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What Is Mobile Marketing? A MASSIVE Guide to Doing it RIGHT!

What is mobile marketing- a massive guide to doing it right
Reading Time: 13 minutes

What is mobile marketing-a massive guide to doing it right

As our society becomes increasingly reliant on mobile devices, mobile marketing would seem like an obvious talent for skilled marketers to hone.

However, the majority of digital marketers are making the mistake of treating mobile solely like an extension of the desktop environment we know so well, and this is to their detriment.

Mobile is its own platform upon which you can build intricate marketing strategies and reach your customers in entirely new ways. It gives you the ability to capitalize on unique touch points, and provides new ways to reach your audience before your competition.

Sound interesting?

It better! The world we live in becomes more mobile-centric every day. It’s time to get on board and we’ve written this guide to give you a massive head start to creating your mobile marketing strategy.

Keep reading and you’ll discover:

  • What is mobile marketing, exactly?
  • Concepts of mobile you MUST understand
  • Different types of mobile marketing and their uses
  • Technology involved in mobile marketing
  • Mobile trends to pay attention to
  • How to develop a highly effective mobile marketing strategy
  • What mobile tactics to deploy for YOUR business
  • How to make the most of mobile moment marketing

There’s so much contained in this guide that we better get down to it.

What Is Mobile Marketing?

Before we get any further we need to answer an important question. Just what is mobile marketing?

Simply put, mobile marketing is the process of reaching an audience via handheld or otherwise untethered devices such as smartphones or tablets, in order to promote your brand. Mobile marketing strategically puts a company or brand in direct contact with their target audience. Also, it’s typically a single component of a multi-channel marketing campaign.

On the surface, the term “mobile marketing” may sound simple. However, there are several factors that make successfully marketing to an audience on the go more difficult. Let’s take a deeper look.

Core Concepts

Before we get into the development of your strategy, there are a few core concepts that can help you make the most of your mobile marketing.


The first and (maybe) most important concept is that of speed. Everything on mobile is done quickly. A brief social media check whilst on a bathroom run, a last-minute discount search before checking out at a retail store…you get the point.

Mobile marketers must keep the concept of speed at the forefront of their mobile marketing strategy. You’ll have less time than ever to get your marketing message across, which leads us to our next concept.


Effective mobile marketing is simple. As you already know, there is precious little time to be wasted figuring out what it is your marketing is trying to get across. Instead of trying to be clever or overly creative, be direct and put your need-to-know message in front of your mobile audience.


While this post may be starting to make mobile users sound lazy, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The reason that speed, simplicity, and convenience are key components to a successful mobile marketing strategy is because mobile users have so much else going on.

They may be at work and only using their phones during short periods of downtime, or they may simply be checking their iPad in between commercials while sitting on the couch with their special someone. The point is that if you don’t make your request simple, it’s far less likely to be completed.

Facebook gives us the perfect example of this concept with their Lead Ads. They allow advertisers to run opt-in ads that are pre-populated with their Facebook user information. That way, if the user is interested in the offer in the ad, they can opt-in in 2 clicks rather than having to spend their valuable time inputting their details.

Familiar Types of Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing conjures up different images for different people, mostly because there are so many different marketing tactics that fall into this large category. Much of what we know as mobile marketing is similar to traditional digital marketing, but modified to better reach users of handheld devices.

Text Message (SMS)

One of the most predominantly used mobile marketing tactics today is SMS. By using text messages the user will see the advertisement appear directly on their personal phone screen and will have the option to either opt in or out of the company’s marketing campaign.

Sometimes a link will be included in the text message directing the user to a page which either provides more information on what is being advertised or maybe a direct link to purchase something.

Social Media Messaging

While there are several social media platforms with messaging services built in, the one you really need to focus on is Facebook. While China’s WeChat has its sights set on Facebook’s global users, the world’s largest social network is still where we think you should be focusing your mobile marketing.

Ads still haven’t become a full-fledged part of Messenger as of this writing, but Facebook has already created ways for you to connect to customers via their Messenger app. They now allow you to contact customers and prospects with special offers and coupons to help you close deals with that hyper-personal touch that can make all the difference when communicating with today’s buyer.

Video Ads and Content

While we’re on the subject of Facebook, video ads are another essential strategy used in the mobile marketing world, as more handheld devices are being used to watch videos than anything else Facebook has to offer. Facebook has recently rolled out ads interspersed through the automatic playback of their videos.

While we’ve been able to advertise via videos for quite some time now, this functionality now plays ads with sound after a user has clicked on a video. Ads play intermittently until the user closes the video stream. While they are still working out the kinks, this promises to be a mobile marketing trend to keep a close eye on and take advantage of early.

Youtube is growing at a staggering speed and more people are watching on mobile than ever. They’re watching quick tutorials, product reviews, and last minute decision-making touchpoints that smart brands are already creating content around to reach their buyers when they need help.

Video ads are also being displayed on different platforms, such as when a user plays a game (app) on their device or clicks a link to read an article on the web. Though these ads may come cheaper to advertisers, platforms like Facebook—that provide highly targeted audiences—prove again and again to be more effective in most mobile marketing scenarios.

Keeping An Eye on Mobile Marketing Trends

When we hear the words “mobile marketing,” most of us tend to think of smartphones and tablets as the devices to which we market. However, there are a greater variety of mobile devices becoming a bigger part of our lives with each passing year.

Where virtual reality devices were once a topic discussed in science fiction circles, today they’re a popular household item for technology enthusiasts. Not to mention the fact that one in 6 consumers currently own a piece of wearable technology.

With the evolution of the “smart home,” advertisers will undoubtedly see new opportunities to reach their customers.

Smart mobile marketers are always thinking of upcoming mobile marketing trends to stay ahead of the curve. New technology means new opportunities to present your marketing message to an audience on the move, and the number of devices in each household is growing at an astounding rate.

Currently, the smartphone and tablet represent the two largest opportunities, but ask yourself something as you craft your mobile marketing strategy:

What is mobile marketing going to look like in two years?

Mobile technology is one of the most rapidly evolving markets and new products are being brought to market every day. While it’s important to begin crafting a mobile marketing strategy that works now, it’s vital that you continue to look to the future for new mobile marketing trends. After all, it’s the opportunities presented by these trends that will allow you to distinguish your brand from your competition.

Mobile Marketing Trends – Here and Now

While the majority of mobile marketing is done via the channels listed in previous sections, the evolution of current technologies has created several new and exciting ways for marketers to take advantage of the features available on most mobile devices.

GPS Messaging

Thanks to GPS devices found inside most mobile devices, advertisers can now send highly targeted messages to their audience when they enter a certain geographic area. For example, REI could use this type of messaging to reach out to their contacts with special outdoors themed promotions every time they come within a one-mile radius of their store.

Location-Based Service

Not unlike GPS Messaging, LBS or location-based service allows advertisers to detect where a user is connecting from. The difference being that the advertising platform would use their location to ensure that the local ads they see or hear are relevant.

For example, most coupon apps use LBS to determine user location and provide them with coupons for the hottest deals in their immediate area. Local advertisers will begin to see far more applications as this technology becomes more prevalent.

2D Barcodes

Brick-and-mortar businesses are able to use mobile marketing tactics more than ever. 2D barcodes scan vertically and horizontally to deliver a wealth of information to curious shoppers.

For example, a boutique fashion retailer might use 2D barcodes to link shoppers to product reviews, details on the designer, and information about how it was made sustainable and supports community development projects in their area.

Augmented Reality

While the applications of augmented reality or AR vary, the success of games like Pokemon Go can’t be ignored. AR offers advertisers an entirely new way to reach their audience more creatively and engage them on a deeper level.

Advertisers will begin to engage their audience in creative new ways that blur the lines between a marketing platform and customer tech.

4 Steps to Creating an Effective Mobile Marketing Strategy

Now that we’ve answered the question “what is mobile marketing?,” and you understand the importance of treating mobile as a totally unique marketing ecosystem, let’s get down to brass tacks.

You’re here to learn how to market to mobile users, and the first step is to develop your mobile marketing strategy. There are 4 steps you’ll need to take before you begin implementing any mobile marketing tactics, so pay close attention to the following section.

#1 – Create Mobile Buyer Personas

The first, and arguably most important step of mobile marketing strategy development is defining mobile buyer personas. Yes, just like any digital marketing strategy, you’ll need to thoroughly understand who you’re marketing to before you can reach them successfully.

Lucky for you, we have an entire guide on how to create buyer personas. This guide will walk you through the step-by-step process, but keep in mind that you’ll be reaching these personas on mobile. In addition to standard demographic and behavioral information, be sure to include information about their mobile usage such as:

  • Device types
  • Time on mobile
  • How they do product research
  • Where they complete purchases
  • And so on…

#2 – Define Mobile Marketing Goals

The next step is equally important. Defining goals will help you to understand the actions you’ll need to take during the coming year, broken down month by month in your strategy document.

What do you want to accomplish from your marketing?

Do you want to:

  • Increase mobile traffic?
  • Grow your mobile contact database?
  • Generate more conversions?

Be sure to ask the following questions when creating your goals:

  • What does your current mobile marketing strategy look like? Outline your existing goals and the tactics you’ve used to meet them.
  • How is our current mobile marketing strategy performing? Develop a baseline from which you’ll weigh your future mobile marketing success.
  • Who are we targeting with our mobile marketing strategy? Understanding your target will help you to understand the best tactics to implement.
  • Are we going to use mobile marketing to supplement our existing marketing on other channels or will we be making mobile our priority? If most of your customers spend the majority of their time on mobile, consider focusing your attention there. Otherwise consider how you can create an effective cross-channel strategy that includes mobile as a unique marketing platform.

Whatever it is you’re aiming to do, remember to create goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Some examples of SMART goals are:

Instead of just increasing mobile traffic, increasing mobile traffic by 25% in the next 30 days.
Instead of generating more sales, generating 100 mobile conversions in the upcoming quarter.

Do you see the difference? It’s far easier to understand the actions you’ll need to take to reach them, as well as to measure their success or failure and make adjustments to future goals.

#3 – Set Mobile Marketing KPIs

What is mobile marketing without mobile marketing KPIs?

Now that you have goals in place, it’s time to clarify exactly how you’ll be measuring these goals. You see, you can only truly understand the achievement or failure of your goals if you establish a predetermined figure for each metric you’ll be tracking.

For example: If your current mobile website traffic stands at 100k monthly visits, and your goal was to increase mobile traffic by 25% in the next 30 days, you would set a KPI of 125k monthly visits by (date).

You can set KPIs around every aspect of your mobile marketing strategy. Let’s say you were going to put more energy behind your mobile email marketing. You’ll want to set KPIs that relate to your mobile email marketing goals, such as:

Goal: 20% increase in open rate (baseline of 15%)
KPI: 35% open rate by (date)

#4 – Define Mobile Marketing Tools to Monitor Your Performance and Optimize Your Strategy

Finally, what tools will you be using to monitor the performance of your mobile marketing strategy?

It’s important to understand how you’ll track your KPIs and what mobile marketing tools are most effective at tracking each.

For example, Facebook’s Ads Manager allows you to track your Facebook advertising very carefully within its own platform. However, when it comes to things like email marketing, do you have a software (tool) to help you implement mobile-specific email campaigns and track their unique data?

Google’s Analytics is a great place to start understanding your mobile traffic, but do you understand the software enough to break down your mobile reports?

Before you start implementing new mobile marketing tactics, be sure you have the infrastructure in place to measure your existing activities. Otherwise you’ll never be able to understand whether you’ve achieved your goals, met your KPIs, or how your mobile marketing is affecting your bottom line.

Deploying Your Mobile Marketing Tactics

Are you getting excited?

You’ve got your mobile marketing strategy documented. Now it’s time to start implementing the tactics that will help you achieve your mobile marketing goals.

Mobile-Optimized Website

One of the most important things to understand is that, like the rest of your digital marketing nearly all of your mobile marketing activities will revolve around your website. If it’s not optimized for mobile users, you should put a halt to your mobile marketing NOW.

Speed Is Everything

Today’s average attention span is shorter than ever, and it only seems to be getting worse. What that means for you is that your mobile site has to be FAST!

If your site doesn’t load quickly, the large majority of users will be off to the next site if your page takes more than a few seconds to load. Ideally, you want users to visit multiple pages on your site and explore what you have to offer, but you can’t expect people to do so if they have to wait to make it from page to page.

In fact…

Google Gives Priority to Mobile-Optimized Sites/Content

Google has been very open about their prioritization of mobile-friendly sites. Their AMP Program even gives developers clear guidelines for delivering an enhanced mobile user experience. Those that create mobile pages around these guidelines see prioritized placement in Google’s search results when compared to slower loading sites. Something to consider, no doubt.

Beyond Speed

In complete contradiction to the headline above, speed isn’t everything. You’ll need to look beyond speed to deliver the perfect mobile user experience. A great mobile site is also:

  • Easy to navigate
  • Uncluttered
  • Free of distractions
  • Focused
  • Concise

Are you beginning to see a theme?

Your mobile site should take into account mobile user preferences and tendencies. That means eliminating everything that doesn’t deliver instant value and help the user reach their end goal most efficiently.

To help understand what this looks like, do some personal experimentation. Start on your mobile home page and walk through the steps it takes to reach the goal you want mobile users to take.

Were there any distractions, hangups, or areas where you felt overwhelmed or confused by what you encountered?

If so, take steps to simplify your site and run the test again until you find it easy to take the desired action.

Mobile-Optimized Email Campaigns

Now that your website is up to speed, consider how your email marketing is viewed. This is when it becomes very useful to have a good email management software that helps you understand how many of your emails are being opened on mobile.

Either way, it’s important for your mobile recipients to be able to take full advantage of their limited screen size. That means doing to your emails what you just did to your website.

Keep them:

  • Short
  • Clear
  • To the point

Include an image if you like, but make sure it loads fast. Make sure your CTA (call to action) is easily seen and understood too. If possible, place it entirely above the fold. Finally, make sure your buttons are a good size for tapping, as that what mobile users will have to do to click through.

Lead Capture

When it comes to lead capture, either on your site, landing pages, or things like Facebook’s lead ads, you’ll be following the same guidelines. Fewer fields of information makes it easier and faster for mobile users to fill out, enhancing your chances of completion.

Test SMS

Your audience may or may not be ready for SMS notifications, but you’ll never know until you test.

Interestingly enough, this seemingly invasive marketing method is highly effective when implemented correctly. SMS sees a whopping 98% open rate and 36% click-through rate!

Remember, just like email, you’re only going to want to send SMS messages to those who have opted into your list.

Whatever you’re advertising, be sure to:

  • Keep your message as short as possible (think the length of a tweet)
  • Present your value or offer quickly and clearly
  • Include a direct and easily understood CTA
  • Make sure they know who’s sending the message

It’s always a good idea to test tying your SMS marketing into ad campaigns on other channels too.

Advertising on Mobile Apps

There is an app for everything. What that means for you is that there is likely an app on which advertising makes sense. While costs and effectiveness of app network advertising varies, it’s something to consider based on your industry and your understanding our your customers.

  • Google’s AdMob is incredibly easy to get started with and, for good reason, has the largest network of targets/apps to choose from. It’s a great place for beginners.
  • Smaller networks like InMobi are a nice step up as they deliver highly customized targeting options and can cost less.

4 Tips for Creating Mobile-Optimized Facebook Ads

Yes, we’re back to Facebook. Why?

Because it works. Facebook gives advertisers so many ways to reach their customers it’s silly, and that includes plenty of options for mobile marketers.

  1. Create unique campaigns just for mobile. People use Facebook differently on mobile, so cater campaigns specifically toward mobile users.
  2. Similar to your website, keep your mobile ad creative simple and to the point, while ensuring it’s also visually engaging enough to break through the noise of your competitors. Make the benefit of your ad clear without having to click through.
  3. Over half a BILLION people access Facebook exclusively via mobile, so use tools like Dynamic Product Ads that allow you to take your mobile Retargeting to the next level.
  4. Try advertising on mobile-only platforms like (Facebook-owned) Instagram. If your audience lives on mobile, there’s a good chance they’re Instagrammers.

How to Make the Most of Mobile Moment Marketing

Mobile users respond well to what’s happening on the screen right in front of them, but holding their attention can be tricky. That’s why it’s important to understand how you can take full advantage of “mobile moment marketing.”

That means responding to social media posts in real time (or close to it) whenever possible. It means having your Messenger staffed for immediate responses should someone have a question, comment, or concern. It means continually seeking out tweets about your brand to respond to customer complaints.

The faster you can respond to a mobile customer’s need, the more business you’re likely to win. Mobile users just don’t have the same patience or brand loyalty as they do on desktop, which makes this type of social media customer service increasingly important as we become a mobile-focused society.

Final Thoughts

Because we’re all becoming more dependant on our mobile devices, the need for a clear and separate mobile marketing strategy will only increase. Even today, very few brands have a mobile marketing strategy as a unique way of reaching their customers.

Start developing yours now and you’ll be ahead of the curve and in front of the large majority of your competition.

Remember, the key to reaching people effectively on mobile is to deliver your marketing message quickly, clearly, and in a way that capitalizes on your ability to deliver what they want when they want it.

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