If you work at an advertising agency, digital marketing agency or as a marketing director at a corporation, you may have come across our post from a few days ago called How to Think Strategically About Social Media.
That post proved so popular that I thought it might be a good idea to upload a similar post that outlines how to think strategically about mobile marketing.
The following is an excerpt from my #1 Amazon best-selling book called Go Mobile, which I wrote with Jeanne Hopkins, who was Vice President of Marketing at HubSpot at the time.
It outlines several key concepts about mobile marketing that are important to understand. By wrapping your mind around these now, you’ll be poised for success the next time you set-up, launch and run a mobile marketing campaign.
How to Think Strategically About Mobile Marketing
The growing importance of mobile marketing has made developing a mobile strategy almost a prerequisite for a successful campaign.
Simply sending out mass text messages or mobile display ads to customers won’t act as a silver bullet to increase revenue. To be absolutely positive that your mobile marketing campaigns are a success, you’ll need to design, plan, and implement a mobile strategy that meets your objectives.
Let’s begin by reviewing a couple of important concepts before we get started on planning your mobile marketing campaign:
In it’s simplest terms, mobile marketing involves connecting and communicating with the consumer (B2C market) or customer (B2B market) via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
The purpose of your mobile marketing campaign may be to send a marketing message, offer new products and services, drive prospects to a mobile website, or ask for feedback in the form of simple surveys or polls.
You can accomplish these goals by using some of the following methods:
- SMS or MMS: Send text messages or multimedia messages to customers to inform them of special offers, new product releases, and other information.
- Mobile display ads: Use mobile banner ads to send customers to a website specifically designed to be viewed on a mobile device.
- Social media: Use services like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Google+ to share content with mobile customers.
- Mobile paid search: Use Google, Bing, or Yahoo! to drive prospects to your mobile landing page.
- Location-based marketing: Connect with prospects and customers via location-based services, Beacons or location-based advertising.
- Mobile apps: Feature apps that can be downloaded and installed from an application store (such as the iOS App Store or Google Play), and that customers can use to build interest in a product or learn more.
What Are the Benefits of a Successful Mobile Marketing Campaign?
To understand the benefits of mobile marketing, it’s a good idea to explore the unique ways consumers use mobile devices as the “connective tissue” between marketers’ online and offline consumer touch points.
Here are several ways mobile devices are different from other forms of marketing:
- The mobile device is personal and rarely shared with another person.
- The mobile device is always carried by the consumer.
- The mobile device is almost always turned on.
- The mobile device can have a built-in payment system.
- The mobile device allows for accurate audience measurement.
- The mobile device captures the social element of media consumption.
- The mobile device has a physical presence in a specific location.
Tracking the effectiveness of mobile marketing campaigns is easier than doing so for traditional programs. It’s a simple process to follow an individual with a unique phone number attached to every action; plus, you can instantly communicate with your audience.
In addition, your audience is most likely carrying their mobile devices with them, which means they can always receive messages. This is superior to other forms of marketing, whereby the audience has to be in a specific place to see a billboard or view an advertisement.
Marketing through mobile devices is also very efficient. Producing content for mobile view, such as audio or video, can be inexpensive when compared to producing content for desktop computers. However, the smaller screen sizes, lower resolution, and lower data transfer rates on mobile devices mean the content has to be simpler in design and execution.
Imagine the efficiencies of mobile marketing to customers who always have with them promotional coupons, vouchers, and other incentives, because the incentives are sent as part of a mobile campaign.
For example, customers who receive a text message coupon offering them 20 percent off a food item at a restaurant are more likely to bring their mobile phones with them to the restaurant and actually use the coupon than customers who have to clip something out of a newspaper.
But Wait, There Are Some Disadvantages You Should Know About.
Mobile marketing has many benefits, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t also alert you to its disadvantages. Here they are:
Difficult navigation: True, smartphones today are better at navigating the Internet than other mobile devices in the past, but navigating online is still more cumbersome on a mobile device than on a PC. That’s why it’s so important to design your mobile content so that it can be easily navigated on a device without a standard mouse and keyboard.
Differing operating systems: The two most popular operating systems in use on mobile devices today are iOS and Android. Both behave and display content differently, so make sure you test your content on every OS your customers will likely be using.
Privacy: Customers are very attached to their mobile devices and you have to respect their use preferences.
You’ll experience other advantages and disadvantages as you develop and test your mobile marketing strategy, but for now be aware of the ones listed here as we move forward to developing a mobile marketing campaign.
How to Develop a Mobile Marketing Campaign
Now that you have the essential background information about mobile marketing in mind, you’re ready to start thinking about planning your own mobile strategy. Here are the steps to creating and developing an effective mobile marketing campaign.
Do some background planning.
When starting any marketing campaign, you should begin by asking the following questions:
- What is the objective of this campaign?
- Who is your target audience?
- How long will this campaign run?
- Are you using other media to support or supplement your mobile media plan?
Define your objectives.
What do you want your campaign to accomplish? Are you trying to increase awareness of your company, boost sales of a certain product or service, establish your branding, or something else? Clearly identify what it is you want to accomplish with your campaign before moving forward with further planning.
Identify your target audience.
Immediately after defining the objective(s) of your marketing strategy, you should identify your primary target audience. This will help to ensure that you tailor all elements of the marketing strategy specifically to this audience, enabling you to communicate with these customers as effectively as possible.
A good way to identify a target audience is to create a profile of a sample member of this group.
Answer the following questions to get started:
- Who would have a need for the specific product or service you are trying to market?
What is the ideal, manageable size of your primary target audience? Avoid being either too specific (e.g., “31-year-old male businessmen living in Manhattan”) or too vague (e.g., “teenagers”) to find an audience that is the right scope for your campaign.
- Which methods of communication would work well in connecting with this audience? Look at demographic information about which age groups and types of people use mobile devices, and how they use them.
Different groups of people respond variously to what they see and read. Their tastes and preferences will affect how well they respond to the type of communications they receive, so make sure to research your target audience thoroughly before making other plans.
Devise your campaign strategies.
Now that you have clearly defined your objectives and identified your target audience, you can start planning campaign strategies. Even though you are planning a mobile marketing campaign, you should decide which methods of mobile communication you want to use (audio? video? mobile websites?). You should also choose whether you want to push information to customers, or pull them to your company to start a dialog.
Push-based campaigns mean you send information out to customers and hope they respond by purchasing your product or service. Push can include sending text messages to everyone on a mailing list or informing them of, say, an album release or new promotion.
Pull and dialogue-based campaigns will require more planning and effort, but they also tend to be more effective at turning potential buyers into actual sales. Pull-based campaigns focus on “pulling” customers back to your company, such as by using SMS to send out a link to your website, or building an application customers can download, which will inform them about your product.
There are several other factors to consider when you’re in the strategic planning stage of a campaign.
Is your campaign intended to be brand-oriented or promotion-oriented? A brand campaign is designed to create a connection with your customer over the long term. A promotion campaign is designed to give your customer a reason to buy your product or service immediately.
The diagram below illustrates how several different kinds of companies might explore the nature of their campaigns.
The Y-axis indicates whether the campaign is brand-oriented or promotion-oriented. The X-axis indicates whether the campaign is location- centric or non location-centric.
For example, if your company is a brick-and-mortar retailer, your campaign will be location-centric, because you want to drive people to your location. If you’re a non- profit organization, your campaign won’t be location-centric, because you don’t usually need to drive people to a specific brick-and-mortar location.
Determine the length of your campaign.
Once you’ve specified strategies for your mobile campaign, the next step is to decide how long it will run.
Will your campaign be a one-shot action, or will it be a series of actions? The length and duration of the campaign will affect how you design it. If you want this campaign to run for an extended length of time, be sure to repeatedly “inject” it with advertising activity. Otherwise, customer response will grind to a halt.
Incorporate other media.
Finally, determine what other media you will be using to promote your mobile marketing strategy.
Are you going to inform customers about a mobile application through e-mail and web advertising? Will you tell people to sign up for text message updates through radio commercials?
How you use other media should have a profound effect on how you design your campaign. Likewise, your campaign objectives and your target audience should affect your selection of the types of other media you will use.
The preceding are basic considerations, and may even seem obvious, depending on your marketing background, but they are worth addressing here because they are so important.
Without clearly defined answers to these preliminary questions and considerations, your mobile marketing campaign won’t set off in the direction it should, to succeed.
Budgeting and Scheduling
Now that the preliminary background planning phase is complete, you’re ready to move on to budgeting and scheduling. Ask these questions to help you determine the budget you’ll need to produce your campaign, and how to schedule it:
- When do you need the campaign ready to start?
- How much money do you intend to spend on mobile media?
- How much do you intend to spend on other forms of
- How many messages are you planning to send?
Set the start date.
Choose a date you want the campaign to start and work backwards from there to draft a preliminary schedule. For example, if you want your campaign to start on June 8, and you need to have advertising materials ready to deliver a week in advance, set the deadline for advertising material to June 1.
Work backwards in this way for all campaign components until you have established all the dates for your campaign. Don’t forget to include the dates for other forms of media (if you are using them).
Assess the cost of mobile media.
There are several cost considerations to make when planning mobile media for your campaign. Creative, promotion, and messages all have their own costs. How much will it cost to set up a mobile website or to develop a mobile application? Determine these line items before moving forward.
Calculate the cost of other media.
If you are incorporating other media into your mobile marketing campaign (such as print ads, Internet ads, radio, etc.), factor in those costs as well. Mass media is very expensive. Make sure supporting your mobile media campaign with other media is worth what you’ll have to pay to do so.
Determine the number of messages.
Finally, determine how many messages you intend to send as part of your campaign. This will depend on your campaign strategy, as dis- cussed earlier.
Are you focusing on a push, pull, or dialog-based campaign? Deciding that will help you figure how many messages you need to send and how frequently you need to send them.
Note that the cost per message decreases the more you send. For example, the cost per message to send 5,000 messages might be $0.055 per message; but if you send 20,000, that cost would drop to $0.035 per message.
After you have lined up your budget and schedule, you can begin planning the actual message of the campaign.
Content and Production
With the background information, budgeting, and scheduling completed, and with a good idea of the scale of your campaign in mind, you can start planning the types of message(s) you will send.
It’s important to wait until this phase to plan the details of your message so you can accurately assess whether to deliver it all at once or in waves, whether you want to target it to a large or small audience, and other considerations.
Answer these questions to help direct you as plan the content and production of your campaign message:
- What kind of message do you want to use in this campaign?
- How will you distribute your messages?
- Who will produce the message content or mobile application?
- Who will test the campaign?
Choose your message type.
Decide on the type of message you will use as part of your mobile marketing strategy. Will you send out SMS? Mobile display ads? A mobile app?
Examine your target audience and background information before deciding on the method(s) of communication that would be most effective for connecting with your customers.
Make sure to consider the strengths and limitations of each type of message. For example, SMS messages are inexpensive, and are read by customers almost 100 percent of the time, but they are limited to 160 characters. Examine the benefits and drawbacks of each method of communication.
Decide on Distribution
Decide who will provide the platform necessary to implement your campaign. Are you going to do everything in-house, or will you outsource the implementation of your campaign to another firm?
Look at your resources, with particular focus on the time frame and skills of your marketing team, to determine whether it would be more cost-effective to do it yourself or to have someone else take care of it.
Choose a production strategy.
Once you’ve decided who will distribute and implement your campaign, you next need to choose how you will produce the messages you send out. If you are using a mobile app, will you produce it in-house, or will you hire an outside group to develop it? Who will design the SMS campaign or mobile website? Again, evaluate all your resources before making this decision.
Test Your Way to Success.
Testing your campaign is probably the most important step. Simply put, all of your other planning will be wasted if your campaign doesn’t work. You must leave sufficient time to conduct exhaustive testing before launch, to work out the bugs in the technology. You must test each and every aspect of your mobile campaign (SMS, mobile application, mobile website, etc.).
After you’ve taken these steps, you are ready to move on to the final stages of planning for your mobile campaign.
Other considerations to keep in mind.
At this juncture, you understand essential background information about mobile marketing, you’ve established a budget and schedule, and have taken care of content and production. Now you’re ready to plan the final elements of your campaign.
- Who will organize and coordinate multiple media implementation?
- Where will you get your customer contacts?
- What will be measured?
Coordinate multiple media implementation.
If you are going to use multiple forms of media, decide who will coordinate how your media works together. Have the activities for other media been properly planned? If your mobile marketing campaign relies heavily on other media forms to support it, it’s very important to make sure this has been addressed.
Collect customer information.
If you plan on using SMS or other push methods to communicate with customers, how will you get their information? In the United States, selling opt-in lists is prohibited by law, so how else can you collect customer information?
You might consider directing customers to a website where they can sign up for updates, or provide a phone number where they can text a keyword to sign up.
Another very important part of any marketing campaign is to determine how you will measure the success of your campaign. Many metrics are available for mobile marketing, such as number of messages sent, number of messages actually delivered, number of “stop” messages, number of customers who follow through with a message, and others.
Establish the metrics you will you so you can evaluate accurately how effective your campaign is.
Why Think Strategically?
Mobile marketing can be very effective, for three important reasons: (1) It lets you connect with customers through a medium that is always on; (2) It is always available; and (3) It is very personal.
Moreover, a mobile marketing strategy can easily implement other forms of communication and media to reach a target audience and turn prospective customers into sales. Today, almost every man, woman, and child has his or her own personal mobile device, making it easier than ever before to reach both current customers and new prospects.
Why not implement a mobile strategy for your next marketing campaign? See how effective using this new technology to reach customers can be.
Excerpted from Go Mobile, by Jamie Turner and Jeanne Hopkins.
Jamie Turner is the CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and 60 Second Communications, an Atlanta-based advertising agency and digital marketing firm that works with national and international brands. He is the co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media” and “Go Mobile” and is a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.