Mobile Marketing 101

5 Mobile Marketing Don’ts

More and more small businesses are catching on to the manifold benefits of mobile marketing, and 84% of companies that adopt a mobile marketing strategy report an upsurge in sales.

With so many new players in the game, rookie mistakes are inevitable. If you want to avoid some of the more common errors made by mobile marketing newbies, read our top five fails so you know what not to do…

Blocking Mobile Traffic

This is surprisingly common. There’s some kind of screwy logic at play: businesses think that just because they don’t have a mobile version of their site, they should block mobile traffic altogether. Bad idea. Something is better than nothing, and smartphone users are getting increasingly nimble at navigating non-mobile sites on their devices, so don’t cut yourself off from a potentially huge audience.

Failing to Optimize for Mobile Search

That said, you really should be working towards having a fully optimized mobile version of your site, searchable on a mobile phone. Remember, people search very differently on a portable device than they do on a desktop. You can’t simply transfer the keywords you target on desktop browsers to mobile. People tend to search for brands and precise names and locations on mobile, because they’re on the move and have a specific destination in mind. Their searches are also more likely to be location-based. The addendum ‘near me’ is a common prompt in mobile browsers – use it to your advantage. Bear in mind too that long tail key terms like your industry + town/city are much cheaper and easier to rank for, so you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you fail to target them in favor of the big keywords.

Omitting Contact Information

It’s surprising how many people fail to put their address on the homepage. It needs to be easy to spot, and attached to an embedded Google maps link to help them find your store. Similarly, your phone number should be prominently featured and a clickable link. The fewer steps it takes consumers to contact you, the more likely they are to do so.

User Unfriendly Apps

Everyone’s chasing the glitzy prize of their very own app. Problem is, the market is now glutted with sup-par apps that don’t really help anyone. Contrary to our earlier assertion that ‘something is better than nothing’, ill-thought-through apps don’t count. An app download is a much bigger ask of consumers than a quick visit to your website. Unless you’re part of a major organization with the clout and budget to build a good app that works across multiple devices, skip it.

QR Codes

No. They seem attractive because they’re free, but they’ve been ruined by poor execution on the part of many, many businesses. Consumer faith in QR codes has plummeted, and they are now little more than odd relics of the late noughties cluttering up billboards and lampposts around the world. Unless you’ve got some compelling new twist on the concept, leave the QR codes in the past where they belong.

10 Fun Facts About Texting:


For many of us, being apart from our phones is almost enough to cause a panic attack. The “funeral selfie” Instagram, for instance, is the ultimate testament to just how attached people are to using their mobile devices at all times. Is there such a thing as an appropriate and inappropriate time and place to use our phones? For example, when and where is text messaging appropriate, and how are people's views on cell phone etiquette changing? What else can we learn about human behavior through a closer look at these small devices?

Here are some fun facts you may not have known about texting:

1) Remember back when phones were these devices we spoke into? As text messaging has become more commonplace,the amount of time people spend actually talking on their phones has dropped. The average cell phone conversation was 3.13 minutes in 2007 but had dropped to 2.03 minutes two years later.

2) Many parents today are banning phone use at the dinner table. Nearly half of texters under the age of 25 thinktexting while eating is acceptable, compared to just over a quarter of those over 25. Almost a quarter of these younger texters say texting while using the bathroom is okay, too, while only half as many adults over 25 agree.

Is nothing sacred, you ask? Well, luckily only 6% of surveyed texters over the age of 25 considered texting during sexacceptable, but 10% of texters under 25 are apparently taking the idea of “multitasking” to a whole new level.

3) Just how many texts are these youngsters sending, you ask? Teens on average send about 10 texts per hour during the day, which is around 3,000 texts per month. Young people still haven't figured out how to text in their sleep, however.

4) Another thing about those messages the kids are sending: Sorry to break it to you, Mom and Dad, but 1 teen in 5 is “sexting.”

5) Mom and Dad shouldn't be too shocked, however, considering that 28% of parents have sent sexual messages or photos of themselves, too.

6) When it comes to texting in general (not just sexting), most English-speaking adults are pretty much up to speed, with 72% using text messaging. Broken down by ethnicity, Hispanics have the highest percent of text-savvy adults (83%). Black adults come in second at 79%, and white adults come in at 68%.

7) When young adults are taken into account, it's almost impossible to find one who doesn't text. 95% of 18 to 29 year olds are texters.

8) By the year 2009, U.S. mobile phone users were sending about 4.1 billion text messages a day. That's the equivalent of 17 messages per day for every person in the U.S. who has a data-capable phone.

9) Studies show that trying to read or write texts while doing important tasks slows down our reaction time to that of a 70 year old. Please play it safe, everyone, and put the phones away while operating machinery or driving!

10) Ever wonder why the text message was originally limited to 160 characters? That number is based on a 1985 study concluding that messages on postcards were nearly always less than 150 characters and that sentences in general were usually fewer than 160.

Cell phones may not have existed back in 1985, but these mobile devices were invented by humans, for humans. Whether they bring out the worst or best in us remains to be settled. Armed with cell phones or not, people are still people, eccentricities and all.

Make Your Mobile Marketing Campaign Into a Game to Boost Sales


Successful mobile marketing campaigns today are capitalizing on the universal appeal and power of gaming as a great way to boost customer interaction and thus drive sales. The drive to play and compete is a part of human nature. People crave the thrilling adrenalin rush that comes along with trying to beat an opponent. The popularity of gaming apps like Angry Birds is a testament to just how universal that craving is. Consumers spend an average of two hours every day on apps, including games. 

Engaged Consumers Make More Purchases

In mobile markeint, gameification means creating messages that employ elements of fun and play to entertain members or customers. When consumers are entertained, they become a “fan” of the brand and thus more likely to make a purchase. Fun can blur the line between entertainment and marketing, making the engagement experience more compelling for consumers as they aim to defeat opponents or surpass challenging obstacles. The rush of pride and accomplishment that comes from play can directly affect mood and general brand perception.

The success of Verizon Wireless's revamped customer social hub, Verizon Insider, is a perfect example of how marketers can get more from their mobile marketing campaigns through gamification. In 2012, Verizon set out with the goal of increasing customer interaction. Through its gaming campaign, Verizon Insider users earned points and rewards in several ways, including contest participation that allowed players to post their scores on the company's Facebook and Twitter feeds. Just a few months after the campaign's launch, these users were already spending 30% more time on the Verizon Insider site, with page views up by 15%. Verizon's campaign shows that gamification works.

Analytics Drives Purchasing

Marketers hoping to boost brand awareness and/or increase sales should start by analyzing their mobile messaging. A/B split testing and re-targeting are action techniques that help marketers get the most out of their campaign efforts.

For an example of how this type of split testing and re-targeting might work, one can imagine movie fans receiving quiz questions via MMS. Not only do high scoring quiz-takers experience the thrill of victory; these consumers also receive a significant discount on tickets to the upcoming sequel.In addition, they are encouraged to post their scores via social media, sharing the campaign's message with their friends.

During this first phase of the MMS marketing campaign, the company sends two different versions of the message to various consumer groups, testing to see which wording results in higher conversion rates and in what demographic brackets. After the first round of texts, the company then re-targets, sending alternate messages to customers who didn’t respond to the first one. Consumers are targeted with an additional call to action and perhaps an even a bigger discount, increasing their likelihood of conversion. After analyzing the results, the marketers have a solid idea of what works and whom it works with.

Upping the Game

Gamification in mobile marketing has become a major topic of discussion, and its use is only gaining momentum. Regardless of how much fun consumers are having, however, the importance of testing a gaming campaign's messaging is essential if marketers are going to come out ahead and maximize their ROI. For companies, after all, the endgame is always the bottom line.

Keeping Your Reputation in Check


Reputation management is a key part of any comprehensive marketing campaign. Where more traditional marketing techniques actively promote your business, reputation management attempts to stem any negative feedback or outright calumny that may haunt your online presence.

When you think about how easy it is to go online and spread false or ill-founded information about an individual or a business, it becomes obvious why reputation marketing is so invaluable. To wit, an example:

Joe Pubblico runs a small chain of Italian restaurants. They are well regarded throughout the local area, and even attract visitors from far-off places. The food is fantastic, and the ad campaign is well executed. Their mobile marketing strategy includes regular discounts (and discounts for regulars!) and they let people know about special offers via SMS messaging.

For a mid-priced franchise, Pubblico’s is about as good as it gets. The notices on Yelp, GrubHub and other culinary user review sites are all excellent. Trouble is, Joe has a personal falling out with an old friend. It’s nothing to do with business, and the restaurants continue the same high level of service their customers have gotten used to. But Joe’s ex-friend holds a grudge, and has a lot of time on his hands. Using different names, he leaves multiple bad reviews on the aforementioned sites in which he claims Joe’s outlets offer poor service, worse food, and have a problem with pests.

After years of building his business, investing money in SMS messaging and online mobile marketing campaigns, Joe is threatened with ruin by these defamatory claims. While it may be time consuming and ultimately pointless to pursue the removal of anonymous reviews, one thing Joe can do is generate his own good publicity online. If executed in the right way, a reputation marketing campaign will serve to push down the negative reviews and leave only the fair reviews.

SMS messaging can play a part in this reputation restoration. After all, Joe has a long, loyal list of contacts whom he can reach out to, either to ask for online support, or simply to warn them of the defamation that’s going on regarding his business.

However Joe does it, the bottom line is this: great reviews convert new customers, bad reviews put them off. Studies have shown that more than 70% of potential customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. For small business owners, developing a five star reputation through SMS messaging and other forms of mobile marketing is the hardest thing they need to do - but keeping that reputation doesn’t necessarily come easy.

 

Emergency Text Message Alerts Come to Richardson, TX


In the event of an emergency, reaching help as quickly as possible can make all the difference when it comes to saving people’s lives. This is why many public agencies today support text-to-911 availability. Richardson, a city in North Texas, is just one of the latest places in the United States to embrace the use of emergency mobile text message alerts. Individuals in Richardson can now contact 911 from any device, any time, day or night. 

While there may be some who still prefer to make a phone call in the event of an emergency, law enforcement officials are in favor of the new text messaging system for several reasons:

Texting in an Emergency May be Safer

Emergency operators and 911 workers have pointed out that in certain dangerous situations, texting could be the only life-saving option. For instance, if the person trying to reach 911 needs to hide for his or her own safety, then talking on the phone could prove to be extremely dangerous, whereas texting can silently ensure that help is on the way.

Emergency Text Messaging for Individuals with Hearing Impairment

While deaf and hearing impaired individuals may reach 911 through TTY/TDD relay services, the unfortunate truth is that using such a system adds potentially life-threatening minutes to the time it takes to respond to emergencies. Andrew Phillips, who is an attorney for the National Association of the Deaf, says that there are unfortunate cases in which individuals with hearing impairment have had difficulty getting help quickly. This has been especially true on mobile devices, which are often better suited for texting.

Texting Capabilities and Public Expectations

The fact that smartphones today are in reality multimedia devices, allowing users to attach photos or videos that they've captured, for instance, means that mobile messaging has incredible potential as a crime-solving tool. Thanks to the new emergency text messaging initiative, it is hoped that emergency agencies in Richardson, TX and elsewhere will soon begin receiving essential photo and video data in addition to texted information about what is occurring and where.

The truth is that more and more people, especially younger individuals, expect to be able to communicate via text, regardless of what the context may be. Texting, rather than making a phone call, has increasingly become the public's first instinct, and North Texas and other areas of the country are beginning to respond to this demand. While some Richardson area public safety agencies still lack the technology for this texting system, plans to upgrade are already underway.

Logistics and Making it Work

While T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless are currently the only carriers that have made the upgrades necessary for sending text messages to 911, AT&T is also making progress on similar upgrades; and Richardson's system is expected to be fully operational this summer. Once it is running, 911 call-takers will be able to receive texts and respond from their computers, asking mobile users the same questions they would ask when receiving emergency phone calls.

It will likely take some time for many local residents to get used to having text-to-911 as an option. However, emergency call workers and public safety experts believe that once people have heard local success stories, texting to 911 will become a commonly used and significant life-saving tool.

When to Use 'Textese' in SMS Marketing

“Textese” may be convenient and even fun some of the time, but in most cases it should not be used in SMS text marketing.

“Textese” Eliminates Extra Words at the Risk of Also Eliminating Customers

Unfortunately, while it is true that SMS texts are short and it may therefore be tempting to use abbreviations like “R U” in text marketing messages, if you end up losing business as a result then the last “LOL” may be on your company. After all, an opted-in SMS text message audience can be a hard-earned goldmine when one considers that almost one hundred percent of material sent via SMS text messaging gets opened, read, and, in many cases, acted upon.

For most businesses, however, so-called “textese” acronyms, such as the ever-popular “OMG,” are probably completely outside the normal tone  used to communicate with clients. Trying to sound “cool” or “hip” is not worth the feeling of dissonance that you may create for many of your otherwise longstanding and loyal customers. If you feel tempted to use “textese” merely in order to save space, on the other hand, you should consider writing a shorter text message that will instead lead customers to a landing page that gives more detail about your product or service.

Making What “U R” Saying Perfectly Clear

In addition to the risk of alienating recipients by using a tone that sounds out of character for your brand, there's also a high risk that the consumer who receives the message will literally have no idea what your message even means. WhileSMS text messaging has gained great popularity, with almost one hundred million people now using text messages, the fact is that half of those users are above the age of twenty-five and are therefore not necessarily up on the latest in textese. In fact, more than half of these users fully acknowledge their utter lack of fluency in textese. That's why the rule of thumb is, for most SMS text message marketing campaigns, when in doubt, leave the textese out.

A Few Exceptions

There are some exceptions, however. For marketing campaigns that are based around the concept or practice of texting itself, there are many clever ways to employ “textese” with an audience that you can be sure will follow what you're trying to communicate and will be on the same page with you as far as the tone is concerned. And, of course, when your target audience is that under-twenty-five demographic, textese can be a perfect way of communicating the feeling of young, irreverent fun and energy. For instance, textese may hit just the right note for the clubbing industry, events, parties, etc.

In all cases, keep in mind just how casual the tone of “textese” – curse words and all – really is. Be certain that you, yourself, know what all of those letters in that acronym actually stand for; if you're not a hundred percent certain that your audience will be okay with all of those words, then don't take the risk.

How to Create an Intuitive Interface


When someone refers to an ‘intuitive interface’ they really mean a program that they intuit easily. Computer programs can’t intuit anything. The widespread use of the term reflects an appropriately anthropocentric view of the technology that we did, after all, design and build in the first place. So now we’ve thrown some grist into the pedants’ mill, let’s concede that ‘intuitive interface’ is the commonly understood expression. But what does it refer to, exactly? How can we measure which interfaces feel intuitive to users and which don’t?

The key questions to ask of the people using your interface are:

 

  • What do they already know?
  • What do they need to know?

Imagine someone comes to use your interface for the very first time. If what they already know is all they need to know – job done, your interface is intuitive. If a user doesn’t know all they need to know, but the design helps them without them being aware of receiving any guidance – congratulations, you too have an intuitive interface.

How to Do It

Developing your understanding of what users generally find most intuitive takes a methodical approach to testing. The easier an interface is to use, the more people will use it.

A good example of a popular intuitive interface is EZ Texting’s SMS marketing service. EZ operates on the notion that amobile marketing campaign should not be difficult. The clue’s in the name, kids. EZ Texting’s software is incredibly simple to use, and avoids any industry jargon or technical language. The choices available will be familiar to anyone who’s ever had an email account; choices like ‘send text message’ and ‘scheduled and sent texts’. 

What EZ Texting have done right is foster a sense of knowing what you need to do as soon as you see the screen. Want to add a new group? Guess what – click the link that says ‘add a new group.’ That’s intuition. It works wonders in terms of keeping people on your site.

How Not to Do It

There are plenty of examples online of decidedly unintuitive interfaces. You’ve probably used one – or at least started to use one before giving up. For an all-time classic intuition fail, we must turn to one of the oldest electronic communication tools there is: the hotel phone.

I’m sure you’ve been there. Sitting in a hotel room, you go to make an outside call and hit ‘9’. Only this hotel felt that ‘5’ would be a much better choice. More original, perhaps, but not the intuitive choice.

The most intuitive interfaces favor familiarity over originality. Just because you have discovered an impeccable logic in doing things in a new way doesn’t mean your users will prefer it. Intuition doesn’t work that way. Improve your understanding of what the majority of people prefer and you are close to creating a truly intuitive interface.

What do Consumers think of SMS Marketing?

Mobile marketing tactics like SMS messaging and smartphone-optimized websites are a relatively new phenomenon. Mobile marketing campaigns are revolutionizing the way in which commerce reaches out to consumers. And yet so many companies still don’t have a mobile marketing strategy in place.

There are a number of reasons for corporate hesitance to move with the times. A common canard is that consumers don’t want to receive text messages. All evidence says this simply isn’t the case.

A 2012 study conducted by the UK Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found that a third of Americans said they would rather receive offers such as mobile marketing coupons in a text. Emails were favored by 21%, with mobile apps – somewhat surprisingly – preferred by just 11% of people. It’s not just the US public that’s becoming increasingly attracted to SMS messaging. In France, 60% of consumers prefer to receive offers via text, according to the research. 

Many of the misconceptions about mobile marketing campaigns are informed by the email marketing era of the 90s and 00s, when spam was clogging up inboxes all over the world. Some CEOs (wrongly) believe that consumers are sick of receiving offers and ads from companies.

But mobile marketing works in a completely different way. It’s bound by federal legislation which obliges businesses to ask customers for explicit, opt-in permission before sending text messages. Companies are also required to clearly explain the opt-out process, and make sure it can be completed in a hassle-free way. So if you’re worried about irritating your customers with unwanted messages, don’t be.

As we’ve seen, concerns about whether consumers will sign up to receive texts are unwarranted. If the DMA figures are correct, more than half of your customers would be interested in opting in to receive mobile marketing coupons and other info via SMS messaging. The beauty of mobile marketing tactics like this is they’re relatively cheap to implement. You can just dip your toe in and see if you like the results before committing more of your budget.

Consumer attitudes to SMS messaging are shifting. As smartphone adoption continues to rise, more and more people are conducting all their online activity through mobile devices. Devising mobile marketing tactics is no longer a luxury for the tech-savvy entrepreneur – it’s an absolute essential for businesses of every kind.

 

6 Mobile Marketing Tactics That Won’t Get You Sued

Crafting a quality SMS mobile marketing campaign requires ensuring none of the tactics you use will get you sued. Mobile data collection practices, political spam, patent infringement and scam subscriptions are just some examples of the many mobile marketing issues that result in legal trouble. Let’s look at a few surefire ways to avoid such trouble and keep your mobile marketing strategy on the right side of the law:

Get the Permission You Need 

Not everyone has unlimited text messaging, meaning unsolicited text messages can cost up to $0.20 per message. Since this practice results in seriously unhappy potential customers, always obtain formal permission before launching an SMS mobile marketing campaign. Creating a list based off of invoices, contracts and “fish bowls” is not considered “permission.” Opt-in lists are your best bets, and allow customers to subscribe to your company’s alerts, updates and exclusive deals as they wish. The “call to action” must be very clear so customers know exacting what they will be receiving when the sign up.

Remember, Full Disclosure is Key

Full disclosure is highly recommended, as companies often find themselves in proverbial hot water for failing to clearly describe offer terms. Your customers should have a strong sense of what they’re agreeing to when they sign up rather than being surprised by fees and similar issues.

Maintain Records

Maintain detailed records of mobile marketing lists so you know exactly who has opted in...and who has opted out. Keep such lists for at least six months if not more, and update them frequently to avoid getting sued by one or more customers looking to make easy money.

Stop Sending Messages When Customers Opt Out!

When a customer unsubscribes or otherwise opts out of an SMS mobile marketing campaign, it is imperative that you stop sending them messages. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled companies may send one follow-up text verifying customers no longer wish to receive texts, but that is all. This message must be sent within five minutes of the opt-out. Continuing to send marketing and promotional materials can easily result in lawsuits and other legal trouble.

Keep Customer Data Secure

Hackers looking to use your mobile marketing lists can result in a significant number of lawsuits, making it essential that all customer information is protected from unauthorized use. Choosing the right platform and using every available security measure reassures customers that their information is safe, and upholds your reputation as a company who cares about client privacy and security.

Be Careful When Choosing SMS Mobile Marketing Campaign Wording

Another cornerstone to an effective SMS mobile marketing strategy is the right wording. For example, the word “free” should mean just that--the message is free to the end-user (FTEU) with all supported carriers. If this is not the case, this word can result in legal trouble, as unhappy customers will be billed for something they thought wouldn’t cost anything. Avoid misleading customers by using phrases such as “Msg & data rates may apply.”

It makes logical sense that people are going to buy from a company they can trust rather than one that slams them with unsolicited text messages and hidden fees! Keep these tips in mind as part your SMS mobile marketing strategy! Use these and similar mobile marketing tactics to avoid legal issues, maintain relationships with current clients and attract new customers. And remember to always consult an attorney when making final campaign decisions.

 

Texting and Driving: State by State

Texting and driving is set to become illegal in South Dakota, a decision that put to bed years of disagreement between the House of Representatives and the State Senate. If signed by the state’s governor the bill will be law, making texting and driving a petty offense resulting in a $100 fine.

However, drivers will be ticketed for SMS messaging offenses only if pulled over for another traffic violation.

"This is not about tickets and fines, but it's about changing the culture that texting while driving is not safe. It's dangerous. It's deadly, and it deserves to be illegal," said Senator Mike Vehle.

The senate has previously passed texting and driving bans rejected by the House. Eight local governments, including those from the state’s largest cities, have passed SMS messaging bans of their own due to legislative failure to make a statewide ban. Courts will eventually decide whether local governments can pass bans separate from state law. 

Representative Charlie Hoffman, R-Eureka, said the last-minute effort to bring back and pass the bill was due to public pressure. 

"People in the House and Senate didn't want to go back on their campaigns and have to be badgered on 'Why aren't you doing your job,'" Hoffman said.

The bill would ban the use of handheld electronic devices to write, send or read SMS messages. Driving could still use cell phone voice-operated or hands-free technology, however.

So what are some of the texting and driving laws in other states? They vary from state to state, with some, such as Montana and South Carolina, not placing any bans on SMS messaging and driving. Others, such as Alaska, Alabama, New Hampshire and Nevada, prohibit texting for all drivers as primary law.

Numerous states feature detailed texting and driving regulations. For example, New Jersey’s primary SMS messaging laws include a handheld ban for all drivers, ban on all cell phone use for novice drivers, and a ban on any kind of cell phone use by bus drivers. “Novice drivers” are defined as anyone under the age of 21 with a GDL or a provisional license. 

California’s primary texting and driving laws include the prohibition of texting and handheld phone use for all drivers and of all cell phone use for bus drivers. Its ban on cell phone use for novice drivers is secondary law. Connecticut’s laws are the same as California’s, though Connecticut positions its novice driver texting law as primary. Other states with the same texting and driving laws as Connecticut and California include Delaware and the District of Columbia.

Pennsylvania bans texting for all drivers as primary law, while New York establishes the same ban and a handheld ban for all drivers as well. Florida features a law against texting for all drivers as secondary. 

South Dakota joins many states with texting and driving bans, which enforces the life-saving idea that any SMS messaging conversation can wait!

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