That’s a great question that was recently asked within the Strategic Social Networking community on Google+. To answer a question like this, we’re going to need to delve a bit into what, exactly, mobile marketing is, and then see how that can play nicely with whatever you’re doing (or not yet doing) on social networks. For some businesses though, we still need to first explain why this question is even relevant.
Why Mobile Marketing?
The fact is, more and more people are using smart phones and tablets – mobile devices that they can use to do just about everything that once was only possible with their computer. People are checking email, logging into Facebook, and, most importantly, shopping. Within a couple of years, it’s expected that virtually every person on the planet will own at least one mobile device.
These mobile users will be turning to their devices for information on your business, other businesses in the area, services and products that they need at that moment, what their friends think about your business, and how to get a good deal. Google has already recognized that mobile users, when searching for a business, prefer a mobile-optimized website over one that they have to swipe and zoom around, and so mobile sites are ranking higher than standard sites. Business owners need to recognize this as a fact of internet marketing.
What is Mobile Marketing?
Mobile Marketing doesn’t have a standard definition, but I think most agencies would agree that any marketing that targets mobile users and mobile platforms could be considered mobile marketing. QR Codes and mobile apps are typical examples. It’s also true that email and websites and social media activity that is formatted or constructed with mobile in mind, should be considered a part of your mobile marketing strategy.
Each business needs to define, if they haven’t already, what the goals are for their marketing. Are you looking for new customers (lead acquisition), or using your marketing efforts to communicate with your existing customers (brand loyalty)? This will drive how you use mobile and social media and other marketing methods.
The key here is to understand that, according to Mobeen Khan from AT&T, “Mobile advertising and mobile marketing isn’t the same thing. Mobile marketing is an immersive experience.” <tweet this>
What Are the Basic Mobile Marketing Requirements?
To start, you must have a mobile optimized website. Your website should be the hub of all of your marketing efforts, meaning that virtually everything you do should eventually result in someone ending up on your website. If you’re targeting mobile users, the last thing you want to do is disappoint them by having them land on a webpage that they can’t easily view.
Start using Email and SMS Text Messaging to communicate. This means that you must have an email newsletter subscription option on your website, and an SMS service that mobile users can sign up for. This might occur through your website or, more commonly, at your place of business through signage and printed materials.
Mobile Marketing Campaigns
If you are doing any print advertising, consider integrating QR Codes into the materials that will provide mobile users with more information and a richer experience. Effective QR Code usage means that you don’t just send them to your home page! Take advantage of the fact that you’re in control of what QR Code goes on what materials. If you know you’re creating a flyer for a specific event or product, create a landing page that goes along with that flyer that includes some great additional content like videos, images or downloads, giving people a good reason to go there.
Your mobile marketing must also include highly relevant metrics. If someone used a QR Code to get to your landing page, in what magazine was it found? What time of day? Where were they located at the time? This kind of information can help a business understand how effective (or ineffective) their advertising is, beyond just simple impressions.
Brick and mortar stores and businesses need to recognize that they have a tremendous opportunity to communicate with a visitor. Provide opportunities to subscribe to text alerts or email newsletters and give them an incentive to do so. Look at every customer that walks through your door not just as a potential sale today, but as potential sales in the future as well. For many retail stores, most walk-in customers will browse and leave without making a purchase. Don’t waste that opportunity!
Social Media Integration
Utilize Foursquare and Facebook Nearby and Google+ Local and Yelp to get your physical location(s) in front of mobile users, and then reward them for checking in with specials and coupons. Each time a customer checks into your location that activity gets seen by all of their friends and connections!
Facebook Nearby and Google+ Local in particular are two areas where many businesses are currently missing out. Make sure that your business has a complete profile with correct address, business information, hours, contact information, and as many images as you can.
So, what does it take to successfully integrate mobile marketing with your existing social media plan?
I believe the answer is that, for most businesses, it technically doesn’t. Mobile Marketing requires some changes in your website and some changes in your social media efforts. If the implication of the question is that your social media marketing is going to continue to be the same as it was before, then you won’t be effectively marketing to a mobile audience.
If you’re already focusing your social media marketing for your business on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, than that would certainly continue to be the same as all three of those networks are heavily used by mobile users. But, you need to understand and create content and information with your mobile audience in mind. You need to have a presence on the social networks geared specifically to mobile users, like Foursquare.
Certainly, bringing more awareness within your physical location, like displaying signs for Foursquare and Facebook does help integrate mobile marketing with whatever you’re already doing on social media, but it’s important to do more.
If you’d like more information or help understanding how to take advantage of your mobile audience and unique business opportunities, please contact me.
Image courtesy of terraplanner, Flickr.