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Mining Mobile Marketing

By Hector Cisneros

Image courtesy Pixabay

Did you know there are 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide?  This is surprising, considering that the current world population is just a little under 8 billion men, women and children.  More surprising is the fact that is the number of mobile users has jumped more than 1 billion during the past three years alone. This means that there are far more people surfing the web via smartphone then there are using computers. 

What this also means to business owners and managers is that if they are not yet making mobile marketing a priority, they could be missing the boat.  The problem for many is it took them nearly a quarter century to learn how to add the Internet to their marketing mix.  Now they’re reluctant to jump onto the mobile marketing bandwagon since they believe it will require the expenditure of yet more time, energy and money. 

HTML 5 to the Rescue

While it is true that smartphones can and do surf the web, most websites created before 2012 rely on code that forces those employing mobile technology to squeeze many websites down to size in order to read them.  This is not only inconvenient, it also means that many smartphone users will choose to surf elsewhere.  What HTML 5 does is create a site that can reconfigure itself to make it easier for tablet and smartphone users to view the site without having to scrunch the site down to size.  Better still, HTML 5 works with most browsers. 

Of course, even with HTML 5 it can still be a chore for smartphone readers to view a site that has a lot of text without doing a lot of scrolling.  While mobile users don’t mind scrolling, if you force them to wade through screen after screen of text to get to what they’re looking for, they’ll simply hit the back button to go back to search.  The trick to being able to give mobile users what they want is to keep your prose short and snappy.  If you have a lot to say, shoot a video instead since mobile users like to watch videos.

Many Mobile Users are in the Research Phase

That means they’re trying to find the person or entity that best meets their needs.  If you want to get a mobile user to take the next step, you need to give them a reason to do so.  If the copy on your site looks and sounds just like all your competitors, what reason does a user have to do business with you.  All too many websites still rely on stock images and text that does little to break a company out of the herd.  If you want a web surfer to take the next step, you need to part the curtain and let them know what makes you different from the rest.  Then you have to give them a reason and a means to make contact with you. Does your copy have a call to action, a compelling offer and a Click to Call button?  If it doesn’t, now you know why your site isn’t generating little if any traction.

There’s an App for That

Some businesses have embraced mobile marketing in a big way by creating mobile apps that not only allow them to get a jump on the mobile craze, but also allows them to do some pretty sophisticated things online.  Whereas in the past many businesses relied upon radio and TV ads to generate a buzz about their products and services, today it’s all too easy for someone to change stations or filter their TV viewing to eliminate all those annoying 4-minute commercial breaks. This means that much of the airtime you are buying is going to be dead air.

This is where mobile apps are changing the way in which businesses engage their customers.  Offering everything from interactive coupons and contests, to games and built-in customer appreciation programs, many businesses are capitalizing on the public’s infatuation with smartphones by developing apps designed to engage customers and prospects. 

Of course, the downside is that it can be pricey to develop a sophisticated app from scratch.  This makes many apps unapproachable for smaller businesses.  There is also the added factor that bringing an app to market can take months.  Even once in the marketplace you are forced to compete with millions of other apps.

Before you plunk down a wad of cash to develop an app for your business you need to consider several factors, including:

1.      How is the app going to give your business an edge over the competition?

2.      How big is your target audience?

3.      How long of a shelf life will your app have?

4.      How are you planning on distributing your app?

5.      Is there a third-party app available that can do a similar job?

With millions of apps on the shelf, it’s highly likely that someone has already come to market with an app that can do virtually the same thing as the one you’re going to develop.  Doing some online research can save you a bundle.  I mean, why lay tracks when you can hitch your caboose onto someone else’s train?

Mobile Users Want an Easy Way to Opt-In

While some firms do provide concise copy and compelling offers, they still fail to sink the hook if they make a mobile user jump through too many hoops to respond via form.  If you want users to opt-in for an offer via form, keep them short, sweet and to the point.  Only ask for enough information to make contact.  In the age of phishing, users tend to balk if they’re asked to provide too much information to an entity they don’t know that much about.  Once they express an interest in learning more about your offer or your company, you can get back to them to find out more about them.  Ask for too much info initially and all you’re going to do is shoot yourself in the foot every time.

Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  

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