If you believe that 2016 is “the year” for mobile marketing, you’re wrong. If you’re working with an agency that has recommended that you look into mobile marketing in 2016, they are wrong too. 2016 is not the year for mobile. That year has passed.

First, let’s talk about mobile marketing. Mobile marketing became important when consumers first got their hands on smartphones, which would be more like 2009, NOT 2016. If you are thinking about expanding your ads into mobile-focused campaigns, you’re five or six years late to the party. There is still time to get in there but you have some ground to cover first!

Stats have shown that roughly 1.3 million Canadians only access the internet with their mobile devices. According to a study conducted by comScore in late 2014, users who access the internet via both a mobile phone and a computer (49%) have surpassed those who just use a computer to access the internet (47%). This is projected to only increase, as more Canadians purchase smartphones. That means that if you are not engaging in mobile marketing, you are missing out on effectively communicating with your prospects.

If you go into any bar, board any streetcar or subway or look around a Tim Hortons, you’ll notice that the entire Canadian population is suffering from the new ADD: Attention Directed Downwards syndrome. Everyone is looking at their phones or tablets when they have a spare moment, myself included. The other day I entered a McDonald’s in a rural community around 10 a.m. and the place was filled with seniors. I counted 23 seniors in the whole restaurant and only one man was not suffering from ADD. Everyone else was on their phone or tablet.

Do you remember the last time you sat in a coffee shop and just looked at the people or world around you? It doesn’t happen anymore; our attention is directed downwards to our mobile devices in ways that most people would consider a major addiction.

One saying that I have always embraced in business is, “If you’re not in front of your customers, you can bet that your competitors are.” If you are still not engaged in mobile marketing, your competitors have been having an absolute ball engaging your customers for the past six years. 2016 is the year for mobile? Not even close.

What does mobile marketing look like for your company? Well, there are a ton of ways that you can reach your customer through mobile; mobile is simply the platform which delivers media via different networks. From search engine marketing to social media marketing to email campaigns, everything needs to make the leap to mobile in order to stay in front of your audience.

Let’s talk about your website for a moment

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. One common issue that I come across frequently, and speak about with audiences across Canada, is the importance of having a mobile-optimized website. A website is the hub of everything marketing. It is the heart of a successful business. Good luck drumming up leads if prospects visit your website on a mobile device and your website’s user experience drops them off a cliff instead of converting leads.

A website is not just about gaining new customers, it’s about serving your current customers, employees, prospects, onlookers and media. It’s the conversion point for most businesses, whether you are asking people to become a lead for your sales team or are requesting their credit card information in order to sell them your latest product.

At our agency, we have been building mobile-responsive websites for almost a decade now and yet a lot of companies that we speak with don’t see the importance of building a mobile-responsive site. As surprising as this may sound, I still come across businesses who don’t see the value in making their website mobile-responsive for one main reason; “We aren’t marketing on mobile, so right now we don’t need it.” I would also add that the majority of these businesses that make this statement are not growing. They are instead either declining in market share or are simply just treading water.

We do a lot of work in the personal insurance industry in Canada, and it has recently been discovered by The Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO) that only 38% of insurance brokers have mobile compatible websites! Imagine getting into a car accident and pulling out your phone to look up your broker’s phone number, only to be greeted by a website that doesn’t even work on your phone! You would have to go home, either by hailing a cab or driving your beat up car, just to fire up your desktop to get your broker’s phone number. This would be the experience for 38% of insurance broker customers!

Mobilegeddon has come and gone, and now customers have come to expect that all websites that they visit are optimized for mobile. So how do you make a proper mobile marketing plan? It’s actually very easy to identify the major pain points in just a few minutes.

First, gather a bunch of prospective customers, friends, or even family into the same room with no desktops or laptop computers allowed.

Ask them to perform simple actions that are extremely valuable for your business which may include the following items;

  1. Find your business on Google without using your company name
  2. Have someone try to contact you by phone or email through your website
  3. Connect with your sales team
  4. Purchase two products on your website (if you have e-commerce)

During this process, record all of their questions, frustrations or dead-ends and you’ve got your hit list for 2016!

This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of Direct Marketing. 

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Darrell Keezer

Darrell Keezer is the founder and CEO of Candybox Marketing, a digital marketing agency specializing in social media, online marketing and lead generation. Following a traditional education in marketing, Darrell earned his digital marketing stripes through an infatuation of making projects win. His favourite candy is a Crispy Crunch chocolate bar, and he can be reached at darrell@candyboxmarketing.com or @darrellkeezer.

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