B-to-B Insights: Mobile Marketing on the Move
According to a study published by comScore, more than 55 percent of Americans are now smartphone users. There are more mobile phones on the planet than there are TVs. And 70 percent of all mobile searches result in action within an hour.
During the past few years, text message marketing, or SMS marketing, has become the most popular advertising channel in some parts of the world. This is because carriers have set guidelines and best practices for the mobile media industry, including mobile advertising.
One thing to remember in regard to mobile marketing is that consumers have to opt in to the service. Mobile operators demand a double opt-in from the consumer and the ability for the consumer to opt out of the service at any time by sending the word "stop" via SMS. These guidelines are established in the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) Consumer Best Practices Guidelines, followed by all mobile marketers in the U.S. In Canada, opt-in is mandatory due to the Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act.
Another thing for marketers to be aware of when creating mobile campaigns is Multimedia Message Service (MMS). MMS mobile marketing can contain a timed slideshow of images, text, audio and video. Nearly all new phones produced with a color screen are capable of sending and receiving standard MMS messages.
Lets take a look at some of the growing trends in the mobile marketing space, then dive deeper into tips on how to improve your mobile marketing, applicable whether you're a B-to-B or B-to-C marketer.
There are essentially three major trends in mobile gaming right now: interactive real-time 3D games, massive multiplayer games and social networking games. While there is an ongoing trend toward more complex and more sophisticated game play, there also are very simple, easy to play games. Marketers are now delivering promotional messages within mobile games or sponsoring entire games to drive consumer engagement. This is known as mobile "advergaming" or ad-funded mobile gaming.
Mobile Web Ads
Advertising on Web pages specifically meant for access by mobile devices also is an option for marketers. The MMA provides a set of guidelines and standards that give the recommended ad format, presentation and metrics used in reporting. Additionally, Web forms on Web pages can be integrated with mobile texting sources for reminders about meetings, seminars and other important events that assume users are not always at their computers.
Mobile Coupons and QR Codes
Couponing on mobile devices is growing in popularity. Also known as "m-couponing," this form of mobile marketing offers consumers electronic coupons or rebates that traverse the full redemption process without the requirement for conversion into a paper or other hard-copy format. Borrell Associates reports that mobile coupons get 10 times the redemption rate of traditional coupons.
QR Codes—which many marketers are already familiar with, but may have yet to master—have been growing in popularity in North America. Directly paralleling the rise in smartphone adoption, QR codes have become much more prevalent in marketing pieces both on and offline. They act as a visual hyperlink to a page, making it easy to jump someone to a mobile-optimized offer page.
17 Tips for Better Mobile Marketing
Here are 17 tips for mobile marketing:
1. Mobile ad campaigns must be cross-platform compatible. They need to display correctly on the iPhone, Blackberry, Android, tablets and other mobile devices.
2. Mobile ad messages must be short, clear and have a call to action. Mobile device users want to know why you're messaging them, what the deal is, what the benefit to them is and how to respond to take advantage of the offer.
3. QR Codes are effective for engaging customers with your brand. Link the QR Code to a mobile-only discount coupon, relevant video presentation, product information or other object of value.
4. Whenever possible, use the recipient's real name in your message so that it's more personal. Target your message to the known needs and buying habits of the recipient.
5. Identify yourself and your brand right up front. It doesn't pay to do anything else. Transparency in business practices today is the rule, rather than the exception.
6. Don't use text abbreviations or all capital letters for emphasis. The exception: using all-caps for the call to action.
7. Use text messages without large files, like photos, whenever possible. Instead, link to the mobile version of your website, blog or mobile-specific landing page for images and related information. The MMA's "Mobile Advertising Guidelines 5.0" states that file sizes should be less than 15K, and in some cases no larger than 6K.
8. In your email marketing, ask customers to provide their smartphone numbers. This way you can text them special discounts, product news and important announcements.
9. Don't message customers at odd hours of the day or night. No one wants to lose sleep or have their dinner interrupted—no matter how valuable your offer.
10. Avoid Sundays and holiday messaging. Only violate this rule if it's vital to the marketing strategy and relevant to your target audience.
11. Never send unsolicited messages (spam) to anybody.
12. Make it easy and simple to unsubscribe. "STOP" is a commonly used unsubscribe command.
13. Always conduct a usability test of your mobile marketing campaign. Ask everyone you know to receive your messages, respond to them and give you feedback on how they liked the experience. Don't forget to try it out for yourself. How does it look? Is it clear and easy to respond to?
14. Integrate your mobile marketing campaign with all other promotional efforts. Mention it on your blog, your e-commerce site, and via your social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest.
15. Occasionally send out brief, non-commercial text messages with links to Web content that customers will find valuable. People don't want to be sold products or services all the time.
16. Offer exclusive content or discounts to your mobile customers. This way they feel special, like an elite crew of fans receiving unique favors and red-carpet treatment.
17. Define an objective and track your results. Use a mobile-only Web analytics service to track responses. Check out AdMob, Bango or iLoopmobile.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.