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46 posts categorized "Mobile Web"

April 17, 2014

Mobile Keywords: How They Work and When To Use Them

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In the context of mobile marketing, a “keyword” is not merely a search term, as it is when one thinks of Google and how potential customers find a commercial website on the internet. Rather, the use of  mobile keywords, by contrast, is a simple and highly effective strategy for engaging with consumers who have mobile phone access – by persuading such consumers to “opt in” to your consumer database (for future marketing), while simultaneously allowing consumers to take the lead in a conversation with you about your products or services.

Texting Keywords to Shortcodes

Here's how mobile keywords work: A company specializing in hair care products, for example, runs an advertisement for a product that aims at making hair more shiny and bouncy. One thing that this particular advertisement does is to invite consumers to text the keyword “shiny” to what is called a “shortcode” phone number, using their mobile phones (texting the keyword to, say, the phone number 12345). In return, the customer is told that she will receive a mobile coupon, which she may redeem simply by showing the message she's received to the cashier at the point of purchase. Thus, thanks to the mobile keyword campaign, not only has the consumer made a purchase; by initiating the text exchange, she's also agreed to “opt in” to the database of customers who have given permission to receive future promotions from the company. 

What the Consumer Gets

When employing a mobile keyword campaign, the text response that the customer receives can be a coupon, as in the previous example. However, it could also simply be a message that gives more information about some aspect of the company's services or products that connects to the chosen keyword – which should be a maximum of 25 alphanumeric, non-case-sensitive characters.

For instance, some colleges and technical schools have found it useful to get the attention of interested individuals by running ad campaigns asking prospective applicants to text a word like “info” or perhaps even just the name of the school to a shortcode. In return, potential applicants may receive information about a location-specific recruiting event—since automated responses may be customized by geography, for example, using GPS—or a link to a website that contains information about programs of study and how to apply.

The Return on Investment for Companies

One of the greatest things about mobile keyword marketing campaigns is the long-term return on investment that such campaigns offer. By waiting for consumers to respond to a specific invitation to initiate dialogue, businesses eliminate the risk of offending potential customers through more intrusive techniques, such as telemarketing, and thus lay the foundation for a positive rapport.

Once a consumer has “opted in,” his or her phone number is available not only for future marketing campaigns but also for ongoing follow-up, which may, for instance, involve sending the same customer a series of related messages after a certain number of days or months have passed. In much the same way that people today keep their mobile phones always nearby, thanks to mobile keyword marketing campaigns, your business need not ever be far from a customer's mind, either.

April 14, 2014

Text Marketing: Short Codes Vs. Long Codes

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When employing mobile marketing tactics, one must choose between using long codes and short codes. There are “pro”s and “con”s for each, regardless of which you use for your mobile marketing campaign:

Benefits of Long Codes (Some Questionable)

While long code per message fees are higher, the set-up and monthly costs make them ultimately more affordable. Messages can be sent internationally, and messages and calls can come from the same number. Their most appealing features, though, are also their biggest downfall: because no customer opt-in is required and set-up is quick and easy (due to the lack of a vetting process), abuse of long codes for spamming purposes runs rampant. Long code use over a U.S. carrier network is actually considered stealing because carriers are paid for the right to send texts via their networks.

Drawbacks of Long Codes

In addition to the problems already named above, long codes are hard to remember, don't support video or picture messaging, can't be used for billing, and are limited in speed to the number of messages per second that can be sent. There's also no option to make these free to end users. While short codes include an option to pay the cost up front instead of charging the consumer for use, this is yet another thorny issue that makes long codes problematic. 

However …

What it comes down to it, any message sent to a U.S. long code requires that the parties must be actual people. In theory, therefore, it's conceivable how, in an age when mobile devices are employed in ways once seemingly unimaginable, long codes could be used legitimately for applications involving more personal business exchanges, such as for financial, gaming and dating sites.

Short Code Drawbacks

This is not to say that short codes don't carry their own sets of problems. First, short codes, for some companies, are prohibitively expensive, with set monthly costs hovering around $500. Short codes must be individually activated for each country, as well as approved by each carrier. Short codes also cannot be called.

Short Code Advantages

Just as the assets making long codes convenient also make them problematic, the features making short codes a hassle are simultaneously what they have going for them. First, they require a vetting process that can take weeks – which also means they are less susceptible to spam and thus offer consumers better protection. The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and other regulatory bodies have put consumer protection rules into place requiring companies using short codes to ask permission before making contact. They must provide, in exchange, a certain amount of value. This benefits not only consumers but also businesses, since it establishes a much better rapport with consumers. It also doesn't hurt that businesses can – and do – make this exchange free to end users. Short codes are also more memorable, allow for thousands of messages to be sent per second, and can be used for billing.

The full advantages and disadvantages of short and long codes is a complicated issue, further complicated by the fact that carriers often change their capabilities and rules (as well as the fact that companies lack resources to keep track of – and test – each update).  Short codes, with a few noted exceptions, are the way to go in the U.S., however; and the very miniscule amount of text spam that most of us receive is a true testament to their efficacy.

April 04, 2014

SMS Tips: Getting the Most Out of Google Voice

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Launched in March of 2009, Google Voice is a telecommunications service that provides one phone number, thereby allowing users to keep the same number regardless of phone company changes, job changes or any other life changes. Using Google Voice means your number stays the same, with features including the ability to forward calls to your cell phone, block and screen calls, retrieve voicemails and more. Since Google Voice is a free service, mobile marketing tactics are beginning to focus on it more, marketers are discovering how it may be implemented into assorted mobile marketing solutions and strategies. Let’s take a look:

First Things First

Before discussing Google Voice utilization in a mobile marketing strategy, it’s important to note the service’s limitations. Google Voice cannot send pictures or any other form of multimedia messaging (MMS), and will ignore such messages without alerting the receiver. However, many other viable options are available for sending pictures, such as email, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Sending Free Text Messages

One of the arguably biggest benefits of utilizing Google Voice in a mobile marketing strategyis the ability to send free text messages to your list of leads. Calling leads usually isn’t the most effective strategy, as people aren’t always able or willing to pick up their phones, but can still easily answer a text message. Let’s say you have a few hundred leads you wish to contact to determine if they’re still interested in your business. All you have to do is copy a number, hit ‘text’ in Google Voice, and paste the number along with the message. What’s more, the person’s reply will be sent directly to your Google Voice account, which you can also reply to. It’s as easy as sending email, and more than that, it’s free and is almost guaranteed to be read.

Google Voice Auto-Reply SMS

Want to let customers know about your new number? Google Voice Auto-Reply SMS is an easy way to do this. Another free tool, it automatically lets customers and leads know about your new contact number, allowing you to avoid continuous, confusing calls to your old one.

Sending Free Text Messages to a Range of Devices

Besides the ability to send free text messages, Google Voice provides additional mobile marketing solutions in that you can send those text messages to a wide range of devices. Mobile marketing tactics and campaigns are sometimes limited to a certain type of phone, something Google Voice eliminates entirely. Use it to send text message alerts regarding sales, events, coupons and anything else pertaining to your business to any device that accepts SMS.

“Voice” is Often Preferable to Smartphone Users 

Keypads on smartphones aren’t always easy to use, particularly if the user has large fingers! Many smartphone users prefer to text or search for something using their voices instead of their hands, so it follows that Google Voice would make an attractive part of a mobile marketing campaign for smartphone users. They can easily listen to messages and reply using their voices.

Have you used Google Voice as part of your latest mobile marketing strategy? If not, it might be time to try!

 

 

April 02, 2014

UK Experiencing Mobile Marketing Boom

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While companies continue to use mobile marketing tactics to promote and expand their businesses in the U.S. and in the U.K., the mobile marketing industry across the pond continues to trail its U.S. counterpart.  It seems everyone in the U.S. has a smartphone attached to their hand, which they use to send texts, make calls, look up information, browse social media and make purchases among many other activities. Smartphones and tablets are even surpassing laptops in popularity, as U.S. citizens are increasingly turning to mobile devices to retrieve necessary information. This frequent use of smartphones does not appear to be mimicked in the U.K. 

Recently O2 Media and the Marketing Institute surveyed 252 marketers in the U.K., finding two-thirds of marketers dedicating portions of their budgets to mobile rather than traditional media. Of these marketers, 14 percent obtained additional money for SMS marketing campaigns, and 7 percent redirected funds used in online / desktop marketing.

Despite these efforts, the idea that “marketing spend hasn’t followed where the eyeballs have gone” remains a concern, notes Fintan Lonergan, O2 Media’s managing director. The company works with clients such as Heineken, Aer Lingus, Ikea and Nissan, helping them connect to consumers.

In 2013, a mere 19 percent of U.K. businesses had dedicated 10 percent or more of their advertising budget to mobile marketing. “This is very low compared to the central role that mobile plays in consumers lives,” Lonergan adds. Only 7 percent of surveyed marketers said they worked for “a mobile-first organization,” with “lack of strategy” considered the biggest challenge Ireland faces in regards to mobile marketing. 

Progress is being made, however. Lonergan cites location-based targeting as a “really encouraging” development in the U.K., with more and more marketers focusing on mobile marketing strategy. In 2013, the most popular mobile marketing tactics were social media, SMS messaging, apps, mobile displays and  mobile-optimized websites.

“There is a lot of media attention on mobile and the growth of mobile and yet very little has been known about what marketers are doing within mobile,” says Lonergan. 

In the UK, Lonergan says mobile marketing has gone on “a hockey stick curve in the last 24 months,” noting a recent eMarketer study that found mobile advertising in the U.K. will likely surpass print advertising in 2014.

“Our marketing industry is lagging behind a bit, and that’s not a criticism, it’s just a fact,” he notes.

So why this “lag”? Perhaps it’s simply a matter of company funds, or maybe there just aren’t as many smartphone users in the U.K. Companies are provided with numerous other options in terms of advertising, such as email and social media, and success in those areas may prompt businesses to look at SMS marketing campaigns as unnecessary. Whatever the reason, it will be interesting to see how fast the U.K. catches up with the U.S. regarding this expanding form of advertising!

 

March 25, 2014

HTC One M8 Goes on Sale in UK

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HTC’s new smartphone went on sale today at several stores in London, ahead of a general release on March 27. International consumers will have to wait until April 11 to get their hands on the device.

The HTC One M8 was officially unveiled just one hour before it became available to shoppers at six Carphone Warehouse and three Phones 4U stores. A few handsets were also released at a press conference in New York.

The HTC One is being heralded as one of the best designs to hit the smartphone market to date. According to a press release published on the T-Mobile website, the HTC One has “the brainpower of a true superphone… [and] stunning hardware design.”

The device has two cameras on the back, allowing photographers to take shots capable of mimicking the depth-of-field control that was once the sole preserve of DSLR machines. Another winning feature is Motion Launch, which lets users quickly deploy their device without having to first unlock it. A phone call can be taken by putting the device to your ear; the camera can be activated simply by upending the phone and hitting the volume button. 

Despite all the bells and whistles, HTC’s new offering faces an uphill battle in terms of marketing. The company aims to make high end products capable of competing with iPhones. To a certain extent, they’ve achieved that with the HTC One, but they lack two key things that Apple has in spades: a fanatic, loyal customer base, and an app store that rules the roost.

That’s not to say HTC doesn’t have potential. For every hardcore Apple fanboy, there’s an open-source devotee who wouldn’t go near an iPhone if their house was burning down. And they’re precisely the same people who care more about design than market ubiquity. In that context, HTC has a place in the hearts of the anti-Apple brigade who don’t want to slum it with a Samsung device.

Whether there are enough of those people out there remains to be seen. In marketing terms, probably not. Few mobile marketing tactics include a pressing urge to reach out to HTC users – and their SMS messaging glitches are documented across the web. But for individual users with a taste for good design, and an antipathy towards good marketing, the HTC One could be the answer.

March 10, 2014

iOS vs. Android Users: Who Should Mobile Marketers Target?

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There’s nothing mobile marketers love more than a good scrap about the best operating system. Ever since the first generation Androids and iPhones emerged in 2007, their relative merits have been hotly disputed; you can usually tell which side of the debate a person will be on by the phone in their hand.

Of course, there is no easy answer to the ‘which is best?’ question. So much is subjective, and some Android (or iOS!) devotees will never be persuaded to change their personal preference, no matter how compelling the arguments for doing so are. Broadly speaking, iOS generates more revenue, but Android has a greater market share. Neither of these truths are going to help you create the right mobile marketing strategy.

The very fact that this debate has raged continuously since the smartphone boom took hold is indicative of the complexity of both operating systems. Deciding which device your mobile marketing strategy should focus on requires careful consideration of a whole range of metrics. Let’s take a close look at some of the factors at play:

US Performance

comScore report revealed 133.7 million people in the United States owned a smartphone during the first quarter of 2013. Android was ranked as the top smartphone platform, with 51.7% market share next to Apple’s 38.9%.

Similar results were gleaned from a Kantar Worldpanel Comtech report, which showed Android beating the iPhone by a 9% margin. It’s important to note, however, that the cut and thrust of the smartphone market means these figures are bouncing around on a daily basis.

Plus, device ownership is far from the full story when it comes to iOS vs. Android. Whilst the latter enjoys a greater number of customers, the former generates more money from online commerce. A Black Friday report conducted by IBM showed iOS users spent an average of $127.92 per order, compared to $105.20 spent by Android users. Android users accounted for 11% of ecommerce traffic, next to iPhone and iPad users’ 28.2%. These facts are of more relevance to your mobile marketing strategy than pure ownership.

Worldwide Performance

Phones supporting Android sell significantly better than iPhones in global markets. During the fourth quarter of 2012, Android had a 70% share, compared with 21% for iOS. If your business is global, you should adjust your mobile marketing strategy accordingly as such a marked difference in ownership levels undoubtedly supersedes the greater online spending conducted on Apple’s devices (which remains true internationally).

Tablets

Mobile marketing solutions targeting tablets should always differ from those targeting smartphones, because people use them in different ways. Apple’s iPad outperforms Android tablets and, again, ecommerce revenues are greater for the former.

Apps

According to data collected by Canalys, just over 50% of all app downloads in the first quarter of 2013 were for Android, with iOS taking the lion’s share (40%) of the remainder. What this means for your mobile marketing strategy depends on the type of business you run, so study your market closely. Find out which apps your customers regularly use and, if building your own app, create one for both operating systems.

Web Use

Apple rules the roost in terms of web use, with a 60.1 % share (according to NetMarketShare). Android lags with 24.9%, which, considering there are more Android devices out there, corroborates the evidence for iOS users being significantly more active online.

Overall, it’s important not to draw too many conclusions from the wealth of data on which device performs the best. When devising mobile marketing tactics, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. We’re talking Apples and oranges (or rather, Apples and Androids) – so come up with a separate mobile marketing strategy for each, especially if your business has a global reach.

 

March 06, 2014

How Mobile Devices Have Increased Customer Service Expectations

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The constant availability of digital information at our fingertips happened so fast, and so resoundingly, it’s easy to forget that ten years ago, hardly anybody owned what might be termed a ‘smartphone’.

As a consequence of such widespread mobile technology, consumer expectations have become dramatically elevated. Recent research conducted by KANA Software found that 5% of 18 to 24 year olds check their phone every minute – an alarming figure indicative of an almost pathological reliance on connectivity.

But they’re not just checking their phones. They’re using them as portals through which they can lodge complaints, and they expect their complaint to be dealt with quickly. If companies fail to respond in a way that satisfies the customer, they find themselves traduced on social media platforms and all-important user review websites. The Millenials have never known a world without the hyperspeed life of the web, and their patience is thin. Remember last century when 10 working days was the standard time period for responding to complaints? They don’t.

It’s not just young people. The survey – which polled more than 2,000 people in then UK – found baby boomers were among the most prolific online complainers. In this climate, mobile marketing solutions  must include a quick response strategy in the face of online criticism.

The first step towards meeting high expectations is to make the mobile experience a priority. Dedicate resources to ensure mobile users get the attention they require – the money spent will come back to you in the shape of more conversions.

More than that, you have to approach your mobile marketing strategy in the wider context of consumers’ journey-to-purchase. No amount of research is too much. Do your customers tend to browse products using their mobile devices, before buying in-store? Just because you aren’t generating the majority of conversions from mobile devices doesn’t mean they’re not a crucial part of the process. Identify common problems as early as possible in order to minimize the impact those issues will have on your business.

Once you’ve resolved the basic problems, devise creative mobile marketing tactics that will make your business stand out from the crowd. Find success in the mobile marketplace and you will be well-positioned for future growth across all channels.

 

March 04, 2014

Older Demographic Moves to Mobile

 

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New mobile marketing studies have pointed to older individuals as the fastest-growing demographic for mobile and social media usage. According to a Nielsen Company report, mobile media is attracting 45- to-64-year-old consumers above other age groups, despite the notion that mobile media is solely used by teenagers and those ages 20 to 35.

Companies aware of the increase in mobile usage among older adults can harness this information and use it to create effective mobile marketing campaigns.

The Misconceptions

Plenty of misconceptions surround older adults and mobile/social media use, such as the idea that they barely know what Facebook or Twitter is, let alone have any clue how to work a smartphone. However, the facts don’t lie: in addition to Nielsen’s findings, a new GlobalWebIndex study surveying 31,779 consumers in 31 different countries found older adults as the main reason for growth among social media sites. These include Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. That’s enough to turn misconceptions about older adults and mobile marketing on proverbial ears! 

Older Adults and Your Business

Staying aware of statistics regarding older adults is highly beneficial when brainstorming mobile marketing solutions, and it provides opportunities many may not have considered before. For example, an effective mobile marketing campaign for a doctor or hospital is one that sends SMS appointment reminders to its older patients. These patients would have to opt-in to take advantage of such services.

Another example of an effective mobile marketing campaign is one that caters towards the mobile-savvy grandparents of the world and provides exclusive discounts to parks, zoos, indoor funhouses and anywhere else grandchildren like to go. Such deals and discounts would only be available through the SMS campaign, and could easily drive business to local attractions.

Other options include creating a mobile marketing campaign that offers coupons and sales alerts to older adults who frequently order from a medical supply or herbal supplement site. This could easily transform site traffic and business, as older adults would have access to exclusive SMS deals and discounts they didn’t have before.

These are just some of the endless possibilities regarding older demographics and mobile marketing campaigns! Now that you have the information, think about how you can use it to increase your business and expand your brand. Good luck!

 

March 03, 2014

Essential Push Techniques for a Complete Mobile Marketing Strategy

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An effective mobile marketing strategy uses both push and pull tactics in order to maximize consumer engagement. Each has its charms. While a certain amount of push is essential if you want to reach a bigger audience, it can be seen as spammy if poorly executed.

This element of risk can engender a more timid approach to mobile marketing solutions. Many businesses are unwilling to take that risk, focusing instead on pull mobile marketing tactics like responsive web design and brilliantly rendered apps.

It’s true that getting results from a push marketing campaign is a harder line to walk, but that is precisely the reason it can pay off so decisively if conducted in a smart way. Recent data collated by push tech startup Urban Airship suggests that push notifications as part of a mobile marketing strategy can have astonishing results:

  • 540% increase in daily app opens
  • 30% increase in social media sharing
  • Triple response rates compared to email

Customer Consultant Tim Chang from cloud telephony and SMS marketing firm CallFire[BC1]  agrees that push tactics are the most effective:

“We’re so busy in our own lives that if someone wants your attention, they need to be direct. You have to force yourself to the forefront in order to stay visible.”

A great example of a well-executed push campaign is the strategy adopted in 2012 by flash-sale website Rue La La. Through the use of push notifications, the site’s mobile sales exceeded those generated through desktop browsers – in a single day. Their measured approach to sending out notifications kept the brand/consumer conversation going, and on the company’s own terms.

For all the benefits, it’s important to remember that push notifications can be switched off. Once smartphone owners reach a critical mass of apps, they become more inclined to switch a few off so as to avoid being bombarded with constant alerts. The key to skirting this inevitability is to make your brand a low priority when customers come to choose which notifications to switch off. This is where minimizing the number of notifications you send really pays off: you must walk the line of remaining visible but not irritating if you want to maximize retention rates.

Push notifications for apps carry an implicit sense of urgency to engage with the brand, but texting achieves the same result writ large. With 90% of text messages opened and read within three minutes of delivery, a push mobile marketing strategy can yield instant data regarding the success (or failure) of a campaign. Where apps present some barrier to engagement (the time and cost of downloading), text messages present very few barriers. Once the customer has agreed to opt-in, the relationship has begun and the company is free to send relevant content as they see fit. Importantly, text messages can reach every single mobile device on the market, whilst apps require a smartphone.

A good mobile marketing strategy is all about balance. Balance between push and pull tactics. Balance between app notifications and SMS messaging. Balance between standing out from the crowd and shouting in an empty room. It takes constant tweaking, and a keen eye for cause and effect, but do it right and your business will reap the rewards.

 

 

February 24, 2014

Gamification as a Winning Mobile Marketing Solution for Your Brand

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“Gamification” may not be the prettiest word, but it’s become part of the marketing parlance. It describes the incorporation of game techniques such as competitiveness and self-expression into desktop and mobile marketing solutions. Game elements may appear in the form of prizes, hidden tokens, loyalty programs – and any other type of reward system contingent on consumer engagement with a brand.

It already forms a central part of many mobile marketing campaigns, and M2 research predicts gamification will be worth $2.8 billion by 2016. Gartner figures project more than 70% of Global 2000 companies will be using at least one gamified application by 2014. Clearly, it’s a popular strategy with big companies. But is gamification worthwhile for your business?

The first thing to remember is this: gamification must add real value to the user experience. As with apps, there’s no point going in half-cocked, or you will simply waste money and effort on something that nobody uses. As in any game or competition, users must be motivated by a reward, and the greater the reward, the more you can ask for in return.

Florist Teleflora has been a leading light in the world of gamificaion, using a store-wide loyalty scheme that offers points for actions like reviews, comments and answering queries for other customers. Customers can get additional points for being first out of the gate for writing a review or answering a question. As customers rack up points they achieve ever-greater levels of influence, and therefore value to the brand. Teleflora increased referral traffic from Facebook by 105% and conversion rates by an impressive 92%.

Cloud storage firm Dropbox offered additional space to users who completed specific tasks. People who take a tour of Dropbox services are awarded an extra 250MB on top of the 2GB that comes free with every account. There’s 125MB up for grabs if you connect your Dropbox account to Twitter or Facebook, and 500MB available for every friend referred (up to a maximum of 16GB). LinkedIn adopt a similar strategy as a way of encouraging users to maintain up-to-date profiles. Their service is improved, and the users status and visibility goes up. It’s a win-win.

Gamification is not for everyone. The fun, trivial nature of the beast means it’s unsuitable for organizations with specific brand values that could be undermined by introducing game elements into their mobile marketing campaigns. Charities, banks, and certain non-profits are unlikely to benefit, and lots of small business lack the financial clout to pull of a really compelling gamification campaign. But it can reap huge rewards for the right brand, and as mobile marketing solutions go, it’s a useful way of harvesting crucial data, improving brand loyalty, and enhancing the user experience.