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Seven Mobile Marketing Best-Practices

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In this article, you'll learn...

  • Why simple and succinct messages are best for mobile
  • How to optimize search marketing efforts and user experience for mobile

Have you optimized your email marketing, search marketing, and local marketing efforts for mobile? How effective is the user experience of your website on a mobile device?

If you aren't tailoring your marketing for a mobile audience, you could be selling your marketing efforts short—and missing a huge opportunity to get results. Here are seven best-practices for reaping the most benefit from your mobile marketing efforts.

1. Simple beats pretty

As marketers, we want to make things pretty. For example, consider email marketing: Pretty usually means HTML. But that practice will often fall flat on mobile devices.

Because of limits and caps on mobile data plans, many users choose not to download images as a default setting or as a selection in each email. Graphics can often fail to load, leaving the recipient with an incomplete message or a hole in her email message.


Furthermore, graphics at the top of an email push the message down and out of sight, making it tough for people to get the point of your message (even if they can see your graphic).

Standards are still evolving in mobile email software. Therefore, consider sending simply styled emails, consisting mostly of text, to ensure you get your message across. That's especially the case for system messages, such as account activations, password-retrieval emails, alerts, or anything else people must see.

2. Be brief

Brevity wins. On mobile devices, display screens are small, so each line is precious real estate. Get your message to your customers as quickly as possible in your emails, even if that means forgoing fancy header graphics.

The same goes for sentences and paragraphs: Keep them short and crisp, and use active verbs.

The job of nearly every sentence in your email is to get the recipient to read the sentence that follows. Get out of the way with all your words. Move your customers from sentence to sentence, and you'll generate a conversion faster.

3. Mobile is highly local

Mobile users have a higher tendency to conduct searches with a local intent. According to Google, some 40% of all mobile searches are local. According to Microsoft, 53% of mobile searches on Bing have a local intent.

People on mobile devices are looking for and interacting with things around them. After all, mobile phones provide a unique context for people to simultaneously browse the online world and the physical world.

We use our mobile devices all the time to navigate throughout the physical world: Where's the closest parking garage? What's the best breakfast place around here? Where can I post this package for my nephew?

If you've got local content or content that can be localized, optimize it for mobile.

4. Mobile search is focused and timely

The average mobile search on Android and iPhone has roughly double the keywords of the average desktop search—a fact that may seem counterintuitive at first glance. The interface is smaller on mobile, but mobile usage is more task-focused and highly specific. The small screen seems to focus our attention.

Consider the following data from Microsoft: 70% of PC search tasks are completed in one week, and 70% of mobile search tasks are completed in one hour. Someone shopping via desktop computer will take, on average, a week to take action, yet someone shopping via mobile device will take, on average, an hour to take action. Talk about acceleration!

That difference in time to purchase has real implications for any marketing efforts seeking conversions. Mobile users are looking for information or assistance to help them make decisions—literally right at the point of sale.

Consumer marketers need to understand that prospects searching via mobile device will make a purchase within 24 hours. Mobile usage increases velocity. As a result, marketers need to employ specific and granular tactics for each platform.

For example, on mobile search landing pages, offer specific information about products and create clear calls to action to click on the Web and call on the phone. Implementing click-to-call functionality is an especially great option because mobile searchers are ready to act and they're holding a device they can use to take action.

Harness their intent with a focused number of clear actions, and you'll boost your conversions.

5. Make it easy to share the love

As marketers, we want to be loved. We want our content to be shared and our customers to advocate on behalf of our brands. Nothing beats an authentic recommendation.

Ask yourself how you are helping people share content across mobile, tablet, and desktop platforms. How about across iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and other devices?

The foundation of successful social media marketing is the link. Your marketing requires a clean and consistent URL structure that people can use and share. Links are the currency for social media success on mobile.

Make the links do the hard work by handling all visitors consistently and avoid dead-end "m-dot" domain names, which result in mobile sites' becoming disconnected and turning into dead ends.

When people share your site, whether via mobile or desktop, ensure you are providing a smooth user experience that works.

6. Mobile searchers make mistakes

Mobile searchers are more prone to misspellings than are desktop searchers. Fingers tapping touch-screen keyboards are not nearly as precise as those typing on keyboards. Try typing on your mobile device while walking or while taking a bumpy ride, and you'll see. So make sure to include common misspellings in your campaigns and optimization efforts.

What misspelled words should you include? Turn off the auto-correcting spell checker on your mobile device, and type each of your top 10 keyword phrases 10 times each. You'll end up with 100 keyword phrases. Which ones are misspellings? Collect the results, and start your list.

Not surprisingly, many marketers who run paid search campaigns are finding it more effective to manage separate sets of keywords for mobile and desktop platforms.

7. Optimize your UX for mobile

At the heart of most marketing campaigns is a desire to drive some kind of user action—buy, register, request more information, etc.

When your campaign succeeds and recipients take action via their mobile device, what do they find on your website? How easy is it for customers to take those critical next steps while still in the flow of using their mobile device?

As a marketer, you know you worked hard to get that first action. Don't lose the conversion because of a lousy mobile experience. Don't make finding information your customers' problem by forcing them to pinch, zoom, and squint their way through your site via their phone. Just make it work for them.

Data continually demonstrates a rapid increase in mobile browsing, email, search, and social media use, and customers expect to be able to act—via their mobile devices.

* * *

A good mobile experience will accelerate the virtuous circle of discovery, sharing, traffic, and additional sharing. A poor mobile experience, on the other hand, will result in a lost opportunity for revenue, brand engagement, and customer loyalty.

Take the right steps to make your website mobile friendly, and you'll be closer to achieving your goals in our mobile world.

(Mobify has released an e-book on best-practices for mobile marketing, which can be viewed in its entirety at http://www.mobify.com/go/mobile-marketing-ebook.)


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Igor Faletski is chief executive officer of Mobify, a Web platform that powers more than 20,000 e-commerce and publisher mobile sites.

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Comments

  • by Tejesh Bhosale Wed Jun 20, 2012 via web

    really good content

  • by aries reese Thu Jun 21, 2012 via mobile

    Great outline and mobile sight reminders and double check list...complete

  • by Paul Stonier Fri Jun 22, 2012 via mobile

    Most mobile email clients do enable images by default.

  • by Paul Stonier Fri Jun 22, 2012 via mobile

    Interesting stats on time to buy.

    In most cases, implementing the same strategies should turn out similar improvements on a desktop website. Taking a mobile first approach yields a great user experience on all platforms.

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