Mobile phone usage is continually rising. According to recent studies by Zippia, there were around 6.65 billion smartphone users worldwide in 2022 (86% of the global population). And as of 2021, mobile commerce accounted for 73% of the total e-commerce market.

People rely on mobile phones for all sorts of activities these days – communication, online shopping, entertainment, banking, taking photos and even checking the weather. Virtually everything can be done via mobile apps. Hence, businesses need to focus heavily on mobile marketing strategies.

What is a mobile marketing strategy?

Mobile marketing is a core part of a digital marketing strategy. It specifically targets people who access information through various digital channels (SMS, websites, email, social media) using their mobile smartphones or tablets. A mobile marketing strategy is about addressing your audience's needs from a mobile perspective.

Why businesses need to utilise mobile marketing strategies

A key benefit of mobile marketing is its extensive reach. Did you know that in 2021, there were almost 15 billion mobile devices in operation worldwide, up from just over 14 billion in 2020? Statista reports that by 2025, some 18.22 billion mobile devices will be operating. Other benefits include:

  • Reaching audiences on the go – mobile phones, in particular, are usually always switched on, and people use them everywhere – on transport, at work, at home, on holiday, etc. There's a good chance that a well-timed mobile marketing message will get noticed.

  • High levels of personalisation and targeting – mobile marketing allows you to connect with your target audience in real-time at any point in their customer journey. By leveraging customer data insights, you can send the right message at the right time to encourage conversions and repeat purchases.

  • Using location-based services – tapping into GPS, for instance, and collecting location-based data offers options for geographical marketing campaigns.

  • Shareable content – many mobile marketing campaigns can be easily shared with other mobile users, helping you generate organic brand awareness.

What channels does a mobile marketing strategy involve?

A good mobile marketing strategy is multichannel (or omnichannel). It should include different digital channels with promotional content adapted to each. Consider the following:

1. SMS marketing

Text marketing is where you promote your business via SMS message – a 160-character text sent via a cellular network or WiFi (the latter requiring a third-party SMS marketing platform).

Businesses using text messaging can obtain branded sender IDs or memorable shortcodes to establish brand identity and build trust. Like all marketing strategies, text marketing requires every subscriber to opt in.

SMS offers higher open rates than other mobile channels, such as email (98% vs 21.33% respectively), making it a leading marketing channel. It works even on basic feature phones. SMS marketing strategy works brilliantly for abandoned cart reminders, flash sale notifications, new product launches, review requests and various types of reminders.

2. Email marketing

People of all ages check their emails on their mobile devices (phones and tablets), according to Campaign Monitor. And even though most people have cluttered email inboxes, the email medium is still useful for sending out long-form content that needs explanation.

An effective email mobile marketing program means making sure the format and content are mobile-friendly. Here are a few tips:

  • Write a short subject line – many mobile devices only show 25-30 characters.

  • Keep your main copy short – mobiles have small screens, so aim for easily digestible and scannable chunks of content such as bullets or short paragraphs.

  • Be mindful of images – not all devices show images by default. So ensure your email campaign makes sense if the pictures don't appear.

  • Focus on CTAs – tell readers what you want them to do instantly by having CTA buttons near the top of your email.

Email inbox on mobile

3. In-app marketing

In-app marketing is any marketing message displayed to customers while they're using your app. Mobile push notifications are a type of in-app marketing (as are Messenger chatbots).

This form of mobile marketing is very effective for increasing customer engagement and satisfaction because the messaging is contextual and highly personalised to active customers.

With in-app marketing, you can not only send exclusive offers that drive revenue but also provide great value to customers with informative notifications (such as tooltips and interactive walkthroughs), helping them to return to your app and stay loyal to your brand.

4. Mobile ad campaigns

Mobile ads include display ads and interstitial ads (full-screen ads) that appear in-app, as well as social media marketing adverts. Businesses often use the latter because social apps are very popular with mobile phone users. Backlinko reports that 98.5% of Facebook users access the platform via a mobile device (for 81.5%, that’s their mobile phone).

Mobile search ads are also included in this category. For best results, carry out A/B testing to ensure your copy and call-to-actions are optimised and achieve the best results for your marketing goals.

Other vital elements of a mobile marketing strategy

Along with various digital channels, the three elements below should also be factored into your strategy:

1. Mobile-first approach: prioritising mobile devices

A 'mobile first' approach refers to starting a design or activity from a mobile device perspective instead of a desktop perspective.

The term emanates from the web design industry. It relates to switching workflows from tackling a desktop design first to starting with a mobile version which is generally more restrictive and tougher to accommodate. Mobiles have smaller screens and are used differently to desktop devices.

It's much easier to get design responsiveness, accessibility and ease of use right by starting with mobile and then scaling up to accommodate desktop design than the other way around. And when it comes to mobile marketing, the same approach applies – prioritise mobile devices when creating your digital marketing campaigns.

2. Location-based marketing

Leverage the true power of mobile – mobility – by utilising location-based services like GPS to optimise your mobile marketing efforts. Knowing your audience's location allows you to send highly relevant marketing content, designed to persuade and convert, when a prospect is near your building. Take these examples:

  • A fast-food restaurant targets regular diners with a free soft drink when they purchase a burger. A push notification campaign is automatically sent to subscribers' mobile devices when they're in the area. (This works exceptionally well during times when most people are naturally hungry – lunchtime or dinnertime).

  • A clothing store targets people interested in fashion (existing customers or leads) when running a seasonal sale. It sends a text message alerting subscribers to a fantastic sale as they pass by.

Location-based marketing is ideal if you have a brick-and-mortar business, as it helps enhance your online presence. Look into Google My Business to ensure your products/services appear in online searches, even if you have a website.

3. Varied, quality content for mobile users

Mobile device users find it easier to read short and sweet content that's easily consumable rather than pages of long-form content. They're used to scanning and swiping, so ensure your content is concise, interesting and not packed with jargon.

If you're using SMS, you still need to pay attention to the quality of content, even though you have limited space to work with. Read 15 hacks for writing effective SMS copy.

Video consumption rates are high for mobile users, so optimise any video content you produce – it shouldn't be too long, and the orientation should be right for the platform. For instance, social media users tend to prefer vertical videos, but film production works best horizontally.

Photos and videos are essential on mobile – they have the power to really grab attention, so they should be properly optimised for mobile and be quick to load. You can also include QR codes in your mobile marketing strategy to encourage your audience to visit a website or download information.

Content is king concept on mobile

Mobile marketing: endless opportunities for engagement

No matter your business type, most of your audience will have access to a mobile device and be using it for everyday activities. If you haven't developed a mobile marketing program yet, now's the time, as mobile usage is continually increasing.

An effective strategy will help you reach customers wherever they are – on social media, browsing your website or app, or directly via text message. And by utilising customer insights and location-based data, you can create highly targeted, personalised campaigns that engage and convert.

Do incorporate different digital channels and regularly test your campaigns to maximise performance and ROI. You'll need to find the right combination of channels where your audience prefers to be contacted (while fitting with your budget). Finally, adopt a mobile-first approach to campaign design and messaging to ensure success.

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