Authority Marketing for professional service providers
 

What is Mobile Marketing?

 

 

The most important aspect of mobile marketing is that it's a  personal two-way communication between your business and a customer. . . and it must be permission-based. You provide the opportunity for your customers to "opt in", and when they do, they give you permission to send them marketing messages. If they no longer want to receive those messages, they're free to "opt out". This is key to understanding mobile - just as a quick important note before you continue reading more about it.

 

The second most important aspect of mobile marketing is that we need to guard against glossing over that second word . . . "marketing". The mobile technology is simply a tool that enables us to use marketing principles that are well established, because over the years, they've proven to be effective.

 

Mobile Marketing refers to businesses connecting with consumers who use smart phones and the earlier feature phones that are capable of sending and receiving text messages (as well as other mobile devices), or SMS (Simple Message Service). 

 

Every day the statistics change as more smart phones replace the older models, and sales of tablets multiply, too. For now, though, we know that some customers are using feature phones, so we certainly don't want to exclude them from our mobile marketing strategy. Campaigns can be compatible to all  mobile users by including both a text message and a more visual type of content.

 

Mobile is now considered the "7th Mass Media", has been referred to as the "The New Frontier", and some leaders in the marketing industry consider it "more important than the printing press!" This designation as a mass media is defined as having the ability to reach 95% of people in the world. Mass media capability began with Print after the invention of the printing press. Fast forward to the Internet . . . it was the sixth Mass Media a few years ago. The Ability to Print, record audio, Cinema, Radio, and Television came earlier. So, you can see the progression brought about by technical innovations and can probably understand the need to bring your marketing current.

 

‘Building a list’ of your customers who give you permission to contact them by text message will prepare you to begin a mobile marketing campaign. It's very similar to email marketing, in that it is permission based, but conversion rates are much higher due to the fact that people open their text messages close to 100% of the time, and within fewer than 5 minutes. As we go through this transition, you can do both in order to reach all of your customers. Email marketing is still considered viable and effective.

  

You'll want to create one or more campaigns. An ongoing one to help continue your list building, and others for your various offers and customer favorites. Try to choose a ‘keyword’ that aligns with  your offer. For example, if you own a florist shop, you may wish to use the word ‘flowers’. If your desired keyword is already in use by the system you'll need to modify it by adding another word to it (ie-"bestflowers") or find the next best choice that's available. It may take a bit of creativity, but you'll probably be happier with the keyword that taxed your imagination, as it may serve to uniquely identify your business.

 

The mobile platform you're using will determine the "shortcode", five or six digit number. Using the florist example, you would advertise “Text ‘flowers’(the keyword) to 99999 (whatever the shortcode number is) to join our exclusive mobile club and get special mobile only deals”. 

 

Awhile back, a survey was taken of consumers. They were asked whether they would prefer to receive mobile coupons - 62% said "Yes". They continue to wait, for the most part. There's no need for you to wait to give your customers the convenience of mobile coupons, though - we can get you up to speed quickly and affordably.

 

You can integrate your mobile marketing Call-to-Action with all of the marketing you're currently practicing. Invite current and prospective customers into your campaign by putting signage in your shop window, including that message on your website, in all of your offline advertising, and on flyers (or your receipts) when customers check out.

 

Your first message back to your customer after they've opted in will most likely thank them for signing up, and may include a coupon for a percentage off a product. Following messages could contain special offers, news and updates about your business, links to videos or other content online, depending upon the nature of that specific campaign.

 

There are rules for writing your text messages that you'll need to learn, but they aren't difficult to understand. The CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) is the regulatory group for mobile marketing, and the Mobile Marketing Association has set 'best practices' and continues to play a major role in growing this method of marketing in a way that ensures good ethics are maintained. Below is a brief listing of the rules that apply to mobile marketing invitations:

 

    Inform customer of the number of messages they can expect to receive each month (3-5 recommended)
      Inform them that "Message and Data Rates May Apply"
        Let them know how to unsubscribe if they no longer want to receive your messages-STOP to Stop
          Tell them how to get Help - "Text HELP for Help"
            Terms and Conditions may Apply
              Link to Privacy Policy
                Of course, each message should also tell who the message is from- just like when you telephone someone and immediately introduce yourself as, "Hello, this is John Smith from ABC Widgets"

                   

                  The number of characters per text message is limited to 160, including the all the necessary 'rules'; so abbreviations are frequently used. Two messages can be sent if needed to convey your campaign purpose.

                   

                   Since consumers are so acclimated to their mobile devices (even addicted, according to a recent study by the MMA), Mobile Marketing is growing quickly. Once only affordable for huge corporations, prices have come down due to shared short codes . . . it's now very reasonable for any size business.

                   

                  Once small businesses learn about it, and begin to practice mobile marketing it will likely grow quickly and it has the potential to help businesses thrive. Those who lead will no doubt do best. Before you think, "Mobile is coming, I'll need to think about it one day", be advised - mobile is here now, and consumers are very cognizant of it. Mobile Apps, the ones you download from the Apple store and google Play are getting more and more popular. The recent announcement that desktop computers have been outsold by mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) should resonate with you in regard to whether an app may be the best for your business. with an App submitted to the app stores, a different type of communication takes place, called "push messaging". 

                   

                   With mobile marketing, you'll have access to detailed analytics on whether a text message was opened (when it was opened) and what possible action each customer took (as in clicking on a link, watching a video, or using “click to call or email” options). Marketers use these analytics to learn what consumers like best so they can improve results.

                    

                   Mobile marketing can be used by any type of business:

                  ·   Real estate companies are early adopters. They usually provide a QR Code for their properties. Consumers can scan the code with their mobile phone to get information and view photos or videos about the property.

                  ·   Medical offices, beauty salons, and other professionals who work on an appointment basis are now using text messaging to remind people of their appointments. Given the 98% open rate for text messages, this is very effective, and saves labor and money. Clients/patients can reply with confirmation that they intend to make the appointment, or they can re-schedule by text message.

                       We have a calculator tool that can be used to calculate the ROI of this method of reminders to calculate whether this may be a viable solution for your business. 

                  ·   Restaurants often build a list full of people who enjoy mobile coupons allowing them a two-for-one or percentage off a meal (or a free drink or dessert). They also attract customers by sending a text message at a time when business is slow, such as 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon. The message may read “come in within the next twenty minutes and receive a free ____??” This is often very effective, as the person who receives the text may be visiting with friends and will bring along several additional diners to take advantage of the special deal. For sports bars, or anyplace where people gather to enjoy themselves, relax, or socialize a  trivia game campaign is great for encouraging interaction. Winners often receive a percentage off coupon for their next visit or some type of attractive offer.

                  ·   Plumbers, electricians, and others who provide services for homeowners use text messaging to stay connected with clients, updating them if they’re running late or earlier than expected. Of course they can also issue and process mobile coupons, as well.

                  ·   Starbucks, and other coffee shops have gotten onboard with convenient Apps for their customers. Eventually, everyone will be paying their bill by using their smart phone. The Google Wallet is here, and other alliances are formed to apply NFC to alternate brands. Customers won't need to bring a coupon, cash or a particular debit or gift card – it’s right on their phone, and most smart phone users don’t go anywhere without that.

                  ·   Many businesses are beginning to use QR Codes (not familiar with these? See the article explaining them on the 'Articles' Page), Microsoft Tags, and other 2 dimensional bar codes in their mobile marketing campaigns. These can be used creatively on offline elements of the business, such as product boxes, clothing (price tags or on the clothing themselves), signage (as in the aforementioned real estate example), and any number of creative places. The customer can scan them and immediately be sent to a website, clickable phone number, clickable email address, coupon, menu, or map with directions.

                  ·   QR codes are frequently used in conjunction with smart phones for subway passes, even airline boarding passes. If you’ve travelled to other countries, you’ve probably experienced this. Hopefully, in the near future, all of our businesses will be updated for the benefit of tourists who visit us.

                   

                  The list of uses for mobile marketing is truly only limited by your imagination. We can help you decide whether a mobile marketing campaign is right for your business and, if so, provide training or manage it all for you. We can advise you on the timing of your messages (which can be scheduled ahead of time), as well as helping to plan your strategy and create your marketing calendar for the year. We’ll be happy to explain it all to you and answer any questions you may have.

                   

                  One indication that mobile is the wave of the future for businesses of all sizes is to observe the direction Google is going. They own the mobile advertising company, Admob, are purchasing other mobile related technology companies, such as Motorola and are investing heavily in Near Field Communications (NFC) technology research and development. This is the technology that will render wallets obsolete, turning our smart phones into even more powerful hand held devices.

                   

                  It’s safe to assume that in the fairly near future, every business will need to have an App to provide to their customers as a virtual business card, or a bookmark customers can place on their phone's screen for convenience.

                   

                  We provide our clients with an App that brings people to a page (default is the 'Home Page' but we can direct it to any page, such as "daily specials", for example). Every time your customers see the app they can't help thinking about you, so it's a frequent advertisement to them. 

                   

                  The app is a small image we create, using your business colors and/or logo - it's programmed to work as a clickable image link. This type of bookmark app works great for local businesses. It's not found on the app stores, but that type of app is also available for you, though the cost is higher. Scan the QR Code on the 'Home' Page to see this website in action.

                   

                  It's no wonder that Mobile Marketing is considered a win-win approach to informing consumers about how our products and services can add value to their lives. When you're able to target marketing to someone who is waiting eagerly to make a purchase, rather than throwing out offers and hoping that someone will respond - you're not really advertising; you're simply fulfilling a need. Your customers will likely be very appreciative of this individualized help. 

                   

                              

                   

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