The many faces of mobile marketing
I am not going to claim to be an absolute genius at mobile marketing. What I am is someone who battles through issues long enough until I make things work and get the results I want. It is not always pretty, but it works.
I see many people talk about mobile marketing, but in most cases, they have very limited visions of what it encompasses. The first reaction from most small business owners is that it is either having a mobile website or spamming people with text messages. I will agree the mobile website is a good idea, the spamming one is not.
Following is my list of items I consider part of mobile marketing, but after the list I will briefly discuss the ones I actually use. Here is the list:
• Mobile website marketing
• Mobile/Local SEO
• SMS/MMS Marketing
• QR Code Marketing
• Push Notifications
• Apps with Embedded Ads
• Games with Embedded Ads
• Location Based Advertising/PPC
Some people add these items:
• Proximity Systems
The ones I currently use are limited to just a few of these items. I use mobile website marketing, local SEO, SMS Marketing, and QR Codes.
Push notifications, apps, and games are all cool, but they are not as relevant to my markets. I can see them playing an important role in some of your markets, but I am not an app developer and prefer not to become one.
I always start by building an effective mobile website. That is a requirement for any effective campaigns. You need somewhere to send people that will not stop them from continuing. I prefer readable and to the point over "wow factors" for my markets.
The second item I always insure is taken care of is local SEO. I want to make sure that people find our businesses when they search on their mobile devices. I prefer we come up in the first few listings on maps, but that is not always possible.
QR Codes are an added item in our list. We suggest having QR codes on signage, business cards, brochures, and other literature to ease people adding your information to their mobile devices, but it is not as relevant to us as our last item.
SMS marketing has become one of our biggest game changers. No, we do not use random lists of numbers. Every number we send text messages to chose to receive them. We offer notifications, special offers, and reminders to our SMS followers that lead to great retention rates and good results from our marketing. We generate traffic to our mobile websites every time we send out one of the SMS messages.
We chose to run a script on our own system rather than subscribing to an SMS service. It is more cost effective and gives us greater control.
I find the definition of SMS marketing contained in Wikipedia's definition of Mobile Marketing a bit disconcerting. It seems to equate SMS Marketing with spamming people's phones, but I do not see that happening much in the market any longer. The people I see using SMS Marketing are providing value and serving their clients, not spamming them.
We have tried the location-based advertising, targeting clients searching in our specific area, but we did not find it as effective as our combination of local SEO, a mobile website, and focusing on getting phone numbers for our SMS marketing campaigns. I almost forget to mention we do capture email addresses to use for our mailing list, but we get higher results from our SMS list, but that will vary by market.
We usually start other businesses on the basic script until they need any of the advanced features. There are other good scripts out there, but this one does the job for us.
I believe the most important thing for any business to do before starting their mobile marketing is to evaluate their products, business style, and their clients. Our clients want to know about daily specials and discounts. Your clients may be more interested in product announcement, rumors, or pictures sent via MMS. Make sure you think carefully about their expectations and deliver them.
That is the key to growing your mobile market, instead of watching it falter.