The SMS Marketing Blog

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How to Nurture Customer Relationships with Mobile Marketing

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Lifecycle marketing refers to existing-customer marketing based on relationship status. This is even more essential in regards to SaaS customers, who renew their subscriptions if they truly love the brand and what said brand does for them. If your customers are SaaS, providing continual value is imperative to avoid unsubscribing issues. 

Nurturing customer relationships is about treating each sector or demographic differently, i.e. catering to their specific needs. With that in mind, check out a few excellent mobile tactics designed to help maintain relationships with customers: 

 

Text Reminders

Sending texts to customers keeps your business fresh in their minds, but be careful not to overdo it. Think alerts about special promotions and discounts, opportunities to receive more information about product updates, etc. 

 

Sweepstakes

Winning free stuff never gets old, and offering customers the chance to win a valuable product or service helps them feel part of your community and increases the chances of them “talking up” your brand, such as through social media outlets. 

 

Surveys and Polls

A way to obtain quick feedback from customers, set up surveys and polls so customers can respond instantly via mobile devices. By you wanting their feedback, they’ll feel appreciated, which helps build brand loyalty. It’s also a great way to get to know your customers better. 

 

Social Integration

As previously touched on, social media platforms provide an excellent way to engage customers and develop a dialog. Take full advantage of customers’ willingness to discuss your brand over social media by making it easy for them to comment, share, and post about your business. 

 

Push Notifications

Location-based mobile marketing technology is increasingly utilized, as helping customers buy something they want at the right time cannot be emphasized enough. When customers are within reach of your location, try sending texts about special promotions and discounts. 

 

Loyalty Programs

Offering promotions that provide real value to your existing customers is yet another way to ensure they patronize your business again and again. Make it even more worth customer while by offering benefits for referring friends or recommending your products and services over assorted social media platforms. Take it another step further by enticing VIP customers with the chance to enter your “insider group.” Your most loyal brand advocates, provide such customers with your very best promotions and discounts...they’ll definitely come back for more.  

Determining your mobile ROI isn’t terribly difficult so long as you keep track of how many customers respond to your messages and what they spend on your brand on average. This results in a solid demographic and a psychographic understanding of your customers, which is always helpful in regards to future campaigns. 

 

Mobile Marketing Tactics for Memorial Day

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Memorial weekend officially kicks off summer, but it’s also the ideal time to experiment with unique marketing ideas that can push your business to the next level during a lull in sales. From social media to military rewards, Memorial Day is a great time to invite people to look at your products and services using one of these unique marketing ideas.  

 

Special Giveaways

Memorial weekend is one of the busiest shopping times of the year. As people transition into summer, everyone is on the lookout for a good deal. Normally, a giveaway doesn’t sound like a lucrative marketing tactic, but paired with social media, and you’ve got yourself an authentic customer experience they’ll want to share with friends and family. 

Sample App is a great technology to integrate into this marketing plan. It delivers your sample to qualified consumers who will spread the word across various social media platforms about your brand. 

 

Coupons 

Aside from giving away products, another great way to incentivize sales is with a coupon—but not just any coupon. SMS marketing, or “mobile coupons” are 10 times more likely to be redeemed than traditional paper coupons. These electronic tickets are also significantly less of an investment, and are easier to scale. 

Keypons offer a great mobile coupon system. They’re easy to create for customers on the go. The coupons are delivered either directly to customer’s cell phone or to their social media accounts. 

 

Creative contests

Using a contest over Memorial Day weekend adds to the excitement of the entire event. Contest in general are a great way to increase short-term sales goals as well as build a future repeat customer base. 

Pairing again with social media, try using a customizable contest platform. Get creative with the contest and consider how best to integrate it with your products. Try a photo contest or a cost-effective sweepstakes. Set up the contest for free and preview everything before you pay using the free Twitter Contest App

 

Honor Veterans 

It’s easy to get lost in the hustle of the busy weekend, but don’t forget what the holiday is all about. Memorial Day is a great opportunity to provide military men and women, as well as their families with a special discount. In addition to honoring the military veterans, this is a great way to relate to customers that you care about them and appreciate their business. 

 

Loyalty Program

For business with a brick and mortar store location, there are even more opportunities to reward customers with an on-site loyalty program. In addition to driving sales now, this is a great way to boost sales in the future. 

Check out LoyalBlocks, an app that lets you personalize rewards and transform your store into a special loyalty palace where customers don’t have to do anything to receive special offers. Everything is loaded and built on the app so it’s inclusive and very easy to use. 

However you decide to celebrate Memorial weekend, be sure to take the opportunity to reach out to customers with a unique marketing idea that will get them excited to your products and services over the busy weekend. 

 

Global Smartphone Sales of $96bn in 2015 Q1

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Recently released figures suggest 2015 will be a record-breaking year for the smartphone. According to market research company GfK, global sales hit $96 billion in Q1 - an 8% year-on-year increase.  

The market has never witnessed such a successful quarter. The number of units sold went up by 7%, to 309.7 million (from 290.1 million in the first quarter of 2014). The lion’s share of that growth comes from Middle Eastern and African markets, but strong growth in North America continues to drive revenues. 

Outside the USA, there has been a slowing of growth in other mature markets such as China and Japan - though analysts predict this is a temporary hiccup rather than a new trend. As more consumers make the transition from 3G to 4G, developed Asian markets are expected to fuel a resurgence in regional sales. 

Much of the ground made can be attributed to a combination of 4G and large-screen adoption, but low-end smartphones have also experienced an upsurge, increasing their market share from 52% in the previous quarter, to 56% in Q1 of 2015. Mid-range devices remained stable and price erosion in emerging markets has seen high-end models (retailing at $500+) take a tumble.

What are we to make of these figures? According to GfK, global smartphone demand is predicted to grow by at least 10% year-on-year for the remainder of 2015. Asia - and in particular India and Indonesia - is forecast to be the primary growth area, as the economies are strong but smartphone penetration is still relatively low.

Millennials Pose Biggest Mobile Security Risk

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Internet technology security has become of increased concern for companies with sensitive internal data. The risk from outsider infiltration has been of topic for years, yet a recent report conducted by endpoint security specialists Absolute Software, says otherwise.

According to the survey, almost fifty percent of the workforce will be millennials by 2020. As this group replaces the baby boomers, there are new concerns posed by use and behavior with employer-owned mobile devices and personal computers. 

The survey took a look at 750 Americans over the age of 18 who work for companies with at least fifty employees. Although seventy-nine percent of those questioned reported they prefer separate mobile devices for personal and work use, fifty-two percent will use the company-owned property for personal reasons. What’s more, of that total, fourteen percent admit their personal behavior could compromise company data and lead to a potential security risk. 

What’s more interesting still, the age demographic and position level have strong influences on this behavior. Only five percent of baby boomers reported compromising activities on company property, while twenty-five percent of millennials report similar activity. Sixty-four percent of millennials reported using desktop computers for personal use, while only thirty-seven percent of baby boomer reported the personal use of company desktops. 

Aside from breaking company policies that protect sensitive data, among those surveyed, twenty-seven percent reported the content they view is not safe on company property. Five percent concluded their personal content was of no threat to the company’s security. 

Moreover, as position level increases, so too does the likeliness of an employee using employee-owned property for personal use. Of those at senior level positions, seventy-six percent admitted to personal use, and twenty-six percent have actually lost company devices in the last five years. Lower level positions were significantly less, with fifty-one percent admitting to similar personal use.

Vice President of Global Marketing Absolute, Stephen Midgley, says the report was conducted to help companies become more aware of this unique threat to IT security.

“Armed with this information, our customers can consider user behavior as an additional data point in their endpoint security and data risk management strategies,” said Midgley. 

The recommendation is simple: implement a security solution on all employee-owned devices. Additional measures might also include a combination of employee training, updates to guidelines and procedures, as well as personal responsibility placed on the employees.

 

Mobile Gaming Revenue to Hit $110 Billion by 2018

 

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New research from intelligence firm Digi-Capital highlights the omnipresence and financial power of the mobile gaming industry. Spending predictions are record-breaking, with a steady annual growth of eight percent leading up to $110 billion by 2018.

Currently, mobile games are taking $3 of every $10 spent by gamers. That figure is expected to increase to $4 in three years time, which will have a dramatic impact on who and how new games go to market.

Spending on smartphones and other mobile devices is already high, generating more revenue than game console software this year—this does not include hardware, or free to play games. Strong growth predictions account for current trends as well as the success of popular games currently in market and budding player downloads in foreign counties.

Compared to North America and Europe, Asia will be responsible for nearly fifty percent of all mobile game revenues by 2018. Asia already leads these figures but is expected to take a larger share as the industry grows and the Asian markets continue to liberalize.

The top grossing mobile games are of no surprise. According to Digi-Capitol founder and managing director, Tim Merel, games like Clash of Clan, Candy Crush Saga, and Game of War will continue their reign from the top. These games have lead considerable marketing campaigns, including Super Bowl ads, regular television campaigns, and comprehensive online advertising. These games have also been available on both iOS and Android since 2012.

The growth potential for these games is great for shareholders, but a challenge for games being squeezed out of the competition. Player acquisition costs are high, $3 a player, which to too expensive for independent companies at the present. These costs are also slimming to already delicate profit margins even if some companies manage to edge it out.

All things considered, there is some good news for emerging mobile games. Mobile marketing automation technologies are improving and the prices seem to be lowering. Solutions used by games like Plants vs. Zombies, Rivals of War and Subway Surfers are becoming more available to independent games and small enterprise.

With China and India looking prospectively good for downloads and users in the coming year, there’s still plenty of room for developers to capitalize on this growing sector of the game market. Moreover, the real takeaway of this research is the proliferation of mobile use among users, which along with the gaming industry parallels in growth.

A Third of UK Online Purchases in 2015 Will Be Mobile

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According to eMarketer’s latest estimates, one-third of all 2015 online sales in the UK will take place on smartphones and tablets. The figure is believed to increase by over 40 percent by 2019. eMarketer also estimates that UK retail ecommerce sales will rise 14.5 percent this year to reach £60.4bn. This increase is due to an improved economy, more purchase delivery options, and shoppers turning to mobile devices for buying products and services.

Digital will function as the “main driver” of overall retail sales growth, and subsequently its share of total retail sales will increase to 14.4 percent this year. The increase puts the UK on top of global rankings in regards to ecommerce’s portion of total retail sales. China will be second, with a 12 percent share. The U.S. is farther down the line at 7.1 percent.

Additionally, growth trajectory for mCommerce sales is quite sharp, with this year’s forecast predicting a 30.3 percent increase. eMarketer experts say UK retail mCommerce sales “will reach £19.9bn in 2015, and by 2019, that figure will almost double to just short of £37bn.”

Tablets are especially essential to UK mCommerce sales growth, says eMarketer, as more and more consumers use the devices for “lean-back browsing” of potential purchases. Some retailers are putting extra effort into their tablet retail sites and apps, ensuring they’re both rich and responsive. eMarketer predicts that in 2015 tablet retail mCommerce sales will reach £13.3bn, nearly 67 percent of overall UK retail mcommerce sales. Compare that to 2013, when tablets accounted for a 60.5 percent share of such sales. 

“That mobile is playing an increasingly important role in the retail shopping habits of UK consumers is without question, be that via smartphone, phablet or tablet,” said eMarketer analyst, Bill Fisher. “What this demonstrates, though, is that digital shopping and buying long ago entered the mainstream for most UK consumers, and buying via mobile is just the next step. Indeed, device-agnostic buying, thanks to users’ familiarity with these various device types, is becoming the norm.” 

Even though consumers have demonstrated their willingness to rely on tablets and other mobile devices for making purchases, many retailers have been slow to adapt. Security concerns are one reason for this, and new payment technology options have stagnated as a result. However, the UK is set to establish itself as a huge player in the mobile commerce market over the next few years. 

The World's First SMS Referendum Took Place Last Month... in Mongolia

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For all the rapid advances in digital technology over the past decade, the business of democracy remains firmly analogue. Ever since mutterings ranging from ‘foul play’ to ‘system error’ cast a pall over the 2000 Presidential elections, electronic voting in the U.S. has been in decline, with states abandoning machines in favor of traditional pencil-and-paper voting. Voting watchdogs and analysts have major reservations about the security of a digital system if faced with committed, politically motivated hackers. Strange as it seems, electronic voting may have had it’s day.

If e-voting - which is at least supervised by election officials in a centralized venue - is on the wane, it seems unlikely that mobile voting will fare any better. For those fearful of tampering and corruption, the remoteness of casting votes via a mobile device will do nothing to reassure. 

Well, it doesn’t get any more remote than Mongolia, which last month became the world’s first country to stage a referendum in which citizens can engage with the democratic process via their mobile devices.  

Prime Minister Saikhanbileg Chimed asked three million Mongolians to air their views on the country’s dwindling economy, which, according to Bloomberg, has slowed down from a record 17.5 per cent in 2011 to around 7 per cent in 2013. The mining industry, a bedrock of the economy, is beset with legal wrangles. Foreign investment has collapsed, causing the Tugrik to fall 42% against the U.S. dollar. The government is involved in a tax dispute with Rio Tinto Group, who were slated to finance one of Mongolia’s biggest assets, the $6.6 billion Oyo Tolgoi mine. Public and political opposition to the open-cast mining industry has only fanned the flames of economic unrest.

With negotiations at a stalemate, Saikhanbileg has shrewdly recognized the only credible way out of the mess is via a public mandate. In January, just two months into his office, Saikhanbileg took to national television to offer Mongolians a stark choice to save the economy: press on with multi-billion dollar mining projects or cut spending and scale back investment in the industry. The Prime Minister invited citizens to state their preferred strategy via text message.

Four days later, the votes were in. Austerity measures received a resounding ‘no’ from the people, giving the government the go-ahead to - hopefully - revitalize the mining industry and resume negotiations with multinationals like Rio Tinto.

For the wider world, the implications of the result are perhaps less significant than the implications of the voting method. Democracy by text message had never been tried before. It seems to have worked, but only time will tell whether the Mongolian experiment is destined to be an anomaly or a historic precedent.

Is Your Website Primed for Mobile Users?

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At the end of last month, Google updated their algorithms to reward mobile-friendly sites. 

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal,” the company wrote on its Webmaster Central Blog back in February. “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” 

The substantial change in how the search engine giant rank websites means it’s essential that your website, blog, and landing pages are completely optimized for mobile.  

Are you ready for this historic change? Let’s look at what you need to do if you haven’t already: 

 

Test Your Website 

Google has provided website owners with a free tool that lets them know what they need to do to ensure they’re prepared for the new mobile search algorithm. Simply run the tool on your site to obtain a speedy assessment of whether your mobile rank is good enough for the change. If your site is fully optimized, you’ll receive a success message saying “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly” or something similar. You’ll also receive a visual of how Google sees your site. 

If your website is less-than-mobile-friendly, you’ll receive a notification that reads, “Not mobile-friendly” complete with a list of why not. Typical reasons include “text too small to read,” “links too close together,” and “mobile viewpoint not set.” You’ll also be notified as to how Google sees the page and what you can do to change it. 

 

Select Your Approach

Google recognizes three different “mobile-friendly” configurations so you may move content as needed. The first is responsive design, also Google’s number-one recommended design pattern. Responsive design never creates two copies of the same site, meaning viewers have only one go-to URL, and the website adapts to whatever device it’s on, whether tablet, smartphone...you get the idea. 

Dynamic serving and mobile websites round out the list, with the former allowing you to again keep the same URL. The difference is the change in HTML, as dynamic serving utilizes user-agents to determine what device the consumer is using and sets up the appropriate view.  

The mobile website option refers to creation of a separate mobile website, however it means creating and maintaining two different versions of content. Responsive design is considered the best option because website viewers, Google, marketers, and website owners are all big, big fans. 

 

Wrap-Up

Google has also created a list of common mistakes in addition to its mobile-optimization tool so you may correct whatever’s wrong with your site, if applicable. If your site isn’t optimized, don’t panic--you can still rebuild your search credit. However, the sooner you implement changes, the better.