Welcome to our mobile marketing series! We’ll be covering everything you’ve wanted to know about marketing your business on mobile devices, including what tactics might work best for you, the future of mobile marketing, and much more. Ready to get started? All posts are linked at the bottom of this one!

We love our mobile devices. We spend a lot of time every day on our smartphones (three hours and fifteen minutes on average, to be exact), and that doesn’t include the hours we spend watching Netflix on our tablets, logging steps on our smartwatches, or revisiting the classics on our e-readers.

With consumers spending that much time every day on mobile devices, local businesses have begun to realize they have a captive audience. By marketing to consumers where they are — on their mobile devices — you can capture their attention any time of day or night, remain top-of-mind with those who already know you, and introduce yourself to a whole new audience.

Today, I’ll walk you through the many sides of mobile marketing. We’ll explore what mobile marketing is, why it matters for businesses, and what you can do to get ahead of your competition in the mobile space.

What Is Mobile Marketing?

Let’s start by defining mobile marketing: any form of marketing communication aimed at reaching consumers on their mobile devices. This includes everything from websites and email campaigns to paid search and social to SMS and apps.

In some cases, you’ll find crossover with your typical digital marketing efforts. For example, you need a website that functions on desktop computers. But now, a mobile-friendly site is also a requirement, and you can’t expect it to function the same across all devices.

Other mobile marketing techniques, like SMS or geofencing, are unique to mobile devices. Inherent to these marketing tactics are features that can’t be displayed to desktop or laptop users.

Mobile Is on the Rise

Mobile traffic has been on the rise over the past few years. Since 2017, about half of all searches have begun on mobile devices. And as I noted above, we spend many hours on those devices each day.

In recent years, time spent on mobile has surpassed even the time spent on desktop computers. According to PC Magazine, we spend nearly six hours looking at screens each day. But 3.3 of those hours are on mobile devices, while only 2.1 hours are spent on desktops. And mobile device time continues to rise, while desktop hours have fallen year-over-year.

That means consumers are doing everything on a mobile device. This is where they’re looking for businesses on search engines, scrolling through social media, or engaging with brands through their own apps. That’s why it pays to take a holistic approach to mobile marketing, rather than focusing on one or two tactics.

Google Wants You to Be Mobile-Friendly

Google has been rolling out mobile-first indexing over the past few years, and as of July 2019, it’s the default method for indexing all new sites.

What does this mean, in non-technical terms? Indexing is how Google comes to understand the content of a website.

Google’s robots crawl the website, looking for information that gives them clues as to what the site is all about. Based on what the robot finds, Google then stores what it’s learned about the site and uses that information to decide which sites are most relevant (and therefore should be displayed) for specific search queries.

While Google used to turn to desktop sites for indexing, they’re instead using mobile sites to index since they discovered most of their searches now start on mobile devices. If your website doesn’t have a mobile version or the mobile version is broken or missing information, you could be hurting your standing on the search engine results page.

Mobile Experiences Influence Consumers’ Offline Spending

More than ever, consumers’ dollars are tied up in mobile. And it’s not just that they’re shopping online from their mobile devices; consumers’ offline behaviors are being influenced by what they see on their phones or tablets.

According to research from Forrester, $1.26 trillion of local retail sales were in some way influenced by digital media — a number that’s expected to climb to $1.4 trillion by 2021. Even if you don’t have an e-commerce component to your business, if you’re not marketing on mobile devices, you’re leaving tons of money on the table!

Mobile Introduces You to Consumers with High Purchase Intent

Between 2016 and 2018, Google saw a 500% increase in the number of search queries that contained the phrase “near me” and had a purchase intent phrase incorporated as well. That means searches like “where to buy running shoes near me” or “can I buy pet supplies near me?” are now all the rage.

Phrases like this indicate a high level of purchase intent. Consumers using these types of search terms clearly have an urgent need and are looking to solve their problem imminently, with whatever nearby solution they find. The local business that’s optimized its marketing for mobile search is the one most likely to get noticed by consumers at this critical juncture.

How You Can Capture Attention on Mobile

By now, you hopefully see the tremendous benefit that a strong mobile marketing approach can have for your business. Most consumers are turning to mobile devices, rather than desktops, to access the internet, and even consumers’ offline actions are being influenced by what they discover online.

Building out a robust mobile marketing strategy takes time. But there’s no time like the present to start improving your mobile presence! Here’s a look at some of the elements you should consider, from quick wins to longer-term strategic shifts.

Here are some tactics that will help you get started in achieving your mobile goals:

Build a Mobile Website

As I mentioned above, Google is now deciding what it displays in search results based on business’s mobile sites, rather than their desktop ones. If your site is clunky on a mobile device, you could be burying yourself several pages back in results.

Even taking simple steps, like improving your site’s mobile loading speed, can have a big impact on how you perform on search engines. There are many tools out there you can use to check the speed of your site, but one tool isn’t going to give you the most accurate picture of your site’s health. So, you can reach out to your web developer or marketing partner to get more information and context on how your site is performing overall.

You also want to think about user experience on the site itself. Is your navigation bar easy to use on a mobile device, or does it require multiple clicks to find subheadings? Does the formatting of your page look okay, or do images pile up over blocks of text, making it difficult to read?

Have you considered the scale of mobile as well? Are your call-to-action buttons big enough to click with a finger on a small screen? These may sound like little things, but they add up to make a big difference in user experience.

Create Mobile-Friendly Email Campaigns

People like to read their emails on the go. One survey found that 80% of consumers regularly check email from their smartphones.

This means sending mobile-friendly emails is just as critical as designing a mobile-friendly website. Most email marketing tools will help you get it done, automatically formatting your email to be legible on different devices.

Even with a tool that makes it easy to get your email looking good across devices, it’s a good idea to send yourself a test email, too. Check it on both desktop and mobile to make sure it looks great everywhere before sending it out to your entire mailing list!

Get on Social Media

Many of the newer social media platforms are tailored specifically to mobile usage. Instagram’s usability, for instance, is severely limited on a desktop. And with the proliferation of live content on Facebook, Instagram, and even more business-focused platforms like LinkedIn, these social networks recognize that content created on-the-go plays an important role in attracting eyes.

In terms of organic social tactics, live video is a great way to connect with your customers via mobile devices. Consider hosting a weekly live chat, where you talk about your area of expertise and answer questions from fans tuning into the video. Live video is also a smart, engaging tactic for promoting a specific event, like a new product launch or a conference you’re hosting.

To get the most out of your organic social media approach, incorporate paid tactics as well. By taking advantage of the vast reserves of information social media networks have about consumers, you can direct your paid advertising towards those new consumers who are most similar to your best customers.

You can also direct your advertising spend to consumers who are in your local area and fit the right demographic profile for what you do. Do you run a handyman service? Direct your advertising to consumers who just bought a home in the area. Did you just open an upscale Italian restaurant? Focus on people within a certain income bracket who can afford a three-course meal and a nice bottle of Barolo.

Take Advantage of In-App Advertising

Not all display networks are created equal. Some networks allow you the ability to prioritize placing your ads in front of mobile users through apps. When you’re thinking about mobile marketing, this is an important factor to consider.

When your ads appear in a mobile browser, you can get a little targeted about who sees those ads, but it’s not as granular as it could be. By using display ads that run in apps, you can target the apps that make the most sense for your ideal customer.

If you’re a caterer, you can run your ads in an event-planning app. If you sell baby products, you can target your advertising at those who downloaded a pregnancy tracker app. If you run a pet care business, run ads in a dog training app. There’s an app for just about everything, so the possibilities are endless!

Use Paid Search to Expand Your Reach

I’ve already talked a bit about the importance of having a mobile-friendly website and how that influences your SEO. But just as with non-mobile marketing, a combination of paid search and organic SEO tactics is always the best way to go when it comes to getting the greatest reach for your business.

Think about how search results appear on a mobile device. Because the screen is smaller, consumers have to scroll for longer to get to the results that are further down the page. And because paid search appears before all else on search engine results pages, ensuring that your paid ads are at the top of the page for relevant terms is a critical component in getting ahead in mobile.

Embrace Mobile-Specific Tactics

Having a great website or clever social media campaign matters regardless of what kind of device consumers are encountering you on, but there are a few marketing tactics that are mobile-specific.

Geofencing allows you to send alerts to consumers who enter a specified area. How you define the area is up to you. You can set up a perimeter around your business and greet consumers who enter the field with an offer to set up an appointment with your team. Alternatively, you can establish a geofence around your competition’s brick-and-mortar store, displaying a coupon for your store when they get near your competition.

SMS is another clever way to reach consumers while they’re on-the-go. And they have shocking open rates”“a survey found that 82% of all consumers read every single text message they receive. When you text your consumers, you reach them where they are, and provide them with a way to reach back out that’s convenient for them.

Mobile marketing has become an increasingly important part of a small business’s marketing efforts. But mobile marketing is made up of a lot of component parts and tactics, and it can be a burden for a business to take on by themselves. If you’re looking for comprehensive support with your mobile marketing efforts, take a look at what LOCALiQ can do for you!

Mobile Marketing Series

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