What is Mobile Marketing?

Because the smartphone is becoming more and more the vehicle of communication and online interaction for countless consumers worldwide, many companies resort to mobile marketing, sending advertisements straight to phones in the form of a text message.

Mobile marketing is an extension of Internet marketing, dependent largely on a form of permission-based marketing. In order to actively market to a mobile device, a company must first obtain the user’s phone number, which can generally only be accomplished by requesting it as part of delivering a service or by promising rewards for subscribers.

Mobile marketing consists of ads appearing on an individual’s mobile device, often in the form of a text message. Given the fact most users would be reluctant to give out their cell phone number to companies if it meant dealing with pop-up ads, a surprising number of consumers share their number due to the ability to opt out of mobile campaigns. In order to send a message, consumers must first opt into receiving messages. Additionally, much like with email marketing, those users must likewise be able to opt out of receiving future messages.

Because the smartphone is becoming more and more the vehicle of communication and online interaction for countless consumers worldwide, many companies resort to mobile marketing, sending advertisements straight to phones in the form of a text message.

Mobile marketing is an extension of Internet marketing, dependent largely on a form of permission-based marketing. In order to actively market to a mobile device, a company must first obtain the user’s phone number, which can generally only be accomplished by requesting it as part of delivering a service or by promising rewards for subscribers.

Mobile marketing consists of ads appearing on an individual’s mobile device, often in the form of a text message. Given the fact most users would be reluctant to give out their cell phone number to companies if it meant dealing with pop-up ads, a surprising number of consumers share their number due to the ability to opt out of mobile campaigns. In order to send a message, consumers must first opt into receiving messages. Additionally, much like with email marketing, those users must likewise be able to opt out of receiving future messages.

Common uses of mobile marketing

Companies use mobile marketing in a variety of ways that put them directly in contact with individuals.  Few consumers willingly give their phone number to advertisers. The most traditional method of encouraging opt-ins is a good, old-fashioned bribery, such as offering a discount or free service when you opt into receiving messages.

Many companies use mobile marketing as a way to engage audiences, asking questions or giving alerts about upcoming events. Whether a company has upcoming deals, daily coupons or new products, text messaging proves to be a popular method of informing consumers. Messages that actively engage recipients rather than merely advertise are those that find greater results and fewer opt-outs.

Mobile marketing trends

According to a 2008 study by Experian, The Standard, MarketTree, and Cellnumbers.com, more than 75 billion SMS were sent each month, with more than twice the total number of active email users. Just like a company needs a computer with an Internet connection, the statistics of modern mobile usage indicate the importance of appealing to mobile users. This study likewise relayed some of the following information:

  • 60 percent of the world’s population (more than 4 billion) are mobile subscribers
  • 10 percent of SMS messages are spam (compared to 65 percent of emails)
  • 98 percent of handheld devices in the United States have SMS capabilities
  • Average text message users send more than 400 messages per month

Mobile marketing, while a budding method of reaching the modern consumer, is proving to be a very effective way of keeping an audience engaged and informed about company sales and event updates.

Mobile marketing services

Mobile marketing services exist that send out mass messages to a full list of recipients for a low monthly cost. These services include the ability to send out a single message to a list of phone numbers. Because many consumers have smartphones on unlimited SMS plans, this proves to be a very cost-effective method of directly contacting an audience. And most mobile marketing services allow an unlimited number of messages for a monthly fee, also allowing companies to benefit from a wide range of reports and message customization options.

It’s not enough to have the means of sending out thousands of text messages. In the absence of reporting tools to see where the messages are going, the interactions they’re creating and the responses you’re receiving, mobile marketing loses much of its potency. Most services provide reports that allow you to track each of these with greater effect to better interact with the company’s audience and respond to their texts rather than simply push out new messages as noteworthy events occur.

How to Create an Effective Marketing Plan

1. Develop a very clear and focused insight into why a potential customer would use your business. More specifically, figure out the core need that your product or service will meet. Is it to help your customers get through the day more easily? Do their job more efficiently? Be respected and admired by friends? Your offering should be designed to solve client problems or meet customer needs better than the competition can.

2. Identify your target customers. There are numerous potential customers in most markets, but to succeed faster and better, a small business must study the market and determine the characteristics of its best target customers. The target customer should be described in detail. Create an avatar, or fictional person, who has all of your target-customer attributes, and examine what that person would say, do, feel and think in the course of a day.

3. Identify competitors that would also want your target customers. No matter how original your product or service may be, there is always competition for your target customer’s dollar. Small businesses seldom take the time to study their competitors in depth, or determine competition that may be outside their industry but just as capable of luring the customer away. Preparing to know who that is, what their core competitive advantage is and how they will respond to your offering (price cuts, increased communication, etc.) will help you figure out strategies to combat such losses.

4. Write down your brand-positioning statement for your target customers. Ultimately, your brand and what it symbolizes for customers will be your strongest competitive advantage. You should be able to write down a simple declarative sentence of how you will meet customer needs and beat the competition. The best positioning statements are those that are single-minded and focus on solving a problem for the customer in a way that promotes the best value.

Now that you know the elements of the plan, you need to figure out how you are going to reach that target customer. Aside from traditional print and broadcast media, here are three tech-driven marketing channels that many of today’s business owners utilize.

Social media has become an essential part of businesses’ marketing plans because every type of customer is on some type of platform, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and other networks. Small business owners can feel overwhelmed at the possibilities but should focus on the ones that can benefit them the most.

Brett Farmiloe, founder of internet marketing company Markitors, advised companies that are just getting started in social media to get to know their customers and what platforms they are using.

“Figure out where your customers are spending their time, and set up shop on those platforms,” Farmiloe told Business News Daily. “Develop a content strategy that can be executed internally, [and then] execute your strategy by posting branded content on your selected platforms. While all three steps are key, the biggest one is really determining if your customers are on these platforms.”

Though email marketing may not be a new concept like social media marketing, it is an effective and popular choice for many small business owners. Companies can implement email-marketing techniques in a number of ways, including using newsletters, promotional campaigns and transactional emails. Companies such as MailChimp and Constant Contact make it easy for companies to manage their email campaigns.

Farmiloe noted that companies can set their email marketing efforts apart by segmenting their markets.

“Not all subscribers want to receive the same blast,” Farmiloe said. “Smart email marketers take the time to segment subscribers at the outset, and then continue to segment based on subscriber activity. Through segmentation, companies reduce the amount of unsubscribes, increase open rates and, most importantly, increase the amount of actions taken from an email send.”