With more phones than toothbrushes on Earth, and people accessing the Web more frequently via mobile than desktop, a marketing plan to reach your customers and prospects on their wireless devices is no longer a nice-to-have.
Here are the Top 10 mobile marketing essentials for 2015:
- Build a Mobile-optimized Web Site
Several studies show that consumers are punishing brands that do not deliver a positive experience on a mobile phone. A negative one could come from a site that takes several seconds to load or a cluttered and impossible one to navigate. Mobile users are most often looking for information on what's around them—store hours, a map to the location, and what's the featured product. Keep such minutiae as the bio of the CFO confined to the desktop site.
- Create and Nurture a Mobile Loyalty Club
More than one third of those using wireless devices are interested in joining a mobile loyalty club where they can receive offers, exclusive content, and have a dialogue with a brand or business that they know and trust. Mobile loyalty clubs can consistently bring consumers into brick and mortar companies to redeem offers. Overall sales for the locations often go up, even in bad weather. Without a successful mobile loyalty club, you're leaving your customers (and your sales) out in the cold.
- Break Down the Silos Between Mobile and Social
Facebook and Twitter users spend more than twice as much time on mobile as they do on desktops. If you're trying to reach your users, you need to reach them in the right community and on the right device. Your consumers interact with social media, and they do it on the go. You need to be where they are and you need to know how to interact with them in a mobile-positive manner.
- Get Smarter About Mobile, Both for Your Company and for Yourself Consulting firm mLightenment predicts mobile jobs will increase from 524,000 in 2012 to 1.4 million in 2015. Doors are opening for you. Are you be prepared to go through them?
- Follow Mobile's Rules and Regulations
Beyond the fact that learning from best practices will give you the best chance to succeed, it is imperative that you know what you can and can't do with mobile marketing and mobile advertising programs. One of the most important regulations is around the sending of text messages to mobile phones. There specific double opt-in rules detailed in the Telephone Communications Protection Act (TCPA). For each violation, it could cost you $5,000 per text sent to someone who has not explicitly opted in. Who has the budget or stomach for that?
- Add Mobile Calls to Action in Your Existing Marketing Materials
With a mobile device no further than an arm's distance from your customers and prospects, it is important to integrate mobile into your other channels. For instance, consider adding a mobile call to action on a direct mail piece, offering an incentive like a two-for-one coffee offer. That will drive traffic to your store. It also will give you the ability to begin a dialogue with a consumer. If they text in for the offer, you have permission to send one additional text. It might say, "If you would like additional deals and information, join our mobile loyalty club."
- Stay Current
We as marketers lead extremely busy lives. I see that not just in my experience but in that of my wife who is a VP of Marketing. Of course, it's difficult to keep up with all things mobile, but it is imperative to be current given the rapid change in adoption, behavior, interest, and new technologies that could have an impact on your business.
- Get out and experience mobile
As a follow-up to the last point, even if you are not ready to jump in with both feet, you should become a keen observer of what is happening in mobile. How? Identify and download your competitor's app. Commit to going to a mobile marketing conference. Take a trip to the mall and see all that is going on to involve consumers on their mobile devices. You will find calls to action, beacons, and more. And that it's a new day.
- Build a plan long before the holidays
One of the big mistakes that newbies make is that they wait and wait before launching mobile initiatives to the point where they have little or no chance to succeed. Much of this is common sense—if you are going to build a mobile website, do it long before the busy shopping periods, and have a test phase to ensure that all is working as expected. As a rule, think several months out. For holiday season mobile programs, many successful businesses begin planning in the heat of summer.
- Monitor and Optimize in Real Time
One of the advantages of mobile is that you are able to run campaigns and monitor them in real time, often alongside your other marketing programs. There are ample examples of modifications that have been made in mid-program, giving businesses the ability to gain insights and to optimize. An example is a brand that did a street team event in Times Square. By monitoring the responses to the mobile calls to action, the business decided to keep the program going for extra hours because it knew that folks were interacting. This all makes sense. Gone are the days of postmortems. The very definition of a postmortem is that the patient is dead. We can—and should—take a 2015 view of marketing and capitalize on our ability to see and react.
Those of us in mobile for a long time groan every time that someone declares it the "Year of Mobile." It's a line that lost its impact when it was said for about eight years in a row. But there is little argument that mobile has become real and marketing through the wireless channel now deserves full consideration.