Financial advisers are generally coming to terms with the fact that their website marketing strategy must be mobile-friendly in order to be accessible and appealing to their audience. This was further reinforced with the 2013 release of Google’s algorithm update, Hummingbird, which enables Google to better understand and display results for long-tail search queries as well as natural language (i.e. spoken) queries.
The reason is because these are the types of search queries used by people on the go. Google is embracing the rapid advance of mobile devices, and financial advisers should be too.
With analysts telling us that mobile will surpass desktop usage by 2015, website content must be mobile-friendly.
Financial marketers who are in tune with this trend are increasingly looking for ways to make their sites as mobile-friendly as possible, including:
• Building a separate mobile version of their site
• Creating a mobile app
• Using responsive web design
What many haven’t considered, however, is if and how this trend towards mobile accessibility affects their current marketing strategy.
Is a separate marketing strategy needed?
Some experts argue that the trend towards the mobile web necessitates a complete re-working of an existing ‘non-mobile-centric’ marketing strategy.
However, as long as you’re focusing on consistently producing high-quality, original content with a unique perspective (that’s accessible via mobile devices), all that may be needed is some updating to your current strategy.
Aspects of your marketing strategy, like creating an editorial calendar, developing your message and goals, and measuring outcomes will largely remain the same.
Incorporating mobile into your current marketing strategy
While you won’t need to scrap your current strategy, there are certainly some ways you can tweak it to keep in line with the trend towards mobile.
When you’re creating content, whether it’s an email, ebook or blog post, always keep in mind that many of your readers will be accessing it via their mobile device, and this number is increasing at astronomical rates each and every year.
This means it’s even more crucial that your headlines pop, your content reads vertically, and maybe – breaking away for a second here from the common belief that ‘longer is better’ – your blog posts are succinct, to the point and light enough to read ‘on the go’.
To take it a step further, when you segment your email list, send bite-sized teaser emails to subscribers who have opted to receive mobile-friendly versions of your emails, and send your full-length articles to desktop users.
Finally, because mobile-friendly content must compete with a myriad of everyday activities, it should be as effortless to access as possible.
• Large fonts (which is hopefully already part of your responsive design’s style sheet)
• Eye-catching images
• Short, simple forms with large, easy-to-fill fields
• Concise, actionable content
Social media marketing strategy
Hopefully, part of your current marketing strategy includes distributing your content via social media.
So, how can you tailor this distribution to make it mobile-friendly? After all, you have no control over how Facebook or Twitter formats your content on a user’s mobile device.
What you do have control over, however, is when you share your content via social media.
Although the behaviours of your fans and followers may differ somewhat, your clients are online with various devices, and you should tailor your content accordingly.
While this concept also applies to your other methods of content distribution, it’s perhaps most important when it comes to your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ updates; with so little control over the other aspects of using social networks, it’s helpful knowing you can at least increase engagement by tweeting or sharing at peak mobile hours.
Blog marketing strategy
Your blog should be your primary method of sharing and distributing content. Your email and social media strategies will likely involve directing visitors back to your blog as part of your online marketing funnel.
If you want to make sure mobile users are able to take full advantage of all aspects of your blog, make sure that:
• Each post includes easy-to-see social media share icons
• Your website can accept user comments
• The location of your blog is easy to find from anywhere on your site (this can usually be easily accomplished by including a link to it on your main navigation bar)
Email marketing strategy
Apart from a mobile-friendly email template and scheduling your emails for peak ‘open’ hours, is there anything else you can do to tailor your emails to a mobile market?
While we’ve covered some of this above (larger fonts, shorter content, etc.), there are a few additional ways you can tweak your email content distribution strategy to achieve optimal results:
• Make links easy to click (bigger is better). Subject lines need to be catchy and include a strong incentive to open
• Limit headlines to 60 characters or risk getting it cut off due to space limitations
• Make sure landing pages are mobile-friendly too
In short, your mobile marketing strategy is basically just an extension of your existing marketing strategy.
If you already have a solid marketing strategy, ask yourself:
1. Is my content accessible on all devices? 2. How can I make my content more appealing to users of mobile devices? 3. When is the best time to share my content in light of what I know about device usage? 4. Do I need to tweak the formatting or writing style of my content? 5. Am I properly using segmentation in order to appeal to users based on what device they’re using?
These are all questions that will give you a good idea of what changes (if any) are necessary to your current marketing strategy.
Paul Bearman, Senior Editor, Goldmine Media