Keep up to date with the latest SMS Marketing news, tips and guides.

Ez Texting provides refreshingly simple, surprisingly affordable SMS Marketing services.

Try Ez Texting for free - it only takes 60 seconds to get started.

Developer? Use Our SMS API

← Return To Blog Home

Must Reads

Edited By for Ez Texting

59 posts categorized "Mobile Web"

July 24, 2014

Apple’s ‘Reuse and Recycle’ Prices Falling

Depositphotos_49798519_xs

Earlier this month, Apple quietly made a few key changes to its ‘Reuse and Recycle’ program. The lack of ceremony surrounding the changes are easily explained: it’s not particularly good news for customers.

Customers in Canada and the United States will now get less money for trading in their iPhone. The new top value is $225, versus the former rate of $270. Go back two years and Apple were offering up to $345 for a pristine iPhone 4S (then the latest model). The new pricing plan is the lowest since the program was launched.

Even with the higher prices on offer, Apple’s recycling scheme was one of the least-trumpeted aspects of their business. Many iPhone users remain completely ignorant of its existence. It works like this:

  • An Apple customer goes to the Apple Store and asks to trade in their older phone for a new, on-contract model.
  • The Apple Store rep keys in the customer’s existing iPhone details using their EasyPay device (those neat mobile touch screen gizmos you see reps clutching).
  • Based on the information entered, a value for the old iPhone is given to the customer. Metrics include display quality, button quality, overall hardware damage, liquid damage and functionality.
  • The Apple Store rep lets the customer know they cannot get their original phone back, and they should back up any info they need.
  • The customer gets a new iPhone and a gift card with the agreed-upon value pre-loaded to go towards the new device.
  • The old phone is placed in a plastic bag, and the old SIM card is given to the customer while the employee sets up the new iPhone.

According to Apple, recycled iPhones are only re-sold in the United States, although they’ve not ruled out expanding the program to international markets. Despite launching the scheme to little fanfare, the tech giant did assert its commitment at the time, stating:

July 19, 2014

From Zero to Hero: How Mobile Revolutionized Planet Marketing

Depositphotos_7629468_xs
 

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 17, 2014

Mobile to Surpass Print Advertising in the UK

Depositphotos_23995033_xs
 

According to a forecast by eMarketer, mobile advertising spending will soon overtake traditional print ads. The report predicts mobile spending to grow by a staggering 96% this year, hitting £2.02bn. That’s still a shade behind the forecast print spend of £2.06bn, but the report anticipates mobile ad spend will be worth £4.5bn in 2016. The UK’s total digital advertising market is forecast to be worth £7.25bn by the end of this year, growing to £8.64bn by 2016.

This rapid growth reflects the widespread adoption of secondary mobile devices used in conjunction with smartphones. By 2018, 50% of Brits are expected to own an iPad, Kindle or other tablet.

The eMarketer report states: 

“Continued robust growth in the mobile channel is driving the bulk of [overall] digital ad growth in the UK. The dramatic growth of mobile and video ad expenditures will boost digital ad spending throughout the forecast period.”

This “mobile mushroom” is showing no signs of letting up. The numbers are truly dramatic: compare the £7.25bn valuation put on the market today with the £83m from four years ago and you get an idea of just how seismic this shift is. Mobile advertising will account for nearly 30% of all digital ad spending in 2014, according to the report.

So what’s prompted such an explosion in mobile marketing campaign spending? Most analysts agree that, in the UK at least, a strong economy, with the pound ringfenced from the worst effects of the Eurozone crisis, has instilled confidence in consumers. Plus, the efficacy of mobile marketing tactics are easy to track compared with traditional channels, causing advertisers to turn away from print (the report also predicts that the newspaper and magazine market will lose £276m in ad spend between 2014 and 2018).

A similar story is playing out on this side of the pond, with mobile spending accounting for 22.5% of all digital ad investments in 2013. A study conducted last year – also by eMarketer – indicated worldwide growth of mobile web ad spending had exceeded 100% by the year’s end, with mobile accounting for 15.2% of digital ad dollars spent globally.

The implications for your mobile marketing strategy are clear. Firstly, track the results of your print and mobile marketing campaign. Secondly, compare and contrast the success rates of your digital campaign and your traditional print campaign. If recent analysis is correct, you’ll find more and more consumers are turning to mobile to browse commercial prospects. Once that happens, you can adjust your budget accordingly, and start reaping the benefits of mobile.

June 18, 2014

A/B Testing Your Text Ads

Depositphotos_33310757_xs
 

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

Depositphotos_24631605_xs
 

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

Depositphotos_12214038_xs
 

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

Depositphotos_19154269_xs

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.

June 09, 2014

Acquisitions: What They Mean for Your Mobile Marketing Strategy

Depositphotos_45080549_xs
Mobile platforms present companies with enormous opportunities to deliver the right marketing message to exactly the right person at the right time. However, many businesses' marketing strategies have not necessarily evolved to keep up with the pace of technology. Mobile technology, when fully harnessed, allows marketers to increase customer acquisitions and acquire useful consumer data in exchange for something the customer values. Companies today need not simply guess what potential customers want, bombarding them with advertisements and hoping people will stop what they're doing and listen. However, most marketing, even mobile marketing, continues to do just that. 

Utility Marketing Versus Interruption Tactics

The traditional customer acquisition strategy for most companies has been what is known as interruption marketing, which in essence means blasting out as much advertising as possible – through commercials, telemarketing, etc. – and hoping someone will pay attention. Unfortunately, because so relatively little is usually known about the message's audience, this strategy is ineffective. A good mobile app, by contrast, costs much less than producing even one television commercial and can deliver extremely relevant content to the exact consumers most likely to become loyal customers.

Proctor & Gamble's Iams Vet 24/7 app is an excellent example of this type of strategy, known as utility marketing. At a very low cost, the company has greatly increased its brand recognition by offering consumers something that makes their lives better: advice. Pet owners are delighted when a company gives them something they actually need – and for free. P&G, in return, is perfectly situated for customer acquisition because its app is on the home screens of devices that never leave consumers' sides.

Data Acquisition and Behavior/Intent Targeting

Another benefit of mobile marketing is that it gives companies enormous data acquisition capabilities. Consumer data obtained with permission may then be monetized through behavior/intent targeting. When a business offers consumers something that improves their lives, they are happy to share information with that company. Those businesses may then use that information, monetizing its leads in more intelligent ways. 

To understand the behavior/intent targeting that mobile data acquisition makes possible, one might compare Expedia's app, for instance, to TripIt's. Consumers may download Expedia on their mobile devices, but not much else happens afterward unless the user takes action. TripIt, on the other hand, offers consumers an itinerary-creation service, allowing them to access air, hotel, and car rental information together in one place on their smartphones.

Customers simply email all confirmations to TripIt, and the app arranges everything into one cohesive itinerary accessible via mobile device. The app even alerts travelers when an essential service such as a hotel reservation is missing from the itinerary. Instead of sending consumers an overwhelming list of options, the app detects hotel preferences from previous trips, along with information indicating which part of town might be most convenient, and prompts travelers to click to accept the suggested reservations.

This app essentially saves the traveler not only the headache of having nowhere to stay; it also spares her from wading through an enormous list of options when the app already has the information needed to target her probable intent, based on past behavior.

Companies may measure customer behavior through standard web or mobile app analytics solutions and then use that data to read consumer intent signals. Thus, in return for the value that utility marketing offers, companies are rewarded with increased customer acquisition, as well as the acquisition of valuable data that consumers readily share. The result is hyper-relevant, hyper-targeted marketing and ultimately increased sales.

June 06, 2014

Mobile Marketing Tactics: Beware of Peak Keyword

Depositphotos_8142248_xs

In the world of desktop and mobile marketing, few issues are as hotly debated as the ‘right’ number of keywords to put on a page. As content marketing has grown in popularity, and companies increase their investment in generating original material to expand their web presence, the importance of getting keyword volume and placement right has grown with it.

For desktop campaigns, there is no ‘right’ number. It varies according to a variety of factors, such as industry, search volumes, brand objectives – what works for one company will be completely inappropriate for another. Generally speaking, one main keyword and up to five variations will allow room for creating compelling content that isn’t stuffed full of terms, whilst targeting those all important SERPS.

Let’s say you run a footwear business, and your keyword research suggests you need a bunch of brand pages and some category pages covering things like sportswear, running shoes, hiking boots, dress shoes, light-weight etc. The first three of those keywords could easily be targeted within one category page relating to sport and fitness. It makes sense to target them on the same page, along with variations on each one, so you could easily end up having 25 keywords on the page without it looking weird. For highly competitive terms, you don’t want to spread them too thinly, so you’re better off dedicating individual pages to them.

As a rule of thumb, one or two keywords per page facilitates more natural-sounding content and a more relevant user experience – but you will have to create a much higher volume of content if you want to target multiple keywords. A good strategy in the long-run, but not necessarily in the budget range of a small company’s marketing purse. If you are planning to create at least a couple of pages per week, you might want to generate pages based on individual keywords, which over time will let you cover many longtail keywords.

Your mobile marketing campaign will have a different relationship to keywords. In the world of text marketing, keywords are associated with short codes, those five or six digit numbers used by businesses to communicate with customers. Clearly, with SMS messaging, the number of keywords to use is less of an issue (to find out more about short codes, click here).

Of course, your mobile marketing strategy also needs to take into account browser search terms pertinent to that channel, but ultimately users will end up viewing the same content as they would on a desktop browser. Which brings us full circle to the question, how many keywords should you target on a single page? Answer: it depends. 

May 29, 2014

SEO Strategies to Avoid

Depositphotos_20332643_xs
 

Three letters represent the primary focus of any mobile marketing campaign, and have done for around a decade now. SEO. It’s come a long way since then, adapting to an increasingly complex array of strictures and barriers imposed by search engines in order to prevent people gaming the system, but the objective is the same: improve visibility for relevant industry keywords.

The fast pace of change in SEO best practices means that well-intentioned tips published a year ago may actually harm your rankings today. This is not a dilettantes game. To do it right, you need to stay on top of the latest effective strategies and, even more importantly, those tactics that have fallen afoul of Bot Logic. Smart mobile marketing tactics – or ‘white hat’ techniques – will be rewarded for creativity in the shape of increased clicks, impressions and conversions. The ‘black hat’ SEOs that still haunt our online world are fighting a losing battle. When was the last time you saw a link farm on page one for a popular keyword? I’m guessing some time around the turn of the decade.

Trouble is, the misinformed or naïve SEO strategist will be punished as fully as the cynical black hatter. Even if you adopt a mobile marketing strategy in good faith, if Google frowns upon it, you’re done for. It could set your business back months. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of ‘must-avoid’ SEO tactics so you know what not to do…

 

Reciprocal Links

There is much confusion surrounding the value of reciprocal links. Of course, links from friends, family and business associates are a natural part of entrepreneurship. This is where the ‘link as vote’ analogy is helpful. Think of your business as an election campaign. You can and should reach out to potential ‘voters’ and ask them to support your campaign for success. But if you receive an unsolicited email from someone you’ve never heard of, and they request a link exchange, accepting it would be like associating your ‘candidate’ with the wrong sort of voter. In most cases, such emails will come from sites weighed down by links already, and the greater the link:valuable content is, the lower the value of each additional link becomes. Chances are, if they’ve contacted you (usually via automated software) they stand to benefit from your link much more than you from theirs. Don’t be tempted by offers of dodgy links. Bide your time, and grow your backlinks in a more organic way, and Google will love you forever. 

Peak Keyword

Back in Web 1.0, you could happily stuff a page with keywords, safe in the knowledge that this unsophisticated metric was given credence by search engines. Those days are gone. Now, when Google bots crawl a page crammed with keywords, they will consign that page to the bottom of the results.

Link Overload

Placing relevant links in your article is a key part of creating useful content – but overdo it with extraneous links and you will be stung by the search engines.

Comments

Just as link building needs to be done slowly and with great care, commenting on others’ blogs as a way of boosting your online profile can be a positive organic approach. But as with all good SEO practices, you need a rich mixture of tactics to get real results. Even if you’re only leaving comments of value, blog commenting for the sole purpose of building links is nothing less than spam.