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July 22, 2014

3 Data Driven Tips for Your Mobile Marketing Campaign

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In 2013, mobile e-commerce was valued at $43 billion, and mobile traffic comprised nearly half of all website visits during the first quarter of 2014. It’s no wonder mobile marketing campaign managers are investing more and more in mobile marketing tactics that not only boosts their ROI, but also gathers data to help them create even better campaigns in the future.

Harrying all this impressive data into an effective mobile marketing strategy is no mean feat. There are a few things you can do to leverage the power of all the mobile usage data flying around into a positive marketing plan. Sticking to the numbers gathered by recent E-Commerce Pulse research, here are some truly data driven ideas for your next mobile marketing campaign:

Be Direct

Direct traffic is the most significant source of sales for mobile, with close to a third of all sales coming from shoppers converting while on their device. Increasingly, users are bypassing search and heading straight for the source – particularly on mobile devices with a wide range of helpful apps. To optimize this potential, be sure that your landing pages (at least) are all mobile friendly, and that the checkout process is as smooth as possible.

Don’t Forget SEM

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is thought to be responsible for 24.8% of tablet conversions during 2013. But it drives little more than half that amount on mobile – a reflection of the challenges inherent to small screen devices. On the one hand, you might think it’s not worth bothering with something that offers such a low conversion rate, but how about some blue sky thinking here? Why not up the ante: make your mobile user experience so easy that those conversions start hitting.

Social: Small but Significant

On mobile, social accounts for more orders than on desktop or tablet (68% of Facebook time and 86% of Twitter time is spent on mobile, according to the Wall Street Journal). Nevertheless, the overall sales earned, owned and paid via social media is still a small share of all mobile orders, so your mobile marketing campaign should take this into account. Social channels function more as an brand awareness generator, and a touchpoint for your business, rather than a primary point of sale, so choose your tracking metrics with this in mind. 

The mobile e-commerce market is poised to hit $50 billion in sales this year, so it’s increasingly important that retailers continue to invest in mobile marketing budgets. By gathering data from as many individual platforms as possible, you can create a single, ‘joined up’ brand experience across all platforms.

July 21, 2014

3 Effective Negative Marketing Strategies

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Though it must undoubtedly be tempered by positivity and come attached with something of real value to the consumer, ‘negative marketing’ can be one of the most compelling ways to engage an audience. Whether it’s self-effacement, common enemies, or simply a list of the wrong way to go about things, spinning the ever-sunny face of web and mobile marketing into a scowl can work wonders for driving traffic.

Almost every industry should consider using it as part of their mobile marketing tactics, but many companies are hesitant to adopt such a potentially risky strategy. Last week we looked at the reasons why negative marketing, when done right, is so effective. Today, examine a few specific negative marketing methods…

1) Negative Titles

One only has to spend five minutes looking at clickbait headlines that pepper the web to spot two common patterns. One tactic is something we like to call ‘Inducing Incredulity’ – those titles that read ‘You Won’t BELIEVE What Happened After This Cat Ate Spaghetti’ or ‘This Free Weight Loss Method is HATED By Doctors.’ The pot of gold promised at the end of those link rainbows is always profoundly empty, and you’re left kicking yourself for trusting any content with such a profligate attitude to capital letters.

The other common – and far superior - approach to headlines is to present articles from a negative angle. Let’s say there’s a news piece about crime statistics in the United States, and you have a choice of two headlines: i)’Most Crime-Free Cities’ or ii)’Worst Cities for Crime’ – the content is precisely the same, but guess which title will generate the most clicks? It works just as well for lifestyle advice articles. Instead of ‘How to Roast the Perfect Chicken’ go for ‘How to Get Roast Chicken Wrong’. It may not be the most flattering comment on human nature, but the fact is, negative headlines translate into more clicks.

2) Shared Experiences

Creating brand loyalty relies on bonding with your audience, and one way to do this is by sharing negative experiences with them. If you can tap into an emotional touchpoint in an unexpected way, your reader will think of you as less of a corporate powerhouse and more of a friend. This is an especially effective mobile marketing strategy to launch your campaign with, as it puts you on an even footing with consumers, letting them know you share their pain. However, once you’ve created that bond based on shared negative experiences, it’s important to shift the tone to more positive, solution-oriented content.

3) Self Effacement

Nobody likes a braggart. That’s as true for businesses as it is for individuals, and whilst every company needs to ‘big themselves up’ in some way, a touch of self-deprecation is a really attractive way to get attention. Sharing your mistakes will make you seem more human, plus, if you do make a slip up, you can be the first to condemn yourself (before the blogosphere pounces). As long as your product or service is unimpeachable, you can afford to poke a little fun at your logo, CEO, or recent advertising campaign. 

July 19, 2014

From Zero to Hero: How Mobile Revolutionized Planet Marketing

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Mobile marketing has gone stratospheric since the advent of the smartphone, but it’s been around in some form or another for more than 20 years. SMS messaging gave marketers a whole new channel to pursue during the 90s, when cell phone ownership first became widespread. Now, with text messages the most commonly read form of communication, advertisers are cautiously rediscovering the possibilities of SMS marketing.

But mobile marketing is about much more than SMS. The smartphone age has seen to that by putting the power and connectivity of a desktop computer into the palms, pockets and handbags of almost everyone in the western world. Some inroads were made into serious, non-SMS mobile marketing tactics during BlackBerry’s first flush of success in the early noughties, but when the first iPhone hit stores in 2007, marketing execs really sat up and began to take notice. 

As developers clamored to create apps to go along with Apple’s devices, the first wave of modern mobile marketing tactics began to take shape. The focus was very much on volume, and publishers relied largely on getting high app store chart rankings in order to gain visibility. Marketing efforts were all about short-term gains, with the main objective to generate as many downloads as early as possible in order to climb the charts. Quantity reigned supreme over quality.

These early years of app/mobile marketing were dominated by incentivized downloads – something Apple continued to allow until April 2011, despite the obvious credibility problems. Tracking performance was problematic. Platform regulations were loose, and developers took full advantage; it was essentially a land grab, the Old West of app and mobile marketing. 

By 2012, developers began thinking about the possibilities of quality and performance tracking. CPI-based campaigns gathered steam and, and better quality tracking was sought. For their part, Apple tightened its rules, clamping down on people accused of gaming the chart system by using bot farms to generate inauthentic downloads.

Around the same time, publishers became more data-focused, integrating in-app analytics software to collect metrics like usage, engagement, retention and monetization potential. There was a growing focus on high-quality user experience – but mostly with the objective of retaining customers for the medium-term.

That all began to change over the last 18 months, as a new climate took hold in the tech world. The shift is now overwhelmingly moving in the direction of stellar quality, as mobile marketing campaign managers realize that acquiring new users, even for a pittance, is not sensible unless they are retained, engaged, and monetized. Against that backdrop, some unlikely transactions have taken place – such as the $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook – but there is no doubt that the app world has raised it’s game. With GPS technology and other location-based tools fast improving, the future of mobile marketing is unpredictable, but undeniably exciting.

 

 

July 15, 2014

Six of the Worst: Mobile Marketing Rookie Errors

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When marketing to mobile users, just be smart. Check out this quick list of the worst mobile marketing errors and prove you’re not a rookie.

1)Overlooking Mobile Limitations

Your smartphone is not a PC or a Mac. You’ve got no mouse, and no printer. There’s a small screen and an even smaller keyboard. Data can be slow and it costs money, so don’t inundate the mobile user with GIFs and content streams. The key is to be creative with what you got: mobile users will appreciate it.

2)Not Focusing on Mobile Capabilities

Your smart phone is better than a PC or a Mac in some ways. It’s a phone with text messaging and email. It’s a video camera and player; it takes pictures and plays music. It can tell where you are and when your next appointment is. And best of all, you can purchase anything you want with it. So utilize these capabilities in your marketing campaigns... or be left in the dust.

3)Confusing Mobile Users with PC Users

Mobile users don’t have time for downloads or site navigation. They need a good .mobi site catering to the device they are using. Give them quick access, relevant data, fast-paced service, and localized info. Eliminate too many words, images, downloads and clicks. And remember: less can much, much more.

4)Making Direct Connection Difficult

Communication over the data stream is great, but nothing beats a direct connection. Make it easy for consumers to contact you via telephone, and supplement your operation to allow for inbound calls. If you can’t afford to hire phone operators, try an interactive voice response system to receive your calls. Be sure to utilize chat and IM technology as well: a whole new generation of mobile users is consuming this form of communication like wildfire.

5)Underestimating Privacy

Mobile consumers are more concerned than ever with personal privacy. Your mobile marketing strategy must follow all regulations when collecting info about mobile users. Always ask permission. Give links to privacy policies on your site and within all of your ads. Don’t abuse the info you collect on your customers: if you make some privacy errors with several of your customers, you’re likely to lose a great deal of your customer base. No joke.

6)Overtargeting Users

This is a biggie. Consumers are getting pretty savvy about the info that businesses collect about them. Since marketers track shopping trends and navigation trends, the marketing messages can become super personalized. Group your customers into categories based on their similarities, and market to these groups accordingly – that way you aren’t spending too much on highly generic ads. Try marketing based on the device a given consumer uses, or perhaps location-based advertising. In any case, if you’re drunk on highly general mobile marketing, perhaps it’s time to start getting more personal.

 

June 26, 2014

How to Get People to Text In


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When starting an SMS campaign, an important first step is to build an opted-in subscriber list by incentivizing potential customers or members to text in. to accomplish this, consumers must be motivated to send that initial text message that effectively opts them in to the SMS contact list. That incentive could be a product or service discount, a one-time coupon, a special offer, or access to exclusive information or privileges.

To increase the likelihood that potential customers will subscribe, considering how, when, where, and why to communicate with them is also essential. When the SMS text marketing campaign presents itself as an exclusive, limited-time opportunity, giving consumers access to something they wouldn't otherwise be able to have, customers are more eager to opt in. Remember, customers are skeptical about giving away permission to contact them, especially on their personal devices, so it’s important they understand exactly what special treatment they are receiving in return for such permission. It’s also important to make the opt-in process as fast and simple as possible.

What follows are some of the most effective strategies used to grow an opted-in subscriber list through SMS texting:

Social media: Facebook and Twitter are great opportunities for businesses to bolster their SMS text marketing efforts. Facebook's web widget, for example, helps build subscriber lists by allowing potential clients to opt in by texting the campaign keyword to a short code directly from their computers.

Web/Email: Email messages are another great way to communicate with current and potential customers about the opportunities a particular SMS campaign has to offer. Consumers who receive email newsletters, for instance, may jump at the chance to receive information directly on their phones in exchange for opting in…as long as the information is valued.

Newsletters: Include a blurb in the hard copy of the company's newsletter asking readers to text the campaign's keyword to a shortcode. Send them exclusive news or other important company or business information in exchange for opting in to the contact list.

Radio Commercials: Ask listeners to text the company's keyword to a short code for special discounts or more information. Radio stations themselves may also use text-to-shortcode strategies to make taking song requests a more streamlined process or to better run their listener contests. Regardless of what the call-to-action is, remember to keep it simple and memorable:

Text {KEYWORD} to {Short Code} for XYZ. For example, Text STUDY to 12345 for more information on how to earn your MBA at ABC University in half the time!

Other Sweepstakes/Contests: Offer customers a chance to win contests for increased customer loyalty by texting in. First, always consult with legal counsel to ensure compliance with state and local laws when implementing contests. 

Signage: Signs inside stores – or at trade shows, lectures, or other special events – can be used to ask everyone who walks through the door to text keywords to shortcodes for information, brochures or special offers. Clothing stores, for instance, can create buzz around new arrivals through in-store signs asking customers to text in for special coupon codes.

Outdoors: Billboards containing a texting call-to-action allow for even greater brand exposure. Entice consumers by offering them exclusive information or a chance to win a contest when they text to opt in.

List-building is a process, and it takes time. However, it is well worth the investment. The more a business makes potential clients comfortable communicating via text, the more likely those same consumers are to convert and become loyal customers. Those customers will also be more responsive to future SMS marketing campaigns.

June 19, 2014

How to Run a Successful SMS Trivia Campaign

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Whether you’re a new business trying to make your mark, or a well-established industry fixture, a compelling mobile marketing campaign can help you reach more potential customers. A well-executed, original idea can easily set your brand apart from the competition. If it’s really special, it might even go viral.

Trivia marketing is a tried and tested framework within which you can flex your creative muscles. While it’s not a new idea per se, there is so much you can do with quizzes, competitions and other participatory contests to engage users. The fact is, people love to put their skills to the test. Give them the right sort of challenge and you will foster a long-term sense of brand loyalty that translates directly into revenue.

The best way to attract interest is by concocting a truly unique spin on the trivia concept. Still, it’s wise to look at examples of successful SMS trivia campaigns so you can begin to chart a path to your own jumping off point.

 

Starbucks

It’s no coincidence that the coffee behemoth is on top of its mobile marketing strategy. You don’t consistently remain the largest coffeehouse chain on the planet without having some pretty creative brains in your marketing department.

Last year, Starbucks used SMS messaging to winning effect with a trivia campaign offering customers prizes. Like any good mobile marketing strategy, it offered something of value whilst growing the company’s opted-in SMS contact list. After determining which kinds of devices users owned, Starbucks even followed up with an MMS message containing a short clip and information about a Happy Hour special offer. By leading with a teaser trivia question, the campaign reminded subscribers that they were part of the mobile campaign, effectively engaging them with the brand.

The campaign began with a trivia contest that quizzed subscribers about the company’s Frappucino. Users were enticed to respond quickly, with the first 100 correct respondents being offered a copy of The Great Gatsby soundtrack. Once recipients had sent in their answer, they received a follow-up message letting them know if they were correct, and encouraging them to reply with the keyword READYSET if they wanted to receive summer alerts.

This type of time-limited offer is crucial to the efficacy of trivia campaigns. The longer users sit on a text message from a business, the less likely they are to engage, and the SMS is soon forgotten entirely. By incorporating the first-to-respond element, Starbucks ensured that recipients participated quickly.

 

Chipotle

More recently, Chipotle had their own take on the SMS trivia idea. The brand sponsored and developed an original series for Hulu called Farmed & Dangerous, a biting satire on petro-chemical agriculture that encouraged viewers to think about where their food comes from. Already, the series had the makings of a brilliant marketing campaign that cast Chipotle in a positive, ethical light. Then they threw in a dose of SMS magic to engage viewers with the show and, by proxy, the brand.

The SMS trivia campaign was advertised during commercial breaks, and offered viewers a buy-one-get-one-free offer from Chipotle. By texting BADMILK to a shortcode, viewers were taken to a series of trivia questions relating to the current episode. Once three questions were answered, viewers were prompted to reply with the keyword REMIND to get future SMS alerts about the latest episode of the show. Each text message included a link to a mobile coupon.

Chipotle and Starbucks are two of the big boys to have successfully used SMS trivia marketing. If you lack the budget to create a web series or run movie soundtrack giveaways, there are plenty of other ways to leverage the power of SMS trivia marketing. See what you can come up with this summer!

June 18, 2014

A/B Testing Your Text Ads

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By 2018, the world will see 9.3 billion mobile data plans in use. When it comes to capitalizing on the vast potential of mobile ads and SMS campaigns, marketers have barely begun to scratch the surface. Mobile marketing budgets in the U.S. alone will soon reach $4.4 billion, but unless businesses measure the effectiveness of their messaging, they may be wasting money. 

This is exactly why A/B split testing is an essential tool for successful mobile marketing. Instead of making educated guesses, marketers should instead analyze concrete evidence to assess which campaign messaging works. Using this method to fine-tune one of its own marketing campaigns, top Australian parenting site Kidspot, for example, saw user app engagement go up by 87% in just two weeks. 

What is A/B Split Testing?

A/B split testing is a method for testing two variations of a campaign to compare their performances. The A/B split testing of SMS texting campaigns helps boost ROI, allowing more marketing dollars to be invested in the messaging that drives the most sales. It also makes optimizing future campaigns possible.

Regardless of whether the goal is increasing the response rates or sales or simply reducing “unsubscribe” rates, the method is simple:

  • Write two variations of the SMS message.
  • Split recipients into two lists.
  • Message variation A goes to one list, variation B to the other.

To track which campaign message generates which responses, variations A and B should ask consumers to text in to two different short codes. If two different short codes cannot be used, the two messages should at least be sent a few days apart, giving the first mobile ad's effect some time to wear off for a better read on the data, which may be viewed via Google Analytics or a similar tool.

How are A/B Split Test Results Used?

Once data is collected, these questions should be asked:

  • Did one message have a higher “open” rate than the other?
  • Of the number of messages opened, did one variation have a higher response rate?
  • Did one message have a lower “unsubscribe” rate?
  • Which message generated the highest number of sales or inquiries?

If there is no significant difference between the two messages' performance, it's possible the SMS campaign messages were too similar. The following factors should be taken into account:

  • Tone: Did both message sound professional or friendly?
  • Keywords: Was a compelling keyword used in one message or both?
  • Price: Did only one version include the price, or did both? And were prices similarly presented?
  • Calls to action: How were they different? For instance, did they both ask recipients to text, or did one ask consumers to call?
  • Time of day: Consider testing to see if different times of day lead to the higher open, response, and/or conversion rates as well.
  • Subscriber lists: Consider testing one consumer demographic over another. For instance, some campaigns may be more effective with recipients living in suburban zip codes than those living elsewhere.

If one message significantly out-performs the other, principles used in the most successful message can be applied to future campaigns.

Companies may split test more than two variations – known as multi-variant testing – so long as their recipient list is large enough for a good sampling.  A/B split testing and multi-variant testing are excellent ways to ensure marketing dollars are going where they pay off the most and that each mobile campaign is more effective than the last. No matter how well an SMS or text ad campaign performs, there is always room for improvement.

June 12, 2014

Mobile Marketing Tactics: Buy Online, Pick Up In Store

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In an era when Amazon.com can deliver almost anything imaginable – by delivery truck or even via drone  – consumers have increasingly come to expect items for purchase to be not only inexpensive and widely available, but also shipped to them quickly and conveniently. As a result, brick-and-mortar retailers everywhere are struggling to keep up with emerging technology. That struggle can be especially difficult in the midst of elevated demand for free shipping when retail margins are already growing thin.

The good news is that savvy retailers are figuring out ways to harness mobile technology to better meet consumer demand and simultaneously increase in-store foot traffic. Leveraging the power of SMS text marketing campaigns, retailers are urging their mobile customers to order items online and pick them up in-store.

Consumer Convenience that Also Benefits Retailers

Because of the high cost of shipping, increasingly more retailers are seeking cost-saving measures that include delivering purchases directly to stores instead of homes, as well as allowing customers to return mobile online purchases in-store, among other strategies.

Not only do omnichannel efforts help save retailers an enormous amount of money; shoppers appreciate the flexibility these choices afford them. During the past holiday season, for instance, more than one in three online shoppers in the U.S. said they would like the ability to pick up, in-store, items that they had ordered online. The added bonus of offering such an option to consumers is that more mobile online customers come through retailer's doors as a result, increasing the likelihood they will make additional purchases.

In-Store Pick-Up Gives Online Mobile Consumers More Control

While home delivery may sounds appealing on the surface, it becomes a hassle when consumers arrive home after a long day at work just to find that a delivery attempt was made when no one was home. Therefore, more than 80 percent of shoppers consider knowing when a package will arrive to be the number one most important service that mobile online shopping can offer.

In practical terms, giving consumers better control of when a shipment arrives can mean several things. One strategy is to use SMS texting campaigns to alert opted-in consumers that they may pick up items they've ordered online, in-store, as soon as the items arrives. Alternatively, customers may also be permitted to reserve an item online and then both pick it up and pay for it at a nearby store location. In addition, consumers may be given the option to buy the item online via an SMS text link and then retrieve it from the store at a later date.

Allowing in-store returns of mobile online orders, as well as alerting consumers that they may place orders using online catalogs while in the store, are a few additional strategies that offer the consumer increased convenience while also increasing in-store foot traffic. All of these improve the likelihood that mobile consumers will make additional on-premise purchases. In the end, these strategies create a win-win scenario for both businesses and satisfied customers alike. 

June 11, 2014

Research Shows 80% of Mobile Searches Result in a Sale

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Online directory Neustar Localeze recently published a study demonstrating the scale of consumer migration to mobile. The results show that 79% of smartphone owners and 81% of tablet owners use their devices to search for information about local businesses. Of those searches, around 80% resulted in a transaction between merchant and consumer, and 75% ended with the customer physically going to the brick and mortar store. 

However, only 50% of searchers were satisfied with what was available on mobile, indicating a need for businesses to better optimize their sites for mobile. This disconnect between user demand and experience offers exciting opportunities for canny mobile marketing strategists to secure greater ROIs by offering a truly mobile friendly platform through which to conduct business. 

According to Brian Wool, VP of content distribution at Neustar, consumers “want to see more information around products and services,” though he conceded that local search engines were beginning to use more specific data to improve search relevancy.

The key difference between desktop and mobile search is exactly what you’d think: screen size. Tablets and smartphones can only display so much information before the need for scrolling, so it’s crucially important that businesses prioritize the most sought-after content.

The localized content Wool alluded to is starting to make inroads into mobile marketing tactics, but it’s mostly the preserve of large corporations with the spending power to play around with new ideas. But it’s precisely these localized searches that small, regional businesses should be focusing on. It’s their best chance of competing with the big chain retailers who have the edge in terms of pricing and traditional marketing clout.

If small businesses can develop user-friendly, highly visible mobile sites, they will carve out niche markets that are just a local search away. Lots of quality content remains the best hope for improving online visibility. As Wool says, “the more you can share with the ecosystem, the better your listing is going to perform.”

The take home message for SMBs, then, is this: the majority of local searches do end in a conversion, so devising and investing in a mobile marketing campaign is a safe bet when it comes to growing that bottom line. 

June 10, 2014

How to Get More Leads with Mobile Marketing

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Lead generation on the web may seem straightforward enough: businesses simply promote offers on their landing pages and through social media, email, etc., and a lead is generated every time a potential customer fills out the lead generation form. However, mobile visitors do not behave the same as those who surf the web on a desktop computer. Therefore, the online experience needs to be adjusted accordingly in order for mobile marketing to result in optimal lead generation.

Following is a list of mobile marketing optimization strategies for better lead generation:

Using Progressive Profiling Forms. Online forms must be short and easy to fill out, or mobile users won't bother with them. Instead of using long form fills, asking for a plethora of information, progressive profiling forms can be used. With progressive profiling forms, fields that were filled out the previous time by the same visitor can be replaced with new fields, thus making each form shorter and ultimately creating easier navigation and more return visits.

Making Calls-to-Action Simple. The CTA text must be action-oriented, short, readable, and clear. Avoid distracting images that are too visually heavy. The CTA must also be easy to click on a small screen. Think: large buttons!

Advertising Mobile-Friendly Specials. Promotions and discounts that may be redeemed through mobile devices, such as on-location promo codes, are a great way to appeal to mobile users. For example, as customers enter a store, geo-location technology can offer them a specific discount for texting a keyword to the company’s shortcode. The result? An increased sense of customer loyalty as well as a longer list of leads for future business. 

Optimizing Content for the Mobile Screen. People often look at their smartphones when they only have a few extra minutes to “kill.” For this reason, many users may not reach the bottom of an article. Therefore, content should be frontloaded with lead generation links. The content should also be easily digestible, and the purpose of the article should be clear from the start. The writing must be concise and include bold, short, “tweetable” headlines. It's a good idea to test out different types of material to see what mobile visitors are most likely to read, whether it's “how-to” articles or lists – and then create more of that type of content.

Enabling Measurable Action With Just a Few Clicks. People pick up their mobile phones with the intention of taking action, whether that means sending a text message, making a call, or opening an app. Making it easy for users to complete an action in as few clicks as possible greatly increases the chance of bringing them to the point of conversion. When potential customers may simply click on a phone number to place a call, for instance, instead of having to copy and paste it, the odds that they will complete that call are greater. Hence, offer clickable phone numbers and hyperlinks.

Creating a Text Message Campaign.  A mass texting campaign is an easy to get new leads to “opt in.” As mentioned above, for instance, when customers walk into a store and see a sign advertising an automatic discount just for sending a text message, that's a difficult deal to refuse. In exchange, the store may choose to alert the customer once a month about future sales, making him/her a return customer.

The fact that consumers may now access the web so quickly and often means that mobile marketing has a lot to offer when it comes to lead generation. Smart business owners and brand managers know they will create even more leads if they actually make the mobile experience enjoyable for potential customers. Doing so requires making small adjustments to an existing web presence, and those small adjustments can lead to a big payoff in the end.