Not to my surprise I find that mobile marketing has both a digital definition as well as a traditional definition. In the digital definition it is as one would expect about marketing your business message through mobile devices. In the traditional definition there are moving billboards that are associated with mobile marketing. For our reference we are going to be talking about mobile devices and I think it is safe to say that when one thinks of mobile marketing now-a-days mobile devices are what come to mind.
The mobile industry certainly has grown quickly in the past three years. The iPhone coming to market was only the beginning. It did not take long for mobile applications to make the mobile device more useful to the consumers and with the flood of mobile applications consumers were able to find many different uses for their mobile device. Games and Entertainment were only the beginning. More useful applications like tools, utilities and resources also found their way to the mobile device.
As of December 2009 there were 285,610,580 mobile devices in the United States against a population of 308,505,000. Basically 91% of the population has a mobile device. Feel free to look at the Wikipedia article for more statistics worldwide.
With 91% of the U.S. population having a mobile device, and these devices having considerable capabilities, it is undoubtedly the next most significant source of information for the consumers and businesses alike. Using it as a phone is only the beginning. Email, Games, Entertainment, Texting, Instant Messaging, Browsing, Photos, Camera, Calculator, Calendar, Maps, Voice Recognition, News, Banking, Weather, Finance, Social Communities, and Radio are only the small fraction of what mobile devices are used at this time. Their capabilities will continue to grow and this mini-computer will have more use in our daily lives.
As an Internet and digital marketing agency we want to focus the rest of this article on how a business can use mobile marketing. We will focus on four specific areas and describe a starting point and planned progression over the next few years. Each of these areas has many details and this information is designed to be a summary. We will follow this article up with other articles that specifically discuss each section separatelyMessaging Services
This is most often known as “texting” and includes SMS Texting (Short Message Service) as well as MMS (Multimedia Message Service). In order for a business to tap into this marketing tool you have to first begin to get permission from prospects and customers in order to send them SMS or MMS messages. Begin by seeking out a service that provides SMS and/or MMS services.
You will be assigned a text number that customer can send a subscription notice. You can add this feature into your website, email marketing or display in your business to promote how prospects and clients can get alerts from you by SMS or MMS. Because it will take time to build up subscribers you will want to start this sooner rather than later.Mobile Websites
We have had discussions with client in which they felt that as long as their website was showing on a mobile browser then they had a mobile website. This is far from the truth. A website that was developed specifically for a standard computer or laptop monitor does not mean you have a mobile version of your website. On a mobile version of a business website a user will not need to zoom in or out or pan left or right when viewing your website.
The website will be “lite” version of your primary website with specific call to actions that are useful to the users visiting your mobile website. A good example I have of his would be Delta Airlines. Go to their website on a standard computer. Then go to their website using a mobile device’s browser. You will see two very different websites. As a business you will want to budget and get a mobile version of your website as one of your very next steps.Mobile Applications
At some point every business will have a mobile application and it is even possible that mobile applications will diminish the need for domain names; however, lets’ leave that conversation for another time. Mobile applications can be used to be useful as a tool for your customers or you may decide to have a application for branding purposes that is a simple game.
There are certainly many possibilities for mobile applications and you will need to consult with a marketing firm to decide how to best utilize mobile applications. Mobile application development budgets can range from low to high all dependent upon the creative, interface functionality, database use and Internet streaming.Mobile Advertising
Text advertising like Google adwords and banner advertising is available direct to mobile devices. The difference is how they are delivered. For example banner ads will appear in free mobile applications and appear when the application is used at the bottom. You can push your mobile banner ads through mobile advertising networks like AdMob (acquired by Google) and Quattro (acquired by Apple). Development of your mobile ads requires a different approach since there is limited physical dimensions of your message.
By utilizing all four mobile marketing components for your marketing plan over the next couple of years you will be able to tap into a new marketing tool that happens to be well suited for local business marketing. Waiting for two years to pass and then deciding to plan and adopt this technology is probably the wrong answer. You need to incorporate this process now and build it into your business marketing process now otherwise you will be left behind.