These are all fantastic questions and the questions many small businesses are asking themselves when it comes to mobile marketing. Just like any marketing endeavor, it's important to be educated so that you can make the right decision for you and your business.
What is mobile marketing?
As it pertains to this article, mobile marketing is marketing on or with a mobile device.
I recently had an opportunity to sit down with Mike Craig of Ruxter Mobile Marketing. In my discussions with him, I had you in mind and asked him the questions that I think most businesses are curious about when it comes to mobile marketing.
We hear a lot about SMS and Apps. What do you suggest for the small- to medium-sized business?
It's important to keep your goal in mind, which is to provide your consumers information that is easy to find. An application will require a smartphone. Using SMS will connect directly to most mobile phones and can be used as a great connection tool. It boils down to selecting an application or optimizing for your consumers. Not all consumers have smartphones, but the majority can receive SMS. You want to select the option that is available, discoverable and presentable to your specific target market.
SMS doesn't limit the type of phone consumers have; this is important to remember.
Over the next few years, you will see trend that mobile marketing effectiveness will have a lot to do with mobile browser capability and less about apps. Mobile web browser capability is important, and it's where we will see the growth. Invest in something that is more open — don't limit who can see or receive your information.
When most businesses think about mobile marketing, they think it's expensive. How much should a company expect to pay for mobile marketing?
There are mobile marketing tools that can fit every budget. You can do mobile marketing on a shoestring budget. Companies should look for off-the-shelf standard tools. They can be cost effective.
A client can expect to pay as little as $200 to several thousand for a consultant to show them how to get involved with using mobile marketing tools. Recurring costs vary. You can pay anywhere from .05 to .20 per SMS message sent. The amount you pay really depends on the volume of messages that you plan to send.
There are requirements that a company will need in order to participate in mobile marketing. They will need a shortcode and a keyword. Now, companies can buy their own shortcode, but that will cost them between $1000 to $1500 per month. Due to the cost, I suggest that they look for a shared shortcode. Small businesses will find this is the most cost effective, and it won't diminish the results.
What are some common mistakes you see when it comes to mobile marketing?
The biggest mistake that I see is when a company thinks that mobile marketing is going to be the one thing that will cure all of their problems. Mobile marketing has to be incorporated and integrated into your marketing mix in order for it to be successful. It's about engagement and reach, and without that integration, you lose the power the mobile marketing holds.
Mobile marketing is the ultimate permission-based form of marketing — so make sure that your offers are unique. Don't use mobile marketing to repeat offers that you are broadcasting elsewhere — make the offer unique and something that they won't find elsewhere. Offerings must be unique to be valuable.
What about regulations? What do businesses looking into mobile marketing need to know, and where can they find information?
It's important that companies become aware of regulations put out by the MMA (Mobile Marketing Association). The MMA is the guardian angel or watchdog, if you will, of mobile marketing. They have close ties with carriers and, because of that, they have developed guidelines for best practices. If there is mobile marketing abuse, it will be stopped.
There is so much information here, and even I am surprised by how inexpensive it is to get started. If a company is interested, where do they start?
If a company is interested, I'd suggest that they contact a mobile marketing agency that they can work with or use a self-service online tool such as Ruxter to get started. Online tools are an excellent start for small businesses, and you can find agencies that are willing to work with small- to medium-sized businesses, and they will help in creating a strategy and a plan so that a company reaps the most benefit when it comes to mobile marketing.
A mobile marketing agency can help with educating companies on the commitment and providing them with education that can guide them through the learning curve so that they can do mobile marketing on their own.
I cannot stress enough that mobile marketing success is really about consistency and commitment. Companies need to think about what they are offering and continuously work to refine and measure the results of those offerings. Companies that do this will find success in mobile marketing. There is so much creativity that can go into such a little device like a mobile phone. Mobile marketing forces us to understand our customers better. Like most marketing vehicles, learning what works and what doesn't is about trial and error.