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.
Mobile channels such as advertising (search and display), apps and mobile Web sites will rake in the most in spend for brands and retailers. The exponential raise in smartphone uptake is indicative of the importance mobile will soon play in the marketing mix.
“It starts with consumer behavior. Every indicator says mobile activity considerably increased in 2011,” said Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer of Hipcricket, Kirkland, WA. “The latest was the IBM report that said sales from mobile devices doubled in December 2011 versus December 2010.
“Even the most stubborn of marketers has had to take note,” he said. “The smartest ones know that consumers expect brands to have a significant mobile presence – and they are punishing companies that don’t.
“Many mobile channels will benefit from increased spending. Mobile Web will be one of the winners driven by consumer demand. Another will be SMS because it provides reach to all, including the 50 percent who won’t have smartphones and, when used wisely, leads to permission-based, monetizable databases.”
Retailers and brands will focus heavily on incorporating check-ins and deals into their mobile apps. The next generation of retail apps will be extremely sophisticated, focusing on loyalty and driving sales among loyalists.
Will the majority of big box retailers having built their mobile database and built a relationship with the consumers that have opted-in for communications, companies will now focus on way of making the marketing messages more personalized to more effectively drive sales.
For example, instead of getting a message for a mobile coupon with 10 percent off of the next purchase, imagine getting a message that says Macy’s just got a pair of peep-toe shoes that match perfectly with the cocktail dress you bought last week.
In order for personalization like this to be possible, data mining and segmentation of lists is an absolute must. Brands and retailers will be spending a lot of time and money on understanding their database and breaking it up into segmented lists.
“Similar to social media, mobile marketing spend as a whole will impressively increase in 2012 not so much in terms of greater budget allocations by a few enterprises but in terms of volume due to more SMBs and consumer affinity groups getting in the mobile marketing game,” said Angelo Biasi, adjunct professor for mobile marketing at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies and general manager of SMART Marketing Solutions LLC, New York.
“Easy to use do-it-yourself SMS campaign, mobile Web sites and especially mobile app creation tools that remove traditional barriers to entry, will become more attractive and consolidated service offerings by organizations that cater to these segments,” he said.
The fact that the big guys get mobile, has been driving mobile marketing spend. But, in 2012, the smaller guys will invest more heavily in mobile as well.
Mobile has become more mainstream for a few reasons. Faster network speeds, function-rich smartphones and tablets, a burgeoning portfolio of applications and more engaging ad formats like screen takeovers and expandable ads enable mobile to compete with more established media.
Mobile will account for 15.2 percent of global online ad spend in 2016, according to Berg Insight. According to the Berg, the total value of the global mobile marketing and advertising market will grow from $3.4 billion in 2010 at a compound annual growth rate of 37 percent to $22.4 billion in 2016.
HTML5 is already changing consumers’ perception of the mobile Web. HTML5 will play a prominent role in mobile development in 2012 and will be used to try to overcome fragmentation issues that the industry has consistently battled.
Adobe’s decision to give up on Flash was abrupt but also signals how HTML5 will have to play a role in the future because it was one of the most successful Web add-ins.
HTML5 is helping companies create rich content and bypass the App Store and we will see this trend increase dramatically throughout 2012.
“Mobile is growing rapidly and is quickly becoming the norm for many consumers,” said Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. “PriceGrabber predicts an increase in mobile budgets, both in the development of new mobile features and mobile options, as well as a raise in marketing funds assigned to the mobile category.
“Merchants are investing heavily in the development of mobile capability as far as mobile check out goes,” he said. “They want to ensure a smooth process and experience for the consumer.”