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7 tips for building a mobile presence to maximize ROI

Right now, it seems like mobile marketing is everywhere. It is easy to forget that this burgeoning trend is still in its first stages of development and that many of its components ? banners, pop-ups, short message service (SMS) and push notifications ? have yet to be perfected. 

That means that there is no set roadmap for a company looking to extend its reach into mobile territory. So, what is the best way to start?

First of all, there is one tenet that your company should adhere to above all others: Quality is crucial to the success of your project. 

Mobile applications and Web sites can deliver a deeper engagement experience, and they can lead new users to your brand. 

But it is essential to make sure you have ironed out any snags in your mobile experience. Why? 

Customers are impatient. If they encounter any kind of break in service or usability, they will move on and never look back. 

That is why testing and feedback can make or break any campaign. 

After all, one bad experience has a ripple effect on the customer?s engagement with your brand. It leaves a poor impression that extends to your entire presence, online and offline. 

That is why marketers need to meet ? or exceed ? Web experience expectations when they are building a mobile version.

Tipping the hand 
Thanks to steep growth in the last few years, mobile should begin to take a larger share of advertising budgets, including yours. 

But, to realize a good return on investment (ROI) for your mobile efforts, you have to create a plan for future revenue opportunities. 

Here are a few tips to start building a mobile strategy that works for your business:

1. Make discovery as easy as possible. A mobile app in Google or Apple?s app store already has an edge because it is easier to find.
2. Use mobile engagement to push your non-mobile offerings. A conscious effort to drive mobile users to your Web site and, if you have got one, online store can go a long way. 

3. Consistent, recognizable branding is important. If you are not careful, it is easy for your mobile strategy to disconnect from physical offers. Make sure users know that they can interact with you online and offline.

4. Data mining is key. Mobile users tend to offer their information more willingly than they do on other channels. Take advantage of this.

5. Take any interaction with your users seriously. Engagement needs to be given value, philosophically and metrically. Social shares, comments and reviews are invaluable to your mobile campaign.

6. Use offers to track engagement. Give an exclusive offer to your mobile members. Then, use that offer ? something as simple as a coupon download ? to track and improve engagement.

7. Weigh the benefits of paid versus free. Right now, there is a lot of debate over which kind of app is better for business: an app where your users must pay to download or an app that is free. 

Take a good, hard look at your customer base, and decide which one fits. A good compromise is a freemium version where users pay to upgrade to a full version of your app. 

Pressing ahead
After you have launched and promoted your app, you will want to see how well your effort and strategy worked, right? 

Be warned: Since mobile apps are a new kind of engagement, it is still extremely difficult to quantify results. This can make ROI analysis for your mobile app more of an art than a science. 

Here is an example: Releasing a new app creates press opportunities that can offer a bigger return than usage alone. That is not something you will be able to track with numbers, but it is still a major benefit to your brand.

Mobile marketing offers a wide range of opportunities for businesses of any size and industry. And as development costs become more accessible, more creative mobile campaigns will emerge at every level. 

That is why the time to invest in a mobile strategy is now. 

Being on the cutting edge of this trend will not just prove that you are an innovative, forward-thinking company. It will also help you connect with your customers in a new, fully engaging way. 

Brendon Schenecker is CEO of Travel Vegas, Las Vegas, NV. Reach him at .