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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!

 

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