Friday, February 5, 2010

A Quick Guide to Mobile Marketing

By Justin Mastrangelo

There’s no doubt the cell phone will continue to become a more important part of a marketing in 2010. Big consumer brands across the US have already had great success with their early mobile marketing efforts. If you haven’t started targeting your audience on their phone yet here are some of the key technologies, and a few things to consider about each.

Text Messaging (SMS) – This is the mostly widely used mobile technology, and not just by teenagers anymore. Only 25-30% of mobile phone subscribers in the US have a smartphone but over 80% of mobile phone users have text messaging capability, and 50% of all cell phone owners are active text messaging users. When considering a text messaging campaign keep in mind the method for gathering opt-ins. Traditional media (TV, radio, print, and outdoor) is an excellent opportunity to engage an audience on their phone while they are away from their PC. Having the audience text-in for an instant coupon or a chance to win something has generated great results by many different brands in the US. Because of texting’s very high read rate (97%) recipients will expect to see value with every message or they will opt-out quickly.

Mobile Websites – Creating a stripped-down mobile version of your website is an easy way to cater to your mobile audience. Users who attempt to visit your site on a smartphone can be automatically redirected to a mobile-friendly version. Keep the graphics to a minimum and focus on simple layout and navigation. Using less technology means compatibility with more phones. Reformatting the main site into a mobile format is a good start, but focusing on features that are especially beneficial to someone on a phone is even better. Measure the audience and the phones they’re using to access your site. If you haven’t launched an app yet this data will be invaluable for picking the right platform.

Mobile Apps - Apps can be a great way of creating an engaging experience not possible on the mobile web. If you’re going to develop an app it should be more than just another version of your mobile website. Not only are mobile apps more expensive to develop than a mobile website, they can also be more difficult to promote. The iPhone is king when it comes to apps, but it may not be tops with your audience. In the second quarter of 2009 the Blackberry Curve was the most popular selling smartphone, beating the iPhone. The iPhone makes up only 4% of all cell phones in use right now in the US. Depending on your audience you may need to develop at least two or three versions of your app just to reach a significant portion of smartphone users.

Mobile Advertising – Always introduce your current audience to your mobile website or app first, before approaching a new audience on the phone. If the reviews of your mobile campaign have been positive it only makes sense to use this as a competitive advantage. Your ads can be placed on other mobile websites or inside mobile apps. Just as you would with web advertising, start with a small budget and always target a specific audience as much as possible.

Justin Mastrangelo is President of JA Interactive, a web and mobile marketing company in the South Side of Pittsburgh. He is also one of the writers for his company’s text message marketing blog.

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