Mobile Marketing: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Mobile Marketing: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The growth in smartphone usage is phenomenal – there are more than 200 million smart phones in the U.S. and 100 billion text messages are sent every month.  Utilizing mobile marketing is now a no-brainer; the difficulty is how to use mobile marketing without being intrusive to your customers.

The Scenario

Your best customers have given you their mobile phone number and opted into your Mobile VIP Program.  The first message you send them is critical as it sets the tone for the relationship.

The first message

Do Not: Don’t send a simple reminder to go eat at your location as your first message.  For example, don’t send the following message: “Come by this Tuesday to try our new sandwiches and pizzas.” You have to give before you can receive.

Do: Do send a promotion that makes the customer feel special and makes them want to remain a part of your mobile loyalty program: “Come by this Tuesday from 2pm – 6pm and get a Sandwich for half off!”

Future messages

Do Not: Don’t send messages too frequently – everyday or every week.  Even if you’re sending valuable messages, it can get overwhelming for customers and they’ll inevitably opt-out of your program.  If you would like to send messages every week, use emails instead of text messages.

Do: Do send text messages when you have promotions, events, and unique information that your best customers can capitalize on.  For example, if you recently launched a new smoothie flavor, then send the following message to your customers: “Come by this Friday from 3pm – 6:30pm to try out our new smoothie flavor – strawberry banana – for only $1!

The best frequency to send text messages is 2-3 times per month.  Any more will overwhelm your customers.

The Good

Mobile marketing allows you to build a direct connection with your best customers, allowing you to fill capacity when your store is empty, get the word out to those most likely to spread your message virally, and increase visit frequency.

Getting permission from your customers to send text messages is the new golden ticket.

The Bad

It’s easy to abuse text message marketing.  Keep the frequency low, and only send messages that make the customer feel special for joining your rewards program.

The phone number is a very personal channel – unlike the email.  Emails nowadays get bombarded with messages about promotions – customers are fine with giving out emails because they can check emails at their leisure and can easily opt-out of any emails that they don’t want to receive.

On the other hand, text messages are immediate, intrusive, and cannot be ignored.  Treat your customers with respect and they’ll give you personal access for a long time.

The Ugly

More and more companies and agencies are doing mobile marketing.  There are a few conclusions that come from this:

  1. Customers will receive a lot of messages, making it easy to get your message lost in the clutter of texts
  2. Businesses that abuse text message marketing will turn off customers to the channel and make them hesitant to give out their number to future businesses

How to rise above the clutter

Give your customers the option to receive text messages or emails from you. If you give them the option and send only quality messages, then you’ll find yourself in the position of only a handful of businesses that make it into your customer’s A-list.

How to make the ask for the phone number

Stick to the following principles:

  1. Keep it autonomous (customer types in phone number and does not have to shout it to a cashier)
  2. Remove any need to fill out a form
  3. Make it fast and simple
  4. Allow the customer to opt-out at any time

Respect your customers and you’ll build a close relationship with them for life.

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