We live in a time of unprecedented connectivity. Take for instance our readily available access to the Internet, as granted to us by our smartphones and tablets. The steady but sudden proliferation of these devices has made for one of the greater technological advancements in our lifetime, and the impression left has been indelible. Eighty percent of adults now own smartphones, with nine out of 10 preferring to keep those devices beside them at all times. Ninety-five percent use their phones to access content/information primarily, which means there’s a decent enough chance you’re reading this for the very first time on your own mobile device.
The benefits for consumers in this trend of mobile have been legion. But what of the advantages to business-to-business (B2B) buyers?
Vendors in the business-to-consumer (B2C) space have been quicker to adapt their website, ads and offers for mobile consumption. Given that the consumer sale is short and relatively straightforward, buyers have been inclined to use their mobile devices to make everyday online purchases. Consumer brands have opened the door for B2B companies to deliver a unique mobile experience to their buyers. Unlike B2C buyers who use mobile devices to make a purchase, B2B buyers use them to consume information and discover more about a service or product.
Because the B2B sales cycle runs long (usually over a period of months) and involves careful consideration and frequent check-ins, creating a mobile friendly website and responsively designed content is of upmost importance to ensure the company nurtures its buyers through the funnel most effectively.
It’s no easy task, reckoning with mobile’s influence, but it’s far from impossible – if you know what to prioritize and which minor adjustments to make to your existing marketing programs. Here are 10 ways you might get started in your mobile marketing efforts:
1. Make your emails a priority.Studies show that as many as two of every three emails are now opened on mobile phones, so look to craft mobile-friendly emails. Keep message size small, and your subject lines pithy – three to five words at most, if possible. Additionally, if your email contains large images, varying mobile network speeds may slow the loading process; therefore, it’s important to have an obvious call to action.
2.Glean post-email insights. As you make room for mobile in your marketing programs, look to practice the same kind of diligence you would with other campaigns you deploy. A marketing automation platform can prove tremendously valuable in assessing just how messages were received and the type of mobile devices used to consume them.
3. Make all forms on your website responsive. The same common-sense principles you should keep in mind for email also apply to forms. Create mobile-friendly lead generation forms to make it easier for prospects to give information. Simple, right?
4.Double down on Facebook ads. More than 1.1 billion people frequent Facebook monthly, a number likely higher on mobile when one considers just how many use their devices to peruse social media. Paid promotional messages embedded within the Facebook feed can be a great mechanism for getting prospects’ attention.
5.Develop a local mobile paid search campaign. Mobile users often conduct searches for local businesses. If you’re not showing up on these searches, you could be losing customers. Optimize your website and content using long tail keywords with location included. For example, if you offer marketing consulting services in the Pacific Northwest, make sure to tag your search campaign using phrases like “marketing consulting services in Seattle,” or “marketing consulting services Portland.” When a prospect searches for a particular service in the local area, the paid local search ads will bolster your organic search.
6. Launch a rich media mobile display campaign. If you are not familiar with rich media, it’s a type of ad thatcontains images or video and requires some form of user interaction, and thus a great way to get people engaged with your mobile display campaign. Examples of rich media include games, quizzes, puzzles, scratchers and surveys.
7. Target buyers in the local area with geo-targeted ads. You can tailor your ads to people who have tagged themselves at various establishments in the local area, such as airports, hotels, car rental counters or specific conferences. That way, you can be confident that a high percentage of people seeing your ads are businesspeople who might be interested in learning more about your products or services.
8. Develop a mobile app. Most every B2C vendor leveraging mobile today has produced a branded app, with an eye to providing a more seamless inventory experience (in-store pickup, from-store shipping) and cultivating relationships in the long-term (via full-scale loyalty programs, extending special offers and giveaways, and exclusive access, depending on the customer’s degree of commitment). Think creatively to see if there’s a similar way to use a mobile app to increasecustomer loyalty in your B2B business. For example, is there a communication or enablement process for your customers that could be simplified with an app?
9. Use SMS at events and trade shows to capture leads. Nearly all of your business prospects can read texts via their smartphones. Why not use that to your advantage? You’ll need an SMS Service Provider to help you with the task (since running an SMS campaign can get a little technical), but this is an under-utilized technique that can and should be taken advantage of by B2B marketers.
10. Use LinkedIn mobile features. More than half of LinkedIn Inbox page views are currently happening on mobile devices, so consider ways to leverage this B2B tool in your next mobile campaign. LinkedIn Pulse and Sponsored Stories are both great ways to gain visibility among mobile users as well.
Paige Musto is Director of Communications at Act-On Software, a marketing automation provider for mid-size businesses. Follow her on Twitter at @PR_Maven.