I wrote the below article for the latest issue of Infobox, the UK DMA's email marketing newsletter:
As mobile technology and devices become more advanced, we see more and more consumers using their mobile phones for a lot more than just making phone calls and sending text messages. Lots of people now read their emails on a mobile device, they look up information on a mobile version of Google, they update their Facebook and Twitter accounts through the use of mobile applications, they play mobile games to kill time, they use their mobile phone to pay for services they purchase, they buy ringtones and wallpapers and lots more.
Mobile marketing can be used for branding (eg. display advertising, search engine marketing, games, video, wallpapers…), direct response (eg. direct mail/sms messages, shortcodes), transaction and service alerts (eg. order confirmations, weather updates, account statuses, billing reminders), so in that way it is very much similar to online marketing.
Will 2008 be the year of mobile? Honestly, I don’t know. What I do know is that a number of smart marketers are already using mobile to connect with customers and prospects. Over the last couple of months I’ve seen cases of airlines that send text messages when flights are delayed or gates have changed, I’ve seen billboards with shortcodes that you can send by sms to get more information about a certain product, I’ve heard of companies using mobile coupons to drive traffic to their stores, I’ve seen banks using mobile website and applications to let customers handle their transactions from their mobile phones…
However, if you are going to use it to send promotional text messages to consumers, you better make sure to get their permission first. Our mobile phone is our most personal device, one that some carry with them 24/7. If you send someone a promotional text message that is totally irrelevant to them AND without having their permission, you can seriously damage your brand. On the other hand, if a consumer signs up to receive promotional messages on their mobile phone, that is a BIG deal! These subscribers are very likely to be your most engaged customers, so treat them accordingly.
As more and more consumers start using mobile phones with internet access, you should start including mobile in your marketing mix where it makes sense. Here are five tips to get you started:
- Create a version of your website that is optimized for smaller screens
- When you buy keywords on Google, don’t forget to include the mobile channel
- Start asking your subscribers for permission to market to them on their mobile phones
- Use shortcodes on offline communications to drive subscribers to your email list
- Mobile alone doesn’t work: make it part of a bigger campaign