Mobile marketing 101
More and more businesses and organizations are realizing that the mobile phone can serve as a complementary medium to an overall marketing strategy—a medium that is always on, easily accessible, highly interactive and extremely personal. In essence, the mobile phone is a medium that could very well be the next Holy Grail of marketing … if it is used thoughtfully.Marketing via mobile phone, commonly called mobile marketing, encompasses advertising, promotions and direct marketing through tactics and tools like mobile websites, mobile banner ads, SMS (text message) marketing, quick response (QR) codes and more. Essentially, mobile marketing is exactly what today’s mobile phone is: a convergence of telephone, e-mail and the Internet.

If your business is looking to not only stay ahead in marketing trends but expand and maintain the reach of your messages, a mobile marketing strategy might be for you. Consider tying these aspects of mobile marketing into your overall marketing strategy:

Build a mobile website
Just like a website is a pivotal component in traditional marketing and communications, so is the mobile website to mobile marketing. Many mobile web browsers do a decent job of displaying existing web content; however, this isn’t the case for all browsers. What’s more, what works on a large computer display screen isn’t always ideal for the handheld screen. For these reasons, before examining whether or not to pursue a mobile marketing strategy, get on board with making your website mobile-friendly first.

Mobile sites are more or less “light” versions of your existing site. They convey the same look and the same message, but in an abridged version.This light version is created through making a mirror site to your existing site or implementing code into your current site that tells mobile browsers how to read the mobile site. Creating a mirror site will give your site a mobile specific URL—if your business goes this route, be sure to link to the mobile site from your traditional website and promote it across other media, too. Promote all your Web sites and keep contact and brand information top of mind through direct mail or leave-behind items like Cell Phone Post-it Notes and Picture Phone Mint Tin.

Explore SMS marketing
Perhaps the most booming mobile marketing approach SMS, or text message marketing, is a personal way to engage with audiences and is often the most logical choice to pair with other non-mobile marketing efforts.

Text message marketing usually works like this: Companies create what is called a short code, which is abbreviated text that audiences type into a message and send to a number specified by a business’s text messaging service. Once users opt in, permission is granted to the business to store the phone number in order to send future promotions like sales or discount codes and other communications like news and product launches. For example, a wine store might add the tagline “Text GRAPES to 55559 to receive a free branded wine opener!” to existing marketing materials or advertisements.

Since opt in is key to text marketing, be sure to promote your businesses short code as much as possible. Display it prominently on your website and mobile website and include it in all other marketing materials like flyers, posters, brochures and ads. Some retailers even include it with every purchase by imprinting it on receipts or shopping bags like the Eco Bag or the reusable shopping tote like the Promo Tote.

Use QR codes
QR codes are bar codes that are easily replicated on screen and in print, can be created by anyone with Internet access, and have the unique ability to be read by any smart phone with a code reader and camera. QR codes have caught on because they are unique, allow for more data storage and transfer than a typical barcode, and take up less white space than most ads. They are less effort to use than a URL, less expensive than a short code for text message marketing and have the potential for individual experiences that your competitors are not likely to be doing.

Take your marketing to cult following status: Put your QR code on a Cotton T-Shirt or a Budget Beater White Mug and give your consumer a chance to play the QR code game while promoting your business every time someone asks, “Hey! What’s the weird design?”

Mobile marketing is on the up and up—put your business in the same direction by exploring the wave of the future while offering fun and valuable content to audiences all at once.

For more information on Mobile Marketing, watch for the Blue Paper®.

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