According to GSMA Intelligence, there are more than 5.1 billion mobile phone users worldwide – roughly ⅔ of the global population (as of October 2018). That’s an increase of 3.72% over last year.
The growth in mobile phone users has been impressive, but there are still 2.5 billion people without a mobile phone. So there’s still a lot of untapped opportunity: GSMA expects adoption to continue to increase at a 2.1% annual growth rate between 2018 and 2025.
And, of course, new technology like 5G connectivity is just around the corner, which could lead to an explosion of internet-connected devices. There are already 8.8 billion cellular devices connected to the internet of things (IoT), but GSMA expects there will be 25.1 billion IoT devices by 2025. IoT devices will give marketers new ways to reach consumers.
But, for now, smartphones provide ample opportunity. Mobile phones are almost ubiquitous in Australia. According to Statista, there are 19.7 million mobile users in the country, up from 16.6 million in 2011. That means 82% of Australians use a mobile phone.
Is there any other technology that’s as widespread and immersive as smartphones? Consider the fact that mobile devices are heavily favored over desktop devices by Millennials – now Australia’s biggest demographic – and you can begin to see why Australian businesses need to start taking mobile marketing seriously.
The question is not whether your business should be doing mobile marketing; it’s more about where you should start. Here are top four ideas to help get your business mobile-ready:
1. Make sure your website is mobile-responsive
Before you start thinking about a mobile marketing plan, you need to make sure your website is mobile-responsive. This means that every element of your website displays equally well on desktop and mobile devices, no matter the size of the screen.
Most website themes offered through hosting companies and content management or ecommerce systems (like WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify, etc.) are already mobile-friendly. But if your website is old, there’s a chance it’s not correctly configured for mobile devices.
If you’re unsure, try navigating to your website on your smartphone. If you find yourself having to use your fingers to zoom in to read text or select a button, your website is not mobile-responsive. If that’s the case, it’s time for a design upgrade.
Keep in mind that 63% of all traffic today comes from mobile devices (up from 57% in 2016). Companies that fail to adapt will see their bounce rates continue to rise as visitors become frustrated by the absence of a mobile-friendly design.
2. Optimize for Google My Business
Smartphone users frequently use Google Maps to find and compare local businesses by reading reviews, looking at photos, and browsing their websites. You need to create a Google My Business account to make sure your business is properly listed. If your business is already listed but you didn’t create the listing yourself, you can go through a simple process to ‘claim’ your listing and make sure all the information is correct and up to date.
Completing your Google My Business listing will also help with search engine optimization (SEO). If you haven’t already done this, you’ll be surprised by the boost in web traffic you’ll get as a result.
3. Send timely offers via SMS
Interestingly, most people hate receiving calls from telemarketers, but don’t mind receiving promotional messages via text. In fact, 57% of respondents to a survey said they wouldn’t mind receiving promotional texts in exchange for a discount. Considering the fact that 90% of text messages are viewed within 3 minutes of being received, SMS marketing looks like a promising way to reach consumers with timely, actionable promotions.
Many marketers are reluctant to use SMS messaging because they’re worried about getting into trouble with regulators. But there’s really no reason to fear. The rules are similar to email marketing; in a nutshell, as long as you receive explicit permission to send a customer SMS messages, you’re in the clear.
What kind of messages should you send? Focus on actionable offers (don’t text your customers about a new blog post!) like limited-time discounts. You can even use geo-targeting to text users near a specific location with a special offer.
4. Sell on social media
Most of today’s social media use happens on smartphones. Networks like Instagram and Snapchat (and to a lesser-extent Facebook and Twitter) are in fact optimized for the mobile experience.
As you can see from the data below, 94% of Australian social media users are on Facebook, 46% are on Instagram, and 40% are on Snapchat. Snapchat use has grown the fastest, doubling from 20% in 2016 to 40% in 2017, but still hasn’t caught up to Instagram. Interestingly though, Snapchat is the most frequently accessed social media platform (an average of 42 uses per week).
Twitter has also seen a big jump from 20% in 2016 to 32% in 2017, and has the benefit of hosting very active users (most Australian users tweet more than 5 times a day).
Social media is now a crucial advertising platform for many types of consumer-facing businesses, especially in the lifestyle, fashion, and food industries. It’s essential for getting your brand noticed and showcasing promotions, but businesses are increasingly using social media to drive sales – either via their own online store or directly through Facebook or the new Shopping on Instagram feature.
What kind of posts should you share on social media? Interactive content like photos and videos work best if you’re trying to reach mobile users.
Today’s consumer is increasingly using mobile devices to consume content, discover new product ideas, interact with and share promotional content on social media, and even make purchases directly from their phones. Companies that fail to leverage mobile marketing will continue to miss out on one of the biggest and most effective marketing channels available today.
If you’ve yet to explore mobile marketing, please don’t think that it’s too late. According to a 2018 study, 84% of consumers experienced difficulty completing a mobile transaction; and 40% of users choose to shop at a competitor’s store after a bad mobile experience. This shows that there’s still an incredible opportunity for businesses to take the lead and create a responsive mobile experience for browsing and buying products.
It’s also important to note that mobile marketing is always changing. What’s true today of consumer behavior may change in three years from now. But what’s almost certain is that consumers will increasingly use smartphones and other mobile devices to interact with brands.
Alexa Lemzy is the head of customer support at TextMagic. She is interested in customer success, growth, marketing and technology and passionate about content, reading and travel.