If people have something quite indispensable as a handkerchief in their hands, it’s the Mobile. Resting, walking, travelling or waiting for their turn in a public place, they are busy seen talking, texting, reading something on the mobile.
There are a few billion mobile handsets being used world -wide and each one of its users is a potential target for marketing messages. Even the entry level handsets will have short messaging services (SMS) facility and the slightly higher versions will have the multi-media messaging (MMS) facility in place. This goes on to prove the penetration and depth of the medium that no marketers can ignore. Mobile marketing has been around for some time but gaining momentum in the past few years with the growth in mobile internet or data communications, the smart phone revolution and simultaneous growth in the number of mobile apps. A study by Pew Research Center study revealed that two-thirds of the US citizens have a smart phone.
Smart phones currently use either of the operating systems- Android or Apple which has got more than a few million users and much more apps in use. This signifies the tremendous potential of mobile marketing (m-marketing) in the coming years.
Here are some tips to be successful in m-marketing:
Use Short Messaging Services, Voice Messaging Services effectively
When it comes to mobile marketing, the mass medium is the short messaging service (SMS) and Voice Messaging (VM). A mobile phone is basically intended for voice calls and SMS and hence that continues to be most cost effective method used by marketers to reach a wide audience. There is restriction on the number of characters that can be send through SMS and best time for delivery would be in the afternoon and evening when they take a break from work or ready to go home after a day’s work. Big discount offers, loans at special interest rates, new housing projects, launch of new retail outlets, new products are usually marketed through SMS.
Conversion rate for SMS would depend the text, offers made, call-to-action scenarios and how much targeted the message is. For example, an ayurvedic cure for hairfall, or a wellness clinic based on traditional medicine may have little relevance if it goes a doctor of modern medicine or to a group of people who have no confidence in traditional medicine. Similarly, opening of a new two wheeler showroom or a new bike launch may have little relevance to a car owner who never rides a two-wheeler. ‘Free counseling and advice to go to Canada message may land up with some user who has no desire to go abroad for studies or migrate to Canada.
In Voice messaging, a mobile user gets a call and when he receives it, an automated message is played such as an offer of a personal loan from a leading bank, free share trading and DEMAT account with a securities broker, or it could be an ad requesting demo of a new consumer product to be launched in the market. There is a ‘call-to-action’ in these campaigns, either they have to press a particular number if they have to avail the offer or facility or press another number to decline.
The trouble with voice messaging is that it appears as a normal voice call and it could irritate people if they are done too frequently across networks. It could force consumers to choose the do-not-disturb option. Yet for marketers looking to reach their promotional message to a wide audience at a cheaper cost, there is perhaps nothing to beat SMS and VM, although sales conversion may be proportionately low. It is however, useful for getting customer feed back which is an invaluable source of data for companies to improve their performance.
However, SMS and VM are great ways to keep in touch and engage with existing customers. It could be an update on reward points, next free service or visit, news about a product or outlet launch. Or it could be about an expiration of warranty period and reminder about signing up for extended warranty. This way the marketer shows they value the customer and his feedback.
Have mobile sites and mobile apps
Many corporates have websites but not many may be having mobile sites. With internet users scattered over desktop, laptop and mobile phone access it makes sense to have a mobile site and also make the website mobile friendly with vertical scrolling which makes it easier for mobile users to swipe down and see the inside sections.
It is estimated that there are over 1.6 million mobile apps for Apple and Android users. Users download apps from Google Store but may uninstall at least a few per month due to lack of storage, due to low usage, or finding a better app for the same purpose, as per a US survey of about 2600 smart phone users.
It is important to understand that mobile apps should enable users to be hassle free and engage them to gain benefits from developing it.
In banking, mobile apps allow existing customers to apply for loans, top-ups and even make a query about a transaction. Similarly, cell phone users are able to change their tariff plans, request a new internet data pack in a much easier way than going to the nearest customer service centre.
However, there is a misconception that it is a must to develop a mobile app to succeed in mobile marketing. It is far from true as many mobile apps that are not relevant or useful to a wider audience gets downloaded, used once or twice and then discarded.
Use customer mobile location data
if your customers are willing to share their mobile location data, location based targeting can be done with mobile campaigns. If you have been searching for a new Ford car model online, and in few days you pass by a Ford showroom, you may be alerted on your mobile about the nearest place where the models are on display or available for test drive. It is possible for the app to map your kilometres travelled and alert you on the next service due or change of engine oil.
Or if you have been searching for a sports bike that is available only in a particular location of a dealer, the moment you are near to it, you may get an SMS alert to visit the showroom and place an order.
There are numerous examples of mobile apps that enable convenience and personalized service thereby getting more business for the company. iBeacon is a geofencing tool of Apple that enables apps to link your location, history, buying interests to alert you with a precision-strike push notification. You are into Roller Skating and there is an upcoming event, a sports accessories app can alert you to the nearest outlet that gives headgears at 50% discount. Kayak ,a US based firm that provides air, car and hotel bookings at the cheapest rate worldwide, has an app that informs you when price of a flight ticket you have been following has fallen to the lowest level. If you proceed to book the ticket, it will alert you about the lowest taxi fares available in the region, or help you in choosing the cheapest room bookings. This kind of personalised service can create loyal customers and hence more useful than conventional marketing.
Use variety of messaging options for customer service
Mobile telephony enables to use a variety of options including short messaging, voice messaging, apps and push notifications. This can greatly enhance customer experience and lead to repeat business. It is possible to get customer preferences regarding mobile communication they prefer- either in the form of apps, location targeting, SMS and so on.
Make content interesting and engaging
Unlike email, mass media campaigns, the mobile promotions are short but that doesn’t mean the marketer can ignore the quality of the text, image or video used. Try to keep the messages short and relevant to the target group. Personalised content and context are very important. During summer vacation, it makes sense for travel apps , educational and leisure companies to target the audience that is looking for value for money, how to spend time meaningfully and productively which includes children and parents.
Mobile is the way to make social media marketing get more reach
A US survey a few years ago revealed that more percentage of users of Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest access them on the mobile. This goes on to prove that social media shares would happen better with mobile devices than web.
Mobile site download speeds and call-to-action
As there is tremendous competition in the mobile space, it is very important to ensure that your mobile site loads up quickly and downloads are fast. Or else the users may go to other sites that are faster and more efficient.
Video messaging Apps, a trend setter for the future
Video messaging apps could be the trend of the future if popularity of Snapchat is any indication. It has 100 million active users and fifty percent of them use it daily. The app was launched in 2011 for sending private photos that disappear after being send but it now provides news stories and money transfer facility too.
Snapchat users use the app to see videos, photos and share them- about six billion videos are watched on daily basis. Marketers are opening up to the possibility of using it for marketing too. A survey showed that 30% of media planners, brands, ad agencies were considering Snapchat for their SuperBowl campaigns. As of now Snapchat users primarily use primarily use it to watch and share video and not to use its news feed. They are less likely to buy anything available on Snapchat nor watch celebrities in it.
In social media, Facebook and Twitter are popular for video ads on the mobile. It is possible for videos to be played natively in their mobile apps and FB has autoplay facility for video making it attractive option for marketers.
Use Mobile banner ads
Mobile banner ads have grown in size from the 120 x 120 pixels to 320 x 50. With technological innovation, more formats that expand, slide or are adhesion based have emerged. Marketers can also look at in-app interstitial ads for better returns on investment. The advantage is that it gives better engagement, supports rich media. Among newer trends, film srip banners, full page flex banners with video content also give better return on marketing effort.
There is plenty of action set to happen in mobile marketing as mobile penetration especially the use of smart phones are increasing by leaps and bounds. Mobile marketing is suitable for small, medium and large businesses and contrary to popular belief it is not targeted at the younger generation alone. Even older people are getting comfortable with using smart phones and its added features.
Mobile marketing is not just about marketing a new product but engaging with customers, getting their feedback, providing additional services, engaging with them, updating customers about new products and services. More and more net users are using the mobile platform to get connected to internet and social media thereby enhancing the potential of mobile marketing manifold.
According to forecasts, app usage and development will continue to grow manifold giving better user friendly experiences and marketing opportunities. If you are still focused more on mass media, websites for promotional activities it isn’t too late to jump on the mobile bandwagon as research by Forrester and Shop.org has shown that branding through mobile platform has been effective for advertisers in 2015. It is flexible, scalabe and multi-functional integrating the experiences in web, real time use, retail purchasing, customer-service and product promotions to existing customers.
A firms mobile strategy should be integrated taking into account the need for creating brand awareness, engagement with existing customers, link the multi-channel branding efforts through blogging, website content and social media. It wouldn’t be bad to have a marketer devoted to mobile marketing within an organization to co-ordinate the activities.
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