Doing Mobile Coupons the Right Way with Text Messaging

Doing Mobile Coupons the Right Way with Text Messaging is the second in a series of articles that we'll be posting this fall. Small Business Marketing Tips To Build Sales In A Down Economy will teach you how to use do-it-yourself tools like SMS, email and social media to effectively market your business.

Entry By Simit Patel

Thanks to the rise of mobile devices, specifically cell phones, the coupon industry is experiencing a revival. Mobile research group mobiThinking estimates that more than 77% of the people on the planet can be reached via their cell phone. This creates an unprecedented opportunity to reach customers at any time, affording marketers a greater opportunity to acquire customers and earn trust via coupon marketing.

Thus far, the media surrounding this trend has focused largely on location-based group commerce services like Groupon and LivingSocial, but there other routes open to small business owners that they can inexpensively and effectively use to their advantage. Indeed, perhaps the most powerful way to promote mobile coupons is through text messaging.

Text Messaging is Pervasive and Cost-Effective
Text messaging has "crossed the chasm" to become a mainstream phenomenon: a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center noted that 72% of American adults now use text messaging, sending an average of 10 text messages per day. For the younger generations, the numbers are even more staggering: 87% of teenagers text, averaging 50 sent messages per day. Since smartphone penetration is just now reaching 40% (according to a Nielsen study) a mobile coupon campaign built around texting can help marketers reach a wider audience relative to other options.

Of equal importance to marketers for small businesses is that marketing services built around text messaging are typically far less expensive to try than the daily deals offered by the aforementioned smartphone-centric group buying services. With Ez Texting, for instance, marketers can get started at just $29 per month; the smartphone daily deal networks, on the other hand, have a more complex method that can result in greater risk for firms if the campaign is not thoroughly planned.

Using Push and Pull Campaigns to Boost Sales
Once you're ready to go down the text messaging route, the first step is to decide how best to execute your mobile coupon marketing campaign. There are two basic options: push campaigns and pull campaigns.

In a push campaign you gather phone numbers, and send out a text message with a unique code.The customer can then show this code at your store to redeem their discount. On the other hand, in a pull campaign, members send a text to a number you publish. Doing that subscribes them to your mobile coupon list. Essentially, creating a mobile coupon campaign is like building an email list online - something many small businesses and marketers have already used to their advantage.

Of course, the key to a successful mobile coupon marketing campaign is not simply the technology used, but rather ensuring that the entire process is a positive one for the customer. Customers who opt-in to mobile coupons have granted you permission to send them text message coupons. Make the redemption process simple, and the customer will come away feeling positive about doing business with you. This in turn establishes the trust of the customer, and helps you build your brand. Your gain comes in the form of increased sales and beneficial word-of-mouth marketing--which leads to future sales at no additional marketing cost.

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Marketing should be done mobile. This should go hand in hand with the demands of time in order for your business to be successful.

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