You’ve probably read at least 100 blog posts listing the big marketing and social media trends for 2012 (our 5 social media trends included) – I know I have. It’s that annual tradition that starts around October and continues right into January – lists of tools to use, companies to watch, everything you should be thinking about when it comes to marketing in the new year. And a lot of what you’re reading isn’t necessarily new stuff; but they are things that will grow and become more popular, and therefore, should be worthy of your attention and consideration.
Mobile is one of those trends. It’s been listed on many a marketing trend list for 2012. Mobile marketing has been around for a few years and has gained momentum since the advent of the iPhone; but why is it suddenly the hot marketing platform for 2012?
To start, here are some stats from Mobithinking.com, which we talked about at a recent Foundation Center DC seminar on social media trends for 2012:
- 90% of mobile phone users interact with it daily.
- 85% of handsets will be able to access the mobile web by the end of 2011.
- Smartphones will overtake “feature” phones (those handsets that allow for calling and texting only) in 2012. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore those using feature phones – still a big segment of your customers and prospects.
Another stat that shows the importance of mobile: many mobile users are mobile-only – 25% of mobile Web users in the US, in fact. They rarely use their desktop, laptop, or even tablet device (although that last one could change significantly over the next couple of years).
Mobile marketing can be implemented in a number of ways, including:
- Making your website mobile-friendly or creating a mobile version: Perhaps easier said than done, but there are a number of low- and no-cost tools out there to help you if you don’t have the web design and development resources to do it for you. Google also launched a free tool for building a mobile landing page this year.
- Developing a mobile app: Again, resources for building a mobile app may be an issue; but tools such as AppMakr can help you build your own – no coding required. There are lots of mobile app building tools out there, both free and paid, and this exhaustive list will help you choose the one right for you.
- Using QR codes: This is one of the easiest ways to get into mobile marketing. QR codes are most effective in offline places like print and signage – where people only need to scan the code with their phones to easily access your content. QR codes are easy to create using free tools like Delivr or even URL shortener Bitly, and can direct people to any content you want – like your mobile-friendly website, a product information page, or a video.
- Leveraging location-based services: If you have a physical location (like a retail store or event of some sort) establish a presence on a location-based service like Foursquare. It’s free and a great way to get people interacting with your business or organization through their phones. You can also offer check-in specials and provide tips on your page to help your customers (such as staff favorites, off-the-menu items or secret discounts).
- Launching an SMS text campaign: I don’t know about you, but I see more people texting than talking on their phones! Texting campaigns can be a bit more time- and labor-intensive to collect mobile phone numbers, plus it can get expensive depending on the size of your database and provider rates. But, check out tools like TextMarks (their ad-supported Lite version is free) and EZTexting for some relatively low-cost options.
How you use mobile marketing all comes down to what will be the best fit for your business or organization. A location-based service may not make the best sense for an online-only e-commerce site, but a mobile app may help customers choose the best product to buy. Determine what goals you want to achieve with mobile marketing, then look at what other similar businesses and organizations are doing for ideas.
Do you you plan on adding mobile to your marketing mix in 2012?