What Mobile Means to Your Marketing in 2013

It's time to get out of denial.

Image: Social Media HQ on Flickr.
You can't look the other way any longer. A new study by Experian finds that 44% of email opens happen on mobile devices. At the same time, eMarketer predicts that US consumers will spend $37.44 billion on mobile shopping in 2013. Mobile seems expensive and overwhelming. Your marketing budget's already stretched to the limit. What's a small operation to do?

1) Visit your web site from your mobile device, and your friends' mobile devices. Do you have to do a  lot of zooming in and out? Are the links too small to click? Is data that might be critical for mobile users (like your location and hours) easy to find? What's the difference between the phone and tablet experience?

This is called "responsive design" and even though your budget's stretched, it's critical that your site can respond to whatever device is using it. Otherwise, you may be turning your audience away at the door. Decide which elements aren't working for mobile users of your web site, and then invest in a web designer who can fix this for you. Make sure to find a specialist in responsive design. You'll want to incorporate easy clicking, quick loading, and simple navigation.

2) Don't just visit your web site, try buying something, making a donation, signing up for email, account login, and any other transactional functions from your phone and tablet. Note what's kludgey and what works well. Have your responsive design pro fix the kludgey parts. Does your purchase process take three or four screens? This is too many anyway - now's a good time to reduce that to one screen, no matter what device folks are using.

3) Figure out what mobile apps already exist that can help you. Are you on Facebook and Twitter, where lots of people surf while on their mobile devices? Are you on Yelp and other local review sites? Have you thought about selling your products on Amazon or other shopping sites? Can people check into your store on apps like Foursquare? If you're a non-profit, have you investigated Facebook Causes or worked with mobile providers to make text donations easy?

4) Then, and only then, consider whether or not you need to go the expense of having someone develop a mobile app for you. What will you do with it? How will it support lead generation, sales, or donations? On which devices will it be available? How will it leverage your brand? You may not even need a mobile app. Making your web site mobile-friendly is far, far more important.

Is mobile marketing giving you hives? Share your angst in the comments.

2013 Marketing Trends

What are your 2013 marketing resolutions?

There are a few things I'd recommend you do this year to make sure your marketing does what you need it to. Some ideas:

1) Make a plan. What are your business goals this year? Is there a level of growth you need to achieve? Are you opening new channels or locations? Are you launching new products? You should map your marketing plan to your overall business plan for 2013. Then, you'll be marketing intentionally and you'll see better results. This will also help you to discard tactics that don't support your business goals.

Plan. From Flickr user J'Roo.
2) Keep mobile in mind. Mobile marketing isn't going away - more of your customers will be looking at your web site or reading your emails from mobile devices than ever. In fact, more than 8 in 10 smartphone owners surveyed used their smartphones to research and browse for products for their recent holiday shopping.

Your takeaway? Remember, you may not need to spend lots of money developing your own mobile app, but you should make sure your web site and your emails are readable and clickable on a variety of devices. With so many people using touchscreens today, think about how you can make links more accessible. Also, can you make mobile buying easier with one-click buying?

3) Customize whenever you can. Are you still sending out identical non-personalized blast emails to your customers and prospects? How are they doing? There's a lot of good reasons to use dynamic content to personalize your messaging - customers want to know that you know who they are  and what they like. If you can help make their next purchase a little easier, everyone benefits. Also, by respecting prospects and meeting them where they are, you can get them ready for purchase in a way that feels more like a dialogue and less like a command to buy.

What are your 2013 marketing resolutions? Unsure how to get there? Let me know, I can help.

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