By Erin Schollaert
Everyone is going mobile. Customers are searching, buying and researching companies, products, and services on their mobile devices, and if your company isn’t thinking mobile first, then you’re being left behind.
Moving to mobile doesn’t have to mean a huge financial investment, it does mean being smart about your marketing and considering how your customers are using their mobile devices to access information about your business and your products.
Once you’re armed with information about your customers’ habits, your mobile strategy should aim to manage the conversation your customers are having about you. If you’re new to mobile, there are some ground rules to take into consideration.
1. Be Authentic
What works for one business may not work for another. Your mobile activity should be driven by customer expectations of your brand. A popular consumer product will approach mobile marketing very differently than a business to business service.
Only interact with your audience in an authentic brand voice – if you’re an accountant or a manufacturer, keep it professional. If you’re a coffee shop or a fun fashion brand, keep it friendly.
Remember it’s the environment in which you’re interacting with customers that is changing, not your business or your brand values.
2. Be Led by Your Customers’ Needs
The last thing you want is your brand to become synonymous with pushy sales tactics. If you misjudge your mobile marketing activities, the chances are you’ll do more harm than good, and you could damage your reputation, not enhance it.
Avoid the pitfalls by considering your relationship with your customers upfront. How frequently are you in touch with them? How can you help them? Are they using their mobile devices to find information on your services, to educate themselves about your sector (i.e. if you’re a vegan restaurant, your audience may be interested in finding out more about how you source your ingredients)?
Speak to your customers, don’t assume you know what they want. Listen, learn, and change your approach to best fit your customers’ needs.
3. Develop Objectives Upfront
Unfocused activities with no real meaning can easily distract you from your business and its goals. Decide what you want your mobile strategy to do for you. For example, do you want to make x number of sales per month, or gain x number of email subscribers?
It is worth noting the number of followers or likes are not an objective in themselves, so don’t be distracted by ‘vanity’ metrics. Concentrate on your business goals to get value out of your mobile strategy.
4. Monitor ROI
Having set your objectives, continually monitor your ROI to ensure you are on track. Marketing activities of any type can quickly take up time and finances from the business.
If you’re clear on what you want to achieve, measure your success or failure against these indicators and constantly recalibrate your actions to keep you on track.
5. Become a Social Media Master
If you’re developing a mobile strategy, you’re inevitably going to be entering the world of social media marketing.
Social media isn’t without risk for businesses. If you get it wrong, your reward could be going viral for all the wrong reasons. The world of social media is littered with companies (often global brands) who have committed a service faux pas online.
Avoid the pitfalls by educating yourself on each network to engage. Every social network has its own culture, social etiquette, and unwritten rules. Familiarize yourself with the nuances of your chosen networks before taking the plunge.
Always bear in mind using each social media network as a business is very different to managing your personal accounts. Take care to protect your brand and get knowledgeable about each network.
6. Focus on Doing it Well
The first few steps are the hardest. There’s a tendency to jump feet first into the bold new world of mobile without considering how you’re going to use it.
One of the biggest banana skins for businesses on mobile is spreading yourself too thinly. It is much better for a company to focus its attention on one or two activities rather than trying to do too much and failing to do anything well.
Make the right impression by building your reputation from a small base. There is plenty of time to grow as you learn what works and what your limitations are.
Mobile is a part of your marketing efforts. It doesn’t supersede your web based, email marketing, or traditional marketing efforts.
Mobile marketing offers the opportunity to get closer to your customers, but business principles still apply: do what you do well, have clear objectives, and measure your success against them regularly.
Interacting with your clients is a privilege and shouldn’t be abused. An effective mobile strategy is based on sound business sense and an in-depth understanding of how mobile works and what your customers expect from it.