Some industries absolutely must use mobile marketing to survive, but using it well can be difficult. There is so much to learn both on the marketing side and the technical side. Read on to learn how you can easily and effectively integrate mobile marketing into your business plan.
Older cellphones cannot properly display the same sites as newer smartphones or tablets, so your links need to lead to different sites for different phones. If you use a flash player on your website, only provide the cellular link.
Do not send too many offers on mobile platforms. Stick to the essential ones. With this you know that your customers will not tire from your messages and look for to see all you have to offer.
It is important to have your own dedicated short code. The price tag is higher, but this will help to protect your brand. Doing this will also protect you legally.
Every successful mobile campaign should have a home base. Your mobile presence should be about driving people to the home base, or keeping in touch with people who already visit your home base. Do not ever base everything completely on a mobile marketing campaign.
Remember who you are talking to if you are going to make phone calls, they are people whose lives you are interrupting. Realize that is an issue and act accordingly.
Check to verify that your mobile web site works on every popular mobile web browser in use. It’s important that your messages work no matter what type of phone your customer is using. It’s going to be a lot easier for you to use a simplified message, rather than trying to make a custom message work across all platforms. Mobile marketing and the KISS principle work well together.
Be sure to test mobile websites and ads on multiple mobile devices. Some mobile devices use special browsers, and others have limitations based on their screen size or resolution. Your website and content might look different on each device. Your mobile marketing campaign should be tested on all popular devices, to be sure that it looks right on each one.
Creating a mobile app with lots of helpful information for your target market is a great mobile marketing strategy. Any apps that give users helpful hints or useful information are wildly popular. You can use your app as a lead-generation tool for other products, or sell the app directly for profit.
Understanding how mobile marketing works is very important if you want to use it to help your business reach as many people as possible. The points in this article have hopefully given you a better understanding of how mobile marketing can work for your business. Use the pointers presented here as a starting point.
With all the technology that is now available, content is being consumed in many different ways and on many different devices. While desktops and tablets are big players in the game, mobile devices seem to have a big influence on click through rates and browsing. In 2013, mobile content marketing will generate a large return on investment if done properly.
We gathered research from our corporate blogging platform client, Compendium, and email marketing software client, ExactTarget, to show the impact of mobile marketing over the past couple of years and what is yet to come. When all the data was put together, there were some startling findings:
- Open rates on mobile devices have increased by 300% from October 2010 to October 2012.
- Mobile email creates twice as many conversions as social activities or search.
- Mobile may not mean “on the go.” 51% of US mobile users browse, search, and purchase on mobile devices at home.
- Web visits on a mobile or tablet device are highest on Thursday at 15.7%.
- SMS marketing messaging is becoming more popular, with 31.2% of agencies using this tactic to increase click through.
What is the state of mobile content marketing? Get in the game, or lose the opportunity for click throughs, conversions, and engagement.
You may have seen the statistics – one study claims that more than 80% of small businesses that invest in mobile marketing see increased business as a result – but how can you go about capturing some of those gains yourself?
Small Business Computing recently looked at a few companies that are engaged in mobile marketing to find out.
Ron’s Auto Repair Center of Ames, Iowa, uses Yodle, a service that helps small businesses with mobile-optimized websites, listings on Google, Yahoo and Bing maps, and paid-search services across multiple desktop and mobile outlets. The service doesn’t require much sophistication to use. Using a unique tracking number, Ron’s Auto Repair can tell where calls come from and see how many of them are a direct result of online and mobile marketing spending. The service has so far been worth about $9,000 in new sales a month, the business estimates.
Rok Bistro of Sunnyvale, Calif., uses FanMinder to send out marketing messages to all channels, including Twitter, email, texts and Facebook. Mobile coupons have turned out to be a good marketing tool for Rok Bistro. The coupons, which are trackable through FanMinder, allow the restaurant to see how many people click on the offer and redeem it at the restaurant. When a customer shows the server a coupon on his or her mobile device, the server simply clicks a button to redeem it. In the restaurant, customers can also scan QR codes or send a text message to get an immediate discount and sign up for the Rok Bistro mailing list.
At a minimum, all businesses should have a mobile-optimized website, and make your website mobile-friendly by placing your location and contact information in a prominent place. Clarity, simplicity and speed matter most for mobile users, so make sure it’s clear what you do and how you can help customers. And monitor mentions of your business on Yelp and other sites that can influence consumers.
Adapted from Small Business Mobile Marketing Strategies That Work by Vangie Beal at Small Business Computing. Follow Small Business Computing on Twitter.
Know the goal of the campaign.
Creating a successful loyalty marketing campaign starts with knowing the goal of the campaign. Do you want more unique customers? Do you want to reward repeat visitors? This is the most important thing – without knowing what you want out of a campaign before you begin, it’s virtually impossible for that campaign to be successful.
Sometimes, even the most successful merchant will have great customers or regulars who suddenly stop coming in. This is particularly relevant in salons and the automotive industry, although it’s a concept that can (and should) be applied to most loyalty brand marketing campaigns.
Utilize automated engagement messages.
Automated engagement messages are sent to consumers who have stopped checking in at the merchant’s kiosk for a certain period of time. These customers are then specifically targeted by the system for a special offer the merchant sets up.
For example, think of a hair salon. Clients are recommended to come back every five to six weeks for a trim, and by the seventh or eighth week, if the client fails to come in, the system will automatically send them a specific, targeted offer – think “$5 off your next haircut” or “we miss u! come in and receive free shampoo w/ trim”.
Use unique tiered rewards.
The key word here is unique. This reward system is based on the idea that at specific intervals of check-ins, a customer will get a different reward, leading up to better and better rewards each time. For instance, at the first check-in, a customer will receive a 10% off coupon, at 5 check-ins, they’ll receive 25% off, and at 10 check-ins, receive a free item or service.
Know the success targets.
The redemption rate for these offers is what we look at to decide if the campaign was successful. Around 40 percent of automated engagement offers redeemed is considered very successful; that means of the number of inactive customers that received this message and would have otherwise stopped coming back to the salon for whatever reason, 40 percent came back and redeemed the offer. Those are customers that could potentially have been lost had the message not been sent.
Knowing what your particular success targets are can help you to update your plan as you go through your campaign and evaluate success during or at the end of the campaign.
Know what to avoid.
One of the most frequent issues merchants see in getting higher redemption rates is unrealistic expiration dates. Expiration dates on rewards are necessary; you don’t particularly want someone to stack up offers indefinitely. However, if someone spends a year getting their reward, you don’t want to give them a three-day window to redeem it.
Using these proven keys to success, you should be able to formulate a plan for loyalty marketing that is successful and will work for your business.
It has been said that where Google goes these days, people follow. So when Ian Carrington, Google’s director of mobile marketing, told an audience during the Changing Media Summit in London last year, “If you don’t have a mobile strategy, you don’t have a future strategy,” marketers paid attention.
Fast-forward the clock to 2012 and a Marketing Magazine interview and it is clear his opinion has not wavered: “Advertisers … have to grow up and realize the mobile Web is just as important to their business [as apps] and should very much be a consideration for what their mobile strategy should be.”
Mr. Carrington’s recent comments come at a time where mobile, specifically smartphones and tablets, are enjoying high adoption rates and even higher popularity.
Media research firm Nielsen may have called 2011 “The Year of the Mobile,” but in only a few short months, it is amazing how antiquated that label seems.
Considering that the company’s latest research shows that smarphones made up nearly half of all United States mobile phones in February 2012 suggests that going forward, christening years with tech titles might be a bit premature.
Like no other marketing tool before it mobile is the ideal medium to improve customer service and, through heightened customer feedback and shopper metrics, instill greater loyalty.
Today’s North American Internet-using population stands at 273,067,546 and smartphones already comprise around 30 percent of worldwide mobile phone subscribers and is rising daily.
More than half of the U.S. mobile market is already dominated by customers relying on 3G access, while globally one in five mobile subscribers are running on 3G speeds and faster.
With data indicating that today’s Web-accessible mobile phone users spend nearly three hours per day on their wireless devices, there is a continuing incentive for companies to ramp up their mobile customer services.
In other words: relying solely on traditional short message services (SMS – or what has long been considered the backbone of mobile strategy) will shortchange both you and your customer.
Instead, expanding into new wireless channels such as QR codes, advanced augmented reality apps or multichannel techniques, for instance, is another way to make the rest of 2012 and beyond more mobile still while improving customer service and driving loyalty.
And speaking of multichannel techniques, there is also the burgeoning arena of digital signage and its mobile phone importance.
Unlike static standalone signs, digital signs are increasingly linked to mobile devices via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity and can deliver a wealth of customer-specific promotions, coupons and redemptions, and all of it based in real-time and location-aware.
When it comes to driving loyalty, nothing is more valuable than delivering to customers relevant and timely messages and information that they can act on immediately.
For the marketer, instant feedback helps paint a metrics picture that can be used to create an even more tailored experience during the next engagement.
Room for improvement
To be sure, for all the excitement and “mobile has reached a tipping point” chatter in the first quarter of 2012, it is important to remember that 2011 was already very mobile. And so was 2012.
After essentially putting the power of mobile on the map, companies continue expanding their mobile efforts and have taken them far beyond a basic SMS blitz incorporating location-aware campaigns and engaging rich media experiences.
Despite that momentum, many companies have yet to jump on board the mobile bandwagon or have yet to use it to its full potential.
In a 2011 survey from King Fish Media for instance we learned that 62 percent of survey respondents planned to launch a mobile marketing campaign within the next year, while only a third of companies already had a mobile communications strategy in place.
And since 2012 still has a long way to go, it is likely that many marketers still have not gotten the mobile message. And like any New Year’s resolution, they are easy to make and even easier to break – either by not following through on their mobile campaign plans or by launching those plans incorrectly.
But many of the ones that succeed will do so in part because they established loyalty using great customer service.
Think of loyalty and mobile customer service like an equation. Improved customer service, plus improved customer feedback equals greater loyalty.
Focusing on the positive, what follows is a look at ways in which businesses can build brand loyalty through the fusion of mobile and customer service.
Streamlining customer experience with mobile
Think that your customer service practices and your mobile customer service programs are fully integrated with one another? You might be mistaken.
Last year, a TeaLeaf study called mobile “the worst channel for customer experience,” stated that 83 percent of customers surveyed in Britain reported that they have encountered a problem when using mobile checkout.
While no comparable study was completed in the U.S., the results are telling.
Mobile has far to go in providing high quality customer service, particularly with many company mobile initiatives struggling to take shape in such a fast-paced environment.
Marketers responding to rising consumer smartphone adoption, however, have an opportunity to deliver tailored programs and technology that ultimately drive loyalty.
What makes up the ideal customer experience?
The best mobile experiences are the ones that use best practice and keep important demographics in mind. These are the areas most important to fine-tuning an agreeable customer experience via mobile, the type that builds loyalty through ease of use and intelligent design.
Letting the customer guide the experience. Before making changes, ask yourself how each change affects customer interaction with your company. How will the changes you make to your customer service affect the customer experience?
Maximize the multichannel map. Customer service levels should be consistent across all channels, with the ability for customers to easily interact with representatives as needed. The customer should be able to transition between channels without difficulty.
In an SMS or mobile app message, for instance, include a link to your company Web site and phone number for customers to speak with live help.
Nothing speaks like the voice of authenticity, so the saying goes, and sometimes even the most mobile-savvy customers welcome the opportunity to sort out a problem with a real person.
Even if a consumer is left dissatisfied by a specific experience, quality customer service, both traditional and mobile, increase the odds of loyalty purchases at a later date.
Offering valuable mobile additions. Listening to customer response is a vital part in the creation or revamping of the mobile medium.
Since reviews and feedback shape the customer and repeat customer experience, this data can be used to formulate mobile strategy. This is particularly important in healthcare and service providers’ cases, as they often provide lower-rated customer service experiences.
Making service a priority. Quality customer service benefits companies greatly, and as its importance is realized more widely, this should become a top priority.
In today’s ultra-competitive marketplace it is hard enough finding customers, let alone keeping them. All it takes is one ill-timed message before a potential buyer tunes your message out and goes elsewhere.
But once you have gained that loyalty, the strategies above can be used to boost your competitive advantage.
Loyal customers buy more and shop more often, making them more profitable than new ones.
If we can simply use appropriate customer service strategies to attract and retain the customers we want – the ones who are most valuable to us – then we will soon see retention numbers rise accordingly.
THE BOTTOM LINE: be aware of your customers’ needs. By understanding what they want, you can arm new mobile services with plans for top support and consistency.
As we continue through the rest of 2012 there is no doubt that many companies – even the majority – are at least in some formative stage of building and expanding their mobile outreach.
Others have gone well beyond their beta versions.
Mary Meeker, a partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, told us back in October 2011 that the number of Fortune 1000 companies that are launching mobile ad campaigns grew from 203 in July 2011 to 250 this past September, a 23 percent increase – and the trend is upward.
Regardless of what stage they are in, however, there is always some aspect of mobile marketing and customer service that can be improved upon to attract and retain customers.
Loyalty boosted by mobile is an ideal way to forge ahead, because with mobile use growing and changing, we can expect grand returns – and soon.
If Nielsen termed 2011 “The Year of the Mobile,” and a Google Guru continued to hammer home the importance of mobile this year, it is clear that any business without a mobile strategy, and certainly one that integrates with building customer loyalty, is going to be left behind.
SMS is now a top channel in the mix, but there are still misunderstandings in terms of how campaigns should be implemented.
I thought I’d share my version of the 10 Commandments of Mobile Marketing to set some guidelines for how brands should be utilizing the power of text to reach that mobile audience.
1. THOU SHALT NOT SEND SPAM
Be aware of sending text messages to users who have not subscribed to receive them. Also, the rule of thumb is to send no more than four messages per month to subscribers to avoid being marked as spam.
2. THOU SHALT INCLUDE A CALL-TO-ACTION
Don’t leave it up to the subscriber to know what they need to do next. Make sure your mobile call-to-action includes relevant contact details and clear instructions telling them what they need to do.
3. THOU SHALT PROVIDE VALUE
You have the opportunity to reach consumers on the one device they are connected to all the time. Don’t blow it! If you want customers to interact with your brand, you need to make their experience worthwhile. It’s really easy for them to click “unsubscribe” if they feel like they aren’t getting anything out of their subscription. Don’t let it get to that point.
4. THOU SHALT OPTIMIZE, TEST AND COMPARE
When sending out text broadcasts, take into consideration the day of the week, time of day and message content to see which will elicit the best response. Test out a few different types of messages and play around with the day and time that you send them. In doing that, you can weed out the underperformers and move forward with the ones that garner success.
5. THOU SHALT MOBILIZE THY WEBSITE
There’s nothing more embarrassing than a mobile call-to-action that isn’t optimized for mobile. If you’re taking the time to engage a mobile audience through text message marketing, you better make sure your site is mobile-friendly.
6. THOU SHALT MARKET THY CALL-TO-ACTION
Sure, you created a text message marketing campaign. Now what? You won’t be successful in building your subscriber database unless you learn how to promote the campaign. Use social media, flyers, table tents, or whatever else is out there in order to spread the word. After all, no one will opt-in to your campaign if they don’t know about it.
7. THOU SHALT REWARD LOYAL CUSTOMERS
Loyalty is built through good experiences, trust and that feeling of importance. Loyalty also leads to customer retention. So how do you get these loyal customers? Let them know you appreciate them. Sending rewards to your most loyal customers lets them know exactly how much you value their business, and THAT will keep them coming back for more.
8. THOU SHALT MEASURE RESULTS
Just like with any marketing tool, it’s critical to measure the success of a mobile marketing campaign to evaluate what needs to be adjusted in order to meet objectives. Tracking opt-ins, opt-outs, conversions and ROI will help determine the value of the campaign and the importance of the channel going forward.
9. THOU SHALT OBEY LAWS AND REGULATIONS
Text message marketing is not a free-for-all. Campaigns must comply with laws governing unwanted spam texts, as spam complaints can lead mobile carriers to block a retailer from sending future messages on their network. Also, make sure to be explicit with the campaign’s “terms and conditions” so you don’t run into legal problems down the road.
10. THOU SHALT FOLLOW ALL COMMANDMENTS
Even though these commandments aren’t inscribed on a stone tablet, take them seriously. Failure to do so will likely result in the demise of your campaign. Mobile marketing isn’t rocket science. Just play by the rules, and nobody will get hurt.
In March 2012, marketing agency Cargo and Inc. Magazine found the majority (52%) of US small-business owners felt companies did not market to them effectively. Along similar lines, 45% said companies made little effort to understand their business and 43% said B2B marketers did not understand their individual needs as small-business owners.
Part of the problem may be that the small-business audience is widely diverse. It comprises business and service owners in industries across consulting, retail, food service, agriculture, technology and more. And even at the industry level, small-business owners’ needs are highly individualized and easily reprioritized as owners juggle their marketing, operations, sales and financial responsibilities.
“When you look at the core needs and challenges that [small] business owners are facing, they’re time-starved, and they’re not the type of people sitting in a building behind a computer all day,” said American Express OPEN’s Scott Roen, vice president of digital marketing and innovation, in an April 2012 interview with eMarketer. “They’re out front, working with their customers and employees, so they’re inherently mobile in nature.”
Small-business owners’ proclivity for mobile devices such as laptops and smartphones could prove valuable for B2B marketers looking to connect with this audience. Inc. Magazine and Cargo found the vast majority (91%) of US small-business owners placed importance on wireless communications and smartphones for their business—a likely indicator of their vital daily use. Tablets were also important to 64% of respondents.
The importance of these devices for US small-business owners coincides with SMBs’ adoption of smartphones and tablets. In April 2012, Spiceworks, an online SMB IT solution provider and professional community, found that 96% of SMB IT professionals worldwide said their company purchased smartphones for their employees. Sixty-six percent said the same of tablets.
Marketers looking to reach small-business owners on these mobile devices might consider starting with first adapting their mobile web presence for Apple OS-based devices: The vast majority of tablets purchased for employees were iPads (79%), followed by Android devices (39%). In addition, 64% said they bought the iPhone/iOS for employees, followed in popularity by Android smartphones (56%) and BlackBerrys (41%).