Practical Mobile Marketing – Part 1

Practical Mobile Marketing – Part 1

In this article, we are going to describe powerful mobile marketing methods you can implement in just a few minutes. We will investigate what the industry and the technology allow us to do today, how to persuade people to sign up for your service and which file formats to use when you deliver your content. We will also take a sneak peek on what will happen with mobile marketing in the near future.

The hands-on experience is based on solving marketing problems with the help of InfoNU (www.infonu.com). InfoNU is a free web based mobile mass communication platform that supports the latest trends in mobile marketing. With InfoNU you can:

Send SMS messages such as personalized alerts and mobile coupons
Push mobile content like banners, mp3-songs, ringtones, video clips, visiting cards and java games
Push links to mobile websites
Create and schedule mobile campaigns
Sign up and manage consumers
Get your own icon next to the address book and calendar to publish mobile content without cost
View statistics on how mobile marketing efforts are received by users

As in all sectors in explosive growth, bright people gravitate towards mobile marketing, create start-up companies, offer solutions and unfortunately also create a big creative mess full of definitions, standards, ideas and solutions. This article series is the authors attempt to untangle the web of technologies into easy-to-use patters you can use in your everyday marketing of your brand, company, products and services.

A second part of this article is planned. In Part 2 we will take a closer look at advanced concepts in mobile marketing like tailor-made mobile applications and mobile community services.

Permission Marketing and What Mobile Marketing is NOT

A mobile phone is a highly personal communication device. Mobile marketing is not about spamming uninterested people with irrelevant SMS messages at 2:00 am. Marketers have to respect this. Never send messages to someone without having their permission. Sending unsolicited SMS messages to people is not good marketing. Aside from the ethical aspect of spam, it does not work and costs you a lot of money. Do not do it.

Marketing activities that depends on the permission of the consumer is referred to as permission marketing and is central to mobile marketing. Embrace permission marketing and protect your list of consumers, it is the people who have given you permission to speak.

The Mobile Marketing Dance

Instead of sending unsolicited SMS messages, the trick in mobile marketing is to persuade people to sign up for your service and then to find a balance between providing sales driving information and offering value so that your customers are both informed and happy.

How to Persuade People to Sign Up for Your Service

What can you offer that makes your consumers accept the commercial side of your company? Here are a few suggestions:

Promote the following message by printing it on your packaged goods: Text COCACOLA to +44 77 86 202 988 (normal SMS cost). The first 100 people to text us will win a free subscription on Coca-Cola magazine. After you received 100 replies, call up the winners and get their address.
Promote the following message on billboards, posters, banners or signs around your town: Text WHEATIES to +44 77 86 202 988 (normal SMS cost) to get our new ringtone.

Promote the following message with an ad in your favorite newspaper: Text ABBA to +44 77 86 202 988 (normal SMS cost) to get our new song.

Promote the following message with an ad in your favorite newspaper: Text ROXETTE to +44 77 86 202 988 (normal SMS cost) to get our new video.

Promote the following text on your web site: Do you want information about us in your mobile? Click on this link and enter your contact details.

Promote the following text in your TV commercials: Text ARMANI to +44 77 86 202 988 (normal SMS cost) and win a trip for two to Paris. The winner will be notified the 16′th of August.

Promote the following text in your radio commercials: Text ATARI to +44 77 86 202 988 (normal SMS cost) and get Pac-Man to your phone.

Promote the following text in your TV commercials: Text MCDONALDS to +44 77 86 202 988 (normal SMS cost) to claim your 10% discount coupon.

In other words: Send something back as a Thank you for signing up. Give your new user something for free. Give your new user a possibility to win something nice. At least a thank you SMS.

To configure InfoNU so that you automatically send something back when new consumers sign up to your service, log on to your InfoNU account, select Settings in the Intranet Home menu followed by SMS Signup settings, click on Details for your code word and enable Respond automatically with an SMS message. You can send back an SMS message, mobile content like images, video and music, a link to your mobile web site or a Java application.

To integrate your own web site with InfoNU as in the fifth example above, select Help in the Intranet Home menu followed by Integrate InfoNU and click on Generate Link.

File Formats to Use when Distributing Mobile Content

Since virtually all mobile phones support SMS messaging, sending SMS messages is the simplest and most reliable way to come across to mobiles. SMS messages are as we all know limited to 160 characters but can contain links to mobile content.

All mobile phones does not support the same media formats. If you have no a-priori knowledge about your consumers phones but still want to reach the biggest possible audience, use to the following file formats:

Media, File Format,File Extension

Images, Portable network graphics, .png

Sound, MP3 songs, .mp3

Video, 3GPP video 3gp

Ringtones Midi music .mid

This list of file formats comes from analyzing mobile phones produced by the biggest manufacturers and ranking the phones after how common each phone is in practice.

Three other interesting file formats can be used for more specialized tasks:

Media, File Format, File Extension

Visiting cards and address book entries, vCard, .vcf

Calendar entries, vCard, .vcs

Java games, Java application descriptor files, .jad

Distributing links to mobile content with InfoNU is performed in the exact same way regardless of file format: You log on to your InfoNU account, select Uploads and upload the content from your PC to your InfoNU account. To distribute the content to a single person, click that person’s Communicate link. Make sure that Upload is selected as Type of Content.

If you want to send an SMS message to many people, create a campaign by clicking on Campaigns in the Intranet Home menu followed by New campaign. With InfoNU, you can also schedule campaigns to be run at a specific date and time. Go to Campaigns and click on Schedule campaign to define the start date of your campaign.

A Catalogue of Mobile Marketing Patterns

After your user signed up for your service, his/hers mobile phone transforms into an excellent communication channel. This section lists proven marketing methods for you to reuse:

Task: Inform customers about new products and updates, new offers and relevant company news.

Solution: Send an SMS message at an appropriate time with the information.

Note: To know when to send your message, ask yourself the following two questions: When is this information relevant to my mobile user? When will the message have the biggest impact? If you are selling umbrellas, sending your message when your customer is outside your store on his way home and it is raining outside might be a good idea. When is it not a good idea to send a message? At night? In the morning?

InfoNU supports sending personalized SMS messages. By using the tags {FirstName}, {LastName}, and {Mobile} in your SMS text, you can personalize the message with the recipients name and mobile phone number.

——————————————————————-

Task: Promote your rock groups new album.

Solution: Promote the following message: Text THECHAINSAWS to +44 77 86 202 988 (normal SMS cost) to get our new song. Follow up by sending an SMS message to everyone who signed up when your new album is released.

Note: Distributing video to mobile phones is possible today but do not expect top quality and do not expect to send out more than 10 seconds. Advances in mobile streaming technologies will make longer video transmissions possible in a few years.

To distribute a song to mobile phones convert it to an .mp3-file, log on to your InfoNU account, select Uploads and upload your song from your PC to your InfoNU account. You can distribute the song either to an individual person or create a campaign to send content to large groups of fans.

——————————————————————-

Task: You have a nice jingle that you would like to be recognized in the metro.

Solution: Produce a ringtone and send it to your consumers for free.

——————————————————————-

Task: Increase sales by distributing a mobile coupon to your customers.

Solution: Send out the following SMS message to your consumers: Here is your coupon for the movie. Show this message and get two tickets for the price of one. A43-K32-F83.

To create SMS coupons with InfoNU, use the {Coupon} tag in your SMS text. InfoNU will automatically create the coupon text for you. To view coupons and its owners, select Mobile Users and click on Mobile coupons.

——————————————————————-

Task: Get new customers by using viral marketing.

Solution: Create an SMS campaign with the following text: Welcome to Marty’s Bar. This is your VIP pass. Show this message and get a free beer. Feel free to send this message to your friends.

——————————————————————-

Task: You want to create an SMS newsletter that is delivered once a day.

Solution: Create several days of SMS campaigns with your content. Schedule the campaigns so that one is run every week.

To schedule a campaign to be run at a specific day, log on to your InfoNU account, select Campaigns in the Intranet Home menu and click on Campaign schedule.

——————————————————————-

Task: You are having an event together with all your employees and customers.

Solution: Send out an invitation as an SMS message one week before the event. Send an SMS message the day before to remind everybody. Schedule SMS messages to be sent during the event to sychronize people. Send out an event the day after the event to say thank you and to follow up.

But…We have Invested in a WAP Site?

If your company has a mobile web site or a WAP site, use SMS messaging to simplify access to your site. Send an SMS message with a link to your site. To visit your site, your consumer simply opens the SMS message and does not have to enter your URL address on the mobile phone:

Task: Promote your mobile web site and make it easier to access.

Solution: Add the following text to your web site: Mobile Access At All Times. Get our news on your mobile. Text REUTERS to +44 77 86 202 988 (normal SMS cost). Send back an SMS message that contains a link to your mobile web site. Your consumers can access your site by opening your SMS message instead of entering the URL address on the handset.

To distribute a link to your mobile web or WAP page, create a text file that contains the URL to your site (i.e the text http://wap.sl.se), save the file with a .lnk file extension and upload the .lnk-file to your InfoNU account. To automatically send back the link, select Configure Settings, SMS Signup settings so that people receive your .lnk file as a response when they sign up to your service.

The Future of Mobile Marketing

Handset manufacturers are now working hard to unify the user experience on mobile phones. This will make Java applications and mobile web pages look and feel the same way regardless of handset manufacturer.

Manufacturers are also implementing a video compression standard called h.264. This compression technique is twice as efficient as the one used today. If you ever have tried video calls and been disappointed, expect to experience higher image quality within a year or two. The h.264 compression technique will be used for video calls, mobile-TV (in the standard called DVB-H) and for video streaming. The telecommunication industry believes that h.264 will make video calls and mobile video streaming useful in practice.

In Part II of this article series, we will take a closer look at mobile applications and how marketers can design mobile chat, newsletters and community services in just a few minutes.

Anders Hansson is with IntelliTech Software AB, a mobile software development firm. The company is delivering consulting services for customers like Ericsson, Symbian, Sony-Ericsson and several European mobile operators. The company also develops the open mobile marketing platform InfoNU. For more information about IntelliTech, visit

[http://www.intellitech.se]
[http://www.intellitech.se].

Leave a Reply