How Mobile Devices Can Help Attract and Keep Customers

Businesses can tap into the mobile market with contests, coupons and other incentives.

BY TASHA CUNNINGHAM, BizBytes101.com

Major brands and small businesses alike are quickly learning that one of the fastest ways to reach consumers directly is through their mobile devices. A recent report conducted by Borrell and Associates, a Virginia-based media research firm, found that small businesses in the United States are on track to spend almost $800 million in 2011 on mobile ads. Half of the spending – approximately $400 million – will be spent on creating mobile promotions that offer contests, coupons and other incentives.

There are more than 64 million mobile users in the U.S. alone, according to Nielsen, and they often turn to their mobile devices to buy goods and services.

Consumers prefer to use mobile devices for banking, travel, shopping, viewing video, using social media, and listening to music, reports mobiThinking, a website that monitors trends in mobile marketing. They also prefer to pay for their transactions through them. Paying by mobile, or m-payments as they are known in the industry, will be worth $240 billion globally in 2011 and is trending to account for over $1 trillion by 2015.

So how can you make the most of this growing trend? To find out, BizBytes assembled a group of mobile marketing experts from South Florida, Atlanta and New York to bring you five ways you can use mobile devices to attract and keep customers.
“Small business owners need to plan targeted campaigns that reach consumers on their mobile devices,” said Martin Lange, executive marketing director for digital strategy at Ogilvy and Mather in New York, whose mobile marketing clients include Six Flags, Live Nation and MetLife. “Text messaging or SMS is a great way to do that. It offers instant communication that’s in the moment. It’s imperative that you give your consumers something of value.”

Nathan Lowery, creative director at Lipof Advertising in Plantation agrees. “We’ve designed mobile marketing campaigns for Pet Supermarket using text messages to reach consumers on their cellphones,” Lowery said. “But the trick is to offer your consumers something with a strong call to action that will encourage them to buy your products or services.”

Lowery noted that Pet Supermarket sends alerts once or twice a month to consumers who are part of their opt-in text-messaging program. “Each month, we do things like offer one subscriber free pet food for a year,” Lowery said. “Then we reach out to them again once a month with mobile coupons for $10 off a $50 purchase. We’ve had an influx of customers coming in and redeeming the coupons directly off of their mobile devices.”

What else can you do to maximize your mobile marketing efforts with limited resources?

  • Gear a mobile campaign toward the gift-giver. “The holidays are right around the corner,” Hennessey said. “Customers are looking for things for other people, so design a mobile marketing campaign that takes that into account.”
  • Be helpful. “You can do things like create in-store ties,” Hennessey said. “For example, can’t find the perfect holiday gift? Text HELP ME to 1234 for a link to our holiday gift guide. That kind of information is invaluable to a consumer.”
  • Market your mobile program. “If you’ve set up an opt-in text message program to deliver mobile coupons and other deals to your consumers, tell the world about it,” said David Warren, co-owner of the Frieze ice cream stores on Miami Beach. “We did a campaign recently with over 200 subscribers through our program, which we advertised on our website, through our newsletters and on food blogs.”
  • Reward your best customers. “You can always send a generic coupon to a mass group of consumers via text,” Lowery said. “But why not focus on rewarding your best customers with targeted coupons instead?”
  • Keep your customers close. “One great thing major brands are doing with mobile marketing is rewarding customers for being close to their store locations,” Lange said. “So for example, you can text a number when you are 100 yards away from a certain coffee shop chain and instantly get a coupon for a free beverage.”

Source: Miami Herald

Do’s and Don’ts of Text Message Etiquette Rules for B2B Communications

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t use abbreviations if you don’t have to. Not everyone knows what “OMG” means.
  2. Don’t text while having a face-to-face conversation. It’s always rude and makes the other person feel like you are not interested.
  3. Don’t text while listening to a speaker or presenter. It is rude and it sends the wrong message about you and the group you are part of.
  4. Don’t text questions that require long explanations. It’s a burden on the recipient. Keep it to short answers like yes, no, 9pm, etc…
  5. Don’t be sarcastic or ironic. Those sentiments do not convey well via text.

Bonus: Don’t write in ALL CAPS, just like in email, it’s the digital equivalent of shouting.

Do’s:

  1. Do send a text when all you are looking for is a simple direct answer.
  2. Do send a text when you don’t want to interrupt the recipient.
  3. Do text when you have something of value or truly worth it to share.
  4. Be polite and courteous in your messages no matter how short they are.
  5. Do help the recipient answer your question by providing options or selections from a multiple choice. Ex. Are we seeing Spiderman at 9pm or 11pm? If so, do we meet at Starbucks at 8:30pm or 10:30pm. Reply example: Spiderman, Starbucks at 8:30pm.

Bonus: Do not text after 10pm in a business setting. Most of us have our mobile phones near us when we sleep and a late text can wake us.

How To Create A Text Message Marketing Campaign in 5 Steps

Start with:

1. Provider: Find a text message marketing company (momares.com) that provides you with a short code (the number subscribers will use to send the message to) and allows you to register keywords (the word the subscriber will use to subscribe) Ex. Text JOEPIZZA to 65047 for a free order of breadsticks.” KEYWORD: JOEPIZZA, SHORTCODE: 65047. Register a keyword (free trail).

2. Incentive: Create a database of opt-in mobile subscribers by asking prospects to text a KEYWORD to a shortcode by offering incentives like; discounts, coupons, offers and invites. Ex. “Text JOEPIZZA to 65047 for a buy one get one ½ OFF large cheese pizza coupon.”

3. Promote: Print your text message offer (Text JOEPIZZA to 65047 for a free order of breadsticks.) everywhere you advertise. Ex. Ads, menus, billboards, TV, radio, email signature, receipts…

4. Value: After your customers join your program, send them text messages that are timely, relevant and offer value. Ex. No time to dry polish? Add cuticle oil over the polish to protect it. Let us perfect your nails; 50% OFF manicure’s this Tues.! Exp. 10/19

5. Frequency: Text messages are very personal. Only send messages when you have something your recipient will value. Ex. Just received the new Jimmy Choo boots. 10 pairs available for the season. Show text to get 5% off. Bad Example: The new Jimmy Choo boots are beautiful! Come in to see them!

Need ideas for mobile, send me an email.