3 Best-in-Class Mobile Marketing Tools for Business Owners
These tools help you build an integrated mobile marketing plan — from texting to mobile websites to apps — so you aren’t missing out on valuable potential customers.
One of the best ways to reach your customers and key stakeholders 24/7 is via their mobile devices. Mobile phones and tablets have quickly become our primary source of information, from entertainment to social media to our favorite brands. It’s no wonder that smart brand marketers of all sizes are taking note and figuring out ways to communicate using mobile marketing.
Unfortunately, small-business owners don’t tend to have the time, money or skill set to quickly learn yet another form of marketing (heck, getting a return on social media is hard enough), develop a meaningful strategy, and utilize the best-in-class tools available to gain a competitive advantage with mobile. Following are three tools to get you started on mobile marketing through an integrated strategy with text (or SMS), mobile websites and mobile apps for any phone. Each of these services is low-cost, easy to use and requires no programming skills.
It’s likely that at some time or another you’ve come across a branded call-to-action encouraging you to text a certain word to a specific number from your mobile device to receive an offer or incentive. This form of mobile marketing is called SMS marketing. If you followed through on the call-to-action, you were immediately texted with an opt-in message and then the offer itself — a coupon, for example.
Texting as a form of mobile marketing has the advantages of being non-exclusive, easy to implement and helpful for building a mobile database of customers who are interested in hearing from you. The disadvantages are that messages are limited to 140 characters or less and, similar to email communications, need to be frequency-controlled so as not to annoy your customers.
Ez Texting is a powerful and easy-to-use SMS marketing service that can help you quickly:
- Set up short codes and keywords for promotions
- Build and manage a mobile database of customers and key stakeholders
- Broadcast SMS messages to your audience
- Track and report on the success of your campaigns
Pricing is as low as 2.5 cents per text credit (it’s a pay-as-you-go model) and they have plans that start at $29 a month, with bulk discounts available the more text credits you purchase per month. If you’re familiar with email engines like Constant Contact or VerticalResponse, you’ll find Ez Texting similar. So don’t wait to start building a mobile database of customers and sending out information via text message.DudaMobile
Hyper-local and social searching on mobile devices are exploding. Customers are looking for your business not just online, but online via their mobile devices. And the kinds of customers doing this are of great value to your business. Just look at these stats from “The Mobile Playbook” by Jason Spero and Johanna Werther:
- 95 percent of smartphone users have searched for local info.
- 61 percent called a business after searching.
- 59 percent visited in person.
- 90 percent of these actions happened within 24 hours.
Bottom line, if your website isn’t optimized for mobile so that users can easily interact with it on the small screen, it’s likely you’re missing out on potential customers.
DudaMobile is a website conversion kit that allows you to quickly and easily convert your existing site to a mobile-optimized one. Simply go to dudamobile.com, type in your URL and off you go. There are several templates to choose from and a variety of features to make your mobile site a great experience for customers.
Bonuses: Most website platforms, like WordPress, are supported. There’s even information on how to detect when customers are finding your site from a mobile device, so you can ensure they’re redirected to your mobile site rather than the regular one. DudaMobile is supported by Google, and the cost is $9 per month.
Apps are a great way to maintain relationships with customers and stakeholders. In other words, if someone has an affinity for your brand or wants to access your content regularly, having your app on their phone grants them valuable information while keeping your business and brand top of mind.
Magmito for Business, available from Sprint, is a best-in-class tool that helps you create apps for any phone platform, including Symbian, Java, BlackBerry, Droid, Windows and Apple. The app also works on tablets, making it a perfect tool for restaurants that want to convert menus to an interactive format or switch to digital point-of-sale displays. It’s easy to use (no programming skills required), it’s inexpensive (as low as $9.99 per month), and content is immediately publishable/accessible (no long waits for platform-specific app stores).
It’s great for creating targeted campaigns and specific content relevant to your brand and audience. There’s also integration with email services like Constant Contact and other tools to help distribute your app via text, social media, app stores and even QR codes.
Do I need all three tools?
Text messaging, mobile websites and apps each have a unique purpose and a set of benefits that make an integrated mobile strategy a smart move for small businesses. Using a text-messaging service is a great way to attract mobile customers, build a mobile database across platforms, and stay top of mind with offers and incentives on a regular basis. Having a mobile-optimized website is an imperative if you want to attract the vast number of customers who will search for your site on their mobile devices. And having a mobile app makes it possible to follow up by offering easy downloads and ongoing communications.
Remember that all three of these tools are inexpensive and require little time and no programming skills. Use them together wisely and your business can benefit from integrated mobile marketing success that keeps you ahead of the curve — and your competition.
This article was originally published in a May 2012 blog post for SMART Marketing Solutions LLC.
Angelo Biasi is general manager of SMART Marketing Solutions LLC, a leading full-service integrated marketing company in Florida and New York since 2001, and is VP of business development for Didmo. He has an MBA in marketing from the University of Connecticut and has been teaching marketing at New York University for over six years. Follow him on Twitter: @angbiasi.