April 19, 2010
In case you didn’t already know, mobile is without a doubt ‘the next big thing’ when it comes to marketing and advertising. As smart phones like the iPhone and Nexus One become more and more popular among consumers, the potential for marketers is also growing rapidly.
The smart phone is like all of the other advertising mediums rolled into one pocket sized device. It’s a television, a web browser, a radio, a newspaper, a magazine, a yellow pages, a catalog and of course a telephone, and it goes wherever the consumer goes.
No matter which way you look at it, the mobile phone simply can’t be beat from a marketer’s stand point so I’ve put together this comprehensive list of mobile marketing tools that won’t break the bank.
1. SMS Text Messaging
The oldest and most widespread from of mobile marketing is the humble text message. By collecting the mobile phone numbers of your customers using surveys or competitions, you can build your own SMS mailing list and send your customers text based coupons, offers and incentives to visit your business again and again.
Star Mobile offer a Free Trial or alternatively you can download bulk SMS software such as Mobile Marketing Pro and manage the whole thing yourself.
2. Social Networking
These days, Social Networking is a huge component of most business’s online marketing strategy, and as the internet becomes more and more accessible to mobile devices, so too do the popular social networks. By creating profiles, networking and connecting with your customers you can stay in constant communication with them and build rewarding relationships.
Update your Facebook page regularly with offers, info, fun facts, videos and event information to keep your customers entertained and in the loop.
Use Twitter to send out tweets to your followers with promo codes, discounts and links to good reviews or articles about your business. You can also search particular key words relating to your business and respond to anyone tweeting about those topics. E.G. If you sell car tires, search for keyphrases like “flat tire” then respond to those tweets with a special offer.
The following social networks may also be worth building a presence with: Meebo, Fring, Nimbuzz and Ebuddy.
3. Mobile Directories
There are hundreds of mobile directories out there, most catering to a particular niche. The most popular of these niches are restaurant guides. If you are promoting a bar or restaurant, make sure you list your business with the following directories. For other types of businesses there is bound to be a directory to suit you, but there are way too many to list here.
4. Check-in Apps
The latest fad in location-based apps are check-in apps like Foursquare, Gowalla and Whrrl. These applications for GPS enabled phones like iPhones, Blackberries and Android-based handsets enable users to check in at certain locations such as businesses and landmarks to earn virtual badges and honors. These apps also allow users to network with one another and share their locations. Businesses can include their own offers to users as incentives for checking in.
5. GPS Treasure Hunts
A close cousin to the check-in apps, GPS treasure hunt apps such as DreamWalk also allow businesses to reward users for visiting certain locations. DreamWalk enables brands and businesses to create their own branded treasure hunts and place them on the DreamWalk prize map for consumers to participate in. The ‘treasures’ are real free products which can be collected by users and redeemed in store or via email. You can use DreamWalk to give away samples of your products or bigger prizes, entice consumers to specific physical locations and advertise your brand in the process. Branded treasure hunts are also highly interactive and entertaining and can be set up free of charge via the DreamWalk website.
While more and more people are beginning to use mobile devices for web browsing, mobile emailing is far more common and has been popular ever since the advent of the Blackberry. By collecting customer’s email addresses you can build your own email mailing list, then send out mobile friendly emails and incentives. Use software such as Constant Contact to produce weekly newsletters or promotions and manage your mailing lists.
Run competitions whereby people must text certain words or codes to a particular number to enter a draw or claim a coupon. You can advertise these contests using posters, flyers or even drink coasters in your stores or promote them in emails or even in your print advertising.
8. Blue Tooth Proximity Marketing
Broadcast SMS messages to passers by, using a bluetooth broadcasting device. When someone enters the vicinity of your business they are sent a predefined text massage which can contain a time sensitive offer or discount to attract them inside. Bluetooth broadcasters can be bought relatively cheaply from suppliers such as Blueblitz.
Please keep in mind, the messages you send may be deemed SPAM by some mobile users, so make sure you weigh up the pros and cons before using this technology.
Many mobile devices available today have the ability to play and even record live action video. Just as viral videos are great internet marketing tools, they are also just as powerful when delivered on mobile screens. In fact, devices like the iPhone come pre-installed with the YouTube app on the home screen, allowing instant access to YouTube content. Producing a video can be a dirt cheap way to entertain an audience while promoting your business or product at the same time. Generally, funny or weird videos tend to fair the best and make sure you keep the mobile screen size in mind when producing videos intended for mobile display. Sites like TinyTube gather videos from all over the net and display them in a mobile friendly format.
10. Mobile Optimized Websites
By now you almost certainly have a website for your business, but how will it look when viewed in a mobile web browser such as Safari or Opera? Well, unless you have optimized it for mobile, chances are it’ll either look really small or really bad. Use a tool like Instant Mobilizer to convert your existing website into a mobile-friendly one free of charge.
Well, that's my top 10 list of cheap or free mobile marketing tools. I hope you can utilize these techniques to promote your business. Please feel free to add your own suggestions or experiences in the comments section.
Jim T Brown
Mobile Marketing Consultant.
QeH2 can help your company implement these technologies, to come up with a plan that works for your business contact us today.