If you’re running a business, you need to reach your customers through the channels they use the most. In previous decades, traditional media (TV, radio, and print) dominated the marketing landscape, but customers now use mobile devices to shop, communicate, and search for information.
There are over 6 billion mobile devices in use as of 2021, and almost 5 billion users access their social media accounts or websites using smartphones. Mobile marketing gives your business the ability to reach practically everyone in your target market.
If your marketing strategy treats mobile as an afterthought or omits it completely, you miss out on potential revenue. Let’s discuss how you can use mobile marketing to expand your reach and boost your profits.
1. Optimize for voice search
Smartphones have given users the convenience of searching for information wherever they are. While most smartphone owners use their fingers to navigate their screens or use apps and websites, today’s mobile devices can follow voice commands, open apps, and search for information on demand.
Voice recognition technology has evolved to a point where it can recognize and answer even the most obscure questions. For instance, you can ask Google Assistant “how much is a mini pig”, and it will deliver the results below:
Your mobile marketing strategy should include optimizing your website for voice search, which means you have to think like someone who uses voice search. Here are a few things you can do to achieve that goal:
- Target conversational search queries. People talk to their phone's personal assistant like they do to another human. Instead of verbally saying "Pirates of the Caribbean Lead Actor," they would phrase it as "Who is the lead actor of Pirates of the Caribbean?" The former might be something typed out.
- Invest time in quality content marketing. Not just high-volume content creation, but 10x content marketing – create content that’s high-quality, trustworthy, and earns backlinks from other websites. This may consume a lot of time, but it can really support ranking performance.
- Target queries in the form of questions. You can do this by writing blogs that discuss commonly-asked industry questions of your audience or target market.
- Use structured data on your website. This will fully utilize Google SERP functionalities such as featured snippets. Structured data gives Google information about your content that will allow the search algorithm to classify your pages. For instance, adding “recipe” as a content type in your page’s structured data will allow Google to recognize the content as a recipe.
- Use location-based marketing. You'd want your business to appear when people search for "Restaurant near me," "Theater near me," or anything "...near me."
As technology advances, voice search functionalities are getting smarter and smarter. You'd want to tweak your mobile marketing strategy to account for voice search before it becomes a more widespread method.
Look into integrating user research into agile development as well. Agile UX creates a high-quality mobile-friendly website that’s critical for your mobile marketing strategy.
2. Mobile search advertising
In addition to voice search, you'd also want to be looking at mobile search.
Google and other search engines have features for searches performed on mobile that desktop and laptop searches don't have. Some ads highlight a company's business number that users can tap to call. These ads do not appear on devices that can't make calls.
They are called call ads. They only show up on mobile search results.
These ads function like your typical PPC ad that appears on the search results. They feature your website and ad copy but highlight your business number so that users can immediately click to call.
3. Tap into location-based marketing
Utilizing location-based marketing allows your business to be visible to users within a specific radius. This feature is particularly helpful if you’re running a business that relies heavily on foot traffic to drive revenue, like restaurants or brick and mortar retail stores.
Shown above are results for the keyword “steak in fort lauderdale”. You’ll see a Google map with pins for different steakhouses followed by a list of businesses that match the description. To get into this list, you need to optimize your web presence for local searches.
- Use a Google My Business listing. A Google My Business listing allows your business to appear on Google Maps, along with other details such as your address, contact details, business category, operating hours (including customer traffic per hour), website URL, photos, videos, and reviews. This listing will optimize your visibility for "...near me" searches.
- Target geographical keywords. You may want to optimize for search queries containing "...in *city*" Put these keywords on your landing page, title tag, and meta description.
- Encourage customers to tag your location when they upload user-generated content. If social media users see your restaurant's name (and location) tagged on a customer's Instagram photo, you may generate more potential customers.
- Use other local listings. More on that later in this article.
Mobile users have an on-the-go habit of searching for nearby businesses. You'd want to stay on top of your location-based marketing to ensure a great user experience on smartphones.
4. Use social media marketing
According to recent studies, 99% of social media users use mobile phones to access social media platforms. That means using your social media marketing strategy should consider the needs of mobile users to maximize its effectiveness.
Source: Chima Steakhouse
Here are some social media marketing basics you'd want to know:
- Don't attempt to be on top of every existing social media platform. Instead, you can select two or three social media platforms where your target audience is most active and allocate your marketing team’s time and resources to those platforms.
- Utilize native content. That means adapting your marketing content to the platform it's on. For example, instead of publishing videos on YouTube and sharing them on Facebook, you can directly post your videos on Facebook.
- Utilize the appropriate aspect ratios for the media creative you'll be using. An example would be using 16:9 horizontal videos for YouTube video ads, and 4:5 ads for Instagram.
- Don't be sales-y on social media. Social media is a place where friends get together and share interesting content. Your goal is to entertain and inform first, then try to sell later.
Not all social media campaigns will be compatible with mobile users, though. Here are some key tips you'd want to consider:
- 4:5 (vertical) and 1:1 (square) aspect ratios appear well on both mobile and desktop. You may want to use this aspect ratio primarily for easy mass-production of marketing collateral on social media.
- Use mobile-appropriate terms such as "tap" instead of "click" for your marketing calls-to-action, such as "Tap Here to Find Out More" or "Tap Here to Order".
- Mobile users can spontaneously take photos and upload them. You can encourage user-generated content (UGC) from your customers by having them upload photos of your product and tag your business. This increases reach and engagement to the circles of your dedicated customers.
Social media marketing is a complex and broad discipline. A single section on an article can't discuss all the dos and don'ts of marketing to social media users. Nonetheless, the above-provided bullet points should be a solid foundation.
5. Use text message marketing
Social media marketing is a must-have for a mobile marketing campaign. However, just as important is SMS marketing since SMS texting is a feature unique to mobile phones.
Text message marketing functions in the same way as email marketing but uses SMS texts. Compared to social media marketing, and email marketing for that matter, text message marketing is more direct since it instantly sends marketing material straight to the user.
Here are some tips on getting started with SMS marketing:
- Create a lead magnet. Be sure that the lead magnet you're providing is helpful for your target audience. This lead magnet could be a discount coupon, a webinar, or a downloadable ebook, so long as it's free value for your target audience. Have prospects opt-in with their mobile number as opposed to just their email.
- You can use an SMS marketing tool like Klaviyo or TextMagic to help you get started with SMS marketing. You can build pop-ups and embed forms to place on your website. These forms collect mobile numbers from interested leads.
- Ecommerce businesses may provide an option for shoppers to subscribe to an SMS campaign upon checkout.
SMS marketing is very efficient for mobile marketing campaigns since it utilizes smartphones' unique ability to receive SMS messages. It's a lot like sending personal messages to smartphone users.
Here are some SMS marketing best practices:
- Keep it short. Unlike email, SMS messages should be limited to 160 characters. This should include your CTA link or coupon code, plus the unsubscribe option (i.e., Text STOP to opt out).
- Use dynamic fields. Addressing each SMS subscriber by their first name will make your SMS messages seem more personal.
There's a lot more to SMS marketing than what this section can discuss. But if you want to improve your conversion rates, the tips above should provide you with foundational information on SMS marketing.
6. Leverage local listings
There are other listings besides a Google My Business listing that you'd want to be using. Local listings are essentially directories of businesses within a given area. Take, for example, rental space listings on Airbnb.
Depending on the kind of business you're running, there's surely a local listing platform you can place your business on. Local listing platforms also have apps that make searches easier on the phone.
Tourists and travelers also rely on local listings for nearby businesses and services. Here are some examples of local listings:
- Yelp - Primarily for restaurants and cafes. But Yelp also shows listings for other businesses.
- Airbnb - For rental spaces.
- Trivago - For hotels.
To optimize your business' visibility for mobile platforms, leverage local listings. A lot of the time, it's free to do so.
Even if your website is optimized for mobile experiences, that won't mean anything without a proper mobile campaign. Your marketing efforts should take into account an effective mobile strategy.
You can do this by optimizing your website for voice search. Allocate some marketing budget towards call ads too. Use location-based marketing and local listings to appear in front of nearby mobile phone users.
Create mobile content for your social media. 99% of social media users use their smartphones, so it's best to create content for the smartphone user. Aside from social media and search engines, you'd also want to utilize SMS marketing for your mobile advertising.
Follow these mobile marketing techniques to get you the mobile customers you need.
David Pagotto is the Founder and Managing Director of SIXGUN, a digital marketing agency based in Melbourne. He has been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years, helping organizations get more customers, more reach, and more impact.