Mobile Musings: 4 Mobile Marketing Best Practices for 2013
As we begin a new year it's tempting to think it's time to look for new technologies when planning your mobile marketing efforts. In fact, it's more important now than ever to stay focused on the fundamentals of creating smart, successful mobile campaigns. Here are some of the fundamentals that stand the test of time:
1. Keep mobile campaigns focused on end users. With any marketing tool it's important to keep the end user in mind; with mobile marketing it's hypercritical because in many cases interacting with a mobile campaign is solely in the hands of the consumer. For example, when you launch a text message campaign or present a QR code, the consumer must decide in advance whether to opt in. If they don't see the value in it for them, the entire campaign will fail. Likewise, it's common sense to make sure that when your customers want to engage with you via mobile, that it's easy for them to do so. Having a mobile website, enabling mobile commerce and making sure your emails are easy to read on a mobile device are three ways to do this.
2. Stay mindful of what's happening with mobile law. As always, it's smart to stay abreast of legal actions that impact mobile marketing. For example, this year the battle over whether including a website link inside a text message is patentable will likely be resolved. It's good to know that the courts decided in favor of common sense in another series of lawsuits involving mobile spam. These lawsuits claimed that companies shouldn't be able to send a confirmation message to let users know they had successfully been unsubscribed from a text message campaign. The FCC has clarified the law and now companies are allowed to send out confirmation messages when users reply with the STOP command.
3. Don't use mobile unless it's the right tool for the job; then use it correctly. Some of the biggest culprits of this are marketers using QR codes. I'm actually shocked at how many times I see QR codes used in a situation where the use of mobile isn't helpful to the end user — e.g., asking people to scan a code at a place where they wouldn't actually have the time and/or ability to do so, like on a moving vehicle or a billboard.
It should go without saying that a QR code used correctly causes some sort of mobile action, such as the launch of a mobile website that's specifically created to integrate with the marketing that included the code. It should be just as obvious that a reason to scan a QR code is included in the surrounding marketing piece. Are consumers supposed to just drop everything to scan a QR code out of curiosity?
4. Keep your campaigns fresh. While you don't want to abandon the fundamentals, it may be time to freshen things up a bit. There are three companies that spring to my mind immediately that could stand to follow this advice. While I won't name them, I will say they are all Fortune 500 companies and ones that should have better marketing advice coming from their team of experts.
One of these companies has sent me the exact same text message for over two years. Twice a month, like clockwork, I get a text that asks me if I want to be contacted by a sales representative with special deals on the car that I initially opted in to learn about.
Not once has the company sent me a link to see a photo of the car being discussed or given me details on new model features or even done a fun, simple reply function asking me which color car I'd like. At this point I'm still opted in only to see how long it takes for the brand to figure out this campaign isn't working optimally. If I were a regular consumer, I'd have replied STOP a long time ago.
The other two companies, again, like clockwork, send me a text with my current mobile coupons and then another text when the coupons are about to expire. Honestly, I don't even read the texts and haven't even clicked through to the mobile coupons in at least a year.
In contrast, I kept a Walgreens’ ad insert from the end of October through the end of the year in order to use it to look up answers for the brand's Text 2 Win sweepstakes. I answered every question right in an effort to win a $6,000 weekend getaway or a weekly $100 gift card. At the end of the campaign when Walgreens asked if I wanted to stay on its text list for special offers, I replied YES. Why? Because the campaign was fun and I believed Walgreens would offer me value going forward.
The bottom line on mobile marketing as we begin 2013 is that it isn't optional — your customers won't be giving up their mobile phones anytime soon — and it's a great opportunity. The only reason I kept the Walgreens’ ad by my bedside for two months is that I was engaged with it through my smartphone, something else that always made it to my bedside at the end of the day. Create fun, value-filled mobile campaigns in 2013 and you're sure to reap the rewards.
Kim Dushinski is the founder of Mobile Marketing Profits and the author of "The Mobile Marketing Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Dynamic Mobile Marketing Campaigns." Kim can be reached at email@example.com.