In an increasingly mobile world, the marketing industry is looking to 2014 as the year of mobile marketing. And when 56 percent of consumers are equipped with smartphones, you can’t afford to forgo a strong mobile presence.
Customers are looking for bite-sized information that’s easily accessible, no matter what device they’re using. But don’t worry: You don’t have to invest millions of dollars — or hours — in mobile marketing to achieve powerful results. And you don’t necessarily need your own mobile app.
These four tactics will help you create a powerful, low-cost, and low-maintenance mobile marketing strategy that will benefit you and your customers.
1. Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
The first step to a mobile presence is a website that is mobile-friendly for search and the mobile user experience. Use this checklist to ensure your site is accessible and easy to use:
Provide Simple Navigation
Make sure your site navigation is laid out in a clean, mobile-friendly format. Pinching to shrink text and move around your site is frustrating. Your navigation should allow users to browse with one thumb.
Write Clear and Concise Content
Content is an important part of UX. On a mobile device or tablet, you don’t have room for large amounts of text, and most users won’t want it. Only use the content you need, and make it easy for mobile users to find the information they’re searching for (such as your location and phone number).
Enable Click-to-Call Functionality
When designing your website, keep your location details and phone number in text form, rather than using an image. This will enable click-to-call functionality on most phones and open Google Maps when the user clicks your address.
2. Get Responsive
You might think that redesigning your website for the single most popular smartphone is the best bet, but consumers have a wide array of options for consuming media on the go, and each comes with a different screen size or ratio.
Instead of a website overhaul, a separate mobile site, or a customized app, just make your site responsive. When a website is responsive, its text and images will automatically resize and reorganize to meet the specifications of the screen the site is being viewed on.
The most efficient way to modify your site depends on how it’s been designed and which content management system you’re using. Some content management systems automatically build in responsive functionality, while others will require you to modify your site’s CSS. To verify the current state of responsive functionality on your website, use a free tool like Screenfly or Firefox Responsive Design View.
3. Embrace Social Media
Social media can help spread your reach far beyond your URL. If you think Twitter is just for tweens, think again. Social media has a 100 percent higher lead-to-close rate than traditional outbound marketing, and you can have an impact without investing tons of time. Here’s how to leverage social to work for your mobile strategy:
Establish a Presence
Start by creating a professional profile on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ and linking those profiles to your website. If your product or business is extremely visual, consider creating a profile on Instagram, Pinterest, or Flickr to incorporate photos.
Be Consistent, Not Necessarily Constant
Consistent updates are important, but you don’t have to be chained to your keyboard to have a social presence. Posting as little as once or twice per month on Facebook and Google+ will keep your business looking professional and in-touch, while tweeting a few times per day is fine for Twitter.
Don’t Fear Automation
While it’s important to have a genuine presence, it’s generally considered acceptable to automate a few aspects of your social media networking. Use a tool such as Buffer or HootSuite to schedule your shares so you can set it and forget it.
4. Consider Reaching Out via Text
When all of your online marketing platforms are in place, text message marketing can give a boost to your mobile strategy. If you’re hesitant to try, consider this: 90 percent of marketing text messages are read within minutes. That’s not an easy statistic to ignore, especially as major brands (including Starbucks, Kellogg, and IKEA) are using text message marketing campaigns for new products and services.
Keep Consumers Happy with Worthwhile Updates
Connecting with consumers on their personal phones can be very effective, but choose what you share carefully. Consider what kind of update would be best suited for a text message (and which would be better as a phone call or email). The key is to make your text message as useful and unobtrusive as possible. Many brands have immense success promoting incentives and discounts, events, and new products.
Be Mindful of Time Zones
While customers choose when they access your content online, with text message marketing, timing is everything. Just like with email marketing, you don’t want to send text messages when a customer might be sleeping or enjoying personal time. If it’s too early or too late, you may be billed a nuisance in the customer’s mind or ignored completely.
Finally, remember that many organizations regulate this industry, including the FCC. Be sure to follow the rules and regulations that govern text message marketing, such as opt-in compliance and clearly disclosed privacy policies.
All of these tactics are low-cost and low-maintenance on your end, but they are also extremely effective. Mobile is too big to ignore, but by making a few adjustments to your site, keeping your social media up-to-date, and sending your customers the occasional text message, you can take your mobile presence to the next level and improve every customer interaction.
About the Author:
John Boudreau is the CEO and co-founder of Astonish, an insurance marketing and sales platform for local insurance agencies. Astonish collaborates with insurance agencies to provide an optimized online Marketing presence, automate tasks with technology, and create an effective sales culture through hands-on coaching. Their platform drives growth in round-outs, retention, referrals, new opportunities, lead conversion, and team performance.