Mobile Marketing: Introduction



Mobile Marketing is the future of advertising. There has never before been a tool conceived that is more targeted, more in demand, and more timely. I used to say that direct mail marketing was the most powerful and scientifically designed marketing tool, but not anymore.

Most people in the United States do not understand or appreciate mobile marketing for it has been slow to take off. Yet, in the rest of the world it rules and has for some time. It is centered on SMS (short message service) or text messaging. While texting has been embraced enthusiastically by American teenagers, it has been slower to catch on among the older folk, and even slower with merchants who could use it desperately for driving people through their doors.

Basically it involves sending a text message to someone’s cell phone with an advertisement, coupon, announcement or information that the recipient has requested. That’s the key. It is information that the recipient wants and has requested. The receiver must have asked for the information by texting a keyword to a specific short code. SMS ads have this basic structure: text (keyword) to 12345 (short code number). Short codes are assigned to each merchant’s account, which are usually only 5 or 6 digits instead of a regular long phone number, which is difficult to remember. The keyword signals the merchant’s server to respond with the appropriate information.

Examples of Mobile Marketing Offline

Suppose you were a restaurant owner depressed by slow business on Mondays. You had put out table tents, told people at the cash register, and had your waitresses start collecting cell phone numbers. People were beginning to text in to be put on the members only list. You had collected quite a few opt-ins. It was time to put the list to work. So, about 11AM on Monday morning, just when people are beginning to think about where to go for lunch, you push the broadcast button on your computer. Instantly, everyone on the list get a coupon for half off for lunch or dinner on Monday. Within 45 minutes, the place is swamped. People are all waving their cell phones and asking each other if they got a coupon too.

Maybe you are a realtor tired of the flyers on your signs disappearing and the impossible job of keeping them stocked and wondering how much business you are losing. You get smart and sign up for a mobile marketing account. Now when people are interested in one of your properties, all they have to do is text a keyword for that property to your short code. Instantly they receive all the specs on the house and even pictures of what it looks like inside. Now you are not losing business. Clients are pleased with the instant feedback. Their information is stored on your computer and now you know who the lookieloos are, which you never knew before. Now you know what kind of neighborhood, house size, and price range your client wants, and you can send out comparables to their phone. What a great service, What a great way to stay in touch with clients, which was never before possible.

Suppose you are a dentist. When patients don’t show up for their appointments, you lose money. You have to pay a full time person to do nothing but call patients all day long to remind them of their appointments and that it’s time for the six month check up or that they need to pay their bill. There is a better way. With a mobile marketing account, you can broadcast all this pre-programmed information with the push of a button, and it’s done. The patient receives the info on his phone, which he always carries with him, and he can turn it into a calendar event. Problem solved.

Or, perhaps you are a florist who wants to send reminders to customers about important events such as birthdays, graduation, and anniversaries. It’s just too much to do with paper and through the mail, but with a mobile account, it’s a snap, and you can become a hero by saving some guy’s bacon who would have forgotten his anniversary.

I could go on and on, vertical market by vertical market, but I’m sure you get the point and can even begin thinking of new ways you could use such a powerful tool in your marketing efforts for your business.

The uses of SMS marketing are limited only by one’s imagination. I will go into it in more depth with examples in the mobile marketing links. For now, trust me, it’s the most powerful marketing tool ever invented, and you should be using it to get a jump on other marketers who don’t have a clue about it. It can be used to drive traffic to your Website, and remember that it is highly targeted and motivated traffic because the recipient has texted you and asked for the information in the first place.

Spamming is eliminated because all the recipient has to do is text back with the keyword STOP, and the server is programmed to strike the customer record from the database. Also it’s against FCC regulations to use SMS for SPAM, and if caught, perpetrators will suffer dire consequences. If you abuse the system and send out too many messages, your customers will simply opt-out.

Mobile Marketing and Internet Marketing

Now we’ve seen how mobile marketing can function for brick and mortar businesses. What about using it for online marketing? As far as I know, no one has so far. It’s just too new, about people are still hung up with PPC, SEO, and email. I’m here to invite you to embrace a new technology, for it is clearly the future of marketing online and off.

Text messaging can reach people instantly wherever they are. Who leaves home without a cell phone these days? It’s like another appendage. Email, on the other hand, is nowhere near as targeted or timely.

So, my advice is to learn as much as you can about Mobile Marketing as soon as you can and start using it before your competition does. It is just a matter of time. When it catches on, it will be more common than email. Already teens consider email something that their grandparents use for communication. To do it right, you will need to set up an account with a service provider.

My advice is to start capturing mobile phone numbers with opt-in squeeze pages. Unfortunately, autoreponders are not set up to respond to mobile phones. For that, you need to have a mobile service provider. I recommend www.synergetics.org/sms.

At first, people may be reluctant to give out their mobile phone number for fear of being spammed. Accordingly, you must educate them that they only receive information they request and that they may opt out at anytime with a simple STOP keyword entry.

Going Mobi

Whether or not you take advantage of mobile marketing technology, you should definitely consider optimizing your Websites and blogs to be compatible with small screen technology. Far more people use phones than computers. That means that more people surf the Net looking for information using phones these days. If they have to scroll all around to navigate your site, they will grow weary, and you won’t hold their attention for long.

The solution is to grab a Mobi domain, which obviously stands for mobile. Then convert your site to small screen format. Actually, this would be in addition to your regular site. There is software available that will streamline this operation for you. I recommend XSitePro.

To learn more about mobile marketing, please visit my Website and blog on the subject at www.synergetics.org/sms. There will also be tutorials and more information when you click on the Mobile Marketing sub-tabs.

Crisis Alert

Remember the shooting travesty at the University of Virginia a few years back? The administration actually sent out some email warnings, but most people didn’t see them until they got back home that night or it was too late. Instead, if the university had had a text message emergency alert system in place, everyone could have been notified instantly, much tragedy averted, and key personnel would have been better informed. No, there is nothing so powerful as text messaging for distributing valuable, important information to a targeted audience. This illustrates the immediacy of SMS notifications and how much more effective it is than email.

Conclusion

The use of text messaging for marketing purposes has been slow to catch on in the United States, while is it an accepted norm in the rest of the world. This is in large part due to so many competing telcos in the U.S. with incompatible technology. But those problems are being solved, and you are going to see more and more evidence of SMS marketing.

Merchants have also been slow to embrace the new technology and have tended to stick to what they know. But, fewer and fewer people read newspapers; they are going out of business right and left. Radio and TV is expensive and high untargeted. Most people don’t watch commercials because they record shows and fast forward through commercials. Radio listening is tending toward non-commercial satellite radio and listening to MP3 recordings. What is an advertising to do about reaching a desired audience? The answer is simple: mobile marketing!

Text messaging is the future, for it is inexpensive, crosshairs on, targeted marketing. It is 100% opt-in, and the recipient is in total control. To be removed from a list, all they have to do is text the keyword STOP to the corresponding short code.

With mobile marketing text messages, you conduct surveys, take polls, send coupons, advertise specials, link to mobile Websites, send graphics, announce launches, keep in touch with your customers and reward them for their loyalty.

No one seems to be using text messaging yet for online marketing, and you should take advantage of it and be one of the first to use this cutting edge technology. All you need is an account with a short code. See link at end of article.

When you think about it, mobile marketing and online marketing are a natural. One technology reinforces the other. And there is no other method of reaching people ever conceived. It is totally opt-in. No one leaves home without a cell phone these days, so customers and prospects are always reachable and can act on an offer instantly.

Remember that far more people use mobile phones than computers. So, doesn’t it make sense to reach your customer via mobile phone? Go get an account and cash in before everyone else jumps on the bandwagon.

RETURN TO MOBILE MARKETING TABLE OF CONTENTS

To learn more about mobile marketing, see demos, and sign up for an account, please follow this link.