Mobile marketing, a permission-based marketing tool, is making waves across the internet and rapidly becoming a major communications channel for reaching customers.
According to an independent survey from Airwide Solutions in 2009, 200 million Americans carry mobile phones. That's more than half of the country's population. In addition, this study reports that 40 percent of major brands have deployed text messaging (also known as SMS, or short message service) campaigns. Nearly 40 million U.S. consumers received SMS advertisements, and 12 percent responded to them, according to the Metrics Study, "Cracking the Mobile Marketing Code."
Text messaging, also known as SMS, allows short messages (with a maximum of 160 characters) to be sent from one cell phone to another or from a mobile messaging platform such as enowit.com or messagebuzz.com. This unique way of communicating with your clients and market has capabilities such as website link inserts in the actual text, invitations to enter contests or take surveys and polls, ringtone downloads, mobile coupons, location-based information, and cause donation campaigns, to name a few. By using this platform to inform and send out call-to-action campaigns that will get people back to your site or to your location, you can build a powerful new link to your current connections and use contests to build a larger list.
Although mobile messaging is becoming a widely used marketing tool, it is especially useful if your business does some other type of advertising, such as TV, print or radio ads, or outdoor signage. You can provide additional information to prospective consumers by providing an SMS code. For example, a real estate agent could have a for-sale sign with "Text 55MainSt to 12345 for more information on this home." Or a restaurant could allow potential customers to find out what the specials are for the evening via text
Millions have chosen cell phones, specifically text messaging, as preferred communication, and now that cells can communicate with the internet, this can be a powerful marketing tool for your business. Here are a few tips to get you started with your mobile messaging.
- Choose a simple keyword that is easy to text.
Most of your customers will join your mobile program by sending a text message to a short code number (5 or 6 digits) with a keyword to identify your program. Your customer may have limited time to read your marketing material and have to remember both a short dial number and the keyword to text, so keep it short and make sure it's easy to spell!
- Decide what relationship you want to develop with your customer.
You are not trying to build a list of customer mobile numbers so you can SPAM them with a message. Consider collecting a customer's name in the join process so that you can personalize all future messages you send. Personalizing your text broadcasts can increase your response rates, but be careful not to overstep relationship boundaries too quickly, as this must feel genuine to your customer.
- Make an irresistible offer to join your campaign.
In a world where we are bombarded with so many different advertising messages every day, we want to know what's in it for us. You need to keep this in mind with your marketing. Put yourself in your customer's shoes and ask what they would really want from you and your business, and build that into the marketing material your user will read or hear. Focus on your call to action that will have customers rushing to text your keyword. Does is stand out? Is it exciting and a no-brainer to join?
- Integrate your mobile program into ALL your marketing activity.
Include the keyword commands to join your mobile opt-in lists in everything you do. This includes your website, e-mail footer, print advertising, retail storefront, your receipts or invoices, products, and even on your mobile phone voice message. If your budget allows, try different keywords for different advertising mediums so you know which is the most successful.
- Make sure your customers can ALWAYS opt out.
Even if a customer willingly joins your mobile marketing program, there will come a time when some of these people just aren't interested in your business or messages any more. It's vital that the customer can leave your mobile program even more easily than they joined. If you choose the right supplier, they will provide this functionality as part of their core service. Just make sure you test it before your service goes live.
Written by Starr Hall, international speaker, author and social media strategist. For more information, visit www.starrhall.com. Hall's latest book from Entrepreneur Press is Get Connected, The Social Networking Toolkit for Business.