Mobile Marketing 101

Todd William of Reputation Rhino On The Importance Of Reputation Management And How To Use SMS Marketing Effectively

Todd William is the founder and CEO of Reputation Rhino and has over 15 years of experience providing a wide range of legal and strategic advisory services to Fortune 500 companies and financial institutions. Todd advises individuals and companies on online reputation management, public relations and digital marketing strategies.

What have been some of the most significant changes you've seen with reputation management over the past several years?

Reputation Management has gotten harder, takes longer and is more expensive. In the beginning, a few exact-match domains, a press release and a few social profiles and you could own Page 1 in two or three months. Now you need high authority content, strong links, powerful profiles and a little luck.

You have experience working with Fortune 500 companies, as well as small- to mid-sized businesses. What are some things you've learned, working with global corporations, that also applies to smaller companies, in regards to reputation management?

Whether you are a Fortune 500 company or a startup in your parents' garage, reputation matters. Large companies have resources -- financial resources and human resources-- that small companies often lack. It is a blessing because a larger company can afford public relations and crisis communications professionals, lawyers, advertising/marketing agencies and other talent to help shape the conversation about a brand. It also means you have a larger target on your back.

One important lesson that can apply to smaller companies is the importance of monitoring the conversations about your brand online. You don't need to be obsessive, but you do need to be aware. Larger companies also tend to be conservative in how they respond to issues, knowing that any response will likely be analyzed and evaluated by a wide audience. This tempers a knee-jerk reaction that can turn a small problem into a big problem.

Responding quickly is one of the most important things, in regards to addressing negative opinions of a company or brand. Can you recommend any particularly useful resources or methods for social listening, to see what people are saying about a company, so they can respond as quickly as possible? What's an ideal turnaround time for responding?

There are great listening tools out there. Ranging from premium services like Sysomos to more affordable social media monitoring solutions like Hootsuite. Ideally, a company will try and respond in 60 minutes or less to urgent issues. 24 hours or less seems reasonable for ordinary queries.

Getting positive online reviews is one of the solutions you offer your clients. Can you recommend a few tactics to help encourage customers to leave positive online reviews for a business or service?

We don't exactly "get positive reviews" for our clients, but we do help our clients earn them by tracking and monitoring online reviews, responding to their customers in real-time, resolving issues quickly and converting negative experiences to positive experiences. It is also appropriate for companies to do a little introspection where there are recurring issues like shipping delays, product failures and other service issues that seem to keep popping up in negative reviews. The best way to get positive reviews is to run a customer-centered business and instill those values from the top-down.

Text message marketing is getting to be more and more prevalent as a viable marketing strategy. What are some reasons why SMS marketing is getting to be so popular, currently?

We are on our cell phones from the moment we wake up in the morning until we fall asleep, text messages connect us wherever we are.

According to Mobile Marketing Watch, text messages have an open rate of 98%, versus 20% with email marketing. Why is text message marketing so effective at getting people to read? Can you offer any advice on writing SMS messages that people will be eager to open?

Text messages tend to be short and to the point, marketing emails tend to be long, rambling and "salesy". I would recommend putting yourself in the shoes of your target customer when writing an SMS message, what does he or she want and how does your product or service fulfill that need and how can you communicate that message in a couple of sentences or less. Offering a special discount is also helpful.

SMS marketing also has a response rate of 45%, versus 6% with email marketing. What are some things marketers can do, to make the most of this higher response rate? Why is engagement so popular, for truly effective marketing?

Ask a question, solicit feedback, these are ways to promote and get the most of engagement.

Millennials are particularly prone to texting, sending an average of 67 text messages a day, according to Business Insider. What are a few ways marketers can optimize their SMS content for millennials, without being too obvious?

Authentic, organic content is most appealing to millennials. I would try to avoid selling and focus instead on content millennials may want to read and share.

SMS marketing is especially effective for local marketing. What are a few different SMS marketing strategies a company can use, to reach their local audience? Why is local search so important for marketing, these days?

Whether we are choosing a dry cleaners or a diner for dinner, we shop local. Messaging that is local is more personal and more effective.

Can you offer a few suggestions on how to get customers to opt in to receive SMS marketing? How is consensual marketing so much more effective than unsolicited messages, in a world where we're constantly being inundated with advertising?

The time will come where filters and spam blockers will limit SMS text messages to all but opt-in subscribers, just like what happened to email. Forward-thinking companies will try and develop their lists to anticipate this and focus on quality (opt-in subscribers) versus quantity.

Want to learn more about SMS Marketing, and how it can help your business? Sign up for free immediately!

Expert Interview Series: Erik Huberman of Hawke Media About Outsourcing Marketing Functions, Digital Marketing Techniques, and Mass Text Messaging


Erik Huberman is a top e-commerce and digital marketing expert and the founder of Hawke Media. We had a chance to speak with Erik about the state of e-commerce today and what it takes to run successful digital marketing campaigns.

Tell us a bit about your background. Why did you decide to start Hawke Media?

My background is in e-commerce. I got out of college in 2008, and I started in real estate three days before the entire banking industry collapsed. So I started looking for an alternative.

I had always liked computers and buying and selling stuff, so I started working on creating an online company. And that turned into my first of three e-commerce companies. After running three different e-commerce companies, I started consulting for a lot of big and small brands.

I saw that getting marketing help was a real big pain point because hiring in-house was near-impossible. And frankly, 95% of agencies have no idea what they're doing, so the other 5% tended to be either really expensive or on long contracts or have some other barrier they put up. It makes them hard to work with.

So I adopted my own system and hired my own team of seven people, and went back to all the companies I was working with and said, "Everything is a la carte, month to month, and cheaper than hiring in-house." Basically, we told them that we can set up a team that fits their needs based on a menu of services. That's how we started more than three years ago, and we're now up to about 70 people.

If someone were to say to you, "I don't have enough money to spend on outsourcing a chief marketing officer," how would you respond?

Usually, that person is not set up for success. If they're making decisions without all the information, then that's going to be a pretty good recipe for disaster. So when that does happen, I usually say, "OK," and walk away, because it's not going to be a good relationship.

I'm pretty straightforward. We start at $3,000 a month; so for outsourcing your marketing, if you can't afford $3,000 a month, you don't have a business yet. That's my view of it, because you can't hire anyone or any help for that. So if you can't afford those kinds of fees, then it really comes down to you needing to build your business yourself and have the wherewithal to do it yourself, or go raise money before you can really talk to anybody about hiring anyone.

What kinds of digital marketing mistakes can doom a startup or brand new business to fail?

It's not looking at the full funnel and understanding that there's a lot of moving parts, not just one thing. Like running Facebook ads without a good email campaign or a good website, or running email marketing without anything to drive in new emails. Just not understanding that there's a full funnel is probably the biggest thing I run into with companies of all sizes.

I see massive, multi-tens-of-millions-of-dollars-in-revenue companies not getting that they are missing a huge piece of their marketing, because they look at it as this vacuum. Like they say, "I hear Facebook is good" and not understanding it.

Which digital marketing techniques or tactics are today's companies relying too much on? Which ones are being underutilized?

As far as those that companies are relying too much on, I think social media management or posting on social media. If you have a big following or are a big company, social media can be a pretty valuable tool. But if you're a small company with a small audience, social media does not move the needle for you. It's not going to make you money, and people love to focus on what they're posting on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook while not paying attention to the fact that it's actually not drawing any business to them. It's a vanity method. I think people pay way too much attention to that.

As far as not those that are underutilized, I think it's email. I even hear people tell me that, "Oh, I thought email was dead." We work with hundreds of e-commerce companies, and we see that about 80% of their revenue comes through email marketing. So when people tell me that email is dead, it's a little bit laughable because it's such a big thing and a lot of people don't take advantage of it.

Other than conversions, what metrics are the most important to capture and analyze in order to get a clear picture of the success of a digital marketing campaign?

Lifetime value is an overlooked metric. It's not about that first purchase. It's about how much someone is spending with me over the course of a year and their lifetime. I like the value of a year, because if someone's going to buy from me again ten years from now, that doesn't mean a lot for the sustainability of my business. That's a little harder to bring in. But if I know that someone buys from me four times a year, that affects the way I look at marketing a little differently than just a one-time purchase. So I'd say that's a metric that's really important.

If you have a high-purchased item, your cost-per-acquisition is going to take a long time to discern. So if you get earlier indicators, it's really going back up the funnel. So looking at the cost-per-lead can help a lot, like figuring out how much it costs you to get an email address and then understanding how many of those email addresses over time convert to a sale.

What role can SMS or text message marketing play in a given digital marketing campaign?

It can work a lot for brick and mortar retailers. With digital and e-commerce, it tends to be a little too invasive. So you have to be really careful how you're using SMS. Because with most companies, it doesn't work well; and if you use it too often, it feels invasive.

Again, when it comes to local brick and mortar stores, it can work. When it comes to things that are happening that you can time correctly, it works - like if you know that they're coming into the store, or they're down the street, or whatever. But when you're in e-commerce, it's harder to make it work.

What types of businesses or organizations might benefit from SMS or text message marketing?

I'd say restaurants, bars - honestly, any type of service business where you have regular customers. So coffee shops are great, even hair salons, supermarkets - places where you know that your customers can come back quite a bit, and it's usually a local place. Because then you know that your marketing can actually draw them in more often.

As digital marketing continues to evolve, what will be the components of a successful digital marketing campaign in the years to come?

The components are going to always be how are you covering awareness, meaning:

  1. how do you actually gain new audience
  2. how are you covering nurturing that audience
  3. how you are building trust with that audience

Three different pieces. So how are you showing third-party validation or some kind of social proof so that you're not the only one saying you're great? How are you creating awareness so that you're actually reaching new people? And then how are you taking all of those new people that now have heard about you and converting those to new customers?

That's always going to be the root of marketing. It's going to be done in very different ways, and that I can't predict. But it's always going to have to cover those three things.

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Expert Interview Series: Viveka von Rosen of Linked Into Business About Maximizing the Effectiveness of Your LinkedIn Account


Viveka von Rosen is internationally known as the "LinkedIn Expert" and is the author of 2 best-selling books on LinkedIn. We had a chance to chat with Viveka about how to make LinkedIn profiles more attractive and effective, and found out which premium LinkedIn features are worth the investment.

Tell us a bit about yourself. How and why did you become an expert on LinkedIn?

To be honest, I really lucked into my LinkedIn career. I was running a coworking space and had managed to double our membership through face-to-face networking. Since we had a lot of entrepreneurs at the business center, I invited my friend Laurie Macomber to come and speak to them about Web 2.0 (which shows you how long ago it was.) At the end of her speech, she mentioned a little network called LinkedIn that had 7 million members. I imagined how I could really make business explode with an audience of 7 million people.

By this time, it was 2007, and I was beginning to teach and train locally on LinkedIn. I got my first big break when ABCN (Alliance Business Centers Network) invited me to speak in the Waldorf Astoria Ballroom to their group of 500 millionaires and billionaires. That's when I realized that I had found what I wanted to do with my life.

I started doing a lot of virtual training and establishing myself in the LinkedIn space and social media in general, After about a year, I was able to quit my day job and focus solely on LinkedIn.

Why has LinkedIn remained so popular when compared to all other professional networking sites on the Internet?

I think LinkedIn has stayed pretty steady because it doesn't pretend to be anything other than it is: a social business networking site focused on the growth of its members' businesses. You know what you are getting with LinkedIn. It's not terribly sexy, but it works.

How can LinkedIn users easily improve their profiles?

I think because it's not as exciting as Facebook or Snapchat, people forget that it is still an important place to establish and promote your business brand. Doing simple things on a regular basis can make a world of difference, such as:

  • Add a background image to your profile to promote your brand and share contact info
  • Add rich media to demonstrate your product or service and prove your expertise
  • Share updates to stay top of mind and create (personal) brand awareness
  • Use LinkedIn Publisher to position yourself as a thought-leader

At what point should an individual consider purchasing one of LinkedIn's premium packages?

Some of LinkedIn's best features (Advanced Search, Saved Search, Tagging, and Notes) were just removed from LinkedIn's free account. So now more than ever, it is worth investing in the premium account - and not just any premium account, but Sales Navigator. And even though I have not, traditionally, been the biggest fan of Sales Nav., now that I have been forced into using it, I am really discovering value in its features. While it is not cheap, it only takes one new client to pay for it for the year.

Is an InMail message perceived to be more important by LinkedIn members than a regular email message? [What are other advantages of using InMail?]

One of the added benefits of Sales Nav are the 15+ inMails a month. (An InMail is simply a message to someone who you are not connected with.) InMails really give you the opportunity to reach out to anyone on LinkedIn. It's a pretty powerful tool.

The problem is that most people waste their InMails with a sales pitch. Like any sales transaction, you have to warm your prospect up a bit. Get to know them. Use your InMail to ask for a connection request, and use it to demonstrate that you have taken the time to research your prospect by referring to something in their profile or something they have shared on LinkedIn.

What types of traditional online marketing techniques can be effectively used for text message or SMS marketing? When crafting a marketing text or SMS message, what is it important to avoid doing?

Last year, LinkedIn switched from a traditional inbox to LinkedIn messenger (copying Facebook). It allows for more responsive and casual conversations on LinkedIn. While the responsiveness of this chat-like feature can certainly stimulate conversation, I would warn not to go "too casual" (or add too many emojis.) to your conversations. This is still LinkedIn after all, and the average user is 41 years old - not your kid's age.

Will LinkedIn continue to be one of the leading social media platforms in the coming years?

Time will tell as to whether LinkedIn will maintain its position as the premier business networking site. It was recently acquired by Microsoft, and my hope is that the resources MS brings to the platform will continue to help it to improve. My fear is that MS will try and monetize the platform to the extent where the average business person will no longer want to use it. This latest user interface make-over seems to suggest the latter. But since there really is no competition (for the time being,) it's most definitely worth investing your time (and maybe some business dollars) on LinkedIn.

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What Can Political Campaigns Learn From Obama's Use of Digital Marketing?

In 2008, the Obama digital marketing campaign revolutionized communications between politicians and the electorate. Using fifteen different social networks, Obama communicated the message “Change we can believe in” to five million supporters, and drove fifty million viewers to his YouTube channel.

The Obama digital marketing campaign was not only innovative, it was effective. The way in which the mobile marketing was structured allowed the brand to evolve while maintaining a clear call to action. The campaign listened, asked questions and built relationships.

In 2012, the Obama digital marketing campaign evolved to a new level. Taking advantage of “Click-to-Donate” group text messaging, 80% of the $639 million dollars raised towards Obama´s reelection campaign came from donations that were 20 dollars or less. 

New strategies were employed to humanize the President through iconic quotes and “Share with a Friend” images. Opt-in opportunities were maximized to increase campaign donations and supporters, while individual sub-campaigns were tailored to show how Obama was in touch with specific issues.

What Can Political Campaigns Learn from Obama´s Use of Digital Marketing?

Whereas the Obama digital marketing campaigns of 2008 and 2012 showed how to “do it right”, the primary White House candidates in 2016 made notable errors in their campaigns, or failed to take advantage of opportunities offered by group text messaging.

  • Republican nominee Ted Cruz invited supporters to text long keywords (“Constitution”) or keywords that were not yet paired with a short code (“Imagine”) to join his group text messaging service. By comparison, President Obama´s “Click-to-Donate” campaign used the keyword “Give” and was ready to receive donations.
  • The campaign team for Donald Trump reigned in its use of group text messaging after its unsolicited “Help Make America Great Again” text was send to millions of people who had not opted in to receive messages in support of the President-Elect. The campaign´s violation of consumer laws has resulted in a lawsuit being issued.
  • One of the reasons why Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic nomination was his failure to engage minority demographics. His cause was not helped by relying heavily on a smartphone app (“Hustle”) to drive his mobile marketing strategy - excluding potential voters that did not have access to a smartphone.
  • According to some voters subscribed to Hillary Clinton´s mobile marketing campaign, the overuse of group text messaging during the campaign was irritating. Although many found the “Texts from Hillary” meme amusing, some commentators observed that the frequent requests for donations were getting on people’s nerves.

Key Takeaways from the 2016 Presidential Election

Although the strong use of emerging media in the 2008 Obama digital marketing campaign has been credited with contributing to President Obama´s victory, it is unclear whether the use - or non-use - of group text messaging affected the outcome of the most recent Presidential election. There are certainly some key takeaways that politicians at all levels should heed:

Keep it Simple

Asking voters to text keywords that some may not be able to spell, or asking them to text a keyword to a short code with which it is not yet paired, are schoolboy marketing errors. As with all marketing to the masses, the KISS principal is always the best to use.

Keep it Legal

Group text messaging is a permission-based activity and has to comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) 1991. Failure to do so can result not only in legal action, but also in a suspension of the service and a loss of credibility.

Keep it SMS

Even though smartphone ownership in the US has doubled over the past five years, more than 30% of the population does not have access to Internet-enabled devices. Communicating via SMS group text messaging will ensure that everybody has access to your message.

Keep it Relevant

Whereas the Obama digital marketing campaign focused on President Obama, listened to voters, asked questions and built relationships, Hillary Clinton´s political text messaging campaign was too frequently used to ask for money. Furthermore, the campaign detracted from the issues that mattered to voters with the introductions of a “Literally Trump” webpage and a “Trump Text” bot - amusing to some, but irrelevant to many.

Get Professional Advice about Political Text Messaging Campaigns

The 2016 Presidential elections will undoubtedly be remembered for reasons other than the errors in text messaging campaigns and the failures to use group text messaging to its greatest effect. However, there are some lessons to be learned from what went wrong and the attempts to circumnavigate laws put in place to protect consumers.

With planning already underway for the 2018 midterm elections, it makes sense to seek professional advice about political text messaging campaigns to ensure the errors are not repeated and group text messaging is used correctly to engage voters and generate support. In this respect we invite political representatives and campaigners to contact us to discuss proposed political text messaging campaigns.

Our team of Client Success Managers has more than a decade of experience providing advice and help to organizations of all types and sizes. We are confident that we can help you engage voters and generate support using compliant group text messaging and the principals put in place by the successful Obama digital marketing campaign.

Cinco de Mayo Mobile Marketing Tactics


Cinco de Mayo offers businesses the chance to attract new customers while having a fabulous time with current ones, and with the the right  Cinco de Mayo mobile marketing tactics you can really increase your sales revenue. 

Cinco de Mayo, or May 5th, commemorates the Mexican defeat of French troops at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Celebrated among Mexican communities in Mexico and the United States, it has become a drinking holiday. 

If you are devising a mobile marketing scheme in time for this holiday, check out these cool Cinco de Mayo mobile marketing tactics: 

 

Cinco de Mayo Mobile Marketing Tactics to Employ This Year

 

Fun With Hashtags

Why not create a hashtag campaign? Make one about a week or a few days before Cinco de Mayo encouraging consumers to take selfies with your merchandise, such as a Cinco de Mayo cup bearing your brand name. Feel free to create a competition out of it--think creative selfies featuring the cup and the appropropriate hashtag. Give out “awards” on Cinco de Mayo, such as sending coupons or discount information for free food, drinks, products, or services. Don’t feel limited to selfies--the hashtag campaign can include anything you want so long as it’s appropriate. 

 

Party, Party, Party 

Make loyal customers feel special by throwing an exclusive Cinco de Mayo shindig. Text a special VIP code to customers who have been with your brand for years, regularly purchase certain products or services, etc. The code could function as an invite to a private party of sorts--one that includes free food and beverages, deep discounts on certain items, free trials of services, and whatver else you want to feature. A fantastic way of thanking customers for their loyalty, it’s also a way to spread the word about your brand. After all, don’t happy customers enjoy talking about favorite products and special related benefits?

 

Sales Alerts

Throwing a huge Cinco de Mayo sale? Let customers know via text. You can also send customers exclusive sales codes that guarantee discounts on the holiday. Consumers never tire of exclusive coupons and promotions, and are that much more likely to patronize your business if they know they can get something for cheap if not free. 

 

Powerful Call to Action 

Don’t let your call-to-action ruin your Cinco de Mayo mobile marketing campaign. Opt for engaging, if somewhat personal, options such as “Start Your Adventure Here” and “Celebrate Cinco de Mayo With Us By [Doing X and Y].” Whatever you decide, keep it concise and creative, and never, ever use “Click Here” and similar statements. 

These are just some of the many ways to work Cinco de Mayo into your upcoming mobile marketing campaign...

Here's Why Your Web Development Should Start with Mobile


Responsible design goes way beyond pixel measurements and assorted limitations, as it’s about deciphering the behaviors and preferences of a target audience, and meeting their needs, whether through smartphones, tablets, or websites.  

Consumer habits and expectations change depending on the device they’re using, meaning content and information must be displayed in the right way. The best option for learning about a target demographic and testing their “commitment to proper responsive build” is starting with a “mobile-first” approach. And while mobile may be the smallest of frequently-used platforms, it is still the favorite. Let’s take a deeper look at starting web development with mobile: 

Content 

When developing a brand, quality content is key. However, working through large blocks of copy and trying to find the important points gets tough, making it essential to ask the following question: What is the point I’m trying to make? Once the key theme is identified, it’s time to cut out “filler” content so the resulting post easily fits on a mobile device screen. This not only looks much better, but also makes it more readable for consumers. 

The other benefit to resizing content for mobile screens is once you’ve made the post fit, sizing it for tablets and the like is quite simple. 

Form and Function

Yes, you’re working with a smaller screen when crafting content for mobile, but that doesn’t mean it’s supposed to be anything short of engaging. Think form followed by function, and go for attention-grabbing headers and titles, visually-stunning telegraphic iconography, concise messaging, and quick yet memorable, meaningful takeaways. Create phone, tablet, and desktop “experiences” that takes user mindset into account—again, begin with mobile and go from there.

A Prime Example

A common request marketing agencies receive from clients is creating a product gallery. In terms of mobile, the gallery must be easy to swipe through so one product per swipe is featured with minimal copy. This results in a more intimate browsing experience. Image pairings are possible for tablets and desktops, or showcasing the entire product page. 

Wrap-Up 

Don’t think of mobile as far better than the other options, as each offers its own benefits. Rather, view them as complimentary. On mobile, for example, it’s easy to focus on a given element, while desktops make it possible to display an entire product line and emphasize that the brand meets the needs of a whole range of customers. It’s also possible to group products “visually, physically, or factually” in light of varying market approaches. 

The ability to solve the same issue on different devices is one that cannot be discussed enough, as it makes the ability to change content according to platform easier in the future. It also helps significantly in terms of prioritizing per device, and creating responsive designs. 

5 Mobile Marketing Tactics You Should Avoid

When something becomes commonplace, the issue of predictability follows. This is true of mobile marketing, so rather than falling victim to increasingly-stale practices, check out five mobile marketing tactics you should avoid like an infectious disease: 

 

A ‘Narrow’ Approach

Thinking of mobile marketing solely in terms of apps and the mobile web is a big no-no. Earning a spot on the app home screen is something that takes time and a heck of a lot of strategy, as consumers are all about context-aware experiences rather than basic mobile websites or subsequent advertisements. “Mobile wallet” is a great example of being context-aware, as the mobile wallet that is Apple Passbook allows users to store loyalty cards, assorted offers, and more. Saving something to a mobile wallet is less stressful than waiting for an app to download, and by assisting the consumer in some way, said consumer is more likely to engage. 

The new Messenger for Business is another fine example, as it allows brands to communicate with consumers through private chat threads. 

 

Singular Profiles

Rather than creating channel-specific databases featuring customer insights, brands need to work on single profiles of customers that utilize data from all channels. This creates an “omnichannel experience” that seamlessly moves between various touchpoints. 

 

Robots, Not Humans 

Relying on people instead of robots or automated systems for in-store support and interactive chat has become an archaic practice. Human employees get distracted, or feel ill and therefore not up to proverbial snuff. Brands must therefore focus on centralizing the rules of engagement in the cloud for customer support. For example, Lowe’s recently replaced people with robots in their stores to assist in shopper needs, such as finding products, with great success. 

 

Implicit and Explicit Intent

While marketers are contextualizing user experiences by location, they’re completely missing user implicit and explicit intent. For example, just because a man is walking through a makeup boutique doesn’t mean he should be sent a coupon for $5 off select mascaras. Understanding user intent in any given moment is imperative, as it helps brands accomplish their goals, i.e. providing the correct experience, function, or content. 

 

Interruptions

Picking and choosing the right time to “strike” is another necessary component of mobile marketing. Just because people enjoy receiving texts from friends doesn’t mean they’ll find a constantly-chirping phone fun to deal with. Showing restraint is therefore essential, and brands must resist the urge to inundate customers with offers and deals, no matter how spectacular. What they must do is find the right times to “strike,” and enjoy the rewards that follow.

Keep checking our blog - we'll be featuring more mobile marketing tactics to avoid in order to make your mobile marketing campaign run more smoothly and effectively.

How Did Smartphones Become the Dominant Mobile Device?


Unless you’ve been living under a frightfully large rock, you know the impact smartphones have had on the digital industry. Unsurprisingly the devices now make up 75% of the mobile phone market, a 10% increase from a year ago and a 73% increase from 10 years ago, according to Internet analytics firm comScore. So what brought us here? How did smartphones become the dominant mobile device in a market that's not short of choice? 

Three-quarters of Americans aged 13 or older own smartphones, with the rest using basic cellphones, such as flip phones and TracFones. The percentage of people who don’t own a cellphone at all….well, that number is so low it’s not even worth discussing.  

“If you take a look at the big picture, it’s how mobile has taken over and become the dominant platform through which people engage in digital media,” said Andrew Lipsman, vice president of marketing and insights at comScore.  

People are spending more and more time in front of digital screens despite the fact that desktop use has gone down the tubes. Still, people are glued to their screens practically all day and night, whether on their way to work, watching TV, or any other time thanks to the prevalence of smartphones and tablets.  

The positive side to this screen addiction is the ability to stay better informed and even learn a thing or two more quickly, noted Lipsman. The negative side is a bit more complicated, as new research recently released by digital technology firm Apigee in San Jose, CA and Stanford University’s Mobile Innovation Group, found a “deepening dependence” on smartphones in terms of social interaction. Dependency was most severe among smartphone users, who say they’re on their phones “nearly all the time,” including while at family dinners. 

Shockingly, 21% of smartphone users said they couldn’t sustain a relationship with a partner without their phone apps, and 19% of users said they could not make new friends without the the assistance of their devices. Younger Americans use smartphones the most (surprise, surprise), with at least 85% of citizens ages 13 to 44 owning one, according to comScore. 

The numbers decline with age: 76% of people ages 45 to 54 use smartphones, and 63% of those ages 55 to 64 use such devices. The percentage is 48% people ages 65 or older. 

Apple devices remain the most popular, as they make up 41% of the market. The company is followed by Samsung, LG, Motorola, and HTC at 29%, 8%, 5%, and 4% respectively. 

Wondering about the most popular smartphone apps? Facebook still rules them all with 70% of the market, followed by YouTube (55%), Google Play (52%), Google Search (52%), and Facebook Messenger (47%). 

What will become of the country’s addiction to mobile technology? Will smartphones continue to be the dominant mobile device of choice, or will larger screen tablets prove more suitable for the era of rich content? Only time will tell….

Mobile Marketing is Going Hyper-Local

Mobile marketing has taken huge strides towards fulfilling the potential of geo-targeting technology, allowing local businesses to make the most of their sphere of influence. The only way for geo-location techniques to go is inward, reaching ever-more specific parts of the local economy.

Mobile marketing is doing just that, placing an increasing emphasis on attracting foot traffic to brick and mortar retail outlets. The industry is now able to service international brands with bespoke campaigns in multiple locations using region-specific methods capable of targeting users to a single square foot. 

This ultimate refinement of mobile marketing tactics is a real game changer. A heady cocktail of beacons, GPS, location information gathered from existing interactions and other geolocaters is ushering in a new era of hyper-local mobile marketing so precise it’s hard to imagine how it could improve further.

Having such devastatingly effective mobile marketing tactics available at the local level is helping small businesses maximize their efficiency on tight budgets. For a relatively low cost, small businesses can quickly, reliably reach the widest audience they can serve, via a combination of in-app messaging, web ads, text messages, MMS and push notifications. 

So what next? With such sophistication already on display, where targeted mobile marketing could go now is anybody’s guess. Some mobile marketers are considering adjusting their services to allow for weather, which would let marketers better judge the prime time to pitch discounts. It might not be relevant to every business, but purveyors of ice cream or rooftop cocktails could really use knowing if it’s about to rain the moment they’ve sent their 50% discount coupon to hundreds of people. Other local data like traffic conditions may also begin to play a part in geo-location technology. 

The tools at our disposal allows imaginative approaches to marketing to flourish, unencumbered by technological limits. Nobody can say for certain what the next few years hold for mobile marketing - that’s why it’s so exciting. But if the rapid rate of change we’ve seen take place over the past decade continues, we can be confident that the mobile landscape of 2025 will look very different to the one we see today.

Using Data to Improve Your Mobile Strategy

Looking to enhance your mobile marketing strategy? Who isn’t these days? Thinking well beyond app downloads is the first step to fine-tuning your strategy, as a data-led, “moneyball” approach to mobile is a viable (and arguably the best) route to success. Check out a few moneyball indicators to help you rethink current mobile marketing strategies: 

 

Brand Reputation 

These days, mobile is the main source of interaction between you and your customers, so failing to treat it as such is not going to help pique consumer interest. Think about the overall perception of your apps, trending topics and wants in customer reviews, app reliability, and whether or not customers are using the app features you’ve designed. Gather this information and use it to craft a mobile-first marketing strategy. 

 

Competitive Intelligence

Knowing exactly where your brand falls on the competitive landscape is essential, as it helps you understand what is and is not working for you, and to make adjustments accordingly. Compare your brand to competitors in terms of mobile, especially in regards to marketing efforts, visibility, sentiment, and promotion. 

 

Customer Engagement 

The “holy grail” of mobile app engagement is the ability to give customers exactly what they want, when and where they want it. Today’s mobile analytics combined with intelligent marketing makes this possible, and studying the right KPIs is the best way to ensure proper engagement. KPIs include how different users engage the app, such as how often and how much time they actually spent on it. Also keep a close eye on push notification opt-outs, how often your users adhere to predefined conversion goals, and how many times the app is uninstalled. 

 

Mobile Moments

A fantastic mobile strategy goes beyond customer engagement, as the main point is monetizing “mobile moments.” Finding the balance between engagement and encouraging consumers to take action means using certain indicators to test marketing efforts, including whether customers are purchasing your products, if they’re becoming advocates of your brand, and whether they are currently part of your ongoing sales cycle. 

 

Investing

According to the Mobile Marketing Association, brands need to invest 25-30% of their marketing budget in mobile marketing if they truly want their brands to become household names. A strategic investment in mobile marketing is therefore necessary in order to ensure the aforementioned indicators happen. Invest wisely, use the above metrics, and take advantage of mobile moments, aka “game changers.” 

Has Mobile Marketing Become a Technical Profession?


These days, extensive technical expertise is required for any company to enjoy marketing success. Mobile attribution, or discovering how a mobile user found out about and signed up for an app or service, is considered a technically-challenging task. It’s also one that has had a serious impact on how companies approach marketing. 

Doug Milliken, the vice president of global brand marketing at Clorox, remarked in a panel at VentureBeat’s Mobile Summit that mobile marketing has become a “technical discipline.” The session was moderated by Ashu Garg, general partner of venture firm Foundation Capital. 

Milliken referred to another CEO with a technical background who enlightened him about this shift in marketing. 

“It’s an important insight,” he said. “It’s a huge period of innovation, the greatest period of innovation in the history of the profession. And it’s all being done by computer scientists and engineers,” adding that “deep expertise” is required for success as a marketer.  

Today’s marketers must now analyze and deal with sizable data sets, and subsequently link together automated platforms so as to run mobile marketing campaigns in real time.  

Jeremy Wacksman, vice president of marketing at online real estate site Zillow, agrees that understanding the technical side of mobile marketing is essential. The site receives 90 million visitors per month, with company heads spending some $75 to $100 million a year on building an audience. Since 75% of Zillow users now come in via mobile, the company has more economists and data scientists than performance marketers. Wackman says what marketing efforts are driving users to their app is challenging.

Clorox, in comparison, spent $10 million to $20 million a year on marketing, and while perfecting campaign strategies was once a top priority, “good enough” campaigns are now considered the norm. 

“You optimize it as you go,” Milliken said. “That’s a very hard thing to do. But now we add in the cost of delay. You may lose hundreds of thousands of profit if you delay a month. So good enough is better. We’re a younger company, and the market is you test. If you are wrong, you make a change. But you learn a lot faster.”  

Milliken added that real-time strategic marketing is now the company’s focus. 

Marketing used to be about print campaigns, such as those featured in magazines, newspapers, mailers, and billboards. Now it’s all about mobile devices, as the information people want about brands and services are merely a screen touch away. Figuring out new ways to encourage people to use apps and visit mobile websites is marketing’s future. 

Six of the Best: Customized Text Message Keyboards


Android users have historically enjoyed the better deal in terms of smartphone keyboard options. However, Apple’s iOS 8 update means iPhones now support third-party keyboards, something sure to make Apple fans happy. Check out six of the best third-party, customized text message keyboards available today:  

Swype

The keyboard for those who like to type, er, swipe, extra-fast, Swype predicts words when users move their fingers across the screen to connect with different letters in “one continuous motion.” Users may input up to 40 characters per minute using this keyboard, which costs 99 cents on the App Store. 

Kids Keys

This customized keyboard is perfect for parents with children who commandeer their mobile devices. It comes with seven different themes sure to entertain little ones, including polka dots, tricks, monsters, and letters and numbers, and is $2.99 on the App Store. 

 

SwiftKey

The people of SwiftKey are also the team responsible for Stephen Hawking’s communication system. An ultra-smart keyboard that adapts to how you type, it remembers consistent typos and corrects them. The keyboard also learns what emojis you like and how you use them, and allows you to type bilingual messages. It includes a swipe flow feature similar to the one Swype employs as well. SwiftKey is free.

ScribbleBoard 

A custom keyboard for those who want to express themselves with more than words every now and then, ScribbleBoard allows you to “draw your feelings.” It offers a rainbow of colors and swatches for doodling, and you can also copy and paste your drawings into chat sessions. It costs 99 cents on the App Store.  

PopKey 

The perfect custom keyboard for those who enjoy adding GIFs to every text they send, PopKey allows you to pick from hundreds of options within your keyboard rather than switching to your mobile browser or another app. It also lets you store your favorites for easy access. The app is free. 

SNL

If you’re a huge Saturday Night Live fan, you’ll love this SNL emoji keyboard. Add emojis of favorite characters to text messages, such as Stefon, Gilly, Hanz and Franz, Cone Heads, and many more. The app features a keyboard add-on, and is also free. 

Whether you’re looking to add a bit more flavor to text messages or you simply want a practical option that suits your needs, check out the above and other super-cool customized text message keyboards. 

Mobile Marketing is 'Next Big Thing' Says Mediacom Boss


The fundamental differences between mobile marketing automation and web marketing automation must be thoroughly understood by marketers so they can provide a great user experience “across all touchpoints.” This according to Ben Phillips, Mediacom’s head of mobile, in a recent interview with The Drum

While advertisers have pushed automated content on mobile devices for awhile now, an ambiguous view of how people switch between platforms has marred efforts. A form of mobile automated marketing that “goes beyond” the standard mobile app is set to become more ubiquitous as proximity triggers and push notifications increase in use.  

Phillips emphasizes the notion that mobile is no longer limited to phones, and that brands must take this into consideration. He notes the most successful advertisers are those who have designed creative mobile strategies first and “appreciate how their audience chooses to engage with them and provides the correct response.” In retail, for example, it’s a good idea to connect the experience with CRM, and personalize ads with relevant context rather than pushing random ads to shoppers as they browse aisles.  

The Mediacom boss also notes the role creativity will play in automated mobile marketing, “as many brands start to build 'mobile first' content that is relevant to the consumer regardless of point of engagement. Automated mobile marketing will enable deeper CRM learnings and processes that lead brands to a more personal one-to-one dialogue with their consumers.”

Audience data is essential to craft personalized dialogue with customers, and Phillips predicts “the race this year will be to obtain a persistent tracking identifier for an individual across platforms. By this I don’t just mean mobile and desktop, we need to be able to verify individuals against wearable devices, a smart TV a connected car and internet of things.”

Brands must step up their automated mobile marketing game and fully understand the wide spectrum that is mobile. Medicom is arguably ahead of the game, as the company is working on partnerships similar to its relationship with advertising technology platform Celtra. This means Medicom can create rich media ad units for both desktop and mobile.

“I believe [brands] aren’t doing enough because they aren’t being directed, taught or educated in the right way,” remarked Phillips. “Our industry will begin to consolidate and roll up into digital within the next year. The 'systems' lead thinking approach will win out as it becomes ever more apparent that mobile sits in every marketing and advertising discipline and not as a siloed specialist function.”

The consumer is at the heart of any mobile strategy, so focusing on a well-rounded marketing ploy that includes multiple platform and advertising options is key. Phillips is correct in recommending brands determine how their audience opts to engage them, and to build a mobile marketing strategy from there. The companies that take advantage of this idea are the ones who will figuratively blow competition out of the water in the next few years. 

Mobile Marketing Tactics for Realtors


Mobile marketing tactics for realtors come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they should always include text message marketing, as this channel provides so many opportunities for real estate professionals to grow their business. Let’s check out a few SMS marketing ideas and other mobile marketing tactics that realtors might add to their overall advertising strategy: 

 

Specific Property Listing Upon Request 

The ability to instantly send specific property information at any time is a huge asset to any real estate marketing strategy. Set it up so information goes out automatically or at your discretion, though keep in mind that sending texts early morning and late at night will likely irritate potential leads. 

 

Mass Text Messaging Campaigns

Text messaging makes it easy to launch mass campaigns from your own device using web-based software. Messaging and contact lists are available and ready for use whenever you are, something of vital importance if you’re an agent who’s constantly on the move. 

 

Lead Generation Streamlining 

Streamlining the lead generation process is yet another mobile marketing benefit for realtors. It not only allows you to spend less time and money attracting customers, but also makes it easy to engage new leads. 

 

Mobile Database Generation

Use text messaging to easily generate a mobile database of home buyers you can contact about new property listings in the future. Collecting SMS details makes keeping in touch with clients simple, it’s an ideal way to obtain referrals, and it's one of the fundamentals of mobile marketing tactics for realtors.

 

Money Saved

This real estate marketing strategy saves you money on printing costs and classified ads. Forget sending paper—texting is a very “green” practice in addition to being inexpensive. 

 

Appointment Reminders

The appointment reminder feature available through SMS is another benefit you’ll want to take full advantage of. Send clients and leads reminders concerning meetings and showings, as well as open houses. Doing so can rekindle interest in certain properties, and also demonstrates your professionalism and attention to detail. 

 

SMS Keywords and For Sale Signs 

Your For Sale sign should be working for you, right? List an SMS keyword on the sign so people can instantly text and receive an automated response when they drive by. Include your very best sales pitch, along with the best way to contact you. Potential leads sending texts to short codes also means they’ve opted into your marketing list for future contact. 

 

Multiple Agents, One Account 

Including multiple agents on one account makes certain everyone on your team is one the same page in terms of messaging and branding. While everyone can enjoy their own lists and permissions, the client receives content from a central location. This is extremely helpful if working at a large firm with dozens of agents. 

Text messaging is a fantastic platform for sending relevant information, latest listings, referral incentives, and a number of other important client engagement strategies for real estate professionals. If you haven’t already implemented SMS into your promotional strategy, it might just be time to find out how well these mobile marketing tactics for realtors can work.

How Do My Customers Use Mobile?


In order to develop a highly-effective mobile marketing campaign, you must first understand how audiences, specifically your audience, interacts with mobile technology. Ask yourself the following essential questions and gain invaluable insight into consumer mobile habits: 

How Do My Customers Use Mobile? 

Utilize analytics to determine how your target audience is using mobile. Are they using tablets or smartphones? Android or iOS? Are there certain times of day they shop the most, whether in store or online? Which mobile advertising tactic is therefore the best option? Once you discover exactly how your target customer base is using mobile, you can develop a customized marketing strategy to reach them through the most effective channel.  

Who Are My Competitors?

You and your entire team should download competitor apps and learn how they keep their customers engaged. This provides ideas, and otherwise helps you understand what’s working for other players in the space. Once you know what’s working (and what’s not), you’ll be better equipped to devise a plan that eclipses them. 

What is the Cost Per Download? 

Knowing the cost per download (or per customer acquisition) while launching your app is important when it comes to budgeting. Development is just one side of the coin. The financials also have to make sense when devising a proper price point.

Should I Use In-App Advertising? 

Popular apps such as Twitter allow in-app advertising and mobile advertising. This is an effective way to market your app or business to the masses, but it’s important to choose well-known and relevant apps that make sense for your consumer base.  

What About Social Media?

Mobile social media platforms are another efficient, effective marketing option, and one that offers near-immediate access to app downloads and web site conversions. 

Apps versus Mobile Sites?

At this juncture, consumers tend to favor apps over mobile sites, such as social media, email, and news apps. A mobile-friendly website is still a good idea, however, whether or not your company offers an app. 

Location-based Advertising?

If you haven’t jumped on the location-based advertising bandwagon yet, now is the time. With the massive proliferation of mobile phone use, location-based mobile marketing presents a highly-efficient way to attract new customers while keeping current ones engaged. Experiment with geo-fences and iBeacons, and craft marketing interactions with users as they enter or leave stores. Whether it’s sending suggestions, exclusive coupons, information about daily promotions, or anything else relevant to your brand and consumer base, it’s definitely a good idea to try location-based advertising via mobile web and text marketing. 

Do a little research through trial runs before committing to one or several mobile marketing strategies. Without knowing what your customers are after, you’ll be hard-pressed to create a mobile marketing campaign that works. 

Why Mobile Shopping Apps are Less Popular Than You Think

Mobile shopping apps may be the latest buzz in the mobile marketing realm, but user behavior presents a different story. Consumers are all about convenience and exceptional customer service, and aren’t finding much help from mobile shopping apps at present. Apple is one company hoping to change that. 

So why are mobile shopping apps less popular than you think? Many of them take too long. Simply going to the store to make purchases is still considered the faster, more efficient option by many consumers. Users also believe in-app shopping doesn’t help “get past checkout” any quicker, so again speed is a huge factor.  

Having to “leave the app” to obtain shopping assistance also contributes to mobile shopping apps’ lack of popularity. One in four shoppers are likely to abandon their purchase and the brand entirely when this occurs, because the app is simply too complicated to deal with.

"You would never consider creating a shopping experience where a customer would have to completely leave the showroom floor to get assistance," says John Hibel, director of marketing at Contact Solutions. "That would be a horrible customer experience, and you know it would jeopardize sales. In the same way, you should never consider building a mobile shopping app that forces the customer to leave to app to get assistance."  

The lack of useful discounts and coupons is another mobile shopping app complaint, as 54% of shoppers in a recent survey noted such perks would significantly increase their interest in mobile shopping apps. 

So how to make mobile shopping apps more user-friendly? Apple might have the solution, at least in regards to the payment issue. The tech giant launched Apple Pay in the fall of 2014, and promised a secure, much faster digital platform for purchasing anything and everything, both in-store and online. Supposedly safer than checking out via debit and credit cards, the app is expected to have an “immediate impact” on mobile shopping. 

Consumers do the majority of their mobile shopping in the comfort of their homes, and are hankering for easier, more effective ways of shopping with various personal devices. 

"Mobile commerce is growing rapidly, and there’s an amazing race going on to win customer mindshare in the mobile moments that matter," Hibel notes. "Most consumers have a handful of apps they use frequently, and the rest get used rarely or just sit idle and forgotten. You want to do everything you can to be one of those frequently used, top- of -mind apps. To do that you’ve got to find ways to make your app sticky and get your customers to engage with it regularly."

Here's how to Get a Slice of the Mobile Pie


A mobile marketing campaign is no longer separate from the rest of a business’ overall advertising strategy; rather it is a fundamental part of both marketing and the shopping experience, whether in store or at home. Retailers are subsequently shifting the way they think about mobile, and are looking to satisfy customers’ digital needs in every way possible. According to Deloitte, more than $500 billion in sales is driven by mobile content--so how to capitalize on this market, even if a newbie? 

 

A Fantastic Example

Starbucks is a fine example of mobile advertisement capitalization, as the company jumped on the mobile bandwagon while other businesses were dismissing it. The coffee connoisseurs created the Starbucks App, which allowed its mobile-friendly customer base to enjoy the perks of a rewards program by ordering ahead. Ease of payment is always attractive, and the app works on the majority of smartphones. 

By going on the mobile offensive, Starbucks is generating some $6 million in mobile transactions each week. Quick service restaurants, pharmacies, gas stations, and grocery stores could also benefit from app-related payment and reward options. 

 

Guarding Mobile-Influenced Consumers

If starting with a mobile marketing campaign, the first thing you’ll want to do is examine your current customer base. Learn when your customers are utilizing their mobile phones the most to make purchases, and send them relevant, personalized content they can use at particular times. Think about why consumers are on their phones in relation to your business, and ensure your brand is giving them what they want when they want it. Push notifications and location-based text marketing triggers are two great places to start. 

 

Attracting Competitor Costumers

Another way to capitalize on mobile marketing is to provide competitor customers with offers designed specifically for them. Location-based tactics are a great way to do this, and they allow you to combine targeted mobile advertising with appealing mobile wallets. Convenience and customer service can be enough to win new clients who are already using competitors’ products. 

 

Becoming a “Bigwig” in the Mobile World 

When making a name for your business in the mobile space, tackle the project from every angle. Create multi-channel campaigns across mobile, web, email, and in-person. Engaging, customized mobile wallet experiences and attracting customers via personalized text advertisements and push notifications are valuable strategies. The idea is to maintain current customer interest while finding opportunities to obtain competitor market share, and this takes a multifaceted approach. 

Follow companies who have made the most of a good mobile marketing campaign and learn from their example. You might discover a whole new platform for your business…and a brand new pool of potential customers. 

5 Mobile Marketing Lovebombs for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day might be harvest time for the jewelers, florists and chocolatiers of this world, but almost every industry can tweak its marketing strategy to take advantage of the holiday which, after Christmas, sees more spending than any other. 

According to recent research from the National Retail Foundation, Valentine spending will go up 13% from last year, and much of that revenue will come from smartphones and tablets, with mobile coupons and special offers playing a significant role. To give your mobile marketing strategy some heart-shaped oomph this year, try these six ideas to help your audience get engaged in more ways than one!

 

1) ‘Bring a Partner’ Discounts

For Valentine’s-themed mobile coupons, why not offer a 2-for-1 deal? Intuitively suitable for restaurants, spas, hotels, mobile coupons can drive traffic to virtually any type of business.

 

2) Social Media Makeover

In the run up to the big day, overhaul your social media presence to give off a hearts ’n’ flowers vibe. Facebook should be a primarily visual medium, so focus on creating strong images with a lovelorn bent (a themed variation of your logo is a good start). Humor is key, as it makes your posts more shareable, so if you can find a way to poke fun at the holiday whilst invoking its warm center, you’ve hit the Valentine’s mobile marketing jackpot. Whatever you do, social media should be front and center of your mobile marketing strategy.

 

3) Dedicated Microsite 

To reinforce your Valentine’s Day message, create a separate landing page or microsite. Forget about using it as a direct sales channel. Instead, hand it over to your most creative people to showcase their talents. Run a themed competition such as a Saint Valentine quiz with a romantic vacation as the prize. A separate site provides a chance to amplify the themed design elements and show your customers you’re serious about whatever Valentine offers you’re making. Plus, the SEO value of a dedicated holiday site is huge. If it works, use the same tactic for July 4, Thanksgiving and any other national holiday you can make use of.

 

4) Be Ready for ‘the Last Minute-men’

In 2013, Adobe found that spending on gifts steadily increased throughout January and early February, but spiked during the last five days before the 14th. Much like at Christmas, there’s a significant portion of consumers who leave their Valentine’s shopping until the last minute, so pushing last minute mobile coupons and other mobile marketing tactics can really pay off. And with Valentine’s Day falling on a Saturday, the ‘last minute’ effect promises to be even greater this year.

 

5) Originality Breeds Attention

Ok, so this applies to all mobile marketing tactics, irrespective of the time of year, but if your strategy has been lacking in originality, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to try something fresh for Q1. Encourage user engagement by asking them to share love stories, or take a leaf out of Tiffany’s book and try something along the lines of their ‘Concierge of Love’ campaign. If you have the resources to create a Valentine’s app with your original idea, go for it - you can resurrect it every year to maximize your ROI.

Whichever mobile marketing strategy you adopt, be sure to combine your approaches in a creative, engaging fashion. Give your mobile marketing strategy some love this Valentine’s Day and your bottom line will come up smelling of roses.

Twitter Buys Indian Mobile Marketing Startup

If you’re in mobile marketing, your message might just be the next big thing in India, all thanks to a rather famous microblogging site’s ambitious investment abroad. Last week, Twitter purchased a startup corporation in India, called Zipdial.  

Indicative of the current ubiquitous nature of mobile phones and the decrease in their manufacturing costs, India has grown to one of the largest users of mobile phones worldwide. But the country has yet to get fully connected to the internet via mobile technology. Many people still use the mobile internet on a pay-per-site basis, with fewer than 40% of the populace having any kind of mobile internet access.

Zipdial, however, has revolutionized advertising for the burgeoning economy of the developing country. The startup allows its users to call a business’ phone number, then simply hang up. The business then registers the incoming phone number and responds with free text messages, app notifications, and even voice calls with advertisements.

This method of advertising has been dubbed “missed call” marketing. It allows users of Zipdial to receive advertisements from businesses they are interested in without having an internet connection. And best of all, there is no mobile cost to the consumer for receiving these ads. It's an effective way in, providing solutions in places many mobile marketing campaigns cannot reach.

So why is Twitter so interested in India? Because it is now one of the most rapidly growing mobile markets in the world. As cited last week in a Mobile Marketing Watch article, the Internet & Mobile Association of India and IMRB International report that the mobile internet industry of India has had unprecedented growth in 2014 – and 2015 is on par to surpass even that. Mobile internet growth increased over 25% in all of 2014, and is forecasted to grow another 23% in just the first half of 2015. Also reported in the article, rural use of mobile phones in India is expected to grow another 18%.

Zipdial boasts that its campaigns have reached nearly 60 million users, and the company is run by just over 50 employees. Mobile journalists have predicted that this technology will be effective in other countries as well, like Brazil and Indonesia. And according to reporters, these markets are key for Twitter, as 77% of Twitter’s monthly active users hail from outside the United States.

Twitter did not disclose how much they paid for the firm. But this purchase certainly exemplifies the notion that mobile technology and text marketing are proliferating immensely throughout the developing world. 

New App Puts Contacts in Context


Last week saw the launch of an app that aims to to bring contextual information to existing messaging platforms. 

Rather than offering yet another variation on the seemingly endless array of messaging apps available, Blinq augments the apps people already have. Appearing as nothing more than a small white dot, Blinq subtly makes its presence felt within the interface of messaging apps like Facebook, Whatsapp and SMS. From there, it alerts you to incoming information on the person with whom you’re communicating by pulling data from a variety of social and business networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. The app prioritizes this information, only alerting you to the more important updates (favoring, say, the beginning of a new job over the latest Instagram snap of breakfast).

It’s a brilliant solution to the problems caused by the multi-platform, multi-site web presence that’s now standard for many individuals. It gives you quick access to information on a person, when you need it. If, for example, a potential business partner calls you and you can’t quite recall every detail needed to avoid embarrassment, Blinq throws you a few bones to help you construct a full skeleton of their online identity. 

The app has been launched primarily as a consumer product - but the potential as a CRM tool for businesses are obvious. Other aggregator software already performs similar tasks for email exchanges - Blinq simply brings mobile in line. As a mobile marketing tool for small businesses, Blink could provide an affordable, effective solution for keeping track of customers and providing the best, most personalized service possible. 

Only available on Android right now, the developers plan to bring Blinq to iOS in the future. To do that, they have to create a more standalone experience than the one available on Android. But with half a million already raised by investors, and the product now available for perusal, Blinq hopes to expand its operation and bring the security and reassurance of contextual communication to more people.

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