Mobile SMS Marketing

Mobile Marketing Best Practices

You know that “going mobile” isn’t simply a matter of adding a few new channels to your marketing mix. Every channel, from email to web, is now mobile with the increased adoption of smartphones.

As mobile phones quickly become the number one web access device, every channel must be considered from a mobile perspective. Acting now to ensure you take a holistic approach to mobile is what will keep you a few clicks (or screen taps) ahead of the competition. With every new campaign you plan, consider how you’re acquiring and welcoming new customers while driving continued engagement and increased retention throughout the customer lifecycle.

3 Ways to Spark Real-Time Customer Engagement with Mobile Marketing

1. Increase real-time mobile interactions. Mobile marketing isn’t just about gaining email opt-ins anymore, so it’s important to continue growing your program in other ways. Consider creating a mobile marketing voting campaign or text-in survey to engage with customers in real-time. Bonus: you get instant feedback from your most engaged users!

2. Launch an outbound mobile marketing program. It’s time to show your mobile users what you’re made of! Customers will interpret your first mobile campaign as a preview of what’s to come—and, like it or not, they’ll decide right away whether your messages are worth their time. Recurring deals can be a great way to help keep customers interested. But whether your offers are weekly or monthly, subscribers like consistency.

3. Encourage fans and followers to download your mobile app. Social media and mobile marketing go hand-in-hand—so why not make it easy for your fans and followers to engage with you via mobile? You can take the guesswork out of downloading your app by promoting it via social media. Just ask your fans to text in for a direct link to the app in the App Store or Google Play.

3 Ways to Create a Memorable Mobile Marketing Experience

1. Empower customers to interact with your brand in real-time. Mobile doesn’t have to be a one way conversation—a simple text response allows subscribers to tell you when they want key information. Subscribers can text in to receive store hours, exclusive deals, recurring offers, and other important details. Similar programs can be executed in real-time through Twitter.

2. Create truly customized, one-to-one mobile marketing messages. As your mobile marketing program becomes more advanced, subscribers expect communications that speak directly to their behaviors, preferences, and history. With ExactTarget, you can trigger one-to-one messages, like bank statements or purchase suggestions, for each individual subscriber.

3. Ensure the customer experience is consistent across all channels. If your customer lifecycle takes place across more than one channel (most do), it’s crucial to maintain a consistent experience. Mobile is only a piece of what makes up your customer relationships—so be sure to audit your communications across all channels.

Best Practices for a Mobile Welcome Campaign

What happens after your customer engages with your mobile marketing program? Your welcome strategy for any new mobile customer should include a combination of channels—email, mobile, and social—to support consumers’ cross-channel behaviors. Don’t think of “welcome” as a single message. Whether your welcome strategy covers the first 10 days or first two months, as with any relationship, it takes some time to get to know each other.

Here’s a sample step-by-step welcome mobile marketing campaign. We’ll use a retail company’s mobile app as an example, but you’ll see how these basic ideas can apply to almost any industry.

Day 1

Jane Doe downloads your mobile app to her iPad. When she opens the app, she registers with her name and email address. She clicks from the app home page to your summer collection, then clicks on two different skirts. At that point, an alert window asks if she’d like to receive mobile push messages. She accepts and closes the app. She then checks her inbox to find a mobile-optimized welcome email from your company. This email 1) thanks her for downloading the app, 2) reminds her of the key app benefits, and 3) invites her to connect with other fashionistas on your Facebook page and Twitter.

Day 5

On her phone during her lunch break, Jane sees a second welcome email, then an update from your Twitter account about your loyalty program. Later that day on her laptop, she signs up for your digital marketing program, which includes both email and mobile coupons.

Day 10

Jane receives a push notification about a sale you’re having on summer skirts. While she waits at the hair salon, she uses your app to buy three skirts.

Since consumers don’t operate in single-channel silos, marketers can’t afford to either. Whether you’re a retailer offering an SMS coupon or a bank offering account balance push notifications, make sure your messaging channels work together to provide a real value to your customer.

SMS Text Marketing

Text messages are short, quick, and very personal. Consumers who invite marketers into the walled garden of SMS do so much more selectively than any other channel. As a result, senders who fail to deliver relevant, useful text messages are quickly greeted with a “STOP” reply

The SMS channel is particularly adept at delivering unobtrusive alert messaging. In fact, this is the one type of messaging that indexed high enough to be considered appropriate by a majority of consumers. That’s not to say, however, that you can simply assume that consumers who provide their mobile numbers want to receive text messages from you. You must be absolutely certain to get their express permission and follow all of the rules set by the carriers. Failure to do so could result in blacklisting that prevents you from sending any text messages to consumers.

What are the strengths of SMS marketing?

  • Alerts
  • Event interactions
  • Event messaging
  • In-store promotions
  • Mobile marketing opt-ins
  • Personal interaction

3 Ways to Grow Your Mobile Marketing Lists

1. If gaining email marketing opt-ins is your goal, then create plenty of opportunities via text messages like, “Text JOIN and to 12345 to subscribe to our program.” Or, add an email opt-in to your mobile website or app registration process.

2. To increase mobile interactions, you’ll need to promote your campaign across all channels, including social channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Promote your program with a simple and consistent message that encourages users to opt in and download your app. Remember, offering an incentive (like a discount or exclusive deal) can drive even more engagement.

3. What better way to welcome your new SMS subscribers or mobile purchasers than an email marketing message with information relevant to your campaign—whether it’s a newsletter or an exclusive coupon, make it worthwhile! You can also encourage subscribers to download your company’s app (if you have one) so you can introduce push messaging into your mobile marketing strategy.

Go Mobile & Drive Down Customer Service Costs

Providing superior service for your customers should be your number one priority. But keeping your customers satisfied can be challenging and requires ongoing maintenance. That’s why SMS marketing is an invaluable weapon in your cross-channel arsenal. By launching a mobile SMS marketing response program, you make your customer service representatives available to assist your most critical customer interactions and provide a more convenient experience for those who choose to accept assistance via SMS. It’s a win-win for you and the customer!

How to Increase Mobile Marketing Conversions

Consumers who interact with your brand through mobile-specific channels are among your most engaged. But once the “new” wears off, how do you re-excite and reengage those customers? Be consistent and keep evolving. Though it sounds like a contradiction, it’s not. Here’s why:

Be consistent

Consistent SMS, push, or email offers, for example, mean consumers will begin to anticipate your message. For instance, send a Friday evening code for a free appetizer at your restaurant or a free movie rental the first Monday of every month. Try testing several different offers and tracking the most successful one before deciding on your consistent offer.

Keep evolving – Context is key

Be smart about when you send so your communications are relevant. Can consumers make purchases via your app? Try implementing cart abandonment push notifications to draw them back to the purchase. Send a message such as “Your cart will expire in 2 minutes” a half-hour after the user has been inactive. Or, try a simple reminder like “You have 3 items in your cart. Do you want to check out?” Combine channels to best serve each consumer. For instance, if you send an email about account renewal and it goes unopened, can you follow up via SMS a week later? Having two channels coincide gives you a strategic second touchpoint.

If you have customers who have completely disengaged, make a bold move to get their attention. Offer a drastic discount for a purchase or conversion via your app, for example. Customers who respond to coupons and engage via SMS marketing are more likely to buy again or stay engaged. Consider creating win-back or comeback campaigns, and monitor closely to determine which tactics are successful in drawing consumers back in.

How to Retain Customers Through Mobile Marketing

Once a customer has engaged with a single mobile marketing campaign, how do you build brand loyalty and continue to nurture the customer lifecycle? It all boils down to relevance.

How can you make your mobile marketing strategy more personalized and less “batch and blast”? Data collection. While you don’t want to scare off a new customer by asking for too much information too soon, give customers easy access to update messaging preferences with a unified profile center, providing you with a common view of the consumer, no matter the channel.

How can you keep your long-time app users coming back for more? If you have a loyalty program, consider offering double points for mobile purchases. Use a one-time incentive-based email to reengage lapsed mobile users. Or, consider how you can reward loyal customers with geo-location targeting. For example, if a long-time app user is within a half-mile of your restaurant, send a push message with an offer for a buy-one-get-one-free entrée. This level of relevance creates a sense of personalized service and added convenience for your customers.

Best Use of Mobile Apps and Push Notifications

Mobile apps are one of the newest communications channels available to marketers today. Since the launch of Apple’s App Store in July 2008 and March 2012, consumers have downloaded 25 billion mobile apps on their iPhones, iPads, and other Apple devices. Another 10 billion apps have been downloaded from the Android app store by owners of phones running Google’s Android operating system.

When a consumer downloads your branded application, it opens up new possibilities for engagement—not the least of which includes push notifications to the home screen of their mobile device. The allure of push notifications is that they require the user to take immediate action by opening the application. However, poorly executed push messages have the potential to alienate users, such that they delete the mobile message or turn of push notifications altogether.

While push notifications hold a great deal of potential, they are early in the adoption cycle. This is the primary reason app-based notifications failed to register as more than a blip within ExactTarget’s 2012 Channel Preference Survey. With time and the emergence of better mobile messaging analytics, we may see both consumers and marketers warm to new uses of push messaging. Until such time, our recommendation is to limit your mobile push notifications to only those communications which are crucial to the usefulness of your app and consistent with consumers’ expectations.

What are the strengths of mobile app and push notifications?

  • App reengagement
  • Geo-targeted mobile messaging
  • Social alerts
  • Transactional messages
  • Update alerts

6 Places to Promote Your Mobile Marketing Program

Your customers don’t leave home without their mobile devices. Yet mobile is still a relatively young marketing channel. How can you step up your game to gain more mobile customers and interactions? Promote your mobile marketing program through other channels. You’ve invested resources to improve your mobile presence—whether with a responsive website, mobile-optimized email, SMS capabilities, or mobile app. How can you take every opportunity to connect with new customers via mobile marketing?

In the inbox. Create a targeted email campaign to customers viewing on a mobile device. Offer an incentive to download your app, visit your mCommerce site, or sign up for your SMS program.

In the store. Offer exclusive text-in deals via in-store opportunities with signage and point-of-sale receipts.

On your website. Add a pop-up to your website (when viewed on a mobile device) that promotes your app. Ask customers to text in to get an SMS message with an easy link to your app.

On social networks. Do your fans and followers even know you have an app or SMS offers? Use social channels to promote mobile. Make sure your Facebook pages are mobile optimized for easy viewing, especially since Facebook is the world’s most downloaded app.

On a smartphone. Already have SMS permission? Send an outbound message with an incentive (e.g., “Free shipping this weekend only”) and a direct link to the download page in the app store.

In the mail. Take advantage of traditional communication methods by including mobile calls-to-action on an invoice, statement, packaging, or direct mail piece.

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