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How to Optimize Your Marketing Message for Mobile Devices

How to Optimize Your Marketing Message for Mobile Devices

By Aaron Broverman

According to 2014 statistics from the Pew Research Center, 90% of American adults own a cellphone, 58% have a smartphone, 32% own an e-reader and 42% own a tablet.

More important, 67% of cell phone owners find themselves checking their phone for messages, calls and alerts, even when they didn’t notice their phone was ringing or vibrating. Plus, 44% of cell phone owners have slept next to their cell phone because they didn’t want to miss a message, alert or call during the night, and 29% describe their cell phone as something they can’t imagine living without.

As a Marketer, Why Should You Care?

“Mobile devices are single screens that demand focus. When someone is looking at their phone, they’re not looking somewhere else, even if it’s for a fraction of a second. Mobile app designers have complete attention when the user is focused on them.”

The statement above was made by Chris Penn, vice president of marketing technology for Shift Communications, a top-tier PR firm, with offices in San Francisco, New York City, Boston and Austin, specializing in marketing for mobile devices.

It’s because of this saturation and singular focus that more companies not only want to, but need to deliver their PR messages directly to a person’s mobile device. Still, Penn will tell you many companies struggle to think about the mobile option in the right context and that’s where they go wrong.

Blast vs. Behaviour

We already know that people check their phones habitually, but a captive audience doesn’t mean they’ll always pay attention.

“Mobile is far more than just a device. It’s a way of life for people, it’s part of how they interact with the world. If you just treat mobile as another broad demographic to blast your message to, it’ll fall on deaf ears – if anyone even sees it,” says Penn.

Instead, Penn recommends understanding your audience’s behaviour with their mobile device and the context under which they receive your message.

“Marketers and communicators must pay attention to context and channel segmentation,” he says.

“When does your audience read email? If you know that, you know when to send email to your users, mobile or not. You know in what contexts they’re checking email. If you’re sending email after hours, chances are it will be read on a mobile device – but do your conversions increase? Or does your mail get read and then forgotten? Becoming proficient at analytics will help solve some of these challenges. Learn how to segment your audiences not by demographics but by behaviours.”

If you simply classify someone as just another mobile user, you’re missing massive marketing opportunities that could be converted into sales and you could be making unintended mistakes.

As Penn pointed out, a bored person in line at the supermarket may read your message simply for lack of something better to do, a mobile user who is driving should not be reading your message at all, and a user who is watching TV may only be partially engaged with what you send them.

However, a mobile user in your store – potentially looking for a better deal – is someone you absolutely want to engage. Simply classifying these people as just another mobile user ignores their behaviour and what they’re doing.

Make Content Specific to Mobile Devices

“As a consumer – not as a PR professional – when was the last time you read a press release from a company on a personal account (not a business one) on a mobile device?,” asks Penn. “I’d wager never. But when was the last time you watched a YouTube video, played a game or took a quiz on your mobile device? Probably fairly recently.”

That’s why companies should take advantage of mobile technology and create something fun, unique, exciting and exclusive to the mobile platform that will deliver their message.

“Make apps. Make video. Make games. Make stuff that sets you apart from everyone else, because everyone else will be doing traditional, boring stuff.” says Penn.

For example, companies such as Home Depot and Loews have their own branded apps, which have the distinct advantage of being able to communicate with end users outside of traditional media channels. Paid media (advertising) is also particularly effective in the mobile environment given the committed and captive audience mentioned earlier. Penn recommends using paid media to bring users to your owned  media (social media, website and blog) and earned media ( that which is consumer- or user-generated).

“If your earned and owned media aren’t gaining any traction, you’ll also want to skill up on paid media,” says Penn. “Paid media in the mobile realm has become incredibly powerful. Advertisers can target down to the device type and kind. For example, if you know your audience reads on Kindles, you can target your message just to Kindle devices.”

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