricter privacy disclosures for apps geared towards children. If you are developing an app for children you may need to change your privacy disclosures to fully reveal your data collection and sharing practices. In addition to regulatory changes, mobile technology itself is evolving and more players are developing mobile devices with various functionalities. Set alerts for news and trends in the mobile space so that you are capitalizing on opportunities and adapting your plan where necessary.
Once you’ve done a bit of legwork and research you are ready to start planning your promotion (if it makes sense for your brand). With any promotion, establishing clear, measurable goals is critical to determining the success of the campaign and usually the first place to start in the planning process.
Have you launched any noteworthy mobile campaigns? If so, what are your best practices?