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Planning Your Mobile Marketing Strategy

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In The Marketing Plan Handbook, author Robert W. Bly explains how you can develop big-picture marketing plans for pennies on the dollar with his 12-step marketing plan. In this edited excerpt, Bly offers experienced tips on creating and implementing mobile marketing tactics that work.

When you set about integrating mobile into your marketing plan, you should begin with the basics: the “who, what, and how” of your mobile strategy. And you do that by getting the answers to these questions:

  • Who are your customers and who are you trying to reach?
  • Who will want to engage with your mobile content?
  • What tasks and needs does your audience have?
  • What mobile channels will you use?
  • What tone or angle will you use to inspire your audience to get involved?
  • Why do your customers need information from you in a timely manner?
  • How will your target audience access your mobile content (which type of handheld device will they use)? How will they use your content in their daily lives?
  • How will you make your mobile content sticky and engaging?
  • How will you cross-pollinate between the selected channels?
  • How will you create sharing opportunities?
  • How will you fuel the momentum of your mobile campaign?

Of course, you’ll also want to clearly define your mobile marketing goals. Do you want to increase the number of newsletter sign-ups, generate leads, or make sales? When you set a goal, remember to make sure it’s SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Let’s get started by taking a closer look at available mobile channels.

Mobile websites

Some business owners create a subdomain set up specifically for mo­bile phones. Then if a mobile user types into a smart­phone, the site automatically determines the inquiry source and automatically re­directs them to a mobile-friendly subdo­main. The trick is to create a mobile site that loads quickly and provides a simple, streamlined experience. Many other busi­ness owners use web hosting companies, which offer low cost, semi-automatic cookie-cutter mobile sites.

SMS and MMS messaging

If you doubt the value of SMS text message marketing, you should ponder this statistic: 95 percent of your customers who have opted into your text messaging program open (and read) your mobile mes­sages within three minutes of receiving it. Now that’s effective.

But there are two myths surrounding SMS and MMS message market­ing that purport it to be both complicated and hampered by regula­tion, but the truth is these regulations serve the marketer as well as the consumer, protecting the latter from spammy marketing, and protecting marketers from spam-related accusations. First and fore­most is the fact the two are both permission-based, which means you should always be completely transparent about your text marketing program, the need for full disclosure, and to always get everything in writing.

Mobile apps

There are countless mobile apps designed to serve up informative tips and educational snippets, help you to track your caloric intake, exercise milestones, guide you in meditation practice, or simply entertain you with engaging games -- yet consumers are always look­ing for more, and better, apps.

What this means to marketers is simple: You can boost brand awareness and consumer affinity with apps, but you must have a thorough understanding of your audience so you can provide them with an app that's functional (such as a calculator) or entertaining (like a video, game, or music), or provide some sort of social connectedness (such as an app for a user community). You may want to consider offering a free version of your app and let users decide if they're willing invest in a premium version with more features and content. This is the model used by Rovio Entertainment when they began marketing the Angry Birds game. They offered a free version, while paid subscribers were given access to more challenging levels and other free add-ons.

Mobile coupons

A growing number of businesses, like Target, Sephora, Bath and Body Works, and Olive Garden deliver coupons via mobile devices in an effort to appeal to consumers, many of whom would never think of clipping or carrying coupons. To redeem a mobile coupon, all users need to do is show the coupon bar code to the cashier, who will scan it like a regular coupon. Location-based shopping coupons using mobile devices are also gaining popularity.

Mobile campaigns and ads

Mobile marketing presents a distinctly unique way to create interac­tive dialogues with customers. But it requires matching the creative to a smaller screen size; designing messages that are short, instantly understood, and effective; and creating a call-to-action with a mini­mal number of steps.

Here’s a fact worth remembering: Research indicates that mobile ads perform about five times better than internet ads. (The most common mobile ads are simple text links and display adds that are sold based on cost per clicks, cost per acquisition, and cost per thousand.)

Mobile marketing is not about your convenience. The benefits of receiving the information or discount via a mobile device must be valuable enough to the recipient. It has to make sense to the recipient as a benefit and not seen as an intrusion. So make offers that are in-tune with the recipient’s buying habits. You have to sync your messaging with your customers’ purchase history or favorites.

If you're sophisticated enough to delve into mobile advertising, you should have access to a consumer’s buying records to know what the individual needs and wants. Hey, you can go so far as to ask your customers what they want using Twitter, then show them you listened by making those same offers. This is about creating a dialogue, rather than a monologue. You really need to be strategic about what content you send out using mobile media. A major consideration when establishing a mobile marketing strategy involves identifying the benefits to the consumer, then integrating the message in your overall marketing campaign so you can communicate those benefits through all other marketing and social media channels.