What do you think of when someone says “mobile marketing”?

Smartphone apps? A mobile website? QR codes?

While these may be the first thoughts that pop into your head, they may not be the best first steps in mobile marketing.

What’s about good old fashioned text messaging? You know, that technology I’m guessing you probably used at least within the last 60 minutes.

Why start with text messaging?

Here are three good reasons:

1. Cost-effectiveness

It’s not news that in many marketing departments these days money isn’t always easy to come by. Coming up with the budget for a mobile app, on one platform let alone two, is not always easy.

Creating a mobile website, depending on size, scope, and content management system, is not cheap either. Text messaging marketing can be extremely budget friendly, especially if you’re already printing signs for something or running traditional media.  Just revise the creative to add a “text-in for this or that” call-to-action and you’ve just started a mobile marketing campaign.

Best of all, almost all SMS marketing providers charge based on the number of messages or subscribers in your database. The cost starts small and when it increases that means your campaign is working!

2. Biggest Audience

When marketing dollars are tight everyone likes to see “good numbers” at the end of the campaign. Because text messaging is available on essentially every phone and used by just about everybody (over 70% of adults), you’ll have the best opportunity to reach the most people and build the largest opt-in database.

Every other mobile marketing technology has an inherit “audience-limiter”. Mobile websites; must have an HTML-capable phone.  Apps; must have a smartphone. QR codes; must have a smartphone and a QR reader installed. The more things your audience needs to participate, the smaller the numbers get. Start with the biggest audience and then target the more technology capable groups later.

3. It will “launch” the other ones

At the end of any text message marketing campaign there will be a database of mobile phone numbers (the people who texted-in). Launching a mobile app or website? Send out a text and tell them.

They’ve already had one mobile interaction with you so there’s a good chance they would be open to another. Instead of counting on the app store or mobile searches to drive traffic you can generate that initial burst of activity on your own. Think about it, it’s a lot easier to drive traffic to a new website when you already have a big email list of people who would be interested.

Ok, so you agree text messaging might be a good place to start mobile marketing.

But where do you start with text messaging?

Helpful ideas continue to come in threes –

1. Traditional media

As mentioned above, this is an easy one. Instead of telling your audience to “call now” or “visit our website”, have them send a text message. Maybe they’re entering to win something or getting an instant “show this message on your phone for something” coupon.

2. Events

Are you still using clipboards and sign up sheets to gather data at your events? Still putting out that plastic fish bowl for business cards? Try having your event attendees get out their phone and text to vote, answer a question, put a message up on a screen, sign a petition, win something, or get a discount. It’ll be more fun for you and your audience, and in the end you’ll get a valid mobile number instead of an email address you can’t read anyway.

3. In-store

Many businesses have more people passing through their doors everyday than visits to their website. Those people also have phones in their pockets and purses. Print out a sign and create a mobile loyalty club by having visitors text-in for a discount on their next visit. They’re in your location so you know they have an interest in your business. Give them an easy way to offer up their valuable mobile phone number so you can bring them back later.

This post was originally featured on Social Fresh, a site dedicated to social media and marketing education for business. This was re-published with permission from JA.TXT.

Justin Mastrangelo is president of JA Interactive, a company that helps organizations manage text message marketing campaigns through their proprietary JA.TXT software. Justin is a board member and past president of the American Marketing Association in Pittsburgh, and has been involved with digital marketing since “the turn of the century”.

2 Responses to “3 Reasons To Start Your Mobile Marketing With Text Messaging
  • Beware of creating bad blood. Mobile phones are often considered personal gateways to friends–smartphone or otherwise. Texting an ad is a great way to insert yourself where you’re not wanted just as much as people don’t like shooing door to door salesmen off their stoops.

  • That’s a valid concern when starting a text message marketing campaign. A couple things to keep in mind:

    1. Only send text messages to people who have opted-in to the campaign, usually by texting in first. Sending unsolicited text messages is always a bad idea (both legally and for your brand).

    2. While the phone is a “friend-to-friend” device for many people now, it will become more and more a place for brands in the future (just like email). Users are sometimes resistant to this change, but in the end people like to communicate with businesses when they’re receiving value.

    3. Which bring me to my last point – provide value to your subscribers. Sending purely marketing messages and news constantly will not go over well with your database. Try to provide real value with each message, monetary or otherwise. If not, subscribers will opt-out (by replying “stop” to any message) very quickly.

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