One of the hottest trends in marketing these days is mobile marketing. According to GigaOm, one in two Americans will have a Smartphone by the end of 2011, and NextGov says that nearly 10% of us access the Internet through our cell phones. In case you’re as math impaired as I am, that is a HUGE opportunity! Reaching your clients through their Smartphones is the way to go, and you need to start leveraging this technology.
There are a couple of ways to get into mobile marketing, primarily QR codes and text-message marketing. Here is some information to know:
QR stands for quick response. You have probably seen these on movie posters, postcards, and the like; they are square bar codes that can only be read with a special app on your Smartphone. The codes send the scanner to a mobile webpage, sign-up for a newsletter, Facebook page, video, or pretty much anything else you can imagine. While there are companies that will create the entire campaign around the QR code, you can also do this yourself by creating the QR code with a free online service and then determining where to send those who scan the code.
This is a relatively new technology in the US, so it is relatively untapped. It has a lot of potential moving forward and is gaining interest among Smartphone users.
One of the issues with QR codes is that the user must have the app. If in a hurry, it can take a bit to pull out the phone, access the app, and hold the phone steady long enough to scan the code. Also, unless you’ve created a way to capture the person’s information, it will be of little help in long-term campaigns.
It is estimated that eight trillion text messages will be sent in 2011; in fact, more people text than call these days. It is a completely opt-in method of marketing, and you can engage with your consumers immediately. Companies are using text-message marketing to offer limited-time offers as well as to stay top of mind.
To opt in to your list, customers need to text a code or phrase to a five-digit number. The best way to capture them is to offer an immediate incentive, such as a significant discount on services, something free, or the chance to win something. The system captures the number, and then you can market to your list at your chosen frequency.
According to some statistics, there is a 97% open rate on text messages, most of which are opened within just a few moments of being received. You can add a web link to your text message directing people to a mobile-enabled site for a more robust experience.
Because text messages are regulated by the FCC, each person must enter his or her own number into the system, so it can take a bit to build the list. Also, unless you ask them to give you other information, it will only capture the phone number, so it will be a challenge to communicate with them any other way or learn how they heard about your company. And you must purchase a service; mine costs $49 a month.
Regardless of which route you take, consider adding mobile marketing to your outreach efforts to create an integrated marketing campaign. You’ll likely see increased results while tapping into this goldmine of an opportunity.