Mobile Marketing: Don’t Lose Sight of the Basics
What do you use when you are not using QR codes?
I’ve gotten a lot of mail asking me that question since a recent blog post wherein I mentioned that one of the downsides to using QR codes is that there are easier ways to reach the mobile customer. It isn’t internet marketing. It isn’t SEO. It isn’t QR. And it isn’t Siri (the topic of another recent blog post).
It’s text messaging.
That sounds crusty and ancient, doesn’t it, in this day of smartphones? But text messaging is still the way that a publisher using mobile marketing can reach the most of the people, most of the time.
Depending on whom you believe, smartphones represent 35 to 40% of mobile users, as of the end of 2011. That means that well over half of mobile users still do not have the ability to download apps, scan QR codes, or click through to websites.
But they still can receive text messages. And if a publisher has a message that people want to hear, they even appear to welcome text messages—which get an open rate of up to 95%. Can you imagine having an open rate that high with email, snail mail, or in fact any other way you have of contacting your audience?
And of course at this point an estimated 80% of the world’s population uses cellphones—more people than own landlines, computers, TVs, credit cards, or almost anything else. An estimated eight trillion text messages have been sent in 2011. There are lots more stats—about how much higher the intention to buy is when people access information on their mobile devices, about the willingness to subscribe to mobile lists if the offer is transparent and loaded with value.
All the statistics lead to the conclusion that mobile marketing is ignored only at the publisher’s peril. And with all the avenues available to a savvy publisher, text messaging is still the most effective way of reaching the most people in the U.S. and all over the world.
How to effectively market using text messaging? We approach the marketing challenge the way we always have: we begin with a list. Many savvy publishers have put resources into developing their mobile lists and know how to reach their audience via their mobile devices; and any publisher that has not already done so needs to immediately begin to convert their lists to mobile. We create a mini-marketing campaign wherein an offer is made in a few short words—and many savvy marketers have honed their skills in condensing entire marketing messages into 140 characters. In these few words are included an offer, a benefit, and a call to action.
And we offer the customer a shortcode to reach us and a mobile keyword to respond to the offer.
The mobile keyword, which despite the name has nothing to do with SEO, is the word that customers can text back to marketers showing they have accepted the offer.
Does it work? Of course it does—as long as the value is high, the interest is maintained, and the trust between the publisher and the audience is maintained.
Linda Ruth, as president of PSCS Consulting (www.PSCSConsulting.com), offers communication companies worldwide the keys to magazine launches, search engine optimization and audience development online and at retail. She is a pioneer in the fields of Online Audience Optimization (OAO) and gamification for content publishers. Her books, "Internet Marketing for Magazine Publishers" ; "How to Market your Newsstand Magazine"; and "Secrets of SEO for Publishers" can be found on Amazon. Find her online at Google Plus, Magazine Dojo, LinkedIn, and Twitter @Linda_Ruth.