Interview: Is mobile marketing right for your small business?

I was recently interviewed by Tasha Cunningham of the Miami Herald and author extraordinaire of BizBytes on how can mobile marketing help small business owners.

It went like this:

Tasha: How can a small business owner benefit from adding mobile to their marketing mix?

Marcos: Mobile text message marketing offers small business owners the ability to deliver exclusive offers, coupons and invites directly to their customers’ mobile phone in seconds. There are no spam filters, ignored messages or automatically trashed messages. Once a customer subscribes to your text message program, practically 100 percent of your messages are delivered straight to their mobile phone. As compared to e-mail and paper coupons, text coupons enjoy a redemption rate of 10 percent to 30 percent because the coupon is always available to the customer on their mobile phone and that equals increased traffic and sales.

Tasha: What are the best mobile marketing tools available today for small business owners?

Marcos: There are two tools we recommend small business owners to use. First, create a mobile browser-enabled version of a website, also known as a mobile site, because 20 percent of mobile phone users have a smart phone that can access your website. Second, start a text message marketing program immediately. 93 percent of the U.S. population has a mobile phone that can receive text messages. Unlike apps that only work in smartphones, text messaging works with every phone. It’s a direct, personal and cost-effective channel to communicate and increase sales.

Tasha: Is mobile marketing expensive?

Marcos: Mobile text message marketing should not be expensive at all for a small business owner. There are text message marketing plans that start at $10 per month, which is a price point any small business owner can afford.

Tasha: What are the pros and cons of mobile marketing? Are there any downsides for small business owners who decide to use it?

Marcos: Text message marketing provides small business owners with unfiltered direct access to the one device we can’t ignore – our mobile phone, one of the most powerful marketing tools we’ve got. But as a small business owner, you’ve got the responsibility of respecting the customer’s privacy. Messages that provide little value to the customer will affect your brand in a negative way. No one wants advertising on their phone but they do want timely, relevant and value-driven offers.

Think of an exclusive invitation to an owner’s wine tasting event versus an empty ad saying happy hour starts at 5 p.m. Value drives mobile marketing success. After all, if the customer does not like what you are saying, as easily as they subscribed to your program they can reply to your text message with the word STOP and they’ll be automatically unsubscribed. The customer is in control of the communication and just like e-mail there is no place for spam messages.

Tasha: What is the future of mobile marketing? What trends are you seeing in the industry?

Marcos: There is no doubt that text message marketing is the future of small business marketing. There are 173 billion texts sent per month in the U.S. It is the most cost-effective and simple to use tool since e-mail. If you can type, you can be a mobile marketer today. Businesses will distribute 70 million mobile coupons by 2013, according to the Yankee Group, a technology research firm based in Boston. The time to start texting your customers the offers they want is now!

 

Mobile Marketing Facts and Predictions for 2011

As the year comes to an end, smart marketers are asking us:

Does everyone have an iPhone?

No, but 93% of the U.S. population has a mobile phone. Source

What kinds of mobile phones do people buy?

Mostly Samsungs (22%), LGs (21.5%) and Motorolas (21%). No Blackberrys? Yes, but only us working stiffs (9%) Source

What about those fancy phones people keep tapping?

Smartphone subscribers: Blackberrys (42%), iPhones (24%), Microsoft (13%), Google (13%). Remember Palm? Palm (at 5%) is still around. Source

So, who has a regular phone and who has a smartphone?

About 20% of mobile phone owners own a smartphone. Not what you expected? That’s probably because you are an executive and need to be connected (I feel you), but the rest of the world is doing fine with just talk, text and pictures. Also, not everyone can dish out $118 per month for a smartphone plan. Source/Source

What are people doing with their mobile phones?

You know, what you and I do… take pictures (76%), text (72%), access the Internet (38%), and email and play games (34%). Source

Really? That many people are texting?

Yep, to the tune of 173 billion texts per month and the yearly text figure begins with the letter “T.” Source

What do people want?

Deals and more deals baby! Know anyone who doesn’t want a deal, especially in this economy? 73% of consumers are interested in using coupons delivered by mobile devices.

Coupons?

Yep! Call them what you want…deals, savers, offers or perks, that’s what consumers want and savvy businesses are responding. Businesses will distribute 70 million mobile coupons by 2013, up from 2.3 million in 2010. – Yankee Group/ Source

If I were to start with mobile, where should I start?

Build a list of mobile phone subscribers and start with something simple like text message marketing. If you can write the following: “Welcome to our mobile program, here’s $10 off your next purchase. It’s our way of saying thank you. Coupon Code: SMRTMKTR – Exp.01/31.” You are a mobile marketing genius!

Plug: Sign up with us and start building your mobile list!

Takeaway: Everyone has a mobile phone and most are texting and looking for deals. Text them your deals and boost your business!

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.

Six Marketing Lessons from the Old Spice Man

Craig Reiss from Entrepreneur.com writes the 5 lessons from the hugely popular Old Spice Man commercials.

1.    Create a strong persona
2.    Seed social networks
3.    Engage the influencers
4.    Personalize the response
5.    Keep the videos simple and short

My own suggestion:

6.   Extended it to the mobile phone: I really liked how the Old Spice Man was pushed through most of the online marketing and social media channels. I especially liked  when he responded to comments on You Tube and Twitter about his commercial and answered questions. I would have loved it if the commercials would have ended with “Ladies want to know the secrets of my man sent? Text OLDSPICEMAN to 65047 to learn.” This way the brand would connect not only socially but in the very personal mobile space.

Do Coupons Help or Hurt Businesses?

Do Coupons Just Train the Customers To Only Visit The Business When They Receive A Coupon From the Business? As a marketer, I’ve asked myself the same question, “Do coupons just train the customers to only go to the restaurant when they’ve got a coupon in hand?” I think that the coupon helps produce the sale.

I do believe it works as an incentive and as a reminder that I have a good deal in hand that I should take advantage of. I do agree and I have hands on experience that the coupons do train the guest to expect the coupon. I find this to be especially true when the coupon is the done for the same discounted amount, on the same product, and sent on the same schedule. Customers tend to wait until they receive the coupon before they visit the establishment.

On the other hand, isn’t the coupon building loyalty and habit? For the record, I am a bit biased with my opinion since I run www.momares.com a do-it-yourself text message marketing tool that can be used to send coupons via text. But nevertheless, I do think businesses get an advantage for couponing, especially with the way the economy is.

At the end of the day, I think your average customer is looking for deals now more than ever. My suggestion would be, do send coupons just don’t make them predictable. Instead make them feel like gifts or reward for loyalty.

What do you think? Comment below…