Five practices for leveraging your mobile marketing strategy

May 25, 2018

Matt is a #OKGNtech columnist for Accelerate Okanagan. This column appeared in Vol. 2 of ICT News.

Did you know the average smartphone user touches their phone 2,617 times a day? In a study conducted by consumer researcher Dscout, results indicated that 2,617 was only the average and that heavy smartphone users clicked, tapped or swiped on their phone 5,427 times a day. Long story short, we are on our mobile devices All. The. Time.

Several years ago, the “mobile revolution” was a buzzword used throughout the digital marketing industry to describe the huge shift in online behaviours from desktop to mobile. Google announced in November 2016 that its algorithms would, eventually, primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site to understand structured data and to show snippets from those pages in its results.

It was obvious that this ”mobile-first” shift in Google’s ranking system was going to have a significant impact on how we connect and market. It has been predicted that world-wide, over $1 billion will be invested by 2021 into making the web mobile-first.

eMarketer has been reporting on the decreasing revenue from traditional ad spend for years. In September 2017. it released a report stating that advertisers are concentrating more dollars on mobile, and that by 2021, mobile’s share of digital advertising in the U.S. will rise to 79.2 per cent. According to a survey by Cadent Consulting Group, consumer-packaged-goods marketers spend more on digital than all forms of traditional advertising combined. It’s clear the shift to mobile is here to stay.

This means mobile advertising is also here to stay, and considering where it fits into your overall marketing strategy is key. It always comes back to who you are trying to reach and where they are likely to be. Is your audience primarily millennials? If so then yes, no doubt about it, you must be on mobile, given that 94 per cent of people ages 18-29 own a smartphone. Are you trying to reach an over-65 crowd? Conduct some research on how effective mobile marketing is going to be for you before investing large chunks of your budget to advertising that isn’t going to be seen.

Here are five best practices to help you leverage mobile:

1. Have a mobile optimized website. This is a no-brainer. More than half of all website visits now come from mobile devices, and if people can’t easily get the information they need from your site on a small screen, they will leave. In fact, 80 per cent of consumers have reported leaving a site immediately if it was difficult to view on their phones. Make sure the key information is available on your site, such as address, opening hours and other key information. If you want to see if your website fits responsive design recommendations, you can use Google’s mobile friendly test. Your mobile site must load quickly, as this is a key component of Google’s mobile ranking algorithm. Whatever you do, however, always put the users and their mobile experience first - a good user experience will keep site visitors happy, which in turn will keep search engines happy.

2. Be visible in local mobile searches. While this is not always the case, when someone conducts a Google search on a mobile device, they are likely to be on-the-go and needing something now. Think about a search for a restaurant - it’s quite possible you are looking for somewhere to go in the next hour. The listings on Google that are going to stand out the most will probably be those in the local pack, with good star ratings. Your business appears in these results after you create a Google My Business page and start getting people to review your business. People also conduct searches for something “near me”. In order for you to appear in those “near me” searches, you need to place a lot of emphasis on posting local content on your website; it will really make a difference.

3. Use some of the many apps, platforms and tools available to help market to your customers on mobile. These range in price and what they offer, but ultimately, the goal of any app or tool should be to drive more customers for your business. For example, TextMagic is a text messaging service used to run and schedule personalized SMS marketing campaigns.

4. Promote your business to highly-targeted audiences. Facebook advertising allows you to choose who to show ads to based on their location, which makes targeting for small businesses extremely cost-effective. You could even consider working with a partner to run hyperlocal mobile ads, which take not only location into consideration, but also the time of the day and the current environment. With hyperlocal advertising, you can even run ads for your business on the smartphones of consumers while they are in your competitor’s location!

5. Video should be part of your mobile marketing strategy. This is especially true if you’re targeting a younger audience. And your videos must be visible on a mobile device first. In fact, many people would prefer to watch a video on their mobile rather than read small text, especially if they are on the go. Wordstream reports that a third of online activity is now spent watching video - so to get in front of this video-hungry, mobile crowd, start filming!

You can easily use your smartphone to record videos and even add filters to make it look more professional. You can speed it up, slow it down - really, the sky's the limit. Not sure what to film? How about a time-lapse video of you performing a business function? Interview a customer. Make a photo montage. These simple, engaging videos can be uploaded to YouTube and shared on your website or uploaded directly to social media. With Facebook Live, you can capture immediate interest in your business. The options with video are endless, as long as you’re willing to experiment.

Think about it: if on average people are touching their smartphones over 2,500 times a day, as a business owner or marketer you have to be looking for ways to show up in your future customer's’ palms – every day!

- Matty