It’s a fact that more than 90% of South Africans own one (or more) mobile device, and 92% of smartphone users say that they are incapable of living without their smartphones.
Companies world-wide are taking note of the mobile trend and research indicates that they cannot ignore a mobile marketing strategy.
The next time you are in town, take a look around. You will be surprised how many people’s eyes are glued down to their phones.
Major brands are already jumping on the opportunity to talk to these customers, and platforms like Google, Facebook, and Instagram assist in making it easier for any business.
Now that the world is going mobile, there are endless opportunities and a number of different ways to communicate to reach out to potential customers.
For example: You are a restaurant owner looking to get awareness on social media. Most phones (as well as social media accounts) link to GPS, so you could use a platform such as Foursquare to reward customers for checking-in to your restaurant on social media.
That then creates a ‘reward’ system for your customers, encouraging organic reach on social media for your restaurant.
Understanding mobile marketing
As of now, more than 70% of all YouTube views are happening on a mobile device.
And when it comes to Facebook, it’s safe to say that more than 90% of users access it through a mobile device.
We already know that the e-commerce space is growing at a rapid pace, but what’s interesting is that more users are starting to use their mobile phones to make purchases.
Now, I understand not everyone uses their mobile devices in the same way. However, to succeed in your marketing strategy, it’s important to listen to your customer’s digital signals. Learn how they use their mobile devices, and do research on their shopping behaviors before you roll mobile marketing strategy.
There are numerous channels to implement mobile marketing; there is social media, SMS, search ads, email, and more.
With that said, it’s important to find out which of these channels work best in communicating to your potential customers, and which one brings in the highest ROI for your business.
Mobile marketing channels and functions
Mobile is not like any other marketing channel. As I have mentioned above, it can cover a wide range of marketing strategies, and the reason for that is because today’s smartphones can do a lot.
The average smartphone has roughly eight ways to help enhance the customer experience and communication from a brand. These channels include:
- Push Notifications
- Browsing the Web
- Social Media
All these functions can be incorporated into your marketing strategy and can form part of your mobile marketing campaign.
Using these functions will allow you to add a whole range of different advertising methods to your brand (and campaign), not to mention that it can help your brand stay at the top of your customer’s mind.
Mobile marketing channels and functions
It’s imperative that you try to understand each of your customers’ journey, and with that, I mean, try to find out how they came across your brand, what made them decide to give it a try and what made them a loyal customer. Understanding your users’ journey, you can help streamline your marketing efforts.
You might be wondering; what has this got to do with mobile marketing? Well, today, I can guarantee you that a big part of your customers’ journey is influenced on mobile, whether you like it or not.
The purchase funnel and how it’s affected by mobile
Over the years, marketers have come up with a way to create a visual outlay, or framework, if you will, to help organise our marketing strategies. Thus, the ‘purchase funnel’ was born.
The purchase funnel visualises the customer’s journey and contains the following segments:
Awareness is where the consumer is learning about your brand, and this is now heavily influenced by social media.
Social media and search engines are usually the first places where customers learn about a brand, and today, that happens predominantly on mobile devices.
It is, therefore, one of the main reasons why you need to ensure that your brand has a social media and online presence.
The next segment is where users click through to your website (again, this happens mostly on mobile) so it’s essential to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.
After viewing a few pages and reading a few pieces of copy on your website, the customer forms an opinion of your brand, and this is where your brand might spark an interest in the customer’s mind.
The third segment is the consideration stage. Your customer now begins to interact with your brand and form an impression about your offerings.
If you are a B2C business, then there is a big chance that this stage also happens mainly on mobile.
Today, most consumers will send a message on Facebook or leave a message on your contact page if they have a specific question about your product or service.
You have now engaged with the customer, and they form a liking in your brand. Once you have reached this phase, your chances of converting the customer have more than doubled.
However, if your brand doesn’t have an online presence, and is not on social media, or if your website is not suitable for mobile devices, then you would struggle to move the customer past the awareness stage.
The customer physically buys your product or service at this stage, and this is increasingly happening on mobile devices, which makes it another reason to ensure that your website is 100% mobile friendly, fast, and optimised to improve the user’s experience.
The sixth segment is the adoption phase. Now, this is probably one of the only segments that is not influenced by mobile or digital marketing.
The customer has now bought the product, loved it, and adopts a recurring purchasing behavior with your brand, which then takes us to the final segment.
Loyalty is self-explanatory and can be influenced by mobile through constant communication from the brand, along with a strong social media and online presence to keep your brand top of mind.
Now that you understand how mobile is changing the way customers find, engage, review, and purchase from brands, it’s important to ensure that your business is mobile ready, to prepare for the future.
Auditing your mobile readiness
To ensure that you are mobile-future ready, you will have to do a thorough audit of your business. Is your company using some of the following tools below as a part of its marketing strategy?
- Mobile Optimised Email
- Social Media Campaign for Mobile
- Mobile Display and Search Ads
- 100% Responsive Design Website
- Click to Call Services on Website
- Mobile SEO
- Mobile Retargeting Services
- Mobile Optimised Videos
- Mobile Applications
- Push Notifications
- Location Enablers.
If not, then you are probably falling behind.
The list can go on. However, these are some of the key elements you need to have checked to ensure you aren’t missing on new ways to drive more sales.
If you have realised that you hadn’t checked many of the boxes, then don’t worry, because I’m going to map out where you can start, in order to catch up with the trends.
As I have said earlier in this guide, more than 90% of our population has mobile devices. With that said, I suggest you start by collecting contact numbers from your customers, which will allow you to send them an SMS the next time you have a specific offer or promotion.
This works like a bomb as it’s an easy and convenient way to remind customers about your brand. It’s also a great way to capitalise on customers that are between the transaction and loyalty segment of the funnel.
A few tips that can help to optimise your email for mobile include:
- Include Who the SMS is From First – Due to so many ‘spam’ SMS’s flying around, always ensure to put your brand name first. That way the customer can immediately see that it’s from a brand he or she trusts.
- Be Clear – I might say this more than once in the article, but be sure to keep it simple. Have clarity in what you are trying to say. g., 50% OFF on everything.
- Include a Link – The last thing you want to do is work on a great line and realize there is no way for the customer to learn more about the offer. That is why I always suggest including a link that the customer can click on to take him to the necessary landing page.
- Optimise Landing Page for Mobile – It will be a waste of money if you went through all the trouble to create and send an SMS, only to realise that the page you are driving customers to is not optimised for mobile. Make sure the landing page is mobile friendly and be sure to see your conversions increase.
2Mobile optimised email marketing
In Part 5 we discussed how effective email marketing is, and it can be even more effective if you optimise it for mobile devices. Did you know more than 70% of people open their emails on a mobile device?
Now, imagine you had this great promotion you wanted to share with your customers, but soon realised 70% of your customers weren’t able to see it properly. All the hard work that has gone into making the promotion happen would have been in vein.
So, what to do? Make sure to code, design, and create your emails in a way that it’s suitable for mobile devices. This will allow your message to come across with clarity and it can help spark the engagement of users which will lead to more sales.
A few tips that can help to optimise your email for mobile include:
- Be Clear – Make sure to provide a clear call to action. No matter what you are promoting, make sure the customer can easily see and understand it. Think about it, there is a limited amount of space on a mobile screen, so ensure to get the message across swiftly.
- Provide an Offer – The last thing people want to do is get an email that delivers no value. Make sure to provide your customers with some form of offer which they can click on or claim in a convenient way using their phones.
- Use a Service Provider – You can make your life easy by opting to use a platform like MailChimp, Constant Contact, Emma, or Drip. They all allow you to optimise your email for mobile.
3Social media ads and mobile
It’s all good and well having a social media presence, but one will have to pour petrol on the fire if you want to drive more sales.
With that said, in Part 4 we talked about social media marketing (especially Facebook), and with that in mind, make sure to optimise your social media ads, creative, and messages for mobile users. Also, make sure to include mobile devices as part of your targeting when you run your next social media marketing campaign.
A few tips to optimise your mobile and social media marketing include:
- Instagram – 99% of user’s access Instagram on a mobile device, so an easy way to target people on mobile is to run ads on Instagram through the Facebook Ad platform.
- Facebook Mobile Feed – I love the Facebook mobile feed, as there are no distractions on the left or right-hand columns. The user’s eyes are constantly centered, and that is where you want your ad to pop up. By increasing or running ads only for the mobile news feed you will be able to see a higher click through rate.
4Mobile search and display ads
In Part 3 we talked about Search Engine Marketing (SEM). If you are currently spending money on search ads and display ads then like social media, ensure that they are optimised for mobile devices.
When running display ads make sure that your message is clear and test it on a mobile device before you roll it out to the public. Also, ensure that you include mobile targeting on both your search and display ads.
Another thing to do is to break the analytics down. Have a look at how many impressions you are getting on desktop vs. how many you are getting on mobile. Chances are you are more popular on mobile which in return gives you a better CTR (Click Through Rate) and lower cost per click.
A few tips to optimise your ads for mobile include:
- Click to Call – When running a search ad, make sure to add the “Click to Call” extension. This will allow customers to call your business or support line with the click of a button.
- Call to Action – The clearer your call to action is on mobile banner ads are, the higher your CTR will be. That will help bring your cost per click (CPC) down and increase conversions.
5Responsive web design
In Part 2 we talked about SEO and what you can do to optimise your website for search engines. One of the first things on your checklist needs to be ensuring that your website is 100% responsive to the different mobile and tablet screen sizes.
If it’s not, I can promise you that there are a bunch of annoyed customers out there that are about to consider rather buying from a competitor.
A few tips to optimise your email for mobile devices include:
- Expanding Menus – Include menus that expand rather ones that take up real estate on the page and might distract the customer.
- Short Titles – Due to limited space, make sure that you don’t over think titles and make them sweet and short.
- Images – Don’t overload your website with unnecessary imagery as that might just slow your web page down, and annoy your customer.
- Don’t Make Them Guess – So many websites aren’t clear on what they want the customer to do when they are on the page. Be clear, ensure to say, ‘Give us a Call’, ‘Click Here to Learn More’,
- Screen Sizes – Consider the different resolutions devices have. High resolutions screens will demand high-resolution And smaller screens would want smaller quality images to load faster.
There are numerous other ways to ensure you maximise mobile and its marketing capabilities, but as a beginner, I suggest you start with the five mentioned above.
By implementing the following tips and strategies, you will help narrow the gap between you and your competitors.
Everything You Need To Know About Instagram’s New Shopping Features
The app is giving influencers and brands new channels on which consumers can discover them.
Influencers and brands have two new ways to sell products to users scrolling and tapping through their Instagram feeds. After a summer of testing shopping buttons that drive purchases via Stories, the Facebook-owned app has launched them for businesses in 46 countries.
It’s also begun rolling out a personalised shopping section in the Explore tab, which Instagram redesigned earlier this year to feature AI-powered channels categorising content based on topic (e.g. travel, art, decor).
The shopping tab will be a place for users who know they want to browse and potentially buy, with Instagram’s algorithm serving up brands the user already follows or would likely be into, based on past activity on the app. Meanwhile, the shopping bag stickers in Stories will give users a chance to not just admire their favourite influencers’ outfits, but actually click through and learn more about promoted items.
Since Instagram began testing the feature in June, more than 90 million users per month have tapped to reveal tags in shopping posts, according to a Sept. 17 Instagram blog post. The app already allows brands to purchase ads in the form of Stories.
More than 400 million accounts watch Stories daily, and one-third of the most-viewed Stories are from businesses, Instagram also reports.
Instagram has been testing shopping in feeds for nearly two years.
Related: Creating Power Digital Campaigns
Back in November 2016, the company explained on its Business blog that online shopping often involves research and deliberation, rather than impulse purchases, which is what led Instagram to build out shopping posts that would provide consumers with information about products without having to leave the app until they’d made a purchase decision.
Salesforce has forecasted that the referral traffic Instagram drives to retailer websites will increase by 51 percent between the 2017 and 2018 holiday seasons, according to Adweek.
Speaking of leaving the app, Instagram is rumored to be developing a standalone shopping app, according to The Verge, but the company declined to comment on these reports to both The Verge and Entrepreneur.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Social Media Marketing For Start-ups: Essential Tips
There are plenty of ways to get the leads your start-up needs, but only a few tactics you’ll need in your arsenal to get the job done at a limited cost to your burgeoning business.
Social media marketing, when you’re short on funds, can seem like an intimidating prospect. If you and your team aren’t already knowledgeable about digital marketing strategy, you may think it’s impossible for you to manage marketing campaigns yourself. With a bit of determination and a great deal of studying, however, your startup will be able to successfully launch, direct, and refine your own digital marketing strategies.
What things can you do to help your start-up get more press, attract more customers, and get more brand awareness? There are plenty of ways to get the leads your start-up needs, but only a few tactics you’ll need in your arsenal to get the job done at a limited cost to your burgeoning business.
Get to know your niche
Many young companies adopt random acts of internet marketing. They’ll throw a few hundred dollars into promoting Facebook posts without necessarily understanding how to communicate to their audience.
Before you dive into advertising and promotion platforms, you should spend some time to define – and to get to know – your niche.
To help define your target market, use questions like:
- Who are your existing customers?
- How would you group them?
- Who does your product or service help?
- Does your product help business owners, stay-at-home parents, college students, or someone else?
- Who are you looking to reach out to?
- That is, are you looking to refine your target market or expand it?
Once you’ve answered a few questions like the ones listed above, you should be able to get a better idea of who you’re marketing to. With an understanding of who you’re communicating with, you should be able to craft a tailored message about your brand.
Related: 10 Laws Of Social Media Marketing
Choose social media platforms wisely
Many start-ups try to master as many social media platforms right at the start. Instead of dividing your attention between Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, you should identify one or two social media platforms that will help you market your product or service. This is why defining your target market at the beginning is so very important.
You must first decide who your message is intended for before writing, editing, and positioning that message. After you’ve got your target market down, you’ll be able to pinpoint which social media platforms can serve you best.
Here are a few examples to give you an idea of which social media platforms are best suited for your needs:
- Best for blog links
- Frequent posts: 1-4 posts every few hours is the most effective
- The community is open to businesses promotion
- Best for communicating to existing customers
- Daily posts: 1 post every 2 days is the most effective
- Users respond best to images, videos, and clips
- Strictly promotional posts are undesirable
- Building readership and/or a following is slow
- Better suited for long-term growth strategy
Do your social media research
Start conducting some preliminary research about social media platforms. Build a profile of each, listing their pros and cons. Try investigating other social media platforms such as GitHub, Stack Overflow, and Quora. While these aren’t platforms as large as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, they could have a far greater impact on your start-up.
Answering questions on Quora and interacting with other users on GitHub, for example, could help you build genuine business and customer relationships.
Concentrate on mastering a few channels
Ultimately, it’s important to concentrate on one or two social media platforms based on your target market and your goals. Attempting to have a significant presence on all of them will prove expensive, time-consuming, and, at worst, counterproductive.
Focusing on one platform will allow you to track your marketing efforts with greater precision, revise your marketing strategy more easily, and help you speak more directly to your target audience.
Digital marketing, while best left to a team of experienced marketers, content creators, and creative designers can be done by your team.
Start-ups tight on cash don’t need to fret, they only need to do a bit of market research and direct their energy accordingly. After narrowing down your audience and performing some preliminary research on social media platforms, you can start working on your social media marketing strategy.
Master a few channels rather than trying to dominate all of the social media space. Keep conducting research as you start your marketing campaigns. Each community naturally changes so you’ll want to keep up-to-date. Leverage your research and dedication to get the most out of your startup marketing.
How To Create The Best Small Business Website: 5 Easy And Effective Steps
Check the steps below and get ready to create a successful small business website.
It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is. If you don’t have online presence, it will become difficult to obtain the results you expect. Your target audience is using the internet nowadays for almost anything. So, if you want to attract more customers and build your brand reputation, you need to build a website. This is how you will be able to expand your business in an easy and not so expensive way.
On the other hand, you don’t have to be a savvy web developer to create a basic website and let the others know about you. Web development and design software have evolved a lot and now you can use several website builders to develop a functional site. You will have plenty of templates to choose from to increase your business’ visibility.
Check the steps below and get ready to create a successful small business website.
Easy and Effective Steps to Create a Website for Your Business
1. What is the purpose of your website?
It doesn’t matter if you develop a simple or a more complex website. Before you start working on anything related to your website, you should start with saying what your company does. Your customers need to understand from the first minute they access your homepage what is your mission and vision. They don’t have too much time to invest when they enter on a website. So, you can make their journey smoother by telling them from the beginning about you. In case you are not so talented at writing, you can use writing companies like RewardedEssays or SupremeDissertations to give you a hand.
2. Choose a domain name and a web host
Even though many think they shouldn’t focus too much on it, the domain name is an important feature of your website. You will use the URL to promote your business to existing and future clients. So, this means that your domain name should be explicit and talk about your business to anyone who wants to find more about you. A domain name should be short, clear, without acronyms or numbers. What is more, you shouldn’t forget to check if your domain name isn’t already taken by someone else.
Apart from a domain name, your website will also need a server where all your data is stored. When you own a small business, creating your own web host will represent a serious financial effort. So, it would be more cost-wise to choose an external host.
As your business grows, you can choose a different host, or you can ask several providers to work on a personalised solution.
3. Build your website’s pages
You will need more than a homepage to create a good website. If you want your customers to understand that you are a professional in what you do, you will create several pages dedicated to different elements of your business. For example, you can include a catalog with your products or a blog.
Natalie Andersen, CEO of GetGoodGrade mentions that “It is obligatory that apart from the homepage, a website should have at least a page with the products’ catalog and a Contact Us page.”
Below you can find a list with the minimum number of pages a professional website should have:
- Homepage – here you will include details about your business, making sure that you also talk about your mission and vision.
- List of products and services – your customers need to know what are the products and services you offer. This will help them decide whether you can answer their questions and provide a solution to their problems.
- About Us – “About Us page is the place where you talk about your story. Your target audience wants to know more about yourself. This is how you will create a connection with your customers and let them know more about you”, says James Daily, Head of content department at FlashEssay.
- Contact Us – it should include your address, email, phone number and working hours. You can also include the links for your social media profiles.
Furthermore, if you want to achieve an international presence, you can also use the translation services offered by IsAccurate. Thus, you will be able to address your message to a wider group of people and expand your business on new markets.
Related: How To Secure Your SME Website
4. Test if your website works properly
Christopher K. Mercer, CEO of Citatior recommends that “before you launch a website, you should first test whether it works. You cannot tell your future customers about your website without knowing for sure that it will work without problems once you launch it”. Therefore, you should click on each page and check whether it has any errors. You still have time to fix something if necessary.
Once you have launched your website and something goes wrong, it will become more difficult to do any change. Plus, always remember that the first impression matters. So, you need to be perfect in the eyes of your customers.
5. Maintain your website
After you launched your website, this doesn’t mean that your work is done. You will need to keep your customers engaged and curious about your business. Therefore, updating the products’ catalog constantly or producing content for your blog will keep your audience informed about what you can offer and the latest trends in the industry. Plus, you should also check if your website is up to date with the latest add-ons. If you don’t know how to produce new content for your website or you feel that you are not talented enough, you can collaborate with HotEssayService or RatedByStudents for professional writing services.
It shouldn’t be complicated to create a website for your small business. As long as you keep a clear structure and create a story around your business, you don’t have anything to worry about. It is very important to understand that a website is very important for your business visibility. Thus, you should put all your efforts into it.
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