August 30, 2014

4 Rookie Mobile Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Mobile marketing. Sure, everyone’s talking about it. They’re busy talking about SoLoMo and how small business owners need to use mobile to target customers on the move. But with the rush to get in on this hot new medium, sometimes we let our excitement get the better of us and we don’t take time to plan our campaigns quite as well as we could. And then we make dumb mistakes.

Below are four rookie mobile marketing mistakes to avoid. We made them first so you don’t have to.

1. Using Mobile to Share Non-Mobile Content

You’ve read all about how to use text messages and quick response (QR) codes to target customers while they’re out in the wild or even just sitting on their couch at home. And that’s great–until you use these techniques to send users to content that is anything but mobile friendly. Perhaps it’s a video their phone can’t download or the desktop version of your website, which takes too long to load and far too much scrolling to use on their device. These types of mistakes leave customers feeling frustrated and almost ensure they never again try to load your website from a mobile device. They’re also a waste of time and resources on your part if you’re creating campaigns that don’t work, let alone convert.

If you’re going to use text message marketing to offer a discount or present a call to action for someone to visit your site, make sure the page you’re sending them to is mobile friendly. Ensure it will load on their device and present them with the proper experience. Otherwise, you’re just spinning your wheels and their data plan.

2. Using QR Codes to Direct Customers Back to Your Site

For many of us, when we think “mobile marketing” we really think “QR codes.” A QR code is that barcode-like symbol that a user can scan with their smartphone to be taken to a page of your choosing. QR codes are great for sending users to mobile-friendly landing pages, informing them about specials and promotions, or providing an exclusive experience via their phone. When QR codes don’t work is when you use them to direct people back to your home page. Or, worse, when you try to put them in an email. (How do you scan a barcode while using your phone for email?)

If you’re going to invest in creating a QR code, don’t simply use the code to drive people back to your website. They could have gotten there on their own. Instead, pack that code with something valuable and unique. It could be an exclusive discount or special offer, time-sensitive information, an image they couldn’t get otherwise, a free download, etc. There has to be a “why” to make the experience worthwhile. Otherwise, you’re going to have a frustrated customer when they take the time to scan your QR code only to be given the same experience they receive every day.

3. Missing a Chance for Better Targeting

You can bet that not all of your customers are going to feel comfortable giving you access to their phone and opting into a mobile marketing campaign. And you know what? That’s OK, because it means you’ll be able to target your marketing to the type of user who is OK with a more personal interaction. To really leverage mobile marketing, find out more about the demographics of the people who do opt into this service and adapt your campaigns to specifically address them. This may including knowing what kind of offers they’re most interested in, the products they buy most, the price point they stay within, the types of deals they respond to, etc. If you don’t know offhand (and why would you?), your analytics will be able to give you this information.

As with anything, if you want customers to do something, you need to give them a reason. People will be more likely to sign up if you send them special discounts and offers that have been hand-crafted for them.

4. Not Optimizing Your Mobile Website

The mobile version of your website should be more than just a shrunken version of what your site looks like on a desktop computer. It should be optimized for a different experience and for a customer coming to you a different intent. We know that desktop users and users pulling you up via a mobile phone are coming for different purposes. They’re not just browsing on their phone; they’re on the hunt for specific information or content. For best performance, use your analytics to understand what your mobile users are after, the pages they request most often, and the mission they land on your site with. This will help you to optimize an experience that is relevant to their needs and that helps them achieve their goals faster. Give your mobile searchers what they want and very little noise.

Above are four very common mistakes SMBs (and even large brands!) make when entering the mobile landscape. But you don’t have to make them. Understand the intent of a mobile searcher, know the tools available to you, and then use them to create a unique experience.

8 Comments ▼

Lisa Barone


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

8 Reactions

  1. This is a major frustration for me because I still have a Blackberry Storm that is nearly 3 years old and while it may have a full HTML browser, it doesn’t handle full HTML sites well. Make sure you have a mobile site before you put a lot of weight behind your mobile marketing (and also give people a little link at the bottom to get out of your mobile site. Some of these new phones are so awesome they don’t want to be handicapped by your mobile version).

  2. Some good points there, I think we have all fallen into at least one of those foobars. However, a saving grace is the onward development of smart phone technology – which is almost making them fully compatible to normal websites.

    However, always best to optimize for mobile

  3. Great points here. Linking a QR code to a promotion or a webpage that is more enticing than a homepage is wise. However, it is not horrible to link a QR code to the homepage. Having a QR code link to homepage is convenient and may be informative for customers who have not been exposed to the business.

  4. Thanks for a great article Lisa some good points to keep in mind. Many folk do not know what a QR code is, let alone what to do with it.

    Robert I feel your frustration, my contract only comes around in May to renew and go onto a new edition. Our contracts last 2 years it’s like walking square circles when you are trying to set up into Mobile. Good luck!

    Season Greetings to one and all.

  5. I know it’s important for businesses to always expand and seek new customers. However, it should not be in the expense of the existing ones. Patrons are, in fact, the best set of customers, as they regularly bring in revenues, help market the business through referrals, and don’t cost a lot when businesses advertise to them.

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