6 Mobile Marketing Must-Have's

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Moving Past the Mobile One-Off
Mobile marketing is less mystifying, but more essential

As mobile technology and communication continues to mature, marketers sometimes struggle to keep pace with today's savvy, agile consumer. Many companies (including Facebook) continue to invest heavily in mobile optimization, but others still seem hesitant to seriously consider deep-linking, responsive design, or geolocation. If the ever-increasing email open rates on mobile are any indication, there's never been a more critical time to optimize mobile marketing efforts.

There was a time when things such as responsive design were novel features for brands; more of a perk or a plus than anything. “We're now past the point where responsive sites and emails are things we should have. Consumers expect a responsive design. It's something you must have,” explains Christopher Lester, director of the concierge team at email marketing services provider Emma Inc.

Here, Lester and several other marketing experts explain some of the do's and don'ts of mobile marketing, as well as a few missed opportunities in the space.

Deep-linking

Apps stand as the most integrated and seamless user experiences in mobile, simply by virtue of being created for the sole purpose of mobile use. It follows then that emails or links on mobile sites should link to apps, especially if the brand already has a mobile app. “Apps like Seamless make great use of deep-linking,” says Jordan Cohen, VP of marketing at email platform Movable Ink. “It's unintuitive to link from email to a mobile website when your brand has a functional app. It's a missed opportunity at best.”

Invest in video

The widespread popularity of video apps such as Vine and YouTube make mobile the premiere channel for video content. Even Instagram, an app previously used exclusively for photos, instituted a video feature in the wake of the video craze following apps such as Vine. “Having video content is really important these days,” says Emma's Lester. “People spend more time watching video on smartphones and tablets than they do on desktops, with people watching the most video on tablets. I might not spend time reading on my phone, but I'll watch a video.”

Don't try to monetize everyone immediately

Generally, users who download apps and then abandoned them or use them infrequently aren't likely to resume use if they're prompted to pay. Indeed, experts recommend that monetization come after a fair bit of nurturing, and only if the user is already engaged with app. Engagement doesn't start with a download. “Try to turn a new app customer into an engaged customer as soon as possible,” says Len Shneyder, senior marketing manager at mobile marketing platform OtherLevels. “You're missing the foreplay bit if you start immediately trying to monetize new users. You need to move them up the funnel.”

All responsive everything

The importance of responsive design simply can't be overstated. Emails and websites absolutely must be optimized for mobile. “It used to be best to get your site or email crafted first, and then make sure it's optimized for mobile. Mobile should come first now, especially for email,” Lester explains.

“If websites aren't optimized for mobile then banner ads become increasingly ineffective,” adds Tom Bash, manager of product strategy and operations at ad intelligence and digital media solutions provider Exponential.

Be cautious of geolocation

With the impending frenzy around the “Internet of things,” geolocation could become a major factor in mobile marketing; emphasis on could. Geolocation and other GPS-based operations have proven major contributors to the rampant battery issues ailing the mobile device market. Beyond issues of battery, there's a fair bit of opting-in involved in mobile location services. With the various data and security concerns over the past few years, it's unlikely these opt-ins will increase significantly. “Geolocation is a great, awesome idea, but generally only for about 1% of your audience,” says OtherLevel's Shneyder. “Geolocation isn't at all useless, but it requires a different strategy. “

Reduce tap-through paths

Traditional email marketing has always focused on the ubiquitous click-through rate. “Users aren't clicking though on mobile, they're tapping through,” says Movable Ink's Cohen. Many users can attest to their waning attention span as forms or other actions demand more and more clicks, or taps. “You want to drive consumers where you want them in as few taps as possible. The more taps, the less likely they are to complete the action,” Cohen adds.
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