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Mobile Marketing 101 For Small Business Success

Author: David Sonkin   |   March 3rd, 2011

I’m really lucky because I get to talk about mobile marketing all day long.

I’m lucky because it’s fresh, it’s cool, and if done properly, it just flat out works.

And people like…

“stuff that works”.

Of course that whole “done properly” thing is a fair sized meatball hanging out there, so let me be more specific.

If you were going to open a hot dog stand (can you tell I’m from New Yawk?) you would want to do it on a busy street corner, yes?  Yes.  So first things first, let’s take a look at where the virtual foot traffic is with regards to the mobile consumer.

There are four cornerstones of mobile marketing consumer engagement – the “doors” or “magnets” if you will, driving us towards doing more on our phones.

First is watershed traffic.  Watershed traffic comes from all those people who are trying to access a website from their phone – and hopefully being automatically and seamlessly redirected to a mobile-optimized website.

“Mobile Web” is a common phrase these days.  Mobile Web, in its ideal state, would be Internet (cooler to say “cloud” these days) sites which are being actively optimized for phones.  “Actively” in the previous sentence refers to the need to keep up with and optimize for the countless devices streaming into the market, seemingly by the minute. We’re talking about thousands of devices.

Where was I?  Oh right, watershed.  Internally we call it watershed because it’s the portion of daily web traffic which comes from mobile browsers and will spill off to somewhere.

Aha!  “Somewhere” being a big piece of the puzzle.

If a website does not have a mobile-optimized version of itself, that watershed will dissipate pronto!  If however that mobile traffic is properly detected and redirected to something far more engaging for mobile device users, the chances of keeping those users engaged is far more likely.  And more engagement leads to better conversion.  Moving right along.

The second is advertising.  Yes, good ol’ fashioned advertising drives mobile traffic big time.

There are plenty of moving parts here but we can really look at it as two primary pieces, traditional and mobile marketing.  Just to make a point about just how new “mobile” is, we now refer to advertising on a website as “traditional” advertising.  If your marketing agency refers to online/website banner ads as “new media”, quick run for the hills!

“Traditional” advertising – print, radio, TV, online, direct mail, email – works.  And now with a turbo blast from mobile, it works even better.  Ten years ago, if I passed a 40 foot high ad in Times Square, the ad had to be good enough to hope that I would recall the brand and go online to check it out…when I got HOME.

Now (if I’m interested) I’m checking it out the moment I see it.  I can decide before I cross Broadway if I’m going to buy those new GAP jeans.  In fact, I may now be crossing Broadway to go to the GAP, show them the coupon on my phone and buy them RIGHT NOW.  That’s the boost mobile offers to traditional advertising.  Shorter response time.  Better metrics.  All good.  We could spend hours on the ways in which mobile juices “regular” advertising.

Next is mobile advertising. I could include texting in this section, but it really is an animal unto itself.  So I’ll get to that shortly.  Mobile banner ads are being delivered by the “B”illions on a monthly basis.  Every time someone goes to a mobile site, app, game on their phone, there is a chance they will see an ad.

It may be static, possibly pop-up, but an ad nonetheless.  Those ads work pretty darn well for a couple of reasons.  First, they are not fighting for digital real estate the way “traditional” online ads do on a website.  Also, it’s still kinda cool to click on stuff on your phone.

Industry stats vary but they’re all good.  In our experience, we see the average mobile banner getting about a 1.5% click-thru rate and we can usually get it up to 2.5% with some intelligent tweaking of both the ad itself and to where it’s being delivered (what type of sites, handsets, geography, etc).

SMS (“texting”) is to marketing what salt is to cooking.  Sometimes it’s a big factor (think, big salty pretzel) and other times it’s just one of twenty-three ingredients in a stew.  No matter how you slice it, neither salt or texting is going away any time soon.  And if you plan on doing some mobile cooking, you had better make sure you have some text messages in the cabinet.

Note from the author:  As you can tell from coming this far, I don’t get too hung up on stats.  If you’ve cared enough to read this far I’m guessing you know the stats on mobile are wild, magical, insane, and nothing short of rampant in their growth.

All you have to do is hit your search engine of choice and dive in to “mobile marketing statistics” and in short order you will feel woozy – it’s the search equivalent of sniffing glue.  Ok, back to our regularly scheduled blogging.

Texting is a cloverleaf on a busy highway.  Between businesses texting people, people texting people, and people texting into businesses, there is a dizzying array of characters traversing the mobile wave encircling the planet.

Here’s a few things to help clarify the messaging melange.  Texting works best when displayed to a captive audience (think about those annoying slides that appear before a movie – if a slide came up with some random question like, “On average, how many people will read this whole sentnce without realizing sentence is spelled incorrectly?

For the answer, text ICanSpell to 99222” – you would find a rediculous number of people actually texting in – not because they care, just because they can).  One of our greatest successes in texting was when we hung “text … to …” by the ladies room in thee lobby at a Broadway theatre.

If you’re a gal you know what I am talking about – LONG LINES.  So we had a captive audience and subsequently lots of people texting during intermission.  Devious?  Maybe.  Brilliant?  Jury’s still out – but it makes for a great story.

Texting is also great for timely offers.  “Show this text before 6pm today for 50% off your yogurt order.”  If I had to point out the most glaring mistake businesses make in the texting arena, it would be that they often do not include a link in the text.  Since a text message has an instantaneous shelf life (“use it or lose it”), if you include a link to some mobile friendly content, at least if the primary content of the message isn’t enough to “get me”, maybe what’s on the other side of that link will.

Maybe a text about the yogurt wasn’t enough – but a full screen image featuring an overflowing cup of snickerdoodle yogurt with coconut shavings and chocolate chips, just might be.

“Honey, I have a great idea for dessert tonight!”

Texting is also a great way to build advocacy.  I will cover this in an upcoming blog.

The last piece of the mobile traffic pie is “viral”.

The two focal points here are send a friend and social nets.

We find that when people find something that works well on their phone, they like to share it.  So when we design mobile marketing content, we tend to place a decent amount of weight on the whole, “click here to send a friend” thing.

This is similar to how it’s now pretty easy to share web content right from within the content environment (a good example would be if you forward my blog to a thousand people, hee-hee).

And for our finale, let’s do what everyone else is doing and talk about THE SOCIAL NETWORK(s).  Without quoting, citing, and otherwise referencing, I can tell you that the number of people accessing social networks from the phone browsers alone (not even counting the masses doing it from downloaded mobile apps) has gone up exponentially in the past couple of years.  And yes, it’s still rising!  So I’ll tell you what I tell my clients, my friends, and my mom.

If you post, tweet, blog or otherwise socialize in “the cloud”, you had better assume that your digital id is being consumed on a mobile device.  And if it is and you would like someone to further engage with you, make sure you, your message, your brand, your business are optimized for the mobile space.

I can’t tell you how many times I read a post, tweet, etc and then try to follow through to the company that either wrote the post or about whom it was written only to find myself in a mismosh of non-mobile-optimized content.

Don’t kid yourself.

Unless you are giving away money, I’m not sticking around to pinch and swipe my way through your world.  And remember what we’re talking about here.

This is viral.

Word travels fast.

The question is, is the word about you…or your competition? Make your marketing all about you with mobile marketing.

About David Sonkin
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One Response to “Mobile Marketing 101 For Small Business Success”

  1. Jay Veniard Says:

    Great article David. I like how you made the connection that sms marketing is like salt to cooking. i couldn’t agree with you more. Business owners who are still on the fence about mobile, at the VERY LEAST, need to implement sms/text marketing right now. It’s fast, it’s fun and most importantly, in my humble opinion, like you said timely. SMS let’s you market anytime, anywhere, with any message you choose to broadcast.

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