How To Use Mobile Marketing
Flexibility of the mobile medium provides a variety of methods that can be used to send marketing and promotional messages to customers. Anything from simple text messages to interactive games can be utilised to engage customers. Promotions can be designed to send information to customers (push method) or a message can be sent only when requested by potential customers (pull method). Companies may want to consider using a mix of methods when planning their mobile marketing and promotions, which should be integrated into the overall marketing strategy.
For many companies a mobile accessible website is an important consideration. This is particularly important for companies that are marketing to customers who may not have access to an Internet connected desktop at the time they need information.
Tourist or business travellers, for example, may need to make room reservations when already on the road. While a traveller would be able to use search engines (e.g. Google) to find hotels in a particular city, but may not be able to access the website for those hotels on a mobile device. Inability to access the website could mean potential loss of business.
If your customers need to access your website from mobile devices, it’s important that your site is optimised for access via smaller screen size of such devices. The site should also be optimised for lower Bandwidth of mobile networks. Large images may take longer to download on a device and may not be as useful to a customer looking for particular information.
And while mobile enabled websites should display business contact information, they should go a step further and make it easy for the customer to make the contact. For instance, phone numbers should be coded so that clicking on the number would dial the number instead of forcing the customer to dial the number manually.
SMS (Short Message Service)
SMS messaging is the most widely used mobile marketing method. It is easy to setup, monitor and manage. It is fairly inexpensive and the response rate could make an SMS campaign cost effective. SMS messages can be used in a variety of ways, from sending invitations to discount offers. Orange, for example, has used the Orange Wednesday’s promotion quite successfully, where you can get 2 cinema tickets for the price of one on Wednesday nights. An Orange customer sends a 241 message to Orange and receives a discount coupon in SMS. This is an example of pull marketing. Information is sent only when the customer requests it.
While SMS has proven to be a major hit with businesses as well as users, its biggest disadvantage is the limitation on how much information can be sent. A message can only contain a maximum of 160 characters.
MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service)
MMS is the next step up from SMS. While SMS is used for text-based messages, MMS can deliver images, audio and video files as well. Businesses are using MMS technology to deliver music (audio as well as video) and mobile games to engage the audience interactively.
For example, estate agents can use MMS to send detailed information about a property for sale, including images and video files on request by user. Travel agents can allow customers to download multimedia destination videos. Opportunities for MMS are boundless, with the exception that not all mobile phones today support MMS technologies. However, most new handsets have MMS built-in, hence the market is growing rapidly.
In the above three cases, it was assumed that the content is being delivered over the carriers’ (Vodafone, Orange, O2, etc) network. However, content can also be delivered via Bluetooth. Bluetooth is a network connection, which can be setup by anyone, by installing a Bluetooth server. Bluetooth server can send information to any other Bluetooth device in its proximity (10 centimetres to 100 metres). Because Bluetooth servers can only send information over a limited distance, it can be used successfully when the information is valuable only when the customer is in the vicinity of the sales channel. For example, discount coupons can be sent when a customer is close to the store, and has a higher probability of buying there. Since Bluetooth server is installed by individual businesses, there is no per message cost to the company (as would be in the case of SMS and MMS) or the user (as in the case of accessing the website over carrier’s network).
Bluetooth’s compelling advantage is low cost of operation and no per message cost, which makes the solution ideal for companies looking for proximity marketing. However, it is important that companies refrain from sending multiple messages to users who have declined request to receive information from your company. Bluetooth servers should be set-up so that users who have declined to receive a message do not receive messages again.
Podcasting and Vodcasting
Podcasting (audio) and vodcasting (video) are similar to web logs (blogs). Audio or video files can be downloaded to a mobile device (iPods or audio/video capable mobile phones) so customers can listen or view the information at a convenient time. Podcasting can be used to promote to customers who spend time where reading is not applicable or possible. Commuters, for example, can download podcast to listen to (while driving) or watch (while on a train). Training companies may want to use this method to provide short training courses which potential customers might find valuable. This may lead them to purchase further training from the company. Consultants use podcasting to share case study information with potential clients, in hopes of winning other contracts.
One should keep in mind that producing audio and video clips could be an expensive proposition and more importantly require certain skills that may not be readily available in-house. However, if used in the right instance with the right audience in mind, podcasting can be a successful marketing and promotional tool both on mobiles and other technologies.
For more help using mobile marketing in your business, request help from the B2B Centre today at www.nb2bc.co.uk/request_help.
Rayhan Abdulmughnee, B2B Centre, 7 June 2007