You almost certainly own one. Maybe it’s in your pocket right now – or maybe it’s in your hand, displaying this article. It’s a smartphone, and almost everyone has one. Because they’re everywhere, smartphones are incredibly powerful marketing tools. Are you using them properly?
Your customers own smartphones
Why are smartphones so important? Simple: because they’re ubiquitous. If you still think of smartphones as a luxury, it’s time to update your thinking. All types of consumers own smartphones – from the wealthiest big spenders to the most frugal individuals. Smartphones have become all but essential to the most basic tasks we take on, and as a result, people from all demographics and of all means are carrying them.
How many people have smartphones? More than three-quarters of the entire country does, according to a recent poll. And you can expect that number to be higher in urban areas and suburbs, where internet coverage is widely available (it stands to reason that consumers are less likely to own smartphones in places where smartphones don’t get service).
What does this mean for advertising? Well, first and most obviously, it means that your advertising campaign and your website both need to be mobile-ready. If you run a bakery, own your brand name’s URL, and have a nice website up for customers, that’s great! But if that same website isn’t optimized for smartphones, and mobile users are greeted with tiny fonts and clunky formatting when they open up your site on their phones, then you’re in big trouble. Customers are going to search for your business on their way to their cars or while sitting in the driver’s seat before starting the ignition (hopefully they won’t be searching while actually driving, but you never know). You can’t count on customers to read your site on a computer before leaving – they’re going to use their phones, and if your site isn’t mobile-ready, you’re cooked.
Similarly, any digital advertising campaign should also be mobile-ready. That means pop-up ads designed specifically for smartphones. If you limit yourself to ads that show up on full websites (rather than both full and mobile versions), you’re cutting off a bunch of potential customers.
Team up with smartphones
Smartphones don’t exist in isolation, of course, and there are a few ways that you can use their ubiquity to your advantage while also investing in more traditional advertising.
Take text messaging, for instance. Both smart and traditional mobile phones can do it, meaning the reach of text messaging is even larger than mobile digital advertising. And you can incorporate text messages with radio for a great direct response marketing plan. You’ve probably heard ads like this on the radio before: they’ll cover all the usual bases (the name of the business, a quick pitch) and then they’ll end by prompting listeners to text a number. This gives advertisers incredible tools: they learn how effective the ad is (from how many people bother to text) and they’ll gain a new way to reach their potential customers in the form of a text message subscription. These potential customers can receive promotions and news designed to encourage sales. This is an ingenious marketing technique that is helping businesses all over the country, and it exists because of a legacy advertising method (radio) and a new technological trend (the rise of smartphones).