As a marketer, your every encounter with a smartphone-toting consumer should be considered an opportunity: Every mom who searches for product info in a grocery store, every kid who checks in at a concert venue, and every pet-lover who tweets a photo of his dog is a potential buyer to be reached via mobile.

They want to buy. You want to sell. But how do you make the connection happen?

Best-practices for mobile campaigns may be unclear to many, but the mobile opportunity is all around us. Here are five can't-miss steps to highly effective social-mobile campaigns.

1. Skip the app store, and reach them through the Web browser

Don't make your buyer download and install an app. Instead, deliver a rich user experience on a mobile-optimized site available through the smartphone's Web browser (for example, Safari on an iPhone or Chrome on a Droid device).

In the early days of mobile campaigns, a lot of marketers focused on developing native apps that had to be downloaded from the app store. That's OK if you're developing a high-utility lifestyle app, but not if you're running a marketing campaign.

Instead, deliver your message straight from the Web to remove a barrier to entry for your consumer. Plus, the Web gives you the flexibility to tweak messaging, update design, repurpose content, and test calls to action on the fly, without pushing an app update through the app store.

2. Engage consumers to turn those likes into action

Get your prospects' attention and get them to scan a QR code on your point-of-sale displays or visit your URL after seeing a banner ad. Once you have them on your page, ask them to do more than "Like" your brand on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. Social media is about more than just collecting people around your brand. It's about creating long-term relationships with them through compelling content and engaging campaigns.

Turn those likes into love by engaging them around their passion for fashion, sports, music, causes, or even your own products. Offer them rewards to post user-generated content, leave a comment, or share something of yours.

Such interactions help you enter the stream of social conversation and share your branded content among your consumers' friends. When you win the social endorsement game, you win social media.

3. Don't forget the desktop

Choose a campaign technology that enables you to simultaneously launch campaigns across mobile, social (Facebook), and the Web so that your campaigns have the consistent reach they need to succeed.

It no longer makes sense to run marketing campaigns where the mobile platform is not an access point. Conversely, mobile-only campaigns leave opportunities on the table with desktop prospects. You can't get the most out of your campaign investment without integrating your social properties and other Web platforms and assets.

And make sure user data and content synchronizes across all three so that a Like from a mobile device is represented on the full Facebook Web asset.

4. Capture interest and attribute data

Left-brain marketers will love this step: With all the new data analysis and marketing automation tools in our arsenals, we need to know more than names, email addresses, and telephone numbers; it's important to understand our customers' interests and attributes, too.

At a minimum, interest and attribute data refers to the information your users post publicly to their social profiles. However, it's possible to go deeper than what's publicly available. The right mobile technology enables you to paint a more detailed picture of your customers by analyzing their interactions with your campaign.

So, whenever you run mobile campaigns, make sure to capture user interests and attributes. Remember, this is social media, so the data is out there. It's up to you to gather their insights to craft better messaging, repurpose content, and generate offers that lead to a purchase and create strong, enduring relationships.

When you understand interests and attributes, you understand what matters most to your customers and prospects.

5. Update your CRM and start selling

All the interest and attribute data you collected during your mobile campaign is a goldmine of business intelligence. The next step is to put the data to work for you. You need a plan for following up with relevant content and offers that convert those known leads into buyers.

This step requires discipline. The user data you collected during your campaign isn't worth much if it's never brought to your customer relationship management (CRM) system. A clean, data-rich CRM lets you segment your audience and deliver the right messages at the right times—driving new revenue from prospects and additional revenue from existing customers.

* * *

So maybe those mobile prospects aren't so hard to reach after all. Follow those five steps for highly effective social mobile campaigns, and you'll move smartphone-wielding consumers from close encounters to closed deals.

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image of Andy Lombard

Andy Lombard is co-founder and CEO of SocialWhirled, the next generation of social business software. Contact him at

Twitter: @andylombard

LinkedIn: Andrew Lombard