Thursday, September 29, 2011

Easy Mobile Marketing for Every Business

According to new data from comScore, people accessing email via mobile devices increased an impressive 36 percent, from November 2009 to November 2010. More than 70 million people accessed email on their mobile devices in the month.

In this age where “mobile” is so often equated with apps – and their astronomical development costs – this study is excellent news and a steadfast reminder that every business can be “mobile” without breaking the bank. All you need is an email list – which you should already have and, if not, get on it – and a few tips on optimizing messages for the best possible mobile user experience. That’s where we come in.

Let’s take a look at some mobile email, using an iPhone as an example. Devices vary somewhat, but this gives a good picture of the mobile email experience on a standard smartphone.

In all cases, rigorously test mobile email messages across several devices before executing a campaign.

Before Opening the Message

Who is the sender? The sender display name is limited to 16 characters. Good usage of the sender field are company names, individual names,

The subject line. The viewable subject line is somewhere around 35 characters, including spaces. Keep in mind that a Forward (Fw:) and a Reply (Re:) will take up five characters each. It is vital to make the subject line compelling enough for the user to open the email and not delete it with one swipe of a finger.

Content at a glance. The first few lines of content make up about 75 characters, including spaces. Again, be careful of a Forward, as the entire first line could be taken up. Often, I receive emails that begin with “Message not displaying correctly?” or “This is a post-only message. Please do not respond” and so on. That’s wasted space and a very good reason for your message to be ignored.

The first 10 or so words of your message’s content need to give the recipient an explicit reason to click the message to read more – be it an offer, discount, request for a reply or whatever motivates your users.

Optimizing Mobile Email Content

Continue the action. Once a user has clicked on the message, the call-to-action must be immediately clear and reinforce the first few lines the user has already seen. Tell the reader exactly what to do next – click a link or forward the message to a friend, for example. Remember, these are users largely on-the-go, so be succinct and actionable.

Users can be sent just about anywhere from a mobile email, but good options are mobile-optimized pages of your website and social destinations, where the user can spread your message. Recipients can be directed to Facebook Places, Foursquare or even Google Maps. Coupons are a good idea, along with the store’s location, conveniently linked to an interactive map.

Using images. Debate swirls around using images in mobile email. Some devices will have trouble displaying the image but today’s smartphones are well fairly well adapted. If your audience is tech-savvy, you might have more flexibility. However, images should be well-planned.

For example, text on an image can be difficult to read, particularly on a small screen. Oftentimes, I receive virtual flyers in an email. The images dominate and the text is tiny. I am forced to zoom in to see the message, and that is not ideal. If you plan to use images, do so responsibly and make sure the success of the email does not rely solely on the image. An image can make a nice addition to making mobile email more interesting but it should be used to support the message.

Selling product. Mobile commerce is still relatively new but that does not make it impossible. There are mobile payment solutions, including PayPal, and the mobile space is ripe for impulse buys. It is unlikely that people will buy major products through their phones but ringtones, music, e-books, etc.? That’s doable.

Video email. As email becomes increasingly mobile (and smartphones and tablets flood the market), it’s important to remember some different ways mobile email is used. For example, in an airport, at a cafĂ©, on the couch, in the park… that means users have a potential need for entertainment. Therefore, don’t be afraid to include video. The best course of action is to use a YouTube link, as those videos do not require Flash and are viewable across devices.

Mobile marketing is easy to start

When you look at a mobile phone, do you see a new revenue source or a way to increase customers? If you are a restaurant owner, you should! Mobile marketing is a channel that can help you increase profits and customer traffic. If mobile phones are the most popular and contemporary technology used by consumers today YOUR CUSTOMERS use them. Therefore, mobile marketing should be an integral part of your marketing strategies.
Integrating mobile marketing
It's easy and uncomplicated to add mobile marketing to your existing marketing mix. First, there is no inventory cost as with paper or plastic-based loyalty marketing programs. Secondly, there are several features available that can be tailored to your restaurant's specific needs. A mobile campaign can be completely based on text messaging. You can also utilize social media to make your message go viral and exponentially increase the value of your marketing effort.
Mobile tactics
Mobile marketing includes several different tactics. The first one is obvious: text messaging. This works well for most consumers because all mobile users have access to text messages. A second alternative is an actual mobile ad. These usually appear on free apps downloaded on smart phones. Mobile ads have a drawback in that they require the users to have a smartphone. Since smartphone use is somewhat limited compared to standard mobile phones, the number of customers that can view mobile ads is less in comparison to the number who can receive text messages. However, the use of smartphones is growing exponentially, so it is better to consider the use of both promotional methods.
Using text marketing
One benefit of SMS is that you can reach the entire customer list on your mobile database instantly at any time. Let's say the business is slow on a Tuesday evening. With few clicks, you could send text messages with a special offer to all the mobile subscribers who have opted for your restaurant's VIP mobile club. Literally, you have a power at a push of a button to fill up the empty seats in your restaurant in a few hours. Mobile text marketing can be that powerful.
Getting started
First, you can sign up with one of many mobile text marketing service providers. Then encourage your customers to sign up for your Mobile Text Club program by having customers send a short code via SMS text to a specified number.
Once they have subscribed, you can send them text messages in the form of text coupons. These messages enable customers to receive discounts on their next visit to your restaurant. This also supports their perception that your restaurant is trendy, understands the demands of the new digital age and consumers' desires to be recognized for their loyalty.
Promoting you texting campaign
All you need is a banner sign at the front counter and table tent at every table promoting your mobile text offer.
It'll say something like "Join our VIP Mobile Club to get your exclusive deals and offers. Enjoy our FREE taco when you sign up NOW. Text freetaco to 54894"
At the end of every month, you can check your monthly report to review statistics for your mobile marketing campaigns to ensure that they are successful. You can then tweak them as needed in your future campaigns as you gain more experience.