March 13, 2008

Gearing Up for Mobile Marketing

If you are an avid online marketer, with a strong paid search, SEO, comparison shopping engines, affiliate and email marketing programs, what should you consider in preparation for mobile marketing. The truth is, the future of mobile marketing is uncertain; no one knows what to anticipate in terms of how will the new hardwares shape consumer behavior. However, the fundamentals in direct marketing will apply and here are some of the things you can do to become more involved with mobile marketing, today.

Keep it simple and back to basics. Take your existing online marketing activities and make a simple version of it; imagine the mobile space as if it were the 1996 all over again (beginning of internet boom). Learn from the big players, like Google, Amazon, Cisco or JetBlue; these guys have all produced a simplified version of their main services online. Strip away all the bells and whistles and give users that raw access power over a WAP site.

Leverage RSS feeds; if you are a publisher or retailer, chances are, you probably have a wide selection of XML feeds available. Make them available and setup a web page to educate your customers about how easy it is to subscribe to them via a reader or over mobile.

Communicate! Keep up your communications. You can ask your customers to opt-in SMS Text messages for updates/alerts/communications. For advanced users (ie. BlackBerry or WM5/6 Smartphones, etc.) ask for an update for their mobile email address. When sending out a normal email campaign, create a shorter version of it (in plain text or basic HTML) and segment out the mobile opt-ins for a separate blast. Did you know you can email to your customer's mobile phone as a text message? Obviously, follow the same marketing courtesy as all other marketing program by informing and get permission from your customers first.

First adopters, go nuts with Google "mobile" Adwords. This program has been launched for quite some time now. If your web service is mobile ready, take advantage of Google's paid search ad in mobile format. Transfer your knowledge in paid search into mobile search. Its as easy as activating your current campaigns to get started. Google is looking for advertisers so seek out some sign-up bonus or discounts for a test with your rep. You can place strategic ads when someone uses Google Mobile Search. My advice is to build out your 1-word keywords list catering to the mobile user.

Sears.com has done a terrific job in a recent email campaign to get their customers to update their communication profile. In this email, they basically laid out the following preferences: Standard Emails, Phone/SMS Alert, Widgets, Desktop Application, iGoogle, Yahoo! Personalization, RSS Feed and the good ole' Bookmark. At that time, they were willing to offer a $5 coupon to entice users to update their communication preference. Again, superb example in re-aligning their available tools and staying connected with their customer base.

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