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

Texting for Business? Break These Text Etiquette Rules at Your Own Risk

Text message etiquette for business

You know text messaging has come of age when Emily Post and Cosmo magazine both dish out etiquette rules for text messaging. Although we’re not authorities on manners, we do know text message marketing and have created our own etiquette tips for business texting. We’ve seen clients face the consequences, so break these at your own risk!

Text timing is important

Mobile phones have become “always on” communications devices, replacing regular phones and land lines. So you can forget thoughts like… “I’ll send my message at midnight and they can read it in the morning” or “It’s 5 a.m. and I’m up, so I might as well send my offer now.” Those thoughts could land you in text hell and under an “unsubscribe avalanche.” Unlike email, sending texts during off hours could create a backlash. You’ll only wake those who are calmly sleeping with their phones at their bedsides. Remember, angry, sleepy customers don’t buy happily in the morning.

Leave the cute text slang at home

Don’t uz txt slang 2 commnc8 4 biz. A standard abbreviation to save space is OK. Text slang that leaves your clients confused isn’t.

Be politically correct

Text messages are easy and informal, but don’t get too casual. If you wouldn’t say it at the office, you shouldn’t text it. That means no cursing or inappropriate message attachments. This is also known as the “Weiner effect.”

Identify yourself

We tell clients to format text messages a certain way and we do it for a reason. Just like you might forget a person’s name after meeting them, your customers might forget they signed up for your texts. Remind them by identifying yourself and starting every message with your branded keyword (the word clients use to sign up). This leads to less “Who’s that?” and more “Good deal!”

Test your texts

Ever heard of fat-finger fares? It’s when airlines post the wrong airfare amount because of a typo, turning a $350 ticket into a $30 fare and an expensive mistake. If you want to avoid your own discount boo-boo, test your message by sending it to your phone first. Our platform allows you to send yourself a text message before sending it to your subscribers.

Looks count too

Being different or standing out is not really a bad thing when promoting a business. But if you want to text in all caps or random caps to make your message stand out, we have one word of advice: don’t. You might think you’re getting more attention, but everyone else will think you’re SCREAMING or run by tEEnAgeRS.

If you haven’t tried text message marketing, now’s the time to take advantage of this powerful marketing tool. Our etiquette tips will help keep you out of hot water.

How Speaker Guy Kawasaki Uses Text Message Marketing

“I use text because it’s a much better way to close people,” said Guy Kawasaki at a recent conference in Miami Beach.

How did he use text?

During his speech, he asked the audience to text a number for information on his book. “I would ask you to visit my website after the speech, but then 0% percent of you would visit,” he said. He’s learned that text offers an immediate return and allows him to engage his audience.

Do you give presentations?

Even if you’re not a professional speaker, you can use text message marketing to engage the audience after your presentation. Here’s how…

Text message marketing ideas for speakers & presenters:

Offer to text a website link for more information.
Ex: “Text SUCCESS to 65047 for a link with more information.”

Text a link to presentation slides
Ex: “Text BIZLAW to 65047 for a link to the slide presentation.

Text business card information
Ex: “Text PSYCH to 65047 for my business card info.”

Announce additional training, future seminars or events
Ex: “Text CPA to 65047 for updates on our next training series.”

Send a link for a free book chapter, free tip sheet or free gift
Ex: “Text MARKETING to 65047 for a free report”

Are you using text to engage your customers or prospects?

It’s not surprising to see Kawasaki using text. He’s usually at the forefront of new technology and new ideas. As Apple’s former chief evangelist, he knows how to market products and deliver an engaging experience. Use his example to increase engagement for your business as well.

To learn more about his book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions, visit www.guykawasaki.com.

What Charlie Sheen Can Teach Us About Mobile Marketing

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ve heard about Charlie Sheen’s recent controversy. Amidst it all, Sheen has commented with gusto and been quoted extensively by the media. But it’s the steps he’s taken online that we find most interesting. Interesting enough that there might even be a few lessons to be learned by mobile marketers. Here are a few…

Get out in front and do it early
After the controversy, Charlie didn’t go into seclusion for a pity party. He got on Twitter right away and signed up nearly a million followers within the first 24 hours. (Guinness even created a new category for him.) We’re not guaranteeing you’ll get a million mobile subscribers (although we’ll be happy to talk to Guinness if you do!). But if you get into mobile marketing now, you’ll be ahead of 90% of small businesses that aren’t using this new marketing tool.

Spur sales with one message
After Sheen tweeted a photo of himself holding a bottle of chocolate milk, that brand flew off the shelf. The distributor said the product is sold out for the rest of the year. You too can kick up your sales with one message – a text message. Granted, you won’t have Sheen’s celebrity power behind it, but then you won’t have to deal with paparazzi either.

Be bold
Being bold is being memorable. Remember, your customers are strafed with marketing messages every day, so make your messages stand out. Charlie, for example, is remembered for saying things like “Can’t is the cancer of happening” and “I have a different brain, I have a different heart. I got tiger blood, man.” Actually, we hope he gets a little help, but you get the idea… be bold. Not crazy bold. But bold.

Get the word out
Charlie had a little help promoting his Twitter presence and new internet TV show, but he’s been doing his share to get the word out-loudly. If you want your mobile marketing program to succeed, you’ll need to get the word out too–the louder, the better. We’re talking about signs, posters, table tents, website announcements, email messages, ads, press releases, social media and more.

Don’t be afraid to try something new
Although Twitter isn’t exactly new, it is a new medium for Charlie. You wouldn’t know it though. He talks “Twitter speak” like a native, created hashtags (like #winning and #tigerblood) that are being used all over the Internet and has become an instant Twitter celebrity. When was the last time you’ve tried anything new? If mobile marketing is new for you, don’t be afraid to dive in. It isn’t hard (we promise) and it could end up being one of the most effective tools in your arsenal.

Use Charlie’s ideas to infuse your mobile marketing with a little tiger blood and start #winning!

Mobile marketing: What’s in it for the consumer?

Small businesses ranging from restaurants to retailers and local entertainment centers are now using text message marketing. Business owners have clear benefits for using this type of program, but what are the benefits for consumers, the ones receiving the text messages?

How consumers benefit from mobile marketing messages:

  1. It’s an easy way to get money-saving offers from favorite stores.
  2. Offers are always accessible. No coupon carrying needed.
  3. Get VIP treatment as a mobile subscriber or loyal customer.
  4. It’s easier to gain and redeem points for loyalty programs.
  5. Get instant notice of upcoming deals.
  6. Get special deals not available elsewhere.

Want examples?
Our clients are offering a broad mix of contest giveaways, discounts and extra perks to their mobile subscribers. Contests do well, obviously, but free samples and discounts are also attractive to customers.

Here are a few offers our clients are giving their mobile marketing subscribers:

Pet Supermarket
Enter for a chance to win free pet food for a year. Text PETS to 65047.

Florida International University
Enter for a chance to win a $10,000 MBA scholarship. Text FIUMBA to 65047.

BirdBowl Bowling Center
Sign up and get $5 off your food bill that day. Text BIRDBOWL to 65047.

Splitsville Bowling Center
Get a free sample of the day’s featured menu item. Text SPLITSVILLE to 65047.

OMG Burger
Get a free sode with eth purchase of any burger and fries.

Slice ‘n Ice Pizza
Get a free slice of cheese pizza. Text PIZZA to 65047

Feel free to sign up for any of these offers if they appeal to you and you’ll see some of their promotions yourself.

If you like to start a text message marketing program, give us a call.