6 Ways to Get Customers to Opt-In to Mobile Marketing

Looking for ways to reach your customers via mobile? First you have to prove to them that what you’re sending is something they want. Here are six ways you can provide value to your customers through mobile marketing.

In order for customers to accept mobile marketing from you in the first place, you have to show them how you can improve their lives. Here are six options for providing value via mobile that will enhance their lives so they will engage with your campaign.

1. Location-Specific Information

This category is a no-brainer. Location-specific knowledge is the No. 1 reason that people access the mobile web via mobile search. Regardless of whatever fun, creative, and exciting elements you include in your mobile campaign, be sure to include location-specific information in your mobile presence. A location-focused campaign includes information about your business, including addresses, driving directions, maps, and photos of your storefront, and anything else that will help customers find you or your location. Make sure you have keywords included in your local search campaign. For example, if you are a plumber, be sure to put search keywords (plumber, plumbing, frozen pipes, and plugged toilet) on your mobile site so that people can search and find you. Then use these same words when you are asked for tags or keywords to describe your site. Be sure you have your business listed in every local search engine/local directory possible.

2. Timely Knowledge

If you need to alert your target market quickly about special information, even faster than by email, mobile is the perfect way to provide value to your customers. One example could be a pricing alert (gas prices are going up in 4 hours), or an availability alert (your favorite hairstylist has an opening in 3 hours, or your back-ordered item is now in stock), or a combination of these (we have open tables tonight, and if you come in before 7 PM, you will receive a free dessert). This could also be a readiness alert (when your order is ready to be picked up) because once you check your email or retrieve your phone messages at home, you may not want to go out again. Travel alerts (flight delays or gate number changes) are a perfect example of providing this value because timely knowledge is instantly valuable wherever you are.

3. Ideas for Making Life Easier

Anything you can offer that makes life convenient and more efficient for your customers is a good option for your mobile campaign. This category is wide open because there are dozens of ways to make your customers’ lives easier via mobile. A good place to start is to consider what questions your customers/potential customers ask you frequently. Think about where your customers are and what information they might find helpful now. For example, a busy working mom needs menu choices for dinner tonight when she is in the grocery store, or she needs a list of healthy snack options to bring to her child’s classroom. Or consider the exercise enthusiast who tracks workouts and calorie consumption, and wants instant access to this data anytime, anywhere. By developing a clear picture of your customers, you can answer the following questions: Who are they? What do they do with their lives? What problems do they want you to solve? How can interacting with your business make their lives better, and how does that extend to mobile?

An excellent example of making life easier using mobile is the Sea World iPhone and Android app that is designed to help visitors explore the park more efficiently with more information at their fingertips. The app features information about shows, restroom locations, access to Wi-Fi locations, food options, the animals, and even the wait times at each ride. All of this can be provided in more detail, with up-to-date information on signs and printed maps. 

4. Financial Incentive

People love to save money, find a good deal, and feel special. Finding a way to help your customers achieve these three things provides value. When you offer coupons, discounts, or special offers via mobile, think creatively. Integrate your offer into your customers’ mobile environment so when they first receive it, the offer is actually there when they want to use it. One example is displaying signs outside a store with a text message coupon that can be redeemed instantly by walking inside. Incorporating your loyalty program tracking (offers to buy 10 items and get the 11th one free) into your mobile campaign not only gives your customers a reason to interact with you via mobile, it also keeps them buying directly from you. Keep in mind that customers will want a more intrusive, customized coupon (one they can receive on their phones) to offer a bigger incentive. A coupon for a 50-cent discount that they see in the newspaper may be enough to motivate them to get out the scissors, clip the coupon, and take it with them to the grocery store, but they need more incentive to receive something on their mobile device. They might want to get a combination of coupons or a bigger ticket item. Just be careful not to overdo this option. Because a financial incentive is easy, it is likely to be the most used and the first to be overused.

One of my favorite examples of financial incentive is the following Bath & Body Works SMS coupon: “BBW: Hello Yellow SALE starts TODAY! Show text for $10 off $40 purch Max1/cust val 6/11-6/27 in BBWUS stores only Inval@Outlet #2684 TextSTOP2endMsg&DataR8sAply.” You will notice that the coupon used many abbreviations, but it was all understandable. The cashier inputs the four-digit code into the store system to acknowledge that this coupon had been redeemed.

5. Entertainment

Those who have a few minutes to spare and a mobile device are likely candidates for you to entertain via mobile. Games, trivia, contests, recordings, and scavenger hunts are good mobile options. You can create your own games, sponsor an existing one, or even offer people a list of game sites. If customers have to sit and wait to interact with your business at any point, your waiting area can become one of your best marketing tools. Or what if people begin interacting with your business while they are in another waiting room, standing in line, riding the bus/subway, or just hanging out with nothing to do? Think of ways you can entertain your customers via mobile that will also offer them value.

6. Connection

Younger generations have grown up connected to each other through the internet and cell phones where other generations have not. This younger generation gets connected to each other by mobile phones, unlike any other group before them. Through text messaging and sites such as Twitter and Facebook, these under-30 folks now expect to reach out to their friends at any time through the social networking software on their mobile devices. Don’t be tempted to dismiss mobile social networking just because you’re not using it or don’t understand it. There are ways to add connections to your customers’ lives, even if they are not the younger crowd. One example of this is OrbitzTLC Traveler Update feature (www.orbitz.com/App/ViewTravelWatchHome). Through this mobile social networking site, travelers can update and check timely information including parking availability, security delays, taxi lines, and comments from fellow travelers via their mobile devices. OrbitzTLC connects people who are otherwise strangers while they are traveling to and from the same place or within the same airport. This service adds value to their lives and connects them via their mobile devices.

These types of services can be offered as a value through the sponsorship of a social networking site, advertising on one of these sites, or creating one for your customers to use. This will work best if your customers want to start a group offline or if they discover a common interest while they are interacting with your business. This connection also links customers to your business. The “popularity” of your company or anyone in your company can attract customers who want to connect to you. Having a solid brand community comes in handy when a company is providing value through connections.

This excerpt is provided with permission from the publisher from The Mobile Marketing Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Dynamic Mobile Marketing Campaigns  (Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc., 2012) by Kim Dushinski.

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