Savvy marketers have been using the internet to publicise products or services for several years now. The modern day roadside billboard is the website banner ad. These marketers have already woken up to the need to go mobile. It’s all very well placing content and adverts that fit well on desktop and laptop platforms, but the real growth today is in mobile.
There’s no better example of current trend than to hear what Google had to say about the number of Super Bowl-related searches made in the two weeks before America’s biggest annual sporting event. For sure, desktop searches rose dramatically – by a full 200% from the previous year – but this was nothing compared to the increase in mobile searches conducted:
- Laptop searches rose by 970%
- Smartphone searches rose by a colossal 2,700%
According to ComScore, the number of users of mobile devices overtook the number of users of desktop devices early in 2014.
Google and Ipsos research confirms that two-thirds of Australians own smartphones. We are all doing more with them, and the time spent on them is increasing. Almost half of smartphone owners use them to read their newspapers or magazines. It’s no surprise that Google’s search engines are now targeting mobile friendliness as a core requirement of website ranking on search results.
This is all great news for those incorporating mobile as part of their marketing strategy, provided they do it right. For those that are ignoring mobile technology, here’s a sobering thought:
The immediate problems for mobile marketers
There are a few areas where mobile marketing can present problems:
For today’s marketers, mobile can be problematic. That’s because mobile doesn’t have a single platform definition. Being mobile is no longer confined to owning a mobile phone. There are hundreds of different smartphones on the market, and a huge range of operating systems and platforms. Then there are tablets, and into the mix now we can put Google Glass and smartwatches.
Mobile marketing can target audiences like no other marketing initiative before. However, different people use their mobile devices in different ways, suffer different distractions, and consequently respond to different types of messages and calls-to-action.
Attention span of users
People now have a shorter attention span than ever before. That means your message has to be effective immediately to get the recognition you want. In fact, it’s now estimated that the average attention span of a human is around 8 seconds – that’s a lower concentration threshold than a goldfish!
There’s a little button on the iPhone that allows users to ‘self-optimise’ their screen for a better viewing experience. The problem for marketers is that when a user clicks that button, not only does the screen become better visually it also removes all the ads.
So optimization for mobile is paramount, and calls-to-action are a must have feature.
Mobile marketing is different
When you think about the context of mobile, only then can you begin to think about the real advantages that the right mobile marketing strategy will bring.
For example, a desktop searcher is less likely to want to know where the closest store is to buy your latest product offering. Someone who is mobile, however, is more likely to have that as a first consideration. They may be approaching a mall, or conducting an in-store personal survey of the best places to buy the product they are seeking.
Take a look at the way in which Indochino has completely altered the focus of its landing page from desktop to its mobile version, making store location the primary focus:
The thing is this: your mobile marketing strategy is likely to have a different emphasis to your other strategies. That’s really only common sense: although we retain a common goal when using desktop and mobile, where and how we use them is often different – therefore we’ll respond differently.
How to build a mobile marketing strategy
Knowing that mobile users are ready to shop and spend their money on your site, you’ll need to think first about optimising for the mobile user experience. In this regard, you’ve got three concerns:
- Persuasion marketing – you’ll need to communicate a solution to the user’s need clearly and concisely
- Look and feel (the design) – the design of your mobile offering needs to provide a satisfying and friendly user experience. Remember, you only have that limited attention span in which to succeed.
- Test and improve (the science) – as with all marketing, you’ll need to experiment, tweak your strategy and your mobile sites, and then continue to do so as you build on effectiveness
*source: Unbounce Webinar
Combine with these needs the actual design challenges: you’ll need to cater for different screen sizes, speed of download, attention spans, and so on. For the most progressive marketers, these challenges present potential: the opportunity to do things no one else has done, to innovate and accelerate past competition.
To do this effectively, you need an optimisation process.
Experiment to optimise for mobile
As we’ve already discussed above, the science behind successful mobile marketing is to test and improve. For example, there are different ways that you could label a call-to-action or banner button:
“Get Your House Insurance Quote”
“Get Your House Insurance Quote in 3 steps”
You might combine these wordings with a down arrow or a + button, to signify more information is available, or you might remove that ‘more info’ button completely.
Within these scenarios, there are a number of different combinations. Each should be tested to see what works best.
If this sounds a familiar process, that’s because it is. The process for optimisation is the same for mobile as for non-mobile marketing: but you’ll find the conclusions are often different.
The two stages of optimisation
At each step of the optimisation process, you’ll be discovering more about your audience and their habits and interactions. In essence, this optimisation process completes in two stages.
Stage 1: Understand your customer
By listening to your customer, you’ll be able to better understand what it is they want and what it is they respond to. Clearly, this isn’t done by survey or telephone questionnaire. Instead, examine your web traffic, analyse marketing results and develop a strategy to prioritise your top opportunities for optimisation.
Stage 2: Experiment, review, iterate, repeat
In the second stage, you take what you know about your customer and ‘publish’ what you think the customer responds to best. Measure these results, learning about your customer as you go, and then tweak to progress further down the line.
This process is actually better than any focus group or survey: the base is wider and deeper, and you get information in real time. Your strategy will evolve as your customer evolves. The world is forever changing, and what works this month may not work next year. By approaching your customer and your marketing strategy as if it were a fluid environment, you’ll continually evolve with your customer.
Pressing the right buttons
Buttons on call-to-actions are commonplace. What is less understood is the difference between the wording on these buttons. Different audiences react in different ways, and this also depends upon the product being offered. Try different button titles such as:
- “Join Now”
- “Pick a Plan”
What are you offering?
You’ll also want to think about what is it your target customer is signing up to, and how best to evoke a positive response. Think about using simple titles as a headline to your call-to-action button:
- “Investment advice”
- “Advice and recommendations every month”
- “Join 300,000 in the Elite advice group”
Remember, you won’t know which works best, or which combination, until you have experimented and analysed results.
Discovering what works best
When seeking to find the best persuader for your audience, there are a variety of different triggers. These include social proof (selling to people who want to be ‘part of something’ perhaps), likeability, scarcity, cost, etc. etc.
You won’t be able to use all of these in your marketing strategy. If you even attempt to do so, you’ll risk turning off your potential customers. You’ll have a landing page that is three feet long and which visitors tire of half way down: they’ll never get to your real call-to-action.
The only way to really discover what works best is to test.
How best to test?
Once you have begun to develop your landing pages and web pages, it’s time to get real critical. Think about the space on the page and the way in which it is being used. Ask questions such as:
- Does the page layout cause distraction?
- Is the page relevant to the message you want to convey?
- Is that message clear and concise, and easy to understand?
- Upon navigation, does the visitor stay on page or get redirected?
- Is the visitor’s focus held and attention span satisfied?
Turn any weaknesses into strengths by redesigning the space, matching keywords, embedding media where applicable, ensuring there is a value proposition, and focusing on the product or service to be sold.
This process should enable you to come up with ideas that can be tested and input into the optimisation process outlined earlier.
Integration is the key to an effective marketing strategy
Even though you may find that a different marketing strategy is required for your mobile effort, never forget that your customers are the same whether they use desktop or mobile. As Nikesh Arora, Chief Business Officer at Google, says:
“People aren’t distinguishing what they’re doing on different screens, so advertisers should be more agnostic about where they reach the user.”
In other words, you could take your tested desktop strategies and transfer to your mobile arena, test and see what works best, and if any of your successful desktop strategies will produce the goods on mobile. Don’t ignore the possibility that less successful desktop strategies and iterations of call-to-action and phraseology may work better on mobile: after all, the customer, while having the same ultimate goal, will be using in a different context.
There is one key difference which appears to hold true when comparing customer context: mobile users want more speed, so any way in which your strategy can aid the perception of speed and urgency on mobile should help results.
The end goal of this level of strategic planning is to experiment between desktop and mobile. Identify separate elements of home pages, landing pages, calls-to-action, and blogs, and experiment with different placings and iterations of the user experience. Running tests requires drilling into web elements, iterating as per insights received. This will lead to further follow-up tests, at each stage and on each platform learning more and feeding through to both platforms and across platforms.
The following diagram illustrates how these flows of information, insights, testing, and iterating leads to increasing relevance to customers and that, in turn, translates to increased revenues.
Begin your mobile marketing integration success today
As you can see, strategy optimisation and entire marketing integration is a complex process. It requires dedicated resource to achieve the best results, and the processes described here are simply the beginning of the process. The biggest companies are developing their own web marketing departments, with increasing resources focussing solely on mobile and desktop marketing integration.
While smaller companies may not have the resource available to copy this approach, they benefit from greater agility and nimbleness in strategy development. Partnering with experienced and innovative marketing experts pays dividends and combines all these benefits in a holistic approach.
To find out how you can benefit from an integrated mobile marketing integration strategy, or if you would like to discuss the dedicated resources we are able to put at your disposal, contact direct SMS today.