With everything from photo editing to bill pay in the palm of their hands, it’s no wonder most Millennials would rather give up their car than their smartphone.
Millennials’ tech obsession runs so deep that a staggering 83 percent of them actually sleep with their mobile devices. Since mobile phones rarely leave users’ sides, it naturally makes them the most efficient point of contact for marketers.
Having a strong mobile presence is becoming essential to businesses’ success, with 15 percent of online retail taking place on mobile devices in 2013. That number is estimated to reach 25 percent by 2017, which means that if your business hasn’t yet developed a mobile presence, you’re missing out on a huge stream of potential revenue.
Get the Mobile Marketing Edge
With an effective mobile strategy in place, your business can soak up the benefits of m-commerce. Here are four ways a mobile strategy will improve your small business’ marketing efforts:
With a mobile platform, you can be with your customers at the tap of a finger. For example, SnapFix by Angie’s List allows users to take a picture of their home damage and upload it directly. Once it’s submitted, Angie’s List connects users with contractor options and allows them to request estimates, track the project, and even pay for the completed task within the app.
Mobile data insights give you a better understanding of your customers, allowing you to make more informed marketing decisions that align with your specific customers’ needs. Tracking users’ in-app activity tells you things such as how long users spend with your app and which icons or buttons were clicked the most.
You can reach out to people via push notifications directly on their phone. Men’s online shopping community JackThreads does a fantastic job of using push notifications to alert users about sales, prompting them to explore the app and make a purchase.
In-store mobile opportunities can help you increase sales, and companies are starting to utilize mobile tools to connect with consumers and enhance the in-store experience. For example, iBeacon technology allows you to greet a customer, provide a store map, show product information and promotions, and guide a customer through checkout.
While there are many great reasons to develop a mobile strategy, you still have to determine how big a role mobile will play in your marketing plan.
For some businesses, a five-star app can drive revenue equivalent to opening a new brick-and-mortar location without the overhead. On the other hand, some smaller companies may find that a large mobile investment isn’t feasible and instead limit their mobile strategy to something small, such as using a pre-developed payment app like Pay with Dash.
How to Develop Your Mobile Strategy
When you create a mobile strategy, it’s not a question of whether to build an app or a mobile site. Instead, it’s an all-encompassing look at your business’ objectives and how mobile can help you achieve them.
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- How are your users or customers using mobile?
- What are your competitors doing?
- What do your analytics say?
- Can you commit to (and invest in) mobile as a key part of your business success?
- If you build an app, how will you promote the product?
The answers to these questions will drive the direction of your mobile strategy. Mobile can be the foundation of your marketing strategy, but it can also be supplemental. Either way, there are several steps to developing a mobile presence:
- Identify user goals and business goals. What value does your app provide users, and how does this feed into your larger business objectives?
- Develop a product road map. This is a plan that matches product goals (the value it provides the user) with specific features to meet those goals.
- Build a minimum viable product and test. The first iteration of your mobile site or app should be a product with only the essential features. Building your product in an agile environment allows you to quickly test and launch new iterations as you gather user feedback.
- Create a mobile marketing plan. Your mobile strategy won’t be useful if you don’t have a mobile-specific marketing plan to promote your mobile app or website.
- Track user feedback and test. Continue to test as you add new features, and monitor user feedback closely.
Goldman Sachs projections estimate that by 2018, m-commerce profits will reach the same level as last year’s e-commerce profits. Considering e-commerce was a $638 billion business in 2013, that’s a significant amount of revenue your business could be leaving on the table if you wait to implement a mobile strategy. With a mobile platform, you put yourself in your customers’ pockets, on their nightstands and, most importantly, on their radar.
About the Author: Bobby Emamian is the co-founder and CEO of Prolific Interactive, a strategy-led mobile agency headquartered in Brooklyn, N.Y., with offices in San Francisco, Calif. A former college athlete, Bobby’s competitive nature and mix of technical, business, strategic, and managerial skills accounts for Prolific’s fast growth in the mobile industry. Bobby and his team have worked with such companies as ModCloth, Thrillist, Lululemon Athletica, Rent the Runway, Hewlett-Packard, and the NBA.
Photo credit: afagen