Mobile Marketing tips for Small Businesses
Welcome to the next frontier in marketing – wireless or mobile marketing, also known as m-commerce.
Analysts predict that 2005 will be the year that mobile marketing really takes off and that companies will take advantage of this medium in much the same way as they did in the early days of the Internet.
>>>>The benefits of mobile marketing
The key benefits of mobile marketing are clear to see. Most mobile users carry their phone or keep it within easy reach at all times, which means that mobile marketing offers a very personal way for marketers to communicate their message to customers. Messages are almost guaranteed to be read, unlike e-mail marketing or direct mail. It also allows companies to build a relationship with their customers, track preferences and highly target their marketing.
>>>>And the dangers
There are of course dangers in using such a personal medium and a badly thought-out mobile marketing campaign could easily be considered intrusive and cause the sender to alienate or lose customers.
>>>>Can any business do it?
Is mobile marketing just for big companies then or can small businesses do it too?
If you are a small business person then the good news is that mobile marketing is a technique that companies of every size can employ. There are of course several points you need to consider before embarking on your first mobile marketing campaign.
>>>>What technology is involved?
The options available to you are primarily WAP and SMS. WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) is essentially a cut down version of a web browser that enables people with WAP enabled mobile phones to access very basic versions of web pages.
SMS stands for Short Messaging Service and is also known as text messaging or texting and allows mobile users to send and receive text messages of up to 160 characters long. Most small businesses will find it easier to use text messages to communicate with their customers rather than WAP.
>>>>Mobile marketing – how do I do it?
What does a small business need in order to carry out a mobile marketing campaign?
Firstly of course you need to get your customers to agree to disclose their mobile numbers (they must opt in to receiving messages via their mobile phones in order for you to comply with privacy and distance selling regulations).
While on the subject of privacy, you must ensure that when you do market to people via their mobiles, you give them a way of opting out of receiving further communications from you. Allow them to text you back with the word ‘Unsubscribe’ or ‘stop’, for example.
>>>>What’s the best way to collect mobile numbers?
The simplest way to get customers’ mobile numbers is to ask them. If you run a bricks and mortar business, ask customers for their numbers when you are talking to them or in your newsletter, brochure, advertising or direct mail. Similarly, if you run an online business serving the local area, ask them for their number when they inquire or purchase or when you email them. If necessary, incentivize customers to give you their number by, for example, running a competition or draw and offering a prize.
Bear in mind that if you are a small business, mobile marketing using text messages will work best if you are targeting your local market. If you run, say, a dry-cleaning business, there is little point marketing to people on the other side of the country.
>>>>How can my business use mobile marketing?
It depends on your business but, for example, you could use it to inform customers of new product ranges that may be of interest to them, or special offers and special events. Or you could invite them to participate in a competition. Just make sure your messages are targeted.
>>>>What does mobile marketing cost?
Mobile marketing costs are low – it doesn’t cost a lot to send a text message. However, costs may vary depending on the mobile network used. Talk to your phone company.
>>>>What should I say in my message?
The message length available to you is 160 characters so plan your messages carefully, keep them brief and to the point and make each word count. Include a call to action in each message such as “call now” or “come into the shop now” (and the opt-out instructions).
>>>>I’m still not sure…
If you are not sure whether mobile marketing will work for your business, why not try it and see. A small campaign will cost very little (especially compared with something like direct mail) and your business could be in for a pleasant surprise as a result.