What Every Content Marketer Needs to Know about Mobile Marketing

Image of NY Times on iPhone

Creating epic content and continually teaching your audience — if done well — can eventually earn you raving fans and paying customers.

The problem is your audience now chooses how they learn, where they learn, and when they learn.

If your business only connects with customers on the desktop, you’re not only missing a huge opportunity to grow your business, but you’re pushing business away … possibly to your competitor.

Think about your daily routine for a second … checking your email from bed, first thing in the morning is pretty common.

It’s been reported that 91% of mobile users keep their phone within 3 feet, 24/7 — even while sleeping. This is your customer’s behavior as well.

You probably already know that StudioPress gives content marketers a variety of responsive website solutions, allowing you to connect with your audience on any device they choose, wherever they are, and whenever they want to connect.

But having a mobile-friendly website is just the first step towards mobilizing your business.

Having interviewed mobile strategists from CNN, Jetblue, 1-800 Flowers, and more, it’s clear that the businesses that integrate a variety of mobile strategies generate the most leads, engagement, and sales.

Here are 4 mobile strategies you can incorporate into your business:

1. Connect immediately with a text message

When’s the last time you missed a text message?

98% of text messages (also known as SMS for Short Messaging Service) sent are opened, and 83% are opened within 3 minutes, according to a study by Techipedia.

Text messages even have 8 times the response rate of email, as seen in a recent study.

With that level of immediacy and visibility, text messaging is a great way to actively engage your audience, mobilize your content, and develop rapport with your customer.

Did you know that in 2011, Americans alone sent over 2.3 trillion text messages? That’s 6.3 billion a day. Some researchers have even stated consumers often feel “phantom texts.” I know I have!

Brands like Google, The New York Times, Starbucks, and CNN actively use SMS to engage their customers.

But with great power comes great responsibility.

Just because you can connect with your customer within minutes doesn’t mean you can abuse this privilege. SMS marketing — like good email marketing — is absolutely not about spamming your customers with dumb, irrelevant offers.

In fact, SMS campaigns require your customers to opt-in before ever receiving any message. That means your customers want your messages and become extremely receptive.

SMS only allows for 160 characters, so communication must be short, sweet, and to the point. In the age of Twitter, it turns out to be the right amount to entice your audience to engage in more depth.

Here are a few ways you could use SMS in your business:

  • Build your email list. Have customers opt-in to your email list via text message. (Great for converting people at live events).
  • Send links to videos with exclusive content or to download your app (see next section).
  • Generate webinar sign-ups.
  • Connect with conference attendees, announcing speaking times and locations.
  • Poll your audience. Get feedback on products or services.
  • Update fans on new posts, eBooks, and products.
  • Create contests to engage your audience and give away cool prizes.

Practically any business can tap into the power of SMS. For example:

  • Health Coaches — send tips for healthy living
  • Finance Consultant — Send money-saving tips
  • Life Coach — Send reminders or inspirational quotes
  • Copywriter — Send content marketing strategies

My friend Alara Castell sends weekly motivational quotes to inspire her students. Alara grew her mobile list by promoting through email and social media.

SMS is the most intimate marketing channel available to you. Use it correctly and you’ll see results.

2. There’s an app for that

Are you as tired of that saying as I am? There actually isn’t an app for that but there could be!

I’ll be the first to tell you that having a mobile responsive website is a must … but an app can extend your relationship with your customers in new and innovative ways. Just make sure the app actually meets the needs of your audience — make it useful.

Some benefits to creating an app for your content business:

  • Your brand icon is on your customers screen. Yes, there is value to that.
  • Offline availability. Apps can extend access to your content to customers while they are offline. Yup, your online content, available offline, in their pocket, at any moment.
  • Device enhancements. Take advantage of device features like location to deliver more relevant experiences.

Here are some great people connecting with their audience using an app:

  • Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income — His free app offers another way for his audience to read his blog posts and listen to his podcast.
  • Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich — Ramit created an app called Negotiate It which helps people save money by using scripts to lower your cable bill, car insurance, and more. He charges $6.99, creating an additional revenue stream for his business.
  • Grant Cardone — Grant is an author and sales expert whose app, CloseTheSale, provides scripts for various sales closing techniques. It can help make anyone a better closer.

Whether you just extend your free content or create niche apps that help your audience accomplish a specific goal like Ramit does, an app becomes an effective way to build new engagement with your audience.

3. Mobile landing pages can sell too

We’ve learned techniques for creating landing pages that work and copy that sticks, so why not take that knowledge to the mobile environment?

Landing pages are critical in your marketing funnel. That means they need to work well in a mobile environment.

If your customers can get to your landing page from an email, your mobile responsive website, or an SMS (as mentioned earlier), you’ll want to take a few steps to make your mobile landing pages a success.

  • Create a clear call to action. You thought a clear call to action was critical on a normal landing page? It’s a must on a mobile device. Screen real estate is limited, and people navigate with one eye and one thumb. Make it clear and un-missable.
  • Be thumb-friendly. For most devices, the ideal clickable area is 44×44 pixels. You’ll want to add padding to your links, and make sure you have some negative space between those links to avoid mis-clicks. (All the more reason to follow the best practice of having no irrelevant links on landing pages.)
  • Use simple forms. Keep your forms to as few fields as possible. Simple is sexy. Long forms equal lower conversion, and that’s even more true on mobile devices.
  • Test, test, test. What works on desktop won’t always work on mobile, so be sure to test your landing pages with your end goal always in mind.

4. Make email mobile

A content marketer’s email list is her most important asset. She crafts her communications meticulously and uses the words that get her emails opened.

The next question is “Where are they being opened?”

Email is one of the primary activities of smartphone users. A recent report released by Knotice stated that mobile is now driving 36% of all email opens.

Solutions such as aWeber and Mailchimp do some of the heavy lifting for you, making sure your font size adapts to various screen sizes, but there are a few things you can do to make sure your email is mobile-friendly.

A great start is by reading the 5 tips for better results with mobile email marketing.

The most important thing you can do when going mobile with your email is to test. Just because you follow the 5 tips above doesn’t mean you’re golden.

Your analytics should display the devices and screen resolutions frequently accessing your site, so start with those.

I highly recommend you test on real devices. Just like with the landing page tips above, you want to make sure your call to action is clear and any links or buttons have enough space around them to avoid mis-clicks.

Are you mobile-friendly yet?

How are you using mobile and what type of results have you seen?

Let us know in the comments …

About the Author: Greg Hickman is founder and host of Mobile Mixed, a web talk-show, blog and resource teaching mobile marketing strategy. Check out his free mobile tutorial, Mobile Marketing 101.

Print Friendly

Smarter is Better Solutions for Smarter Content Marketing

Here’s what we’ve got for you:

  • 15 high-impact ebooks on content marketing, SEO, email marketing, landing pages, keyword research, and more.
  • A 20-part Internet marketing course that lays out a comprehensive path for your own online strategy.
  • An organized reference guide to the “best of the best” of Copyblogger.com, and how it all profitably fits together.
Free Registration

Take The Conversation Further ...

We'd love to know your thoughts on this article.
Meet us over on Twitter or LinkedIn to join the conversation right now!

Comments

  1. “SMS is the most intimate marketing channel available to you.”
    I definitely agree with that statement. And like you mention, with great power comes great responsibility. There are no filters protecting your text inbox, so a company that abuses their SMS privileges is going to tick off their subscribers very quickly.

    • You are 100% correct Nick. I’ve written about some lawsuits that happened this year as well by a handful of brands that used SMS incorrectly and it cost them a lot of money…and future business. SMS marketing is super powerful when done correctly and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) frequently updates their best practices which should be followed by all marketers. If you’re working with an agency or consultant they should be aware of the guidelines and guiding you in the right direction.

      • I agree! SMS is risky territory right now with a lot of room for gains and losses. I think the option of opting in is extremely important for the success of a campaign. There is nothing ‘creepier’ than receiving a text from a company that you didn’t know had your number. Transparency and a way to opt out is key! If someone doesn’t want you texting them they should be able to cancel the service immediately.

        • I think some of the brands that approached it poorly have put a sour taste in the mouths of many but if you get your customer to opt-in…which is the ONLY way to go about it then you’re ok. You do this by having the customer text a keyword to a shortcode (5 or 6 digit number). They will receive a confirmation message as well. If you want you could even make it a double opt-in process similar to email.

          Also, every message should contain the following information:

          “Msg&DataRatesMayApply” – not everyone has a messaging plan so you need to advise the customer that they may incur costs.

          “Reply STOP 2 end” – there are a handful of variations to this to maximize character limits but every message should communicate how to opt-out.

          If you play by the rules and don’t send messages to users that have not opt-in you’ll be just fine. :)

      • One of my favorite restaurants is under the impression that it is illegal for them to send customers texts (even if we ask them to). Long way to go, I think, and by the time companies get educated I’m sure there will be plenty of changes. :)

        • It’s unfortunate that many businesses have this impression.

          Getting setup to have customers opt-in can be done in minutes. Again, this needs to be the consumer opting-in not the business owner uploading a list of numbers that they “acquired” somewhere else.

          If your favorite restaurant sent you an offer for your favorite meal would you redeem it? ;)

  2. I was just thinking this morning about how it’s kind of funny that we separate online marketing, content marketing and mobile marketing from “traditional marketing.”

    The fact is, most of us are practically living our lives online and on smartphones. At what point does traditional marketing become non-traditional? (I ask hypothetically)

    Thanks for the reminder of how important this aspect of a marketing strategy should be.

    • Good point!

    • Great point Kasey.

      The lines are definitely blurred these days but I would put TV, Radio, Print, Direct Mail, Out of Home in the “traditional” bucket.

      I also think traditionally (no pun intended) traditional forms of marketing were more difficult to track as they were “offline” experiences. There is obviously tracking with views and listeners on radio and number direct mail pieces sent but not like we have with digital.

      I like to think that mobile is our on demand connection to the online world but the fact that we carry it with us day to day makes it very much part of “offline” routine creating a thread that weaves between all the different ways we consume media. :)

  3. Informative post Greg, many thanks. Do you have a resource similar to Tatango for Europe? I contacted Tatango recently and they have no plans to expand in Europe. There must be something out there but I haven’t been able to find it. Hope you can help, all the best.

  4. Good point about “Msg&DataRatesMayApply” Greg. Folks will thank you for that. It also makes sense to use all of the available technology in as much of our marketing as possible.Mobile technology is part of everyone’s life nowadays – (how things have changed from yesteryear!) so a good source to tap.

    • Laurie, no problem.

      Per the MMA guidelines you need to include that in every “welcome” message in which a user is subscribed. Then at least every 5th broadcast.

      It’s a bit of a gray area to be honest. I always have clients include it unless they really need the extra characters.

      But the STOP language should always be there.

      If you ever receive a text message from a shortcode replying STOP should opt you out, replying HELP should provide details about whom the content provider is. :)

      Check out my newsletter and you’ll get a bunch of mobile tips. ;) Thanks for commenting!

  5. Great article Greg. Each of those 4 points were great, but I really enjoy point number 3. That is something that I so many people (and other blog posts) neglect. A great mobile landing page is something of beauty!

    Also, to ad to the discussion about rules and laws. It surprises me also that many people do not understand MMA guideline. I have had to educate many of my customers about that very thing.

    Thanks again for the great post.

    • Thanks Ross.
      When it comes to SMB’s they don’t have the time to stay on top of MMA guidelines and unfortunately a lot of consultants and agencies fail to mention them.

      Mobile is very much in education mode for a lot people and that’s why I created Mobile Mixed. Time to share the knowledge and help people add mobile in a smart way. :)

  6. I’m almost ready. 2 of my 3 websites are mobile responsive. The other will be changed probably on 2013.
    Many of my readers come via iOS or Android devices nowadays, especially on the tech niche.

  7. First, thank you for the mention. I have to say SMS is so fun! After reading this AMAZING article, my mind is so full of ideas. I know all of the benefits of everything you mentioned. I completely see it, but I know many of my clients will ask…how much is this going to cost me? So at what point do you feel this is possible for people to implement, especially if they are just starting out? Or if they had to start with one thing, then where should they begin?

    Big love,
    Alara

    • Alara, no problem.

      1. How much is this going to cost me? It depends on the provider you work with but at the core of SMS, it’s very similar to email. You pay based on volume (i.e. the number of messages you use each month). Most providers offer plans based on X number of messages a month or x number of contacts.

      My friend pays $24 a month for up to 250 contacts and unlimited messaging. Most businesses shouldn’t be sending more than 4-6 messages a month. If your’e sending appt reminders thats different as it’s only going to one person and super relevant.

      2. At what point do you feel this is possible to implement? As soon as possible. It’s so easy to get setup and get started and begin building your mobile database. You could be collecting mobile opt-ins within an hour. Incorporating it into your overal strategy takes thought and planning.

      3. If they had to choose one thing where should they begin? Depends on business. Having a mobile friendly site is a must. I think small businesses should be focusing on SMS as it’s an immediate channel to drive foot traffic, sales etc. It’s often easier to keep a customer than go get a new one so leverage SMS for customer retention and creating increased repeat business.

  8. Great points…awesome advice! Thanks!

  9. Never taught about using SMS for a website’s marketing.

    What about if it has international audience? Would you still do it?

    Regards

    • Alex, SMS works internationally. It does get a bit trickier dealing with shortcodes and rates and such but depending on how you plan to leverage SMS it can be done.

  10. At first my agency hesitated to add mobile sms text messages as a solution, however we’ve become very interested with the idea and results we’ve seen. It’s important to understand that customers opt in for a reason. They WANT the messages from you. It’s important to save the best values for this audience because of the high open rate and effectiveness. If you aren’t on board, hop on.

    • You’re right Mike. You can’t just send the same content that is in your email via SMS. You need to offer exclusive value for your campaigns/messaging to be successful.

  11. Text messaging looks like a great option for serious online marketers. I’ve seen many local restaurants and fitness centers using this strategy to send occasional offers and discounts to their customers, but never thought that it could also be used in content marketing.

    • Harshad, it can be whatever you make of it really. It’s just another tool for communication and a very powerful, personal, immediate and intimate one so use it wisely. :)

  12. I think it’s important to have a mobile optimized website, but I don’t think everyone necessarily needs an app for their business. Apps can be expensive to build especially for SMB owners. People will search for a website first before they download an app unless the app provides something that is really useful. Thanks for the interesting post!

    • Hey Tina,

      Thanks and I agree. Mobile web is a must in my opinion. Regarding apps, yes they are more expensive depending on what you’re doing but I know Pat built his for a price almost all SMB’s can afford. There are cost effective solutions for sure.

      The key for Pat was that he knows his audience doesn’t always prefer coming to the site. The app allows him to connect with a good portion of his audience on their terms and via a media channel that they prefer. That is the key. You don’t want to alienate loyal customers either. The app won’t be for every customer of course but that’s why you have email, social, SMS etc.

      The real interesting use cases are when you can offer niche content such as Ramit. His app is very focused on providing negotiating scripts that will help you save money. It’s not his full blown content but a way to bring in a different type of user. Someone may first hear of him via the app and love the scripts when they work and go find out more and then realize he has a book, multiple training programs etc.

      So while I believe everyone should focus on mobile web first, it’s important that as you grow you look at ways to consider new types of engagements and that may just be an app. ;)