Groupon vs Mobile Coupons? Which is best?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-RwoXZkCnU

You may have heard by now of Groupon and other deal-a-day sites that offer discounts from local businesses. There have been online discussions on whether or not those deals are really profitable for the businesses that offer them. Lately, there have also been comparisons to mobile marketing.

But from a business owner’s perspective, the two services aren’t the same at all. Really. Read on to find out how mobile marketing offers a few advantages over Groupon.

How mobile marketing differs from Groupon:

Your offer is available right away
If you’re familiar with Groupon’s process, it asks readers to vote on a deal. Only after a deal gets a certain number of votes, is it offered to everyone for purchase. With a mobile coupon, your offer is available right away to everyone on your list.

Mobile offers are opened fast
How many emails do you ignore or leave unopened? Now compare that to how many text messages you leave unopened. We’re gonna guess the difference is fairly large, since on average less than 20% of emails are actually opened and read. With mobile, your offers reach people on the device they’re least likely to ignore—their cell phones.

YOU control the subscriber list
With Momares, you own the subscriber list—a very targeted list of potential or previous customers. With Groupon, your only access to subscribers is through the site and on its terms. You have no control. And that’s not a good thing considering Groupon has made mistakes in the past. According to this Groupon analysis, one store saw its deal posted with the wrong terms. By the time it was fixed, 400 deals were sold with the wrong terms and Groupon told the owner she had to honor them.

You CAN build loyal clientele
It may seem like ‘everyone’ is on Groupon, but a large percentage of their subscribers are actually coupon junkies. They may be good for a one-time hit of extra business, but don’t expect all (or even a good percentage) of them to come back. Your mobile list, on the other hand, includes those who showed interest in your company and are more likely to become loyal customers.

The numbers make sense
Why pay a large commission to offer a discount? With our mobile marketing program, you pay a monthly fee—and a low one at that. That’s it. There’s no revenue sharing involved. Unlike Groupon which gets 50% of the revenue generated by your deal. And by the way, we hear the credit card transaction fees for the Groupon deal come out of your half.

A low cost to entry, high open rates and an opportunity to build loyal clientele. These are major advantages with mobile marketing that you won’t get from Groupon. Try it and find out for yourself.

How to Set Up a Text Message Donation Program for a Small Nonprofit

Our hearts go out to those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Thankfully, there are many relief efforts underway. Many are supported by donations (see links to donate below) and some, like the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, are even using mobile technology to get text message donations quickly and easily.

If you’re a non-profit organization or a small business supporting a cause, you can easily create your own text message donation program as well.

Set up a Donors Mobile Pledge Campaign
We call our version a “Donors Mobile Pledge” because it asks for pledges. Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up for an account or create a new keyword (name of charity or cause) in your existing account.
  2. Ask donors to pledge a donation by sending a text with your new keyword to 65047.
  3. An automatic response can be set to thank donors for their pledges and tell them they’ll be contacted for credit card information.
  4. Have your volunteers or customer service staff call donors to charge the donations.

We realize it’s a little extra work to call donors versus automatically charging the donation on the mobile phone bill. But the auto billing system is costly for small organizations, the organization needs to be a large national charity and requires a year-long contract.

Advantages of our mobile pledge
A mobile pledge campaign offers a few advantages…

  • You can collect donations of more than $10 (the max limit for donations billed through cell phone carriers).
  • You can collect additional information such as name, address and email during the conversation.
  • When speaking to donors, you can encourage them to increase their donations.
  • It’s easy to promote this campaign in ads, TV or radio.
  • It’s easier for donors to pledge while they’re away from home or their computers.
  • You’ll have a mobile list of donors you can contact later—to thank them, announce you’ve reached your goal, etc.

We sincerely hope nonprofits and charities take advantage of mobile technology to support their causes. If you’re a member of such a group, contact us. We’d be happy to work with you to get started. See low cost pricing plans for mobile pledge donations.

To send your own donation to relief efforts in Asia, visit…

Red Cross Disaster Relief for Japan Earthquake & Pacific Tsunami
(Or send a text with REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10)

Mercy Corps: Japan Earthquake Response

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.

She Didn’t Get Mobile Marketing. Do You?

If you’re on this site, you’ve probably heard of mobile marketing. But do you really know what it’s all about?

I was talking to someone at an event recently and I mentioned my work in mobile marketing. She thought it was about having a back-and-forth text message conversation with clients. But it’s really about broadcasting messages.

She didn’t understand the difference, so I used an example instead and she got it right away. The conversation went something like this…

Me: “What’s your favorite store?”
Her: Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Me: “Have you ever gotten one of their postcards in the mail with a 20% off coupon?”
Her: Yes.
Me: “Well let’s say the next time you’re driving by Bed, Bath & Beyond you think about stopping at the store, but you don’t have the coupon with you. You’d either have to shop without it or shop another day, right?”
Her: Yes
Me: “Now let’s say Bed, Bath & Beyond did mobile marketing and you signed up for it. You would get a text on your phone that said, ‘Get 20% off your next purchase with this mobile coupon.’ You could go to the store, show the cashier your cell phone with the text message and get the discount. You’d always have the coupon with you.”
Her: Oh! That’s a great idea! So how would that work for my business?

We get asked that question a lot. And the answer really depends on the type of business. But if you’re asking yourself that question, here are a few ideas.

Mobile marketing ideas for your business

• Offer discounts and giveaways to customers who sign up
• Run a text-to-win contest with a chance to win a prize
• Use it as your text-message business card (very powerful for public speakers)
• Announce sales, open houses, a grand opening, a show or event
• Create a customer loyalty program and offer special promotions
• Poll your customers a la American Idol (Ex: “Which wine do you buy most often from our store. Text merlot, pinot noir or cabernet to 65047 and get 15% off your next purchase.”)
• Alert customers when you get a new shipment or have a limited supply of product

The bottom line is if “Jane,” your loyal customer, visits your business more often because of your texts (say once a month instead of four times a year), you can increase sales. That leads to a happy customer and a happy business.

Image Source: Mobile Marketing Watch

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!