By Samuel Scott
If you live in the Boston area, you have a chance to win a free Dunkin’ Donuts deli-sandwich each day this month – if you use your smartphone to take pictures or answer trivia questions through the company’s mobile applications. Orvis, an outdoor-apparel firm, is engaging loyal customers through smartphone apps designed for the upcoming holiday season. Frozen-yogurt franchise Yumilicious is sending tailored promotions and loyalty offers to customers’ mobile phones.
These are just a few examples of companies that recognize the forthcoming dominance of mobile-based marketing.
What is your marketing department doing?
According to Google:
- 39% use the Internet on their smartphones while going to the bathroom
- 70% have used their smartphones while shopping in-store
- 88% of people looking for local information have taken action within a day
- 82% of smartphone users notice mobile ads
- 1 in 3 mobile searches are local – after looking up a local business on their smartphone, 61 percent of users called the business and 59 percent visited
- 79 percent of smartphone users use their smartphones to help with shopping
- 71 percent of smartphone users that see TV, press or online ads do a mobile search for more information
For more related information, we recommend Google’s data here and here as well as a report by Forrester here. Just do not let all of the numbers wash over the general point: Mobile phone and smartphone use in a consumer context is skyrocketing, and according to the Gartner Group, more people will access the Internet through mobile devices than computers by 2013. (Morgan Stanley reportedly thinks it will take five years.)
Simply put, mobile is a revolution that cannot be ignored.
If you did do not start mobile-marketing efforts yesterday today, you will fall more and more behind your competitors each day that you wait. It may be that in your particular industry, mobile is already a differentiator for your product or service. If that is the case, it will not be long before mobile will be necessary just to be in the game!
Decades ago, marketers were limited to a few mediums: print, radio, and television. Today, there are dozens more: online display-advertising, pay-per-click (PPC) ads, search-engine optimization, and social-media marketing, just to name a few. If it is not there already, mobile marketing needs to be added to your company’s list.
As a result, it is increasing crucial to develop a holistic, integrated marketing-plan for your business – one that now, in most cases, should include mobile as well. The three examples listed above are examples of how nearly any firm can use smartphone marketing, but it is especially effective in several specific sectors. According to the research, the most-common activities that people do with their mobile phones are looking for local products and services, getting information on movies and other types of entertainment, and researching local bars and restaurants.
We highlighted the first and third results to make this point: If your business wants to target people within a certain geographical area (say, within the Philadelphia metropolitan-area), then your desired targets there are likely looking for local information about your sector on their smartphones. Obviously, this is relevant to nearly all types of businesses – people who are searching on their iPhones and Android devices want information, and they want it now. (If they could wait, they would search later on their computers to save on the costs associated with their data plans.) As a result, the conversion rate in smartphone search compared to computer-based search, according to the reports, is much higher.
So, how can your company get into mobile marketing? Obviously, it is a lengthy process, so we will offer a few general tips to get you started:
- Read everything you can about mobile marketing – a good resource is Mobile Commerce Daily
- Create a mobile version of your website so that smartphone users can read it easily (our firm offers a cost-effective solution, contact us today!)
- Develop a QR code easily at a website like this one to send your business data to mobile-phone users (and place it on your business cards, print advertisements, brochures, websites, and anywhere else that is applicable)
- Explore the possibilities offered by items including mobile-based advertising, promotions, and local business-listings
The coming dominance (if it has not already occurred in your sector) of mobile marketing is a fact that cannot be ignored – and the longer that you wait, the more difficult it will be to surpass any competitors, like Dunkin’ Donuts, who are already using the strategy. After all, who in Beantown would pass up a chance for a free sandwich each day for a month?
Samuel Scott is Senior Director of SEO & Digital Marketing for The Cline Group. You see more of his thoughts on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Scott’s personal website is here, and he is a contributor to Moz.