A smartphone user searches for “tires.” A moment later, your automated service sends his cell phone a discount offer, enticing him to come visit your tire store now.
Or another example: A brick-and-mortar fashion retailer texts a flash sale alert to loyal customers in its Insiders Club: “Five hours only. Come in before 5 p.m. today.”
Small-business owners are just as capable of leveraging the power of mobile marketing as the Coca-Colas of the world.
Although in the second example, the alert was readable even on older cell phones, smartphones are changing the game. Most new cell phones going forward will be capable of accessing the web, according to research by Gartner Inc.1 When your customers use their mobile phones more often than they use laptops or PCs to find businesses and products like yours, that’s a watershed moment in marketing.
Interactivity will be assumed and required. Are you up on the do’s and don’ts of mobile marketing? Here are four things to think about if you are new to the mobile marketing arena.
1. Set a clear purpose. Mobile marketing has two primary objectives: Engage customers and build relationships. That’s what it’s all about. If your customer is using a smartphone, you can reach her when she is most likely to be responsive. She’s out and about and types in a search looking for your service. So engage her. But even if she is using a traditional cell phone, you can remind her you have unique products that she likes. Make the reminder friendly, not intrusive. Maybe she’s sitting in Starbucks, having a break. Turn her passive behavior into interactive behavior. Think of your advertising as an ongoing conversation.
2. Strategize. Your mobile marketing is part of your overall marketing strategy, but you’ll need different thinking on it. Every marketing discussion and decision affects those customers who are primarily reachable by mobile promotions. So make your assigned staff member who “understands” Twitter part of your marketing team. Don’t exclude him from the big meetings because he’s young and in your opinion doesn’t need to get the whole picture.
Pitch your campaign to the widest possible array of devices: Androids and iPhones and RIM’s BlackBerrys, plus what are called feature phones (the standard mobile phones). That’s the advice of the Mobile Marketing Association.2
The world of mobile advertising is growing most dramatically outside of the United States. If you have dreams of expanding beyond the 50 states, mobile marketing may well be the way to go. According to the Mobile Marketing Association, advertising costs are often much lower in relatively undeveloped markets.
For statistics on the types of devices that are most prominent in various world markets, visit mobiThinking.3
3. Keep messages short. The Mobile Marketing Association’s first rule for making your message effective is to remember that mobile phone screens are much smaller than computer screens, so whatever you say and whatever banner you use must be short, small, concise. If you want the customer to fill out a form, make it short. If you want the customer to send contact information, limit it to a phone number.
4. Jump-start interaction. You want interactivity, but how are you going to get it? Two ways (a don’t and a do): Don’t send your customers the same generic messages that you use in email marketing, and do always include a call to action. That’s the advice of Alex Speirs of TXT2GET, a mobile marketing company that helps companies with SMS (short message service) marketing.
“Effective advertising is advertising that not only engages consumers initially but then allows them to interact with your advertising in order to move them on to becoming actual consumers,” he wrote in the article, “Common SMS Marketing Mistakes.”4
About that call to action: That means asking users to text a certain phrase and number (“Text the word PETS to 54321”) or show their phones at the register for savings. Realize, though, that your customers may be just as new to this as you are, and they may be concerned that they’ll run up high message charges on their phones if they respond to—or even read—your offer. They may also be concerned about privacy. Moto Message, a company that specializes in mobile marketing, suggests using a disclaimer and offers two examples in an article on its website.5
Want to know more?
For some mobile marketing case studies, visit the Mobile Marketer website,6 or check out a flashier presentation by Google.7
If you are serious about becoming a mobile marketer, check out the Mobile Marketing Association’s website for the association’s “U.S. Consumer Best Practices”8 guidelines.
For more information, visit:
1. “Gartner Outlines 10 Mobile Technologies to Watch in 2010 and 2011”
2. Mobile Marketing Association
4. “Common SMS Marketing Mistakes”
5. “What Details to Include in a Mobile Marketing Call to Action”
6. Mobile Marketer: Case Studies
7. “Mobile Right Now”
8. “U.S. Consumer Best Practices” guidelines