In the final part of our three-part series on mobile marketing, we explore three key terms marketers should know to put together a marketing plan that will effectively send consumers through the sales funnel.
Mobile-optimized websites are designed to work well on any smartphone and are an essential tool for mobile marketing. Whether you're asking consumers to scan a QR code to visit your latest videos or click an in-app advertisement, you have to send them somewhere.
The reason mobile Web pages instead of standard pages are so important is because of the limitations of technology. Although those limits are gradually shrinking away, wireless speeds, processor speed and screen size all affect the user experience on your website.
A well-optimized page doesn't necessarily require an all-new site and design, just a few tweaks to render the pages correctly for mobile users, regardless of which phone they're using.
"Planning an effective mobile campaign is no different than online or offline," according to Evan Davis, general manager for online inventory management tool Nukleus. "The message can be the same, but it should be short and more concise in that the mobile consumer is looking for 'quick,' and if we make the message long or too detailed, then we're going to lose the customer."
Creating mobile pages isn't as laborious as building a new website, but they do require a fairly high level of Web design knowledge to build. Mobile sites used to completely redirect smartphone users to a brand new page (and sometimes still do). A more modern technique, however, called mobile-optimization uses the information that is available on the website and redisplays it in a way that smartphones and tablets can navigate more easily.
All of this contributes to a successful "consumer experience," says David Jensen, managing partner at Lighthouse Media Solutions.
Jensen highlighted an instance recently where a national TV show had viewers visit a website to vote through their mobile phone. But because of server problems, mobile users were being directed to an unusable site. The show was trying to engage customers with mobile devices but didn't provide them with a user experience that allowed visitor interaction.
Boating Industry has talked a lot about the effectiveness of QR codes and how to use them correctly. Some of the marine industry's Best Ideas from the 2011 Marine Dealers Conference and Expo featured QR codes and smart tags to increase dealership profits. However, they are still hit and miss around the industry.
"There has to be a process of where to put the code. I was walking around the Miami show and one exhibitor had their QR codes at the bottom of their display where the visitor had to almost lie on the ground to get the code," said social media and marketing consultant Gaspare Marturano.
Davis says he's seeing more and more QR codes, particularly on price signs, at boat shows, showroom signs, etc.
However, all three marketers that Boating Industry spoke with emphasized that tying in QR codes effectively, by linking them to a mobile optimized site, will convert those who use it from mobile traffic into floor traffic.
That means leading the customer to a landing page optimized for the limits of the phone as well as the limits of the users' attention. A good mobile landing page should only ask the user for as much data as is required and should provide mobile subscribers with something special to the medium.
Geolocation apps like Foursquare have been steadily growing over the past several years, with Foursquare announcing a few weeks ago that it had reached 20 million users accounting for more than 2 billion check-ins.
With Foursquare, users can "check-in" at locations and share those check-ins with friends. The real bonus comes for small businesses such as restaurant and retail stores. Businesses can track how often customers are returning and checking-in, offering specials and deals to returning customers.
Jensen said that this particular idea is starting to grow among dealers, particularly at boat shows. Dealers are encouraging visitors to come over and check-in at their booths and in return are offering free gifts and other items after they check-in.
Marinas are a section of the market that could really benefit from specials pushed out over geolocation apps like FourSquare, according to both Marturano and Jensen.
"Restaurants are doing a great job with it," Marturano said. "If you're a storefront having people check-in and offering them 5 percent off after five check-ins is a place to start."
Reviews are also a big part of geolocation. With Foursquare and other apps like Trip Advisor, customers can jump into the app and check for reviews of a marina, restaurant or dealer before docking or going inside.
The consumer can make comments immediately and all of the information is on a social platform, making it a powerful marketing tool that is unique to mobile marketing, Jensen said.
Foursquare and Trip Advisor are not the only location-targeted apps that consumers are using, with Yelp users rating and reviewing restaurants, repair shops, shopping spots, nightlife and entertainment right from their smartphones.
Just 15 years ago, companies were rushing to build Web pages and cash in on the growing number of customers turning online. Four years ago, companies were eager to get a Facebook page built to increase interaction with consumers.
Mobile marketing is the next step, moving beyond the Web and PC to connecting directly with visitors wherever they are. As the technology grows, experts predict it will only open up more possibilities for companies to connect meaningfully with their customer base.
This article is the final part in a three-part series on mobile marketing. To read the first two parts, click here Could mobile marketing eclipse online in 2012-13? To target mobile consumers, emphasize “quick/concise”