There may be no greater omen of the coming dominance of the mobile platform than the recent release of Google Hummingbird. Between the proliferation of smartphones and the huge degree of importance for social media on that platform, it’s never been more important to have a mobile marketing strategy. Fortunately, if you’re already familiar with marketing on the Internet, there are only a handful of things that are truly unique about marketing on mobile devices.

Getting Started

The first step in developing a mobile marketing strategy is to identify the goals for the content you place in a mobile channel. Are you trying to drive traffic to your e-commerce pages? Are you looking to set up another channel for customer support? Set up a clear list of objectives for your mobile marketing campaign long before you’ve considered any other detail.

Designing for Mobile First

Until recently, it was all but standard design practice for web developers to create a site that works for desktop users, and then figure out a way to scale the site down to mobile almost as an afterthought. But the emerging necessity of having a positive mobile browsing experience has turned that practice on its head. Today, more than half of all searches originate from mobile devices, a number that is only expected to increase as mobile continues to spread. Mobile use of the Internet is expected to surpass traditional access by the end of this year. The time for mobile as an afterthought ended with 2013.

Market Research

The next step to establishing a mobile marketing strategy is to ask some critical questions about the habits of your existing readership. How many readers access your site on a mobile device? Do they mostly use smartphones, or do they prefer tablets? What do mobile users do when they’re on your site? Do they read your long content? What content is it that they’re most engaged with? What else do they do on their mobile devices?

The more you understand what it is that people want from your site on the mobile platform, the easier it becomes to tailor your marketing to those specific needs. Fleshing out the details of your demographic will also help you to determine the best medium for your mobile marketing, including MMS, social networks, or through your own site.

Visual Optimization

You may recall way back in 2006, Amazon found a steady correlation between the load time of a site and revenue. At the time, they found a change of 100 milliseconds in the loading time of a site corresponded to an increase or decrease in revenue by about 1%. Nearly a decade later, the widespread use of mobile internet has meant a massive reemergence of devices with mobile-quality Internet connections onto an Internet that has been largely designed for high speed broadband connections, and the same problems are emerging all over again.

People don’t want to wait around for pages to load, and they don’t want to have to struggle to navigate through your site. If your site is slow to load or isn’t visually optimized for the thousands of mobile devices on the market, you will suffer for it. Square one of any desktop to mobile marketing effort needs to acknowledge the fact that if your site isn’t designed to work and look just as great on an iPhone as it does on a 30-inch display, Google will pick up on the social disapproval you create, and send your content straight down to the deepest, darkest depths of a SERP.

Content on a Mobile Site

How we create content, and just breaking content into smaller bits of text so as to make them easier to read on mobile, isn’t enough to create a first-class mobile experience. This isn’t to say that reading huge quantities of text on your smartphone is out of the question—it just depends on your industry and demographic. When you understand your audience, you’ll understand if they want to read your long form content or if they’re looking for the pithy mobile version.

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