Think smart when plotting effective mobile marketing
Mobile phones are essential to shopping these days, and a majority of mobile phone owners say they're willing to share personal data with merchants in exchange for such things as coupons and discounts.
But navigating mobile marketing can be confusing for small business owners, who must avoid bombarding people with unwanted texts. So how can local merchants use mobile marketing effectively? Here are six tips:
Focus on customers
Consider how consumers already interact with their mobile devices and take advantage of that behaviour.
Eliminate anything that makes buying more difficult, such as a website that doesn't load correctly on a mobile device or hard-to-find contact info. Optimise your customers' mobile web experiences by adding "click to call" and "click for directions" features, suggests Jeff Fagel, chief marketing officer at G/O Digital.
Make sure all your marketing messages look great on the small screens where people are increasingly opening them, says Jessica Stephens of marketing technology company SmartFocus. She says 30pc of mobile shoppers abandon transactions that aren't optimised for mobile and 57pc abandon sites that take more than three seconds to load.
Don't get too pushy
Most Internet shopping activity involves consumers actively searching out information on services or products.
But mobile marketing is "push" technology, which involves sending unsolicited messages to would-be customers. "It's all done with the idea of engaging customers and getting them to spread your offers on social media," says Betsy Page Sigman, who teaches operations and information management at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business.
"If people buy something every time you send a discount, keep sending them. But pay attention to when they stop, because that data tells you a lot, too."
You won't catch people by surprise if you direct your marketing messages to customers who have agreed to receive texted discounts or coupons.
Give something away
Most people don't mind that their supermarket tracks their purchases-as long as they get discounts when they swipe their reward cards. The same idea applies to mobile marketing: You need to sweeten the deal, not just text annoying ads. Send customers special offers, reminders about sales, and discount coupons. Imagine the response to a "free coffee with purchase" offer you send to shoppers near your bakery at 4pm, for instance.
Mobile marketing should be part of your overall marketing plan, along with e-mail, direct mail, and other advertising, says John McGee, chief executive of OptifiNow, a sales and marketing company.
"Track the results you get from each channel and see which one is working. There's no silver bullet-you need to do a little bit of everything. And remember, it doesn't matter what you want to do-it's what your customers like," he says.
Unlike email, texts have a high open rate. But you have to get your point across in few words, which is easier to do the better you know your customers. "Text messages work better for local marketing, which lends itself to small business," McGee says.
"If a local restaurant is having a slow night and sends texts to people nearby to get them in for a special, that's more effective than a retail chain sending out messages to people dozens of kilometres away." (Bloomberg)