A Complete Guide To Developing A Mobile Marketing Strategy

by - July 21, 2016

I’m sure that by this point you don’t need me to tell you that mobile marketing is important. In fact, some would argue that your mobile site is more important than your regular site. But none the less, some businesses still struggle when it comes to developing a mobile marketing strategy.

So in this post we are going to explain, in detail, how to develop a mobile marketing strategy from the ground up.

Ready? Let’s get started:

Important Principles

Let’s start with the fundamentals, a couple of key rules to keep in mind before we embark on putting together a strategy.

It’s Not Just About Mobile

Before we even start I will say this:

In reality, developing a “mobile marketing strategy” doesn’t really make sense. You should be developing a single marketing strategy that accounts for mobile visitors as well as all other aspects of your marketing and business.

That said, you may already have a marketing strategy and just need to refine it for mobile, or perhaps you don’t have a strategy at all and you want to develop one.

Either way, it is important to remember that mobile users are also tablet users are also desktop users etc... So even if you are taking a mobile first approach to your marketing, you shouldn’t forget that the same users will often view your content multiple times on multiple platforms before making a purchasing decision.

App Vs Website

Another sticking point for some businesses is the question of whether to have an app or a mobile website. In reality though the answer is simple:

You MUST have a mobile website – just as you MUST have a regular website.

Having an app may or may not also be necessary, it depends on your business, but a mobile website should be considered a requirement.

As a rule of thumb, apps are helpful if you have a lot of returning users, but your website is a critical tool in actually attracting those users in the first place. So having a mobile app without a website is a bit like launching a loyalty scheme before you actually have any customers!

Attracting Customers

Any marketing strategy essentially contains 2 elements:

  1. Attracting new customers
  2. Retaining existing customers

Both steps are important, but without step 1 you can’t have step 2. So understanding who your potential customers are is vital.

Who Are Your Customers?

This is the crucial first step in any marketing strategy, but if you are particularly focused on mobile you should think about your customers and how they are using their phones and tablets to look for information or to shop (etc)

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What do my [potential] customers use their phones for?
  • What sites and communities do they frequent online?
  • What problem can my offering solve for them?
  • Are they searching for what I offer? If so, how?
  • If not, how can you get their attention?

Essentially you want to know where they go online, so that you can go there too. If they use certain forums, you should use those forums, if they are forever on Facebook, perhaps you should advertise there.

What Are Your Goals?

Once you know how you can get yourself noticed by your potential customers you need to figure out what your goals are?

Unlike on a desktop site, on your mobile site you don’t have a lot of space, so you need a focused call to action. What is the one thing that you want customers to do when they find your site?

It may be that your long-term goal is to make a sale or sign up a contract, but your immediate goal might simply be to get an enquiry or get them to sign up for your newsletter.

It’s entirely possible that your goals for first time mobile visitors will be different than your goals for desktop users, so think carefully about how one relates to the other. For example, are many of your customers finding your mobile site and then later going to your desktop site? If so, what is your goal for those users?

Mobile Technology

This is a special, mobile-specific section. You see, mobile technology gives us the opportunity to offer our users additional features not previously possible. So thinking about how you might be able to use this technology to improve your user’s experience is a good idea.

Location

One of the more obvious features of mobile technology is that your phone knows where you are. For clever local businesses this means that you can tailor the user experience based on location. For example:

If your user visits your website when they are close to your high-street store you might prioritize showing them what promotions are on in store, or even giving them directions. While if they are further away, maybe you would prefer to steer them toward your ecommerce section.

Images

Mobile screens are small, so displaying big images to mobile users may not be helpful. But technologies such as the accelerometer (the gadget in your phone that lets it know what direction it is facing) do open up new possibilities.

For example, “photospheres” are allowing real estate businesses to give potential buyers a truly immersive virtual tour without having to even visit a property.

User Interface

User interface is important for any device, but for mobile users it is especially important just because of the limitations of having limited screen space, potentially slower hardware and also limited internet connection speed.

When you hear “mobile marketing” you may think that it is mainly about getting people to your website, but getting people to a badly structured website is like pouring water into a leaky bucket!

Branding

We discussed in this post whether you should have a responsive site or a separate mobile site and concluded that a separate mobile site is often best. But no matter what, it is important to ensure that your branding is consistent across all platforms.

Remember above when we mentioned that customers might move between devices? Consider what would happen if a user found your mobile site and then later tried to access it on their laptop:

  • Would they be redirected to your main site?
  • If so, which page / area of the site?
  • Would it be clear that they were still looking at the same business?
  • Would they still be able to find the same content?
  • Would they be lead towards the same actions?

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

With your mobile site the old adage of “Keep It Simple” is never truer. Bulky navigation and complicated forms, requiring text entry are a sure way to lose visitors.

We discuss this and more in our guide to developing a mobile friendly website, so if you think that your mobile site could use some work, give that a read.

Traffic Generation

For a new business, traffic generation is arguably the toughest aspect of your marketing plan. How do you actually get people to your website? Some of the tips below are geared towards mobile, but the reality is that traffic generation is universal.

If you have an online business, you need a plan to generate traffic, whether that be mobile or desktop or otherwise.

Social Media

Social media is arguably geared toward mobile marketing, since a large number of people use social media via phone apps. So if you want to generate traffic to your mobile site, there are worse places to start.

With most social media platforms there are 2 options, paid or free.

Free
If you don’t have the budget to buy traffic, you can often generate traffic by participating and trying to build up a buzz around your product. This is of course easier if your product is new, trendy or noteworthy in some way. Done well, social media can be very effective, but it is often hard to gain momentum if you don’t already have a traffic base.

Paid
Most social media platforms have paid advertising options. These generally work in a similar to Google’s Adwords platform. The nice thing about using social media advertising though is that you can target people based on their interests even if they are not necessarily searching for your product / surface. This is especially helpful if you have the sort of product that your customers don’t necessarily know that they need.

Sharing
Whichever option you go with, it’s worth mentioning of course that making it easy for visitors to share your content is important too. On your mobile site especially, social media gives you the opportunity to amplify your traffic by getting visitors to share your content with others.

SEO

SEO is important as a general marketing strategy, and there is lots to consider. But if you do your SEO well, there is no reason why you shouldn’t benefit from a steady supply of mobile traffic.

However, there are a few things that are mobile specific, and since Google’s recent update, it is entirely possible to get plenty of regular search engine traffic and not rank at all for mobile searches.

So once you have thoroughly SEO’d your main website, make sure to think carefully about these mobile specific SEO considerations:

  • Server smaller images which load faster on mobile screens so that mobile users don’t have to download large desktop sized images.
  • Make sure your site is mobile friendly by either building a responsive site or building a separate mobile site.
  • Use rel=alternate and rel=canonical to tell Google which site is for mobile and which is for desktop users.

Keep Em Coming

Ok, so we have covered getting to know your users, understanding what they want and ensuring that your mobile site delivers. We have talked about using mobile technology to improve the user experience and we have talked about how to actually get people to your website.

But no marketing strategy would be complete without a coherent strategy to retaining customers. It takes a lot of work to gain users and customers, so once you get them you want to make sure you keep them coming back for more.

Here are a few ideas to help you do just that!

SMS

SMS marketing may be considered old school by this point, but SMS is the one thing that is ubiquitous for all mobile users. Everyone can receive a text message, so for important messages that you want to guarantee your users will see, SMS marketing is hard to beat.

Email

The nice thing about email marketing is that users can receive them on whatever device they like. Email marketing isn’t a mobile specific option, but that’s a good thing. Your email marketing should be geared towards giving your users reasons to come back to your site, whatever their preferred platform may be.

Ensure that your emails are mobile friendly and your users can receive them on whatever platform best suits them.

Build An App

I mentioned earlier that having a mobile friendly website is crucial, but having an app can be worthwhile too. Apps are best used as a tool to help your existing users to have a personalized experience or simply a more efficient way of using your service.

For new users, your website will always be the first port of call, but if you think that a mobile app could offer more value for your loyal customers, then by all means, have one developed. Just remember to ask yourself:

“Why would a user choose to install this app instead of just using my website?”

Conclusion

So there you have it. The important thing to remember is that your existing marketing strategy should include mobile marketing as well as all other aspects of marketing.

It is better to have one consistent strategy than several (silo) strategies for different types of users, because at the end of the day, all of your users are just users, no one is tied to any one type of device!

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