5 ways to add mobile mojo to your content strategy

Texting, apps and QR codes are just a few ways to engage with your audience. Here are the best ways to use them.


Jumping in a swimming pool with your iPhone in your pocket is one way to lose your mobile mojo. This is just what Kelly Flowers, principle of GrowthVine, did on a recent vacation.

She said she realized it right away, and went on a mad dash to find rice. Alas, the rice method didn’t work to revive her iPhone. Another expensive lesson learned.

This lesson is a good example of how attached most of us are to our smartphones, iPads and Internet connections. This is one reason why marketers should take a serious look at mobile as part of their marketing strategies. As Flowers pointed out, the statistics on mobile usage constantly change, and they are staggering.

Recently released monthly mobile usage data from comScore reveals:

  • More than 100 million U.S. mobile subscribers—101.3 million to be exact—use smartphones.
  • In January 2012, 74.6 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile devices.

Data from Cisco provides predictions for mobile for 2016:

  • Global mobile data traffic will increase 18-fold between 2011 and 2016.
  • The average smartphone will generate 2.6 GB of traffic per month in 2016, a 17-fold increase over the 2011 average of 150 MB per month.

The statistics make it obvious that the world is going mobile. But how can mobile fit into your overall content marketing strategy? Here are five types of mobile marketing Flowers discussed recently:

1. SMS (text messaging) campaigns

Flowers said it’s best to use SMS to get people to join a list, take a survey, ask questions for a Q&A, donate, or participate in an interactive texting campaign. Here are a few great examples of SMS campaigns:

  • California Teachers Association used SMS to build support for Wisconsin teachers.
  • Human Rights Campaign used text messaging as part of a multi-part campaign. It linked users to a mobile-friendly page, gave them a call to action and a form to sign a petition, and asked for donations.
  • American Public Transportation Association launched a mobile text campaign to get a show of support for increased public transit funding. People texted “transit” to the number 86677.
  • Text4baby, a free service founded by multiple partners in the private and public sectors, is an example of an interactive text campaign. The campaign promoted healthy pregnancies and babies. Women texted “baby” (or “bebe”) to 511411 to sign up for free text messages timed to their due dates or babies’ birth dates.

2. Mobile apps

Flowers said apps are perfect for task-driven activities. Great examples are the Medscape and Epocrates Rx apps, which health care professionals use to get up-to-date information on drugs and dosages.

If you work for an association, partner with a private corporation to create a joint app rather than go it alone, Flowers suggested. As an association, you have the most valuable asset—a captive audience.

For example, the American College of Cardiology partnered with Skyscape last year to launch an app, which people downloaded more than 4,000 times in the first two weeks.

3. QR codes

You’ve likely seen QR codes on posters, in print ads, or even on billboards. They are square barcodes you scan with your smartphone that take you to a website.

Unfortunately, advertisers seem to put them in odd places where they are practically useless. For example, Flowers saw a QR code on a billboard at a bus stop, but the code was near the bottom of the poster and had color in it, which made it difficult to scan. After trying and trying, she gave up. How many people do you think would try as hard as she did to capture that code?

The point is, just like any other marketing campaign, you need to understand your audience and where they will be when they try to scan your QR code. Colored QR codes are more difficult for some smartphones to scan, Flowers said, and the minimum size your QR code must be depends on how far the user will be from the code and the code’s density.

4. NFC (near field communications)

Imagine no credit cards in your wallet, cards to get through subway gates, or standing in line to rent a car. NFC is a technology that enables smartphones to establish a connection with other devices through touch or proximity. Some phones in the U.S., such as Blackberry, are NFC-enabled, but it isn’t widespread yet. This video gives you a quick look at some of the different things a consumer can do with an NFC-enabled phone.

5. Mobile website

The problem with the mobile Web, Flowers said, is everyone has different devices, screen sizes, and resolutions. Some organizations use responsive Web design which allows the website to dynamically adjust to fit the size of the device on which someone views it. That is, the website doesn’t get tinier when you view it on a smartphone. The information adjusts so you can read it, but you only see the most important things, such as the navigation.

Whatever you choose to do with mobile marketing, make sure your start with an organization-level mobile strategy, advised Flowers. Your first step will be to do an internal mobile audit. Look at what makes sense for your organization and which programs could benefit from mobile marketing. Survey your members to find out which devices they use and what their attitudes are about mobile.

Remember, mobile is an engagement tool. When you plan your mobile strategy, think about how you will engage your audience.

Allison King is marketing director at TMG Custom Media. A version of this post originally appeared on the Direct Marketing Association of Washington website.

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