Mobile Marketing: Turning Overwhelming into RewardingJanuary 19, 2011 By Dan Smith
Mobile marketing is one of the hottest trends among today's marketers. But for many, it's overwhelming and sometimes paralyzing. Many marketers understand the importance of incorporating mobile into a cross-channel marketing strategy, but are uncertain about where to begin, how to begin, and how to measure success.
As with any cross-channel marketing program, think first and foremost about your mobile marketing goal. Is it to create brand awareness for your organization? Probably not. Is it to define a real-time touchpoint? This is more realistic. If so, what would the messages be? Special offers? Upgrades? Welcome messages?
- Start by taking a look at your current email communications. Are they designed for optimal rendering on mobile devices? If not, focus here initially. Simply making your existing communication channels more readable and useable for the 50 percent of your customers who are already reading their email on mobile devices can greatly improve effectiveness. Your email service provider should be able to advise you about who reads your email messages on which mobile devices in order to help you prioritize your optimization efforts.
- Next, think about how you can increase your database to include this medium. Does your preference center ask for mobile phone numbers and allow a customer to "opt in" to receive text messages? A standard email opt-in does not suffice for SMS opt-in because of the carrier fees that may be borne by a text message recipient. But this shouldn't intimidate you. Once you clearly articulate the benefits of text alerts, your consumers will likely be willing to give it a try. More importantly, customers who opt-in to mobile offerings generally have a deeper degree of brand engagement.
- Focus your SMS messaging strategy on communications that enhance the customer experience. Once customers experience the value of "operational" SMS communications, they will be much more accepting of this channel for marketing messages. Start slowly. Earn your customers' trust, and then maintain it with selective and highly relevant communications thereafter. Use the same analytic techniques you use to track email responses and assess effectiveness. Carefully analyze the results from these "early adopters," learn from them and refine your text communications to achieve the highest impact.
- Most importantly, to introduce mobile marketing into your cross-channel marketing strategy, ensure that your marketing platform shares a common marketing database with your other direct marketing channels. With up to half of recipients reading email on mobile devices, and SMS messaging becoming the communication channel of choice for many, orchestrating mobile communication should be a key component of your cross-channel marketing strategy.
Mobile is here to stay. Seize the opportunity to reach your customers at virtually any time, in any location. Used effectively, mobile communications can engender greater brand loyalty, increase engagement and lead to increased sales.
Dan Smith is senior vice president of marketing at Boston-based email and cross-channel database marketing software and services provider ClickSquared. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org