Back in 2011, Open Forum posted an article titled “Don’t Make These 8 Mobile Marketing Mistakes.” Everything on that list still stands true, but with the advancements in technology and changes in user behaviors in just these two short years, there are several things missing that you definitely want to avoid. Truthfully, there are a lot of mistakes that most people make, but here’s a list of five of what I consider to be the more serious ones.
Mistake #1 – Not having a website that is mobile-ready.
It’s funny because on the 2011 list, the last thing mentioned was to avoid “skimping on your mobile site.” But the reality is that if you’re going to do any type of mobile marketing, you need to make sure that your site works on mobile devices – and this should the FIRST thing you do. Today’s consumers expect mobile-ready sites and will hit the back button if they’re not.
You need to make sure that your site is cross-platform compatible. For example, a common rookie mistake is forgetting that Flash doesn’t work on all platforms. Your mobile website shouldn’t be a replica of your PC site. Mobile versions should provide the key information in a format that is quick, easy and accessible. They should be “just the facts” – use less text and don’t use articles. Remember, they’re viewing your site on a small screen. Give users the option to view mobile or full version of your site– and let them choose what they need.
Mistake #2 – Not making emails mobile friendly.
The amount of people who open emails on mobile devices has surpassed those who use a browser and the number is expected to keep growing. If you aren’t making sure that the emails you send out are optimized for mobile devices, then you’re completely wasting your time.
For example, Droid devices don’t download images in email by default — so if your content is contingent upon a picture, readers won’t see it unless they take the extra step to view images. And if you consider the fact that there are now more Android smartphone users than iphones, that’s a lot of people who may not see your email. When it comes to email marketing, unless there’s a strong relationship with the sender, people are more likely to hit the delete button than go back to it when they’re at their PC.
Mistake #3 – Not taking steps to counteract “Showrooming.”
There’s a growing number of people “window-shopping” in brick and mortars stores, using their smartphones to scan bar codes and then purchasing items online. So much so that a new term has been created for it — Showrooming. It’s a bitter reality, but independent business owners can’t compete in the long run against big box stores or large companies on price alone.
When you start using mobile marketing, don’t forget the importance of good ol’ fashioned customer service and face-to-face interaction. Use check-in discounts and coupons. Once a person has spoken with a “real person” who’s there to answer questions and help, they’re less likely to walk away and purchase elsewhere. The American Independent Business Alliance offers seven ways businesses and communities can counter Showrooming.
Mistake #4 – Poor use of QR Codes
True story. I was on a major highway and passed a billboard with nothing on it but a giant QR code. No business name. No website. No call to action. Nothing but a digital image that was totally useless to me as I went by it at 70 mph. Even if I had someone with me, they never would have had time to open an app to scan it. All I could wonder was how much the person had paid for that epic QR code fail.
QR codes are a powerful way to engage consumers. There’s a built in sense of curiosity. There’s elegance in the simplicity scanning the code and then Poof! you’re there. But with great power comes great responsibility. Don’t waste it by making these avoidable mistakes:
- Putting a QR code in a place with no wireless access (like a subway)
- Picking a poor choice for where your QR code will appear (like a billboard)
- Having a QR code that simply goes to your homepage (your domain does that)
- Not having a clear call-to-action on the QR landing page (have a purpose)
If you’re considering QR codes as part of your strategy, Forbes has a good article about how you can avoid mobile marketing mistakes with bad QR codes. And if you want a good laugh, here are 15 more of the worst QR Fails.
Mistake #5 – Building an App just because everyone else is.
Yes, there’s growing evidence that business owners who take advantage of mobile marketing are reaping the benefits and capturing market share. But that doesn’t mean you need to dive right in without a plan. Before you invest any money, determine whether your business would benefit from having a mobile marketing strategy that includes an app. Make sure that any app you develop offers true value for your customers otherwise it will be quickly forgotten.
If you decide that you want to build an App, don’t forget to include a plan to promote it that includes mobile advertising, emails, text messages and traditional ads. And remember, you want people to do more than download the app – you need to have a way that reminds people to use your app regularly, such as updates and new features.
Want to see REAL examples of mobile marketing mistakes to avoid?
Business Insider asked some top mobile ad execs for advice on the common mistakes that they see people making with mobile marketing. Executives from Microsoft, Tribal DDB, Teen Vogue, Nexage, Joule, Mr Youth and FirstBorn all responded with stories of mobile campaigns gone wrong – some are pretty funny!
Do you have any good examples of mobile marketing mistakes? Share them with us.