In the U.S. today, industry studies show that 47.7 percent of mobile phone users are on a smartphone. This represents more than one-third of the population, and that number is forecasted to approach two-thirds by 2016.
Not surprisingly, mobile marketing and advertising are following suit, showing growth rates of 53 percent year-on-year in 2011 as the adoption of mobile technology empowers the growing “smartphone class” of consumers. So it’s alarming to see concurrent studies reveal that 79 percent of mobile advertisers don’t have a mobile-optimized website.
“While business need to get smart quickly about their mobile presence and promotions, they need to fight the trendy urge to just quickly grab the mobile ‘shiny object,’” says Kevin Hourigan, president and CEO of the Web design, development and online marketing agency Bayshore Solutions. “Smart and successful companies will take a strategic approach to incorporating mobile as an important element in their online marketing.”
Smart Business spoke with Hourigan about how to get the best business value and results when adding mobile to your marketing mix.
What are the strategic foundations for going mobile?
First and foremost, you need to have a solid core Web presence. Mobile is an advanced phase of a business website. Just whipping up a mobile site so you can check that off the list is short sighted and detrimental to effective integrated marketing.
Once your core website is functional, search optimized and effective, you can attach a mobile site to that asset in a mobile-optimized and mobile results-oriented manner. These can be developed quite effectively in tandem, but rarely will a shiny new mobile site make up for a shoddy main website.
In order to build the right mobile site for your business, you need to do your strategic homework up front. Simply resizing your website content for mobile screens is the classic wrong approach.
To build a mobile site correctly, you need to first analyze your target customers, their buying cycles and online interaction personas. You’ll find there will be distinct differences in the circumstances, priorities and information needs between your customers on a desktop computer versus those accessing your online brand through a mobile device. These strategic insights will lead you to very distinct tactical choices in keyword selection, user interface items and possibly even different conversion actions associated with your mobile Web presence.
Knowing what your customers are seeking in their mobile interactions will assist you in building a tailored and effective mobile experience for them — one that brings them more quickly to the business results you desire. Beyond the mobile site design, this guidance will positively influence your ongoing mobile marketing and ensure it complements and supports your other online and offline marketing initiatives.
What comes after building the mobile site?
Having a live and functional mobile website is the starting point, just as establishing a main business website is the beginning-point of marketing online. Next is developing the right mobile marketing strategy for your mobile site in order to generate the results you want.
Defining the desired result for a mobile customer is key. Depending on the profile of your mobile target customer, these results could be sales transactions, a request for quote or information, a phone call to your company or an appointment scheduled. Some organizations might even consider viewing a specific Web page, downloading a file or engaging with a mobile custom app as desired results of target customers’ mobile visits.
Aligning the metrics to track the correct results then developing a marketing strategy that drives desired mobile attention and action are the next steps. Studies show that customers on a mobile device tend to be in a later buying stage — narrowing choices, seeking price comparisons, or obtaining directions to get to a store compared with conducting initial general research about a product or service. It has also been shown that typical mobile customers are more heavily affected by local dynamics, such as where the closest solution is to getting what they need at that moment.
When you have a clear picture of your mobile customers’ situations and immediacy relative to your product or service, you can key in on different tactical elements of your online marketing to best reach and serve them. Keywords relevant to their situational mobile searches, ad placement on specific websites, local directory listings and enhancements, integration with social media profiles, platforms and custom apps are tactics that can be tailored to your mobile-specific marketing plan.
How does this all work together?
Although your business’ mobile website and marketing might have slightly different emphasis, metrics and content because of the focus on the mobile segment of your target audience, it is essential to make the connections between your mobile Web presence, your overall Web marketing and even your traditional marketing initiatives. Integrating campaigns and proper communications between those implementing them will promote consistency of messaging and quality of experience for your customers throughout all their touch points with your business — mobile, desktop and traditional.
Making the effort to strategically develop and connect marketing channels while ensuring best practices in mobile and all other marketing tactics is a distinguishing factor of successful businesses. A strategic approach, defined and aligned goals and the use of correct metrics to gauge performance will transform a simple mobile presence into a powerful marketing asset for your business.
Kevin Hourigan is the president and CEO of Bayshore Solutions. Reach him at (877) 535-4578 or www.BayshoreSolutions.com. For a snapshot of Bayshore Solutions Web marketing methodology, visit www.bayshoresolutions.com/about-bayshore-solutions/methodology.aspx.
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