We’ve reached a tipping point with mobile usage. Today we spend 60% of our time consuming digital media on mobile devices, compared to 40% on computers, according to comScore. For every eight minutes of digital media consumption, seven of them take place on mobile devices.
That trend is only going to continue, which is why brands need a mobile marketing strategy today, not tomorrow. Here are seven steps for getting started.
1. Tackle Google’s Mobile-Friendly Updates with Responsive Design
Starting today, April 21, 2015, Google started making changes to the way they rank websites. They are using mobile friendliness as a ranking signal that will impact search results. To make sure your website is mobile ready, take Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
One of the most effective ways to optimize your website for this mobile update is to make it responsive. In fact, this is Google’s number one recommendation.
Google’s algorithm change gives you plenty of reason to make your website responsive, but also get this: on the B2B side, 77% of executives use smartphones to research products and services for their companies; and on the B2C side, 60% of consumers used mobile exclusively to make purchase decisions (in the categories of telecom, restaurants, auto and entertainment). In other words, you need to take advantage of optimizing your website for the mobile viewer today.
To help you get started with making your website responsive, you can also input the URL at Responsinator and see how it looks on a variety of devices. That will give you some initial ideas. Then you’ll want to check out Google’s guide for creating responsive websites, which recommends starting with a design targeted at a narrow viewport (i.e., the device through which the user will view the site) and scaling out from there. You’ll also want to:
- Apply simple styling, including a defined color scheme and stylistic images that capture the reader’s attention.
- Change padding and text size, so distinct areas stand out more on a larger screen.
- Alter images for display on a larger screen.
- Set a first breakpoint, which is the pixel width at which the initial narrow viewport design begins to break down and must be reconfigured for larger screens.
2. Optimize Your Newsletters and Other Email Blasts Too
The ability to read email on mobile devices means people now incorporate that activity into their routine when they’re on the go. In fact, nearly 50% of consumers read their emails on mobile devices, and 69% of consumers delete marketing emails that don’t look good on their devices.
That means you’re wasting your time if your email marketing efforts aren’t geared toward mobile devices too. Start with the first thing recipients see: the subject line on an email. A typical smartphone only displays the first five to six words (20-3 characters) of the subject line, so make sure the most important part of your message is first.
You’ll also want to consider the following in the body of the email:
- Make your fonts larger.
- Use short, crisp content in a single column format.
- Calls-to-action need to be noticeable and buttons should be at least 44 x 44 pixels, so they’re easy to tap.
- Use alternative (ALT) text in image tags so the reader knows what the pictures are even if their email account blocks images.
- Ensure the most important items are in the top left corner since some mobile email clients don’t auto-scale and will cut off the right side of emails.
3. Make Social Media Pages Look Great on Mobile
According to Kevan Lee at Buffer, 71% of people who use social media do so on mobile devices, which means you need to optimize those accounts too. Here are some good pointers to follow for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter:
- Text or a call-to-action in a Twitter header image can be obscured on a mobile device, so double-check how it looks on as many devices as you can.
- Both Facebook and Twitter header images should be compelling, since they’re more prominent on mobile devices than on a computer.
- Don’t enter an address on your company’s Facebook page, unless you have to, because it shows up before the description on a mobile device. If you own a restaurant or a shop sure, you might want the address there, but if you’re a software business, probably not.
- Twitter and Facebook emphasize images and video over plain text posts in their layouts, so you’ll want to focus more on content with some visual pop.
- If your company has a B2B focus, you will want to make LinkedIn a major part of your social media focus: Contently notes that LinkedIn accounts for over 80% of B2B social media leads. One thing to keep in mind when you’re posting a link is that the image size will shrink to a thumbnail size of 180×110 pixels. So you’ll want to make sure the image is easy to view and read at that size.
4. Design In-Stream Posts and Ads with Mobile in Mind
People feel at home accessing social media from their mobile devices. For example, 86% of the time Twitter users access Twitter from their mobile devices. Thus, in-stream social media posts and ads need to be optimized for viewing on mobile screens. From the amount of words used to image sizes, here are a couple quick cheat sheets to use for in-stream posts:
5. Try Other Forms of Mobile Advertising Too
Mobile ad-buying opportunities abound. Mobile ads have moved beyond the banners of yore to graphical interstitials, video, and native ads.
Mobile native ads blend seamlessly into an app or website. These ads not only offer a more targeted audience, but they also perform better, too, with a 1.37% click-through rate (CTR), compared to 0.35% CTR for mobile banner ads (or basic display ads). In addition, consumers are 25% more likely to look at native ads, compared to banner ads, and the number of consumers who say they would share a native ad with friends and family is 168% higher than those who say they would do the same with banner ads.
There is also retargeting, which tracks users when they visit sites and install apps to later show them ads that will hopefully bring them back to those sites and apps. While the practice has been around for a while on desktops, it’s beginning to mature in the mobile space. Sales conversions are 13 times higher through mobile retargeting than desktop retargeting, and it has a 46% higher click-through rate than on desktop.
Should you cut out the middle-man and make your own app? That’s a no-brainer for large companies (such as retail companies and sports teams) that want to control their customers’ experience, but SMBs may quiver at the thought of hiring a development firm and possibly experience a runaway app creation budget. However, there are some DIY solutions out there today, and Business News Daily has a round-up of the best ones.
6. Think About Bringing Text Messaging Into the Mix Too
The debate over the effectiveness of text message marketing seems reminiscent of that classic Monty Python bit from “The Meaning of Life”: “I’m not dead yet!” … “Yes, you are.” But given the fact that 90% of SMS marketing messages are opened within three minutes, it’s a technique that could be worth adding to your marketing arsenal, especially if you’re looking for repeat business.
As Inc. points out in its overview of best practices, the fact that customers must opt in is a good one, because it means only those who want to receive your messages will get them—like a person who signs up for flight updates via SMS. But be careful, because if you don’t get permission first, you can not only harm your brand but also ring up some legal fees.
Once you have a customer on your text message list, you’ll want to obey the basic protocols, including not overdoing the number of texts, sending texts during business hours, inserting disclaimers, giving recipients a way to opt out, and more.
7. Measure your mobile marketing success
After you’ve done all those things to engage your customers, you’ll want to keep an eye on your ROI (return on investment) and tweak your strategies as necessary. There are many ways to do that, starting with the free-to-use Google Analytics, which serves up all kinds of data for you to peruse for your mobile strategy. You can even track the type of mobile devices that access your content the most. There’s also Google’s Mobile App Analytics, if you have one.
Once you’ve implemented those seven steps, you should be on your way to an effective mobile marketing strategy that will help you grow your business. Just make sure you stay on top of the latest trends, so you’re ready to engage your customers through the Next Big Thing that comes our way.