Everybody’s talking about the need to have a mobile strategy lately, but it’s hard to find anyone telling you how to go mobile. What does it mean, and how do you add it to your current strategy? Who is it right for, and what should you expect from it?

2 Things to Keep in Mind

First, you should know that mobile is about more than phones. It includes all wireless devices including the iPad, Android devices like the Xoom, and others that are hitting the market in droves.

Second, you should know that Latinos love their mobile devices. According to Nielsen, Latino households are more likely than the overall population to have cellphones with Internet access, and Latinos text more than any other race or ethnicity. With smartphone penetration at 45%, Latinos use their mobile device as a key source of connectivity both in the home and on the go.

According to Forrester:

  • Nearly 100 million smartphones will be activated by the end of the year.

  • Consumers are doing more than email, surfing and texting ... Now they’re consuming media, banking, purchasing, and even doing their taxes on their wireless devices.

  • Advertisers are scrambling to reach people on their phones to the tune of spending more than $1 billion in mobile search and display.

  • Consumers are forecasted to transact over $6 billion on their mobile devices by the end of the year.

Those statistics make it easy to understand why advertisers and marketers are rushing to put together mobile strategies.  But the question is how?

APP, WAP, or Both?

Businesses need to be able to be found on mobile devices, and two of the easiest ways are to build a WAP site and to build an APP.

Start with a WAP site. WAP stands for "wireless application protocol" but you can just think of it as a site that looks good and makes sense on a cellphone screen or tablet screen. It’s not your full website on a mobile browser. WAP sites are all about the context of the device.

For example, when you’re looking up a business on your phone, you don’t want the entire history of the company, so an "About Us" page is probably useless in that context. What you do want is a map, a phone number, and an address. Those items should be front and center. When consumers are looking for your business on their cell phone, chances are they are ready to take action, so give them the most important info first: how to get to you and a number to call. For Latinos especially, it’s also smart to include a feature that allows them to get a text of your business details (phone, address, hours of operation, website URL, etc.). Having a text message with your business’s vitals makes it easy for them to refer to your business later. And you’ve captured their cell phone number.  Later, you can implement an opt-in mobile marketing strategy, if it makes sense.

An APP is the next level of mobile engagement, especially for power users and core customers. For example, think of cellphone apps from the likes of Chase Bank, Starbucks, and Southwest. Chase Bank allows you to take a snapshot of a check and auto-deposit it to your account. Starbucks enables you to find the closest Starbucks to where you currently are based on your geolocation. The Southwest app enables flyers to have their itinerary handy and know how many additional flights will get them to A-list status, which encourages them to book more flights. The reason consumers download these apps (beyond simply going to a WAP site via their browsers) is that they interact with the business on a regular basis. And with an APP, the business is making sure that the engagement continues and even increases.

If you’re thinking about an app, start with something free offering convenience and context appropriate utility. The trick here is to "launch and learn." Figure out what works and what doesn’t.  Solicit and pay attention to comments, and respond. Figure out how to make the app better. You may even stumble upon a way to extend your current services and possibly even justify a pro version to fund ongoing improvements.

It’s All About Context

More than anything else, you have to remember that engaging your consumer on a mobile device is all about context. They’re likely viewing your page on a small screen, have limited time, and are away from a fixed computer. Make sure you make it easy for them to engage with the following things in mind.

  • Immediacy: Your consumer is on the go and ready to take action. Are you giving them a way to get to a transaction quickly?

  • Simplicity: Make the interface easy to manipulate on the go. Think BIG BUTTONS, easy streamlined navigation, and easy to read font.

  • Location: Make sure to give them a way to interact based on their current location. Include an easy store-finder if you have brick & mortar locations.

Ginger Zumaeta is the CEO of Beehive Group, a multicultural marketing agency specializing in Latino engagement. She can be reached at ginger@beehive.me.

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Latinos Go Mobile, so Go Mobile to Reach Latinos

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Ginger Zumaeta is the CEO of Beehive Group, a multicultural marketing agency specializing in Latino engagement. She can be reached at ginger@beehive.me.