What Is Mobile Marketing?
Mobile marketing in today’s world refers to advertising that is conducted on smart phones and other “on the go” devices that can send and receive SMS messages (short message service) such as text messaging.
People are no longer tied down to a bulky PC that sits atop their desk. Now, they’re checking email from the line at the grocery store. They’re visiting social networking sites while in meetings when the boss isn’t looking.
Mobile marketing wasn’t a possibility in older days. But now, thanks to smart phones where users can see images, not just read text, advertising has been taken to a whole new level of customer interaction.
Some companies acquire lists of their customers’ cell phone numbers and are able to send ads to them directly. Those contacts are sometimes sold or transferred to other companies as well.
There is a lot of unwanted spam involved in mobile marketing, but if you’re going to be successful, it’s best to adhere to good advertising practices that will enable you to enjoy longevity with your efforts.
Because of spam complaints, the Mobile Marketing Association has begun creating guidelines for advertisers and consumers are beginning to see a trend of opt in commercials, so that they can pick and choose who has the ability to advertise to them.
One example of popular mobile marketing is when a company sends a coupon to a customer via text message. This coupon is delivered to them wherever they are, because the cell phone is in their pocket or purse at all times.
The great thing is that text messages are something consumers stay on top of. They don’t sit around for long. Consumers generally hear a little “ding” whenever a new message is received, and the ad is opened quickly.
Mobile marketing isn’t just about sending ads to the consumer. There is something known as short codes that allow the consumer to text a string of numbers to the brand in order to receive a perk or discount or freebie.
There are other forms of mobile marketing, too. Games that are played on your smart phone are often paired with ads that marketers pay to have shown throughout the play time.
If the consumer has a smart phone with color screen, then they might receive MMS ads (multimedia message service), which will show them text, audio, images and even video ads.
A How to Guide for Mobile Marketing
As an online marketer or offline business, you might be wondering where you can start with mobile marketing as a way to bring more income and customers into your business. The first thing you might want to do is have a mobile-friendly website.
Industry experts suspect that Google gives weight to those websites that have taken the time to cater to the mobile user. Your URL will usually be something like an “m” tacked onto the beginning of your URL, like this: m.website.com but some people spell out the word mobile like this: mobile.website.com.
Either way is fine, but it’s important to find an expert who can help you achieve this without you messing up your site’s navigation and ease of use for the non-mobile user, too.
Learn how to use 2D barcodes in your business. When a mobile customer sees a barcode, they can simply have their phone scan it and do a number of things to interact with your website, without having to type any text in. The barcode can sign them up for your newsletter, for example.
Get familiar with short codes. You hear them screamed from the television set. “Text 64238 with the word Prize and instantly get entered to win a Porsche!” You can use these in your business, too.
Mainstream America got familiar with short codes when they started voting for things. Everyone wants a say in who wins a competition or which video will be marked as the number one that week.
Start by figuring out what you want your mobile marketing campaign to do. Do you want to see more people signed up to your list? Would actual sales be your #1 goal? Knowing what you want your campaign to achieve will help you figure out the best avenue to launch it.
Map out your mobile user. You want to know how your buyer or subscriber uses mobile websites. Spend time researching and then decide which form of communication would best fit them – a mobile website? A text message?
Come up with a campaign that would best resonate with those people. Should it be fun, serious, urgent? What would the mood and tone be for your audience to get them to act on your campaign?
Determine how your campaign can include a viral element to it. It’s not enough to reach one mobile user. Have them share the message or strategy with others they know! Then you get more for your money. After you launch, watch for results and brainstorm ideas on how you can make improvements.
Mobile App Marketing
When you’re developing a mobile app for your business, you have to weigh the benefits you as a creator will gain versus what your consumer gets out of downloading your app (and using it).
That delicate balance is often overlooked because app developers are so focused on dominating a flood of apps in the very competitive marketplace. You want to create an app that meets the needs of all mobile users, too. Don’t just focus on iPhone users or you lock out Droid users and other mobile customers.
Plan the marketing to go along with your mobile app. Many developers forget that the creation of the app isn’t enough. You have to plan for it to be well-received into the marketplace.
A splash page is perfect for generating interest in your app. Make it attractive to the eye and explain what the app is and how it can help or please your mobile user if they download it.
Before your user downloads the full version, you might want to give them a free version as a sneak peek into the world of your business. This is especially helpful if you’re charging for your app.
What if you want an app, because it’s the cool thing to do, but you have no idea what kind of mobile app to have? If your company has a blog, then you could do something as simple as a blog app.
A blog app would alert your rabid fans that there’s a new blog post ready to read – and it would take them to a mobile-friendly version of it so they could enjoy your musings on the go.
You could let people replenish their orders from you via a mobile app, if you have the type of business where that’s a necessity. Think Sparkletts water or paper supply. This works best for offline business entities that may have an online presence too.
If your company is going to be hosting any events like seminars, then you could have an app created for that. The app can provide so much more than a basic offline invitation could. You can put interactive maps in it, have bio pages for guest speakers, and include ways for the attendees to correspond from the event via social marketing platforms.
Mobile app marketing doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating. There are tools and services out there to help you through everything – from the conception of the idea to the implementation and launch of your new mobile application. All you have to do is be open to the idea.
Mobile Marketing Trends
The expanded use of mobile phones around the globe means mobile marketing is going to explode right along with those purchases. Not only are more people going cellular, but the use of smart phones in particular is swiftly rising.
Statistics estimate that 2012 and beyond will see a flood of more SMS text messages. The use of smart phones means that MMS marketing (with the use of graphics and other enhancements like video) will be very popular for advertisers.
The trends show no signs of people slowing down with their use of social networking sites such as Facebook, twitter or Google Plus. And while on their phones, one of the most popular things to do is play games like Angry Birds.
Companies who embrace these two concepts can implement an advertising campaign within their mobile marketing group that capitalizes on the time people spend on their cell phones goofing off.
One trend that’s already taken off is local mobile marketing, such as a company giving you a coupon for a meal at a local restaurant. But now, there’s technology that can allow the company to track your location and when you actually step foot in the restaurant, your cell phone receives a text message coupon as if you just got a perk for your mere presence!
Trends initially centered around pocket-sized cell phones. But with prices steadily dropping, more consumers are also going mobile with tablets like the iPad. This allows the advertiser to present something on a slightly larger scale, and the consumer to access it anywhere, anytime.
One industry that’s implementing mobile marketing more than many others is the travel niche. People who are on the go with their cell phones can instantly get updates on arrival times, take offs, nearby entertainment and necessities and more. They can share their experiences quickly online, like photos from their trip, and a mobile app helps them do that in an instant.
Research has shown that mobile users are more apt to opt into mobile marketing messages than ever before, but they still don’t want to be bombarded with offers. You could run campaigns twice a month and keep your customers very happy.
And if you can implement voice recognition into your mobile marketing efforts, it will be that much more successful. With the introduction of Siri to the mobile marketplace, voice interaction is more in demand and appreciated.
The web is already becoming very accustomed to personalizing a user’s experience for them. Google has you logged in and knows what preferences to present to you whenever you conduct a search. Expect more of that in 2012 in the mobile ad world, too.
Why Mobile Marketing Is Growing Fast
Mobile marketing is a worldwide trend that shows no signs of slowing down or fading out completely. While the United States is often ahead in some areas, we’re behind in the use of mobile marketing.
That doesn’t mean we’re not trying to catch up, though. The US isn’t as active in the use of this advertising medium as Europe or Asia, but the growth is rapidly expanding, if not at the same pace of the other countries like India, who is poised to see an expansion that’s 10-fold in growth within five years.
In India, users opt in for the ads, and it’s going over well because they’re not spammed with unwanted messages. Estimates say that three-fourths of the people on Earth have a mobile cell phone, and those phones aren’t just cellular, but more akin to tiny computers in our pockets and purses, making advertising that much more interactive and connective in nature.
One thing that prohibits many marketers and brands from investing in mobile marketing is the sheer ignorance of how to use it. People aren’t familiar with the technology and it intimidates them. It also requires an investment of money, whereas many free social media marketing methods online are free.
Job growth for the mobile marketing industry is at an all-time high. Salaries are much higher for mobile-commerce individuals than for those still producing tools for e-commerce solutions.
The fact that job ads for mobile marketing savvy people are being placed at a fast rate in publications online and off means there’s a strong demand for technologically advanced employees who can help bring businesses into the realm of mobile marketing.
Statistics are showing that close to half of Google searchers are on their mobile phone whenever they use the service. And the things they’re searching for are largely local businesses, while they’re on the go.
You can conduct comparison shopping while standing in a store, and possibly receive a mobile coupon right on the spot before making your purchase. That’s why consumers are hungry to opt into this form of advertising, which has to be created with advantages for the end user and not just spam exposure by the brand name.
Mobile advertising is also often less expensive than some other traditional online ad costs, like Google AdWords. That’s because there are fewer competitors who understand how to make use of this technology, so it’s best to learn early and reap the rewards.
Companies are also making it easier for businesses to adopt the use of mobile marketing. ATT, for example, created a Messaging Toolkit that helps businesses easily implement a campaign with coupons, voting, registration and more.