Google Search On Apple iPad2 - mobile marketing for retailersMobile apps are an integral part of digital marketing and are proving to be essential tools in numerous ways. However, there are pitfalls.

Targeting prospects through handheld devices requires careful thought and understanding. Your message requires a personal touch and sensitivity to how the receiver will feel. One mistake and you could lose a customer forever.

The mobile app arena is therefore a delicate stomping ground for marketers. Here are a few things to avoid.

1. Keep content mobile-friendly

Mobile marketing is a different ball game to desktop marketing. What you need to remember is the size of the screen users will be viewing your campaign on. Therefore the content should be appropriate for the screen size.

The app should also function easily on a handheld. If users have to scroll through content or it is not obvious what the next move is, they will give up and move on.

The key to mobile content is to focus on the important elements of your message. If you do that effectively then marketing apps are a blessing. Keep it sweet and simple.

2. Costly messaging

One of the key advantages mobile apps can give marketers, is the ability to target specific customers with a personal message. Furthermore, the data digital marketing allows companies to collect from your customers is invaluable for identifying individuals for specific items.

Mobile users are the perfect audience for apps that provide a personal touch. The problem marketers have is sending a personal message on a mass scale. Customising each and every message is time-consuming and costly. If you only target a small group, your ROI suffers.

To avoid making costly mistakes, you need to devise a detailed strategy which identifies groups of customers you want to target with a mobile app.

It may be that you need to launch more than one message with the app to suit a specific audience, location for example. Alternatively design an app for a specific purpose – when the customer is in-store or in the vicinity for example.

3. Over target individuals

Randomly targeting customers that are location based however could cause problems. The marketing landscape restricts marketers from publishing junk mail to random customers so adverts are typically aimed towards customers who have signed up to your brand.

However, if you consistently send messages to your customers, they will quickly become annoyed and remove their name from the subscription list. This would particularly be true if you continuously sent a message to a customer every time they walk past your store.

Keep your invites and offers to a minimum when targeting specific customers. You will therefore need to program the software to only target customers intermittently. This will vary depending on the marketing campaign.

4. One Hit-Wonder Apps

According to a survey conducted by Apptentive, 90% of users that download an app are gone within six months. Therefore, don’t assume your app will have any longevity for any one customer.

That doesn’t mean that mobile apps are only useful for one marketing campaign. A successful app can be used multiple times over. However, if you give users a reason to continue using your app, both you and the customer will benefit.

Apps typically have a short shelf-life if they are novelty-driven, not very useful or have a gimmick such as a game that is easy to complete. Your app should offer users something of value they want and need to use again.

5. Interacting with customers

Mobile marketing has the power to engage with customers through interaction. When somebody chooses to download your app on to their mobile phone it is a personal choice you need to be sensitive to.

This also gives you the opportunity to engage with your customers in a two-way communication. This step of the marketing process should be undertaken as a follow-up to when the customer has downloaded your app. Make your customer feel special.

Your app should also give your customers options to get in touch. Maybe they need some advice how to get the most from your app. You may want to invite them to give feedback on your service. Let your customers now that you have an open-door policy and are ready to listen.

Mobile apps give marketers a prime opportunity to reach customers on a personal level, thus are an excellent tool for customer loyalty – but only when designed and used effectively. Avoid making common errors and you stand a greater chance of success.