Mobile Sites and SMS Marketing: Are You Ready?


Ninety-eight percent of cell phone owners have their devices within reach one hundred percent of the time. The other two percent are my kids who always misplace them. Smartphones contain everything a laptop or desktop computer has and fits in your pocket or handbag (or MAN-bag, if you prefer). An odd fact is that your cell phone is a more powerful computer than the system that guided Apollo 11 to the moon. So, unless your head is in the stars or stuck in Uranus, you need to pay attention to mobile sites and marketing.

Last week I was speaking to the co-owner of my new favorite Indian restaurant. A 22 year-old man who runs the place with his mother and they have everything going for them; the food is delicious, the place is well-decorated and clean, the service is attentive and quick and, most of all, the owners are engaging and truly concerned with giving customers a pleasant dining experience.

We discussed some of the review sites and I noted the restaurant had a great rating from those who posted reviews. Great reviews are key for businesses as forty-nine percent of consumers state that they are more likely to visit a business after reading a positive online review and sixty-nine percent trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In other words, reviews found on such websites as Yelp, Urbanspoon, Google Places and Citysearch can make or break a local business. Figures show seventy percent of local consumers are now using the Internet to find good local businesses, so greater visibility on search engines and local directories could put a local business in front of thousands of potential customers each month. Great reviews will bring them into your front door (or homepage, if you are an eCommerce site).

I commented to the young man, who was quite savvy about eMarketing, that he was missing an opportunity to get more great reviews. By putting a table tent on each table with the URLs of their restaurant on the different web sites mentioned above, he could sweep competitors with positive reviews and increase his SEO not only on those sites but also on major search engines.

“Since you and your partner are great at making sure you speak to each and every customer, you should take advantage of their ability to give you great reviews while they’re still in your restaurant,” I told him. “Point out the table tent ad steer them to whichever site needs more positive reviews and I’m sure people will whip out their phones or tablets and get right on it. Best to get them when their bellies are full and they are happy and sitting in the glow of your restaurant.”

By using QR codes, customers can go directly to the sites without inputting the URL and can even opt-in for text messages – SMS marketing from the restaurant.

Read “Testimonials on Your Site: Dealing With Positive and Negative Feedback” for more tips on encouraging positive feedback.

We also discussed using tweets to announce specials and showing images of the dishes being served that day. “People have their favorite dishes and tweeting a picture or special at ten-thirty, just before lunch, will help people decide what they want for lunch and pull them into your place.”

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“If you get people to opt-in to email notices, they will be delivered to their phones just as they are thinking about their lunch choices,” I suggested. “The photo will be the big hook!”

Check out this site for Mobile Marketing- Text Message Marketing- SMS Marketing.

* SMS stands for short message service. SMS is also often referred to as texting, sending text messages or text messaging. The service allows for short text messages to be sent from one cell phone to another cell phone or from the Web to another cell phone.

It’s important to carefully monitor your online reviews to handle any negative reviews. Here are some of the top sites for checking your online reputation:

  • Run a complete Local SEO Audit of your local business – Local SEO Check Up
  • Update your listings on multiple Local Directories –  Universal Business Listings
  • Drive more online reviews from your website –  Reviewbiz
  • Keep track of your online reviews – Yext

Does Your Site Go Mobile?

“On average, Americans spend 2.7 hours per day socializing on their mobile device. That’s twice the amount of time they spend eating, and over 1/3 of the time they spend sleeping each day.” – Microsoft

According to an article in Mashable:

“Astute Internet observers know by now that the future of the web is mobile. More and more consumers will access data and information via smartphones, tablets and other portable devices. So businesses need to prepare by beefing up their presences on the mobile web.”

“But is it better to get started by creating a mobile-optimized website or by building a standalone mobile app?”

“A mobile app is faster, more interactive and can integrate with all kinds of other phone features. But the app must be installed to be of any use at all, while a good mobile site can simply be navigated to on a user’s whim. It’s also typically cheaper to build a mobile site, and you don’t have to deal with any pesky approval hassles.”

“If you are creating mobile apps for your business and marketing to any device with an internet connection you must account for regular resolutions, high resolutions, the more complicated mobile screen trends and various mobile screen resolutions. By narrowing your campaign down to specific mobile devices (i.e., android phones) depending on your needs, you can focus on as little as three key screen resolutions. As iPhones are also very popular, it would be better to cover the phone market.”

Many mobile Web users are mobile-only, i.e. they do not, or very rarely use a desktop, laptop or tablet to access the Web. Mobile-only in Egypt is 70 percent, India 59 percent; even in the US it’s 25 percent of subscribers. – On Device Research

When building mobile apps with these technologies you no longer have to duplicate efforts for mobile cross-platform flexibility. By implementing the latest technology you can rely on full support (WebKit) by popular devices that use iOS, Android and the experience can be altered or downgraded for others. You will receive the best results if you build for the masses but utilize a specific strategy for your demographic knowing that not everyone owns a smartphone with HTML5 support. With over 120 million iOS devices on market and more than 302 million Android devices sold, there is a large customer base that will only continue to grow.

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The important thing for mobile sites is when users visit, you should have an immediate call to action. Users can watch a video, vote on a poll, complete a form or even purchase a product. When you immediately engage users you have a better chance of keeping their attention and delivering your message.

Confused yet? Of course you are. Let’s backtrack a bit with an article that spells out some basics of the mobile web, “Mobile Web Design: Tips and Best Practices.

The author, Cameron Chapman, spells out basics and although written in 2010, the principles are the same, although the technology has made it easier to create your mobile web presence. It’s actually funny to see the differences in mobile browsers as well as cell phones in just two years. Ms. Chapman starts her article with the following figures:

“Last year, more than 63 million people in the United States accessed the Internet from a mobile device. It’s forecast that by 2013 there will be more than 1.7 billion mobile Internet users worldwide. With those kinds of numbers, it’s imperative that web designers and developers learn optimal development and design practices for mobile devices.”

Ms. Chapman continues in her article:

“Your mobile site, in most cases, should be simpler than your standard site. The only exception to this is if your standard site is already very minimalist. Eliminating graphic elements from your site is usually an effective way to optimize its display on a mobile device. Look for ways to simplify both the design and functionality of your site. This might mean redoing your menus, eliminating images, breaking up text over multiple pages, or otherwise re-working your site’s layout and functionality.”

According to Smart Insights, since 2010, the use of mobile sites has increased 195.5%. This article also contains an interesting infographic that claims there are four billion mobile phones in use right now, with 1.08 billion of them being smart phones and 3.05 billion of those are SMS enabled. It also claims that by 2014, mobile internet should take over desktop internet usage. That seems to be in line with other predictions.

Ideas for Successful Mobile Marketing

  • Location comes into play in mobile marketing. Unlike other marketing forms, mobile marketing has the unique opportunity to know exactly where you are. This opens up new location-based options that do not exist anywhere else. Brainstorm how you can take advantage of location-based marketing techniques to boost your sales.
  • If you put a hyperlink in your text messages, have a link for older phones that goes to a specific mobile phone website, and a link for newer phones that goes to your standard website. However, if your website contains Flash programming or other highly mobile-unfriendly content, link only to the mobile version.
  • A well-composed mission statement can help you to stay on course with your mobile marketing campaign. You will be less likely to stray into unproductive strategies if you give yourself a clear reminder of your principles.
  • Make yourself pertinent. It’s easy to go overboard when entering the mobile marketing arena. Be sure your messages have a purpose. The information you provide needs to be relevant to your prospects and potential prospects. You will generate more sales by sending out useful content.
  • Sometimes, changes in the marketplace can affect your customer base. Make sure you are always ahead of technology; it changes quickly. You will be more competitive if your technology is advanced.
  • Emphasize the access to special deals and the potential savings when you are soliciting subscriptions to your mobile marketing campaign. Make sure that your other advertising efforts, online and in print, point out your mobile campaign’s existence. If you audience sees any benefit in your campaign, they will opt-in.
  • You can reward loyal customers and even chase new ones by delivering coupons through Multimedia Messaging Services. You can include promo codes with the coupons. Codes that can be tracked can easily be linked to your online product pages. Your loyal customers will enjoy being rewarded with coupons, and they will tempt new customers.
  • Promote your mobile marketing campaign as a great way to get discounts and special offers. You should get the word out on social networks or in other ad forms. If your campaign is perceived as helpful, many people will sign up. Show that it will be a fun and popular way to stay up-to-date about offers that can benefit them.
  • If you make it possible and simple for your mobile marketing customers to forward or resend the message on to their friends, there is a good chance they would do it. Before you put the finishing touches on your promotion, be sure it is simple and desirable to forward it.
  • When used as a way to entice customers and expand your branding, QR codes can be an invaluable asset to your mobile marketing campaign. QR codes are a great way to share discounts, promotions and coupons. It is simple to capture these codes with a cell phone, and they are even easier to use. QR codes allow immediate interaction with your customers. For more uses of QR codes, read “QR Codes: Are You Using Them to Your Best Marketing Advantage?
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As with everything digital, technology evolves every day. Basic marketing principles remain but how to deliver them is always changing. Keep up with new technology and make use of innovation. As with the growth of mobile marketing outlined in this article, keep a sharp eye to technology as well as the needs and desires of your customers. In the end, it’s those needs that must be met with whatever is the best avenue available.

Suggested additional reading:

Localize Your SEO for Neighborhood Business

Specials, Discounts and Giveaways: Will They Bring People to Your Site More Often?

Testimonials on Your Site: Dealing With Positive and Negative Feedback

You’re Finally Online. Now What? Marketing, Social Media And Mobile Marketing

Images ©GL Stock Images

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2 thoughts on “Mobile Sites and SMS Marketing: Are You Ready?

  1. Fahrenheit Marketing says:

    Thats very informative article Elaine. Can you please post some examples of mobile architecture design for the approaches you discussed above? Examples always help to get more in depth knowledge of Mobile Architecture Design.