Mobile Marketing for the Masses

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With all this snore-inducing iAd talk and endless battles for smart phone ad space, it’s easy to get discouraged by the prospect of mobile marketing. After all, it looks expensive, time consuming and not very effective. Many people pooh-pooh the whole notion and move on. Well, Negative Nancy, mobile marketing is something small businesses can do without loads of money, time or stress. And the secret weapon for you, my small-business-owning friend, is plain old SMS text messages.

As it turns out , SMS could be the next big old/new thing in mobile marketing because of its effectiveness and affordability. Primarily used by companies for sweepstakes or one-time deals, SMS marketing is ready for new innovations from small business. Pulling from your already massive client contact resources, text can be used to simply reach out. After all, studies prove that most people are more apt to answer a text than they are an e-mail or call. Personalized SMS messages like “Hey Claudia! We got some new jeans in that you would love,” or “Alex, we haven’t seen you in forever! Mention this text and receive 20% off of your next order” are great ways to use text to invite folks back into your business. I recently listened with a bit of jealousy to friends talking about a chic Santa Monica bakery that sends out text messages to let clients know about special cookie tastings.

Why not take it a step further? A friend of mine in the art supply business recently created a text and photo treasure hunt for loyal customers. Folks on the e-mail and phone list received a list of things to look for and snap pictures of. The winner received a $100 gift certificate while the promotion itself ended up in local papers. SMS also is a great addition to Facebook pages when it comes to promoting special events like store openings or parties. Texting clients with deep pockets or fabulous entourages to remind them of your event is another personalized way to reach out to special audiences. And why should the big guys get to have all the fun with contests? Anybody can run a text-based giveaway using trivia or rapid response. Engage your customers in a battle of the wits or text savvy with a DIY contest that promotes your awesome goods and services.

Right or wrong, we live in times where all of us are constantly checking our phones. As marketers, we’d be foolish to not try a homespun version of mobile marketing that reaches our clients where we know they’ll always pick up.

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