Fast-growing young businesses face plenty of opportunities and challenges when it comes to getting their marketing message out there. Mobile marketing is key as the majority of customer engagement and interaction comes via a smartphone or tablet, making it essential that messages are short and sharp, and the call to action is clear and obvious.

Why mobile marketing is vitally important

The key rules of marketing remain the same whatever the format, a consistent message that reaches a relevant audience with terms that grab their attention and strong calls to action. Through apps, SMS, location-based services and other unique features, the mobile marketing aspect is growing in importance as the world becomes a mobile-first environment.

Mobile means less space and time to grab attention, but the rewards are greater and come faster than when using traditional marketing efforts.

Key point: Understand your audience

When a business knows where its audience is and how to communicate with them, half the marketing battle is already won. Knowing where your customers and prospective clients are, in terms of geography and online habits, makes it easier to reach them. You might find business leaders on LinkedIn, Engineers on dedicated forums, aspirational types on Pinterest and so on.

With location resolved to whatever level you need, you must provide them with a suitable message. In most businesses, marketing has evolved from “here’s our cool product”  to “here’s how our product can save you time/revenue/resources.” Finding out what problems your product or service helps them solve, and explaining it to them in a suitable way is key to a strong message. Keep your marketing plan to a single page to avoid complications,

Define goals and key performance indicators

Once you have an audience and a message, you need to define what makes your marketing campaign a success. That can be £2 earned for every marketing £1 spent, it can be five new clients per week of advertising or 1,000 new subscribers within three months, whatever particular metric that suits your business.

As long as it’s a reasonable objective that provides a worthwhile return, don’t be too conservative or overly optimistic, you can adjust the campaign or future efforts to work towards those goals as you learn, and if does prove a roaring success, then you can tweak the campaign to find out which element is giving you that magical success. 

Key performance indicators are a massive part of the mobile marketing industry, with cost per install (CPI) for mobile apps or cost per acquisition (CPA) for websites, along with click-through and conversion rates all hot topics.

For a small business, conversion rates for mobile marketing efforts be it SMS or push notifications are key. But the value is in getting a decent rate among a small audience (say, 10 from 200, 5%), who are likely to be useful customers, compared to a  larger number (say, 1000 from a million, 0.1%) but a tiny fraction of a massive audience, who are less likely to be interested in your business.

Implement, measure and optimise

With the key aspects in place, you are ready to run your first marketing campaign. As with many business efforts, do not expect the first trial to be a roaring success. The key is to understand what works with your campaign, measure the results from engagement dashboards or other feedback. Also, establish what doesn’t work, and look to adjust the campaign to create more positive results.

The power of mobile marketing is instant results and the flexibility to change or evolve your plans, or rip them up and start afresh, depending on the response. 

Best practices for mobile marketing

As the world becomes more mobile, the tech giants focus their rules and guidelines around a mobility first approach. Google’s search ratings are weighted in favour of those companies with responsive website design and mobile-first emails so that the sites and messages look good on a smartphone.

Marketing should lead directly to mobile-friendly landing pages that help sell a product or service in a direct and simple manner, with all essential content directly visible with no need to scroll down a page or flick between sections.

As there’s no single hard and fast rule with marketing and site pages, ensure that you take time to test a variety of types, with A/B testing in place to find out the most successful types, allowing you to concentrate on successful designs.

Best practices for SMS and push messages

A unique feature of mobile is access to the lock screen via SMS messages if you have their mobile number, or push messages if they install your app. Being able to access the customer in this way comes with great responsibility. Do it too much, or hammer them with unclear offers or messages and they will soon block your access or delete the app.

Using this marketing for seasonal reminders, location-based alerts, or key events around your products or services are acceptable and likely welcome messages that customers will respond to in greater numbers than a traditional email or other marketing efforts.

Best practices for Apps/PWAs

App design tools and services mean that any size of business can now create or get a custom app built for them, putting your company on a par with larger rivals. Getting the app on a customer’s device requires its own marketing effort and incentives for them to do so, but once installed you have unprecedented access to the customer.

The app needs to be well designed, following mobile app design best practices (, and offer features that add value to the user and get them using it on a regular basis. These can be practical features like tools or services, and or relevant information like news and content.

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) have gained plenty of traction in recent years, allowing your mobile site to become the app. That’s with most of the same features and some unique advantages including a low footprint on the device, this saves on duplication of effort or resources while giving customers more flexibility about how to interact with your business.

The neverending marketing effort

Marketing trends come and go, but mobile is the singular landmark to which all efforts are focused. Ignore mobile and you risk missing out on a huge and growing audience. Adopt mobile marketing and while it may take a few efforts to find your businesses’ personal sweet spot, it can provide a longer-lasting relationship with customers offering greater rewards.

Article by Izaak Crook with the AppInstitute

Izaak Crook is the Head of Marketing at AppInstitute, a SaaS App Builder platform that allows anyone to create their own iOS and Android app without writing a single line of code.