Mobile marketing has always seemed like a big opportunity for smaller businesses. The ability to tightly target prospects within a specific geography or niche would seem to give the little guy the edge over goliath. After revisiting a long-standing interest, it appears that now may be a good time for smaller consumer-focused businesses to consider mobile marketing themselves. Expense and complexity seem to be a thing of the past, so with US cell phone penetration topping 89%, businesses interested in staying in contact with their customers should seriously consider the use of mobile marketing.
What is Mobile Marketing?
Mobile marketing can have a variety of different meanings, but for most businesses mobile marketing refers to sending content to prospective customers via their cell phone. While this can be done in several ways, including the creation of a mobile-friendly website, it’s probably a better idea to start a mobile marketing effort with SMS text, since the penetration of smartphones is only 20% . Seemingly simple, SMS text messages can be used for a number of marketing campaigns, including:
Mobile Coupons – Sending a short SMS text to offering an in-store discount is becoming increasingly common and popular.
Promotions – Announcements for special in-store events and sales
Voting – Eliciting customers’ opinions on new products and services
Contests – Capture customers and prospects interest
Therefore, mobile marketing using SMS text messaging could be used for almost any business.
SMS Text Messaging: A Few Compelling Facts
Sure, mobile marketing using SMS text can be used in many ways, but why should smaller businesses consider it? Here a few facts that suggest that it should at least be considered:
- 57% of US Cell Phone Users Use Text Messaging
- Response rates to SMS beat Email 70% vs. 30%
- SMS Text is trackable
- The Use of SMS Text Messaging Exceeds that of Voice
SMS Text Marketing’s “BUT”
Even the most promising opportunities tend to have a “but” and SMS text marketing is no exception. Forrester Research’s Nate Elliott covers this well when describing The Golden Rule of SMS Marketing:
If you can’t target an SMS, then don’t send it.
Nate advises that businesses should ensure that SMS marketing messages fit the needs of the recipient, which seems to only make sense. However I think that since smaller businesses are more likely to build their SMS marketing list from existing or prospective customers that have opted-in, this should not be an issue.
Mobile Marketing: Where to Start
Perceived complexity aside, getting started with mobile marketing is fairly straight-forward. Here are a few steps that may prove helpful:
- Determine If & How Mobile Marketing Could Help Your Business
- Build a List. If you’re already collecting customers’ information, this should be easy. If not, it may be a bit more work.
- Segment Your List. This could be by product type, area of interest, etc…
- Create a Target Schedule. It’s ideal to Find a Provider that Fits Your Needs. Inc. Magazine’s recently published The 6 Best Mobile Coupon Services for Small Business which may be helpful.
Mobile marketing, and SMS text messaging specifically, may offer a great deal of promise to smaller businesses. Technological improvements have dramatically decreased cost and now placed the use of this marketing channel well within reach for many businesses. Granted, while it may not be for everyone, it clearly gives the right type of business the ability to stand out from the crowd.
What experiences have you had with mobile marketing and SMS text? Do you like it as either a consumer or a business? Please share your comments.