Using the telephone for marketing purposes isn’t anything new. Since the invention of the ubiquitous device, marketers have been searching for ways to reach consumers the one place that billboards, banners, and flashy endcaps can’t reach: their homes. But the corded rotary phones of yesterday are nothing compared to today’s wireless, Internet-enabled smartphones.
Now, instead of only reaching consumers in their homes during dinnertime, a successful mobile marketing campaign can target an audience anywhere. After all, people — especially Millennials — carry their phones everywhere, and one out of every five people checks a smartphone every 10 minutes.
But don’t be fooled — just because the avenue is there doesn’t mean it’s easy to navigate.
Building Trust in Mobile
With 29 percent of people in all age groups having made at least one purchase on one of their mobile devices, trust in mobile shopping is definitely increasing. If you want a piece of that pie, it’s crucial for your mobile efforts to provide real value and be convenient for your customers.
A solid mobile web page and app can be great tools for drawing in new business and building brand loyalty among current customers. While designing and implementing both can take a long time, this investment is important because releasing a subpar mobile app can drive your customers to your competitors.
Although not every brand sees a massive ROI from its mobile efforts right off the bat, mobile app usage increased by 115 percent in 2013, so think of it as an investment in your organization’s future.
Mobile Marketing Best Practices
What’s most important to understand about mobile marketing, however, is that you’re fostering a one-on-one relationship with each individual customer. Analog marketing methods (e.g., billboards, direct mail, etc.) aren’t precise, and even with cookie tracking, desktop marketing is a bit of a crapshoot.
On a mobile device, you have the ability to send direct notifications to users of your app. This allows you to get to know your customers on a personal level while also making contact — even when they’re not using your app. It also enables your customers to get to know you better, making it important to put your best foot forward with mobile marketing best practices:
Add value. Identify an experience that’s related to the brand, but that also creates genuine value for the user. Your apps should provide more (and different) value than what the website provides. The app, after all, is a tool that sits in your customers’ pockets and has so many more capabilities than a desktop. Take advantage of these.
Respect the tech. Even a terrible mobile app is difficult to create. If you don’t understand mobile technology, hire someone who does. And always test your apps from the perspective of your customers to ensure that you’re meeting their needs and desire for compatibility and convenience.
Market your marketing. A mobile app may be a marketing vehicle in itself, but to compete with similar apps, it’s going to need marketing of its own. If you have an offline experience, such as a physical store, it goes a long way to integrate the mobile experience with the offline experience.
Optimize for the App Store. App Store Optimization (ASO) works exactly like SEO, except it’s specific to the App Store. In addition to keywords and imagery, reviews and star ratings are vital to your app’s being discovered, so be sure to focus on building these up.
Incentivize users. People are more likely to download an app when they have a reason. For example, Circle K and 7-Eleven provide mobile-exclusive deals, and Starbucks makes it easier to pay. Give people a reason to download your app, and they will.
Use push notifications wisely. It’s common for people to download an app and forget about it until they run out of storage space. On the other end of the spectrum, it’s also common for people to uninstall an app that’s too pushy with notifications. Find the middle ground.
Maintain your app. You can create the greatest app in the world, but it still needs support and maintenance. If you don’t invest in keeping your app up and running, your shiny customer acquisition tool may end up driving business away.
The Future of Mobile Marketing
Not only is a mobile device ideal for marketing, but it’s also a medium for consumers to spend money. The release of Apple Pay, Google Wallet, PayPal, Square, and other services is making generations of consumers comfortable using their mobile devices as a payment source.
The Internet of Things and the booming wearables market are signaling a shift to a mobile Internet in which time, location, and even the device can drastically change a user’s experience. But just like a desktop site doesn’t always translate well to mobile, be sure to consider how your mobile site and app will translate to other technology.
As the Internet continues to evolve, consumers are becoming more tech-savvy. We’re practically married to our smartphones, but yesterday’s telemarketing techniques simply don’t work on today’s generation. If you want to connect with your customers in the mobile world, it takes a mobile mindset.