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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mobile Marketing Strategies Need to Grow Along with Budgets

I've been thinking about how companies use their mobile marketing strategies to help grow their business, and I was surprised to learn recently that they are not necessarily increasing the amount they are spending on mobile websites, mobile applications, and QR codes.

While the three strategies listed above are the most popular ways to use mobile methods to reach out to customers, fewer than half of marketers are using them. These figures are taken from the StrongMail Mobile Marketing Survey 2012, and over 800 business leaders answered questions about their marketing practices.

Smartphones are by far the most popular mobile device. Nearly half of mobile users own one, and mobile marketing efforts need to be directed to strategies that will appeal to them. I think that reaching consumers through their smart phones is an excellent marketing strategy, since it can reach prospective buyers where they happen to be at any given time.

When asked about obstacles to launching a mobile media marketing program, over one-third of respondents (37 percent) stated that lack of strategy was the main challenge they faced. Lack of resources was cited as the second most common obstacle getting in the way of the respondents' mobile marketing efforts at 22 percent.

Most companies using mobile marketing strategies are allocating five percent or less to this part of their advertising efforts. Of the companies surveyed, approximately one quarter had allocated less than one percent to mobile marketing.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Creating Mobile Websites Benefits Business Owners

Many business owners want to add a mobile website to their communication plan, but think that it is a luxury, not a requirement. This is the same issue that faced businesses 10 years ago with traditional websites, and now it's very clear that a traditional site is standard in business operations. A mobile website is an important mobile engagement marketing tool for business owners. As more people are accessing the internet through their smartphones and tablets, it becomes more important for business owners to have a website for mobile devices as well as a website that is formatted for desktop computer use. 
Andrew Harper's Mobile Web

Being able to reach out to customers where they are, including when they are out and about, is a key element of mobile marketing. The mobile web development needs to be formatted with the needs of the mobile user in mind. This site needs to be kept clean and simple. The screen on a handheld device is much smaller than on a desktop computer, and consumers who are using it to look for information online are more likely to be conducting highly targeted searches for specific items than randomly surfing the internet.

The mobile site needs to be set up in a way which is easy for the consumer to navigate and which provides basic information very quickly. I would suggest that mobile engagement solutions indicate the location and contact information for your business very clearly. It is a great idea to include a button so that a smartphone user can call you directly to ask a question or place an order right away.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mobile Marketing Can Increase Traffic During Summer Travel Season

Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, and signifies the beginning of the 2012 summer travel season for many Americans. This year, many travelers are using their mobile phones to research, book, and review their summer vacations. Business owners in the hospitality industry can win big this travel season by using mobile marketing to offer special deals and reservation options.

Many big brands in travel have already adopted mobile marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy to reach travelers in new ways. Courtyard Hotels by Marriott have added QR codes to their lobbies that allow guests to scan a virtual concierge to find points of interest, restaurant reviews and reservations, and even weather and traffic information around the hotel location. This increases the level of interaction and convenience for many of Courtyard’s guests, adding to the overall guest experience.
Other travel and hospitality businesses can use mobile engagement to increase new visitors and visitor loyalty. Airlines such as American Airlines have embraced mobile to offer a new channel to their customers during the most competitive time of the year for new flight bookings. These airlines use SMS messaging to alert travelers of changes in flight times, available upgrades, or now boarding alerts. In addition, they can use SMS marketing, mobile websites, or mobile applications to offer exclusive pricing offers to its mobile user base. By doing this, they determine exact ROI through unique coupon codes through SMS messaging, number of redemptions on mobile websites and applications through advanced reporting technology. 

Hotels can also benefit from mobile marketing by providing guests on-the-go booking options through mobile marketing. Travelocity recently reported that 60-70% of their mobile bookings are for same-day stays. This channel is a great way to increase hotels’ occupancy rates and deliver a convenient option for travelers. In addition, hotels can use SMS marketing, QR codes to unlock deals and area information, and mobile websites and applications for booking, reviews, and special offers. 

The summer 2012 travel season is the busiest time of the year for most travel and hospitality businesses. Adding mobile marketing to an existing marketing strategy can add convenience for customers and higher bookings for businesses all-year round.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mobile Coupons Allow Retailers to Connect with Consumers

I've been thinking about how retailers can use mobile marketing techniques to connect with consumers in a meaningful way that will help them to increase sales and mobile coupons immediately came to mind. They are a way to present mobile phone marketing offers that consumers will find interesting and relevant directly to their smartphones or tablets.

This type of highly targeted mobile marketing technique makes it easy for retailers to develop an ongoing mobile engagement marketing relationship with their customers. The electronic coupons can be forwarded to customers on a regular basis. To get the maximum result, the mobile coupons should have a specific expiration date or be good during a certain time of day. This tactic provides a clear call to action for the recipient and encourages them to visit the retailer in a timely manner.

Some types of mobile coupons require the customer to e-mail them to him or herself before printing them. Other types of electronic coupons can be scanned at the cash register, and the discount is immediately applied to the customer's order. The latter type is the most convenient way to deliver a money-saving mobile coupon offer to a prospective buyer, since he or she doesn't have to take the extra step to print them and physically present them at the store.

If the idea is to make saving money easy and convenient, delivering offers directly to the customer's mobile device is the way to go.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Four Ways to Build Your Mobile Database

Mobile marketing is an important part of any communication strategy, yet many marketers are faced with the dilemma of how to build a mobile database. 

There are many ways to build your mobile database, which is likely to become the most valuable piece of customer data marketing and operations teams will possess. Studies show approximately 234 million Americans own a mobile phone, and 91% of those claim to have their phones with them 24/7, which gives companies a unique opportunity to literally be in the hands of their customers at all times.  

Companies can build their mobile database through a number of channels and tactics. However, these four methods are most effective because they offer customers value, a key reason to opt-in to a mobile campaign. 

  1. Add your short code and keywords to all print materials and website. Short codes are 5 to 6 digit numbers, such as 70626, that a customer texts to opt-in to your mobile marketing program. Marketers select a keyword, such as PIZZA or REDSKINS, to opt-into a specific offer. In order to create an effective mobile campaign, marketers should choose campaign relevant keywords that are memorable for the consumers. 
  2. Offer an incentive to opt-in to your mobile campaign. Mobile numbers are the most valuable piece of customer data today, largely because of the intimate nature of a mobile phone. Most consumers always have their phones with them, and many carry the same mobile number for years, regardless of their geographic location. Offering a free sample,loyalty club signup, or other mobile exclusive offers adds value for the consumers and will drive your mobile database numbers higher.
  3. Share promotion on social channels. The line between social and mobile are blurring, and one of the fastest way to drive customers to a mobile campaign is to make it available through social channels. Another way to add value through social channels is to offer exclusive rewards for social sharing of the campaign.
  4. Follow Mobile Marketing Best Practices. By following mobile best practices, companies gain trust and build loyalty with their customers. A complete list of mobile best practices and compliance can be found through the Mobile Marketing Association and CTIA Wireless. In addition, executing a mobile campaign with a trustworthy mobile agency will ensure every campaign adheres to these standards.

These are just a few of the many ways to build a quality mobile database. Maintaining the database and building value over time are of equal importance in a long term mobile strategy, but it all must start with a solid mobile database. By doing this, mobile is likely to become the most valuable channel within your communication strategy.

Monday, May 14, 2012

How to Use Mobile Coupons in Your Business

Choosing to use mobile coupons is one of the best strategies that a modern business owner can use to boost sales and promote his or her enterprise. Now that the majority of adults in the U.S. own mobile phones, it makes good sense for businesses to deliver money-saving mobile coupon offers directly to their customers.

Text message promotions and mobile coupons can be delivered to the customers who have opted in to this service quickly and easily. The text message marketing can include a link to the company's mobile web site as well as a coupon code and instructions for the customer so that he or she can use it.

Spread the word about your mobile engagement platforms such as a mailing list by posting information about it on your advertising materials, your company website, your Facebook page, and in your store. Offering new subscribers a discount or another incentive is a good strategy to encourage people to opt in to your mobile database.

Once you start getting subscribers to your list, send them mobile coupons on a regular basis. With each message that you send out, make sure that you include instructions for people who change their mind and would like to unsubscribe from the list.

It is a good idea to deliver mobile coupons and other mobile engagement solutions to opt-in customers, which can be redeemed online or in a brick and mortar location. This approach gives them flexibility in how they will use it and will help to boost sales.