Introduction to Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is a hot topic for companies of all sizes that want to reach out to customers in new, innovative ways. At its simplest, mobile marketing is the communication of consumers via mobile device, be it a phone, PDA or tablet.

Through mobile marketing, companies transmit simple marketing messages that introduce consumers to new products and offers, entice them to participate in campaigns, or allow them to visit a mobile website.

Mobile marketing

Mobile consumers aren’t like TV viewers or web surfers, both of which have become desensitized to the advertisements that bombard them all day long. Advertising messages come at them from all sides, and even the most valuable, innovative messages are often overlooked. Consumers have gotten to the point where they ignore most of the attacks, choosing instead to fast forward through TV commercials and/or flip past full-page magazine ads.

But cell phones are hard to ignore, and have become the communication tool for many. These devices not only take and receive calls, but they also put people in touch with friends via text messaging, and allow them to manage email accounts and handle myriad other tasks on the fly. These mobile users are open to new ideas, even when these suggestions come hurtling at them over their cellular carrier’s network.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because mobile spells opportunity, and it comes in an affordable, simple package that small business owners can’t ignore any longer. Whether your company wants to attract new consumers, grow its opt-in customer database, sell more products or services, or build brand awareness, mobile marketing is the perfect addition to an existing marketing strategy.

In fact, it goes hand-in-hand with other marketing methods without cannibalizing them, and will help elevate your small business to new levels.

A small pizza shop that increases its sales by 10% by sending out coupons to a list of opt-in, “VIP” customers, for example, not only sells more food, but it also builds one of the most valuable tools that any business can have: a database of loyal, valued customers that want to receive information and special offers. This two-way street also works the other way around when those same clients participate in surveys and offer valuable feedback that you can use to hone your business strategy.

Less expensive than many other marketing mediums, and fairly simple to set up and use, mobile marketing is still new terrain for most small businesses. But with billions of SMS text messages being transmitted every month worldwide – and with even more predicted for the future – it won’t be long before everyone from the sole proprietor who is hawking sports memorabilia to the 500-employee equipment manufacturer jumps into the mobile marketing fray.

After all, who can resist using a marketing tool that’s affordable, easy to use, untapped and proven?

No one.

But why should you be thinking about mobile marketing right now?

Chances are, you cut back on advertising and marketing during the economic downturn (don’t feel bad because you’re in good company). The move helped you save a few bucks, but sales and lead generation suffered as a result. Your customer pipeline is all but empty, and you’re scrambling to get it beefed back up to pre-recession levels. To get there, you want to try some new, affordable, effective marketing strategies. You know mobile is hot, but you’re not sure how to implement it in a way that benefits your company.

Well, you’re not alone.

Many companies are already experimenting with mobile and seeing positive results from their efforts. You’ll read about restaurants that are using mobile coupons, event planners that rely on text messaging campaigns to get new users to opt into their member databases, retailers that are using mobile to lure in new customers, online portals that have invested in mobile campaigns to increase traffic to their sites, and hardware stores that are using text message campaigns to attract new customers to their bricks-and-mortar locations.

The list goes on…

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