You can't talk about digital marketing–or even social media–without acknowledging the growing importance of mobile.

New stats about mobile's gains and innovations make the press almost daily now. Here are a few you might have missed:

  • "There are 5.3 billion mobile devices in use on the planet today" (Mobile Marketing Association)
  • "86% of smartphone owners used their phone in the past month to make real-time queries to help them meet friends, solve problems, or settle arguments" (Pew Research)
  • "Consumers spent $26.1 billion globally on apps last year" (Strategy Analysis)
  • "Mobile ad revenue increased 149% 2011 versus 2010, up to $1.6 billion" (Interactive Advertising Bureau)
  • "Within three years, $930 billion in payments will be processed via mobile" (KPMG)

And of course, who could miss "Purina's iPad Video Games Purr-Fect For Cat Lovers" (USA Today)?

Essentially, this means you'd better get your business mobile-ready ... and fast!

Embracing mobile doesn't have to be as complicated as it may seem. Consider these six relatively low barriers to entry.

1. Check your website's mobile-friendliness

Before you wholeheartedly embrace mobile, it's a good idea to see how your website fares when viewed on different mobile devices. Run your site through a few of the mobile compatibility testing tools on this list for a good gauge.

Bonus:  If you don't have a mobile-friendly website, Google will give you a free one for a year.

2. Run a short code/SMS text messaging campaign

American Idol first popularized this "text [ABCDE] to [12345]" form of marketing. Today, SMS campaigns can encourage users to request information, download coupons, set up reminders, participate in sweepstakes–or, sure, cast a vote–among other ideas.

These "short-code" campaigns are relatively easy to set up, especially if you follow these tips from Mobile Marketer. And short-code providers abound. A few include:

3. Claim your place

Particularly if you are in a consumer-facing business, mobile users may be seeking businesses like yours through location-based services such as Yelp, foursquare, Google Places and others. Make sure you can get found: Be sure to register and create a company account.


4. Use scannable QR codes

It's hard to avoid seeing QR codes these days; their adoption rate in the US has increased 314% year-over-year from Q1 2011 versus Q1 2012. They can appear on products, posters, shelf displays, and even wine bottles.

Using camera-enabled smartphones, consumers can scan your QR code and be taken to a URL to receive whatever message or information you've set up to be associated with this code. QR codes are also simple to generate, with free tools like QuikQR.

5. Segment out mobile in Google AdWords

If you're running a Google AdWords campaign, you can now separate and manage the mobile side of how your ads get seen–and you should be doing so. This allows you to better optimize, track and measure mobile-driven traffic.

Google explains how in this Help Center video.

6. Buy mobile ads

Target your campaign to your desired audience (demographic, geographic, whatever) using mobile advertising.

Since most mobile ad campaigns are served based on the user's location, here's a comprehensive list of location-based mobile advertising options.

See, this mobile stuff doesn't have to be too painful. What will be painful, though, is if you lose customers because you haven't yet embraced mobile but your competitors have. Ouch!