Mobile Marketing Shouldn’t Be Too Cheap

Marketing spending plans for 2012 are shifting towards mobile marketing communications channels, partly because of their relatively low cost in comparison to traditional marketing channels. But while it is a cost-effective alternative to traditional tools, it shouldn’t be dirt cheap.

Mobile marketing can be an extremely effective channel to encourage customer loyalty and drive overall sales, but if not implemented correctly, business owners could be digging their own graves. Some small businesses fail at mobile marketing for a number of reasons:

There’s no plan of action. Running a mobile marketing campaign can’t be a “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of decision. Businesses must first research to make sure there is a significant driving force behind developing the campaign, or else it may not be worthwhile in the end. Business owners need to ask themselves, “What will I need to increase my sales?” “How will I get people to opt-in?” Building a mobile campaign isn’t rocket science, but it needs a plan and strategy to make it work.

There’s no account manager. Many small businesses don’t have the budget to hire a director to run their text marketing campaigns for them. However, without someone spearheading the campaign, it may not succeed. Chances are the owner of a restaurant who’s thinking about using mobile marketing for his business probably doesn’t even know the first thing about text messaging. Business owners have a thousand different things to worry about on a daily basis, so a text marketing campaign is most successful when it has someone else running it who specializes in the field and can dedicate time to it.

They don’t implement it right. If a mobile marketing campaign is not implemented properly, the business risks their message not being relevant or enticing to customers. By keeping the offer relevant, business can build a database of loyal consumers who are likely to respond to messages in the future. Half the time business owners sign up to use mobile marketing, it doesn’t even get used. They pay for the short code and the messages, but let the campaign fall by the wayside.

Not tracking ROI.  I referenced a study by eMarketer a couple weeks ago that found that 63% of marketers either don’t know how to measure ROI or just haven’t done it yet. Marketers NEED to constantly analyze their results to find out what works so that they can take what they learn from past campaigns and apply that knowledge to future ones. No business can afford to let revenue gush out of their pockets just because they don’t have the time to track results.

Thinking it’s going to be a piece of cake. Everything from developing message content and building the subscriber list to managing the response requires constant effort and work. It may take 3 months to gain ROI and get a good database of subscribers. Seeing results and increasing sales isn’t going to happen overnight, so businesses must be patient. Many business owners give up during that 3 month trial period, but if they learn to get past the hump, they will succeed.

Major retailers like Victoria’s Secret, Express and Target have had great success with mobile marketing campaigns. Why? They have large advertising budgets to help promote their campaign and a marketing director to run them, but small businesses often don’t have that luxury. However, if you are thinking about using mobile marketing for your business, make sure you invest in the right company to help you accomplish your goals.

In the case of mobile marketing, just because it’s the cheapest doesn’t mean it’s the one you should choose to run a campaign for your business. Most mobile marketing providers are inexpensive because they provide you with the short code and the messages, but then you’re on your own. You may pay more for a full-service model , but it will give your business the software, the training, the identity, the independence, and the recurring income that will ultimately drive your success.

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