Wherever I go around the world, I am still amazed that many media houses — particularly smaller ones — are not fully embracing the mobile opportunity.

Many ask me how they should proceed with a coordinated approach. Why? In many cases it seems that a (false) perception exists that it costs a lot of money. Others still just don't have the know-how or expertise to start the process properly and, therefore, end up with a disjointed, piecemeal effort that is not coordinated or powerful.

A mobile strategy isn't expensive but it is necessary.
A mobile strategy isn't expensive but it is necessary.

It is important to see that the plethora of mobile devices in the marketplace have generated an equally high user demand for the same. Globally today, more than 50% of smartphone users now look to their devices for access to the Internet, downloading apps, using social networks, sharing information online, and more. Are you exploiting this fully?

Most industries around us have now “gone mobile” with their businesses. Developing unique mobile apps is, for many, the current “must have” for many businesses today and while mobile advertising (native or otherwise) is financially beneficial. Regardless, it’s crucial all media companies (even the smaller ones) have a strong mobile strategy to secure future engagement and future revenue streams.

Below are what I believe to be the six most important elements of a powerful mobile marketing strategy. It’s not rocket science, but for those (particularly smaller) media businesses that do not have a documented, focussed mobile strategy, I suggest you use it as a checklist for your efforts.

1. Mobile Web site

This is No. 1 on my list for a reason. It is the most important thing to concentrate on first.

Mobile Web sites are commonly sub-domains of the original Web site. When users access this site from their smartphones or tablets, the site automatically redirects them to the mobile version.

Creating a mobile-friendly site ensures your users enjoy a great mobile experience as well. Obviously, your mobile site should be designed for compatibility with a variety of mobile devices and operating systems. You would be amazed at how many companies I see who still don’t have a mobile Web site.

2. Mobile ads

The small screen size of a smartphone is most suited to receiving short messages with a minimal amount of detailed graphics. Using the most appropriate keywords, descriptive text, and simple graphics for your mobile ad will help direct more potential customers or readers toward your business.

Mobile ads are usually sold on the basis of one or more of a number of measures: cost per click, cost per acquisition, and/or cost per thousand views. As well, you can also use smart mobile marketing strategies to promote your media company’s services, such as involvement in readers’ events and exhibitions by using ad exchange programmes.

3. Mobile app

Many media companies are now using mobile apps to create brand awareness among mobile users. To make an impression on potential readers, we need to make sure they are interesting, engaging, informative, and offer that unique selling proposition that others do not. Niche verticals work particularly well here; the New York Times’ cooking app is one such example.

Some businesses also offer customers the feature of paying via mobile, which makes it a better and more convenient way for customers to shop with them. Direct carrier billing or charging direct to a mobile phone bill is a particularly good way to charge for subscriptions and other recurring, frictionless payments.

4. Monetising via mobile app

One advantage of developing a mobile app for your business allows for monetisation and making a revenue stream out of it. While in-app advertising is still a great way to earn from your app, you can also make decent profits by selling a free app.

Develop two versions of your app: one free, “lite” version and a more advanced paid app offering premium features and content that “lite” users cannot access. Offer your free app for promotional purposes and then inform your subscribers about the advanced, paid version of the same, which has more in-depth, rich features.

5. Mobile deals and discounts

Many media companies are attracting more customers by adopting the smart strategy of offering mobile coupons, discounts, and money-saving deals via SMS. Customers can instantly redeem these special offers by visiting the either the e-commerce store online or at the retail store (as dictated by the supplier, usually an advertiser).

Partnering with companies that offer such discounts and deals will help attract many new customers for both the media company and the advertiser. Mobile offers also offer the chance for these to be location-specific.

6. Location-based services

It is well known that using location-based services are beneficial to both mobile marketers and customers alike. This strategy involves offering your users appropriate and relevant information regarding useful products or services while they are visiting or passing by a specific location.

Letting users opt-in for location-specific offers ensures you achieve the most ideal, highly targeted audience, which is likely to respond most positively. This is great to offer to advertisers as a (revenue-generating) service in a multi-platform advertising package.

Your own mobile strategy should involve a combination of the above. If you don’t have the expertise internally, grab a local mobile marketing company to help you and get started if not already doing so. It’s never too late.