First came telephones, then cell phones, and now smart phones. What once began as a simple concept has transformed into a massive culture shift worldwide. When I spent a summer in Uganda, most of the people living in the mud and stick huts I saw didn't have so much as running water - but they had cellphones. In the U.S., you'd be hard pressed to go anywhere without finding people glued to their phones. Restaurant, bar, park, shopping mall, streets, cars, homes - you name it, wherever you go, mobile phones are sure to be there.Digital marketing is constantly evolving, and mobile marketing is just one piece of the ever-changing puzzle. Technology updates constantly, and customers' buying habits update with them. Because of this, businesses simply can't afford to ignore the current growing need for mobile marketing.
Consider these recent statistics:
- 77% of the U.S. population currently owns a smart phone (Pew Research Center) - and this number just keeps increasing.
- By 2018, an estimated 8 in 10 people will open their emails exclusively from their mobile devices (EmailMonday).
- Additionally, over 50% of smart phone users grab their cellphone immediately after waking up (Express Pigeon).
- A whopping 4 out of 5 consumers use their smart phone to shop (Carnival.io).
- 75% of users access the internet via their mobile devices (Carnival.io).
- The average user spends 4-5 hours per day on mobile (Branch).
- Currently, 69% of emails are opened on mobile devices (Branch).
- By 2020, 90% of U.S. sales will be influenced by digital, the majority of which can be attributed to mobile. (Data & Marketing Association).
It's vital to keep up with technology and trends in order to stay relevant in the fast-paced industry of marketing. Because of the recent boom of smart phones, if you want to remain front and center in your customers' minds, mobile marketing is a must.
So, how can you reach your audience through mobile?
- Optimize your website for mobile. If someone visits your website from their phone and your site isn't mobile friendly, chances are pretty good that your prospect isn't going to stick around to wrestle with it. Instead, they'll head over to the competition. Important factors you should keep in mind when optimizing your website for mobile devices: make sure your page speed is lightning fast, design for large clumsy fingers (no tiny buttons or buttons that are placed too close to each other!), and use HTML5 rather than Flash, since some phones aren't equipped with that plugin.
- Create a strong and interactive social media presence for your business. Social media is a great place to show off the personality behind your brand, and to really connect with your customers. Respond to comments, thank people for follows and re-tweets, and make sure you're consistently posting quality, relevant content that will make people glad they're following you. Fortunately, you don't have to create an account on every single platform out there. Instead, find out where your target market is hanging out on social media, and be there. For almost everyone, it's a good idea to be active on Facebook, but for some businesses, meeting your target market where they are will mean being active on LinkedIn, Instagram or Snapchat as well.
- If it makes sense for your brand, create an app. Research shows that mobile users spend most of their time in apps other than in website browsers. When people download your app, you have increased your brand visibility exponentially, and created a direct marketing channel to that audience. Thanks to push notifications, you can be even more present in your customers' everyday lives. Apps are also a great way to build customer loyalty and engagement! Customer loyalty features are a giant incentive for your customers to download your app, and a great way for you to surprise and delight. Last but not least, if your business sells merchandise, creating an app can streamline the checkout process and make purchases fast and easy, with the added benefit of increasing the likelihood of future sales.
- Keep up with your email marketing - and make darn certain that you have a great mobile version of those monthly newsletters. Email marketing is an incredibly valuable form of inbound/content/digital marketing that can keep your audience engaged and informed. With most newsletter creation programs, there are easy-to-configure options for mobile optimization of your newsletter design. Since so many people open their emails on mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly newsletter can make the difference in whether a person unsubscribes from your list or not. When optimizing your newsletter for mobile devices, it's a good idea to use a one-column design. Make sure your fonts aren't too small, use images sparingly, and stay away from too many calls to action.
Mobile optimization is one of the best ways to reach new customers and nurture relationships with existing ones, and it can be one of the most affordable, effective ways to enhance your current marketing strategy. Optimize your marketing strategy for mobile - your future self will thank you.