People love their smartphones. Whether you're walking down the street or inside a shopping mall, sitting in a coffee shop or at the airport, half the people around you are looking down at their cellphones.
Eighty-three percent of American adults own a cell phone, and 42 percent of them own a Blackberry, iPhone, or a similar smartphone, according to a recent Pew Internet Project report. The study also found that 87 percent of smartphone users access the Internet or email on their device. Two-thirds of smartphone users do so daily. Increasingly, just as how the home broadband connection remains always on, the mobile connection seems to be ever present.
Today's apps-savvy consumers want business information delivered concisely and available for reading on the fly. Thanks to the explosion of Internet-enabled mobile devices, you and your customers can communicate on the go. Here are six easy ways to deliver on mobile devices marketing that encourages customer interaction.
1. Make Your Emails Mobile-Friendly
Whereas delivering email marketing that can be read on mobile devices used to be optional for a business, now it's essential. Keep a message's subject line short and place high up in the message your brand name, the offer, and the call to action.
Keep your email design simple and light on text, and offer a link to your company's website or Facebook page so a reader can find out more.
2. Give Mobile Customers What They Need
Forty percent of U.S. smartphone owners compare prices on their mobile device while shopping inside a store, according to HubSpot, an Internet marketing firm in Cambridge, Mass. If you do not optimize your site for mobile users, you may miss sales opportunities. The most sought-after information (a company's hours, locations, and directions) and popular features should be front and center where customers can easily find them. If mobile consumers cannot find the information they need to guide their purchasing decisions, they may click -- but then take their business elsewhere.
3. Invite List Sign-ups via Text Message and Quick-Response Codes
Customers entering into your retail establishment probably are carrying their cellphones on them. Build your contact list by inviting patrons to send a text message (if your email service provider offers this feature) or scan a QR code. Put a sign at your cash register to encourage such activity while the shopping experience is still fresh.
A savings coupon or special offer can sweeten the deal for any customers who sign up via text message or QR code. And you end up building your list without having to manually enter email addresses after deciphering handwriting on a sign-up sheet.
4. Build Your Fan Base
Your socially active customers have a Facebook or Twitter app loaded on their smartphones. A sign or poster that encourages them to connect with you in the social media sphere can propel significant growth of your network -- and expand your company's visibility to the contacts of your new followers. Be sure to give customers a good (and fun) reason to like or follow you.
5. Tap Location-Based Services
If you run a brick-and-mortar business or host an event, encourage people to check in on location-based services like Foursquare, Gowalla, or Where. You will gain information about your regular customers and how often they visit you. It also lets your customers share information and tips about your business with others. A unique special offer can encourage these regulars to check in more often.
6. Encourage Reviews on the Run
Encourage customers to share their thoughts about their experience while they are still at our place of business. Post a sign that says, "How'd we do? Let us know!" You can even direct customers to sites like Yelp, Where, Google Places, or TripAdvisor, where you would like them to offer reviews of your business. Make sure you post your company's Twitter handle, so customers can include it in reviews and follow your business on Twitter for updates. Be sure you stay on top of any customer reviews posted about your company.
More mobile technologies are springing up, enabling businesses and customers to stay connected, regardless of location. Remember: All these gadgets and apps can support your marketing but they should not drive it. You still need to focus your message on how your company provides great products and services. Know who and where your customers are. Then bring the goods to them. Mobile strategies let you package your marketing to better reach them.
Gail Goodman is the author of Engagement Marketing: How Small Business Wins In a Socially Connected World (Wiley, 2012) and CEO of Waltham, Mass.-based Constant Contact Inc., a provider of email marketing, event marketing, social media marketing, local deal and online survey tools and services for small businesses, associations and nonprofits.