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What Is Mobile Marketing with SMS? (Updated)

SMS advertising is one of the most common forms of mobile marketing, with billions of messages sent out every month globally.

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Around the world close to 16 million text messages are sent per minute. Lots of them are birthday wishes, hellos to a friend, good morning or good night messages, etc. But a growing, and rather surprising, percentage of them are actually marketing messages.

From teenagers to senior citizens, just about everyone is carrying a smartphone or tablet in their pockets. The world is literally a fingertip away. With the rise of mobile devices has come the rise of mobile marketing. In addition to its cost effectiveness, mobile marketing delivers personalized messages quickly and directly to a space where consumers are almost 100% guaranteed to view them.

Understanding how your business can achieve success in this market begins with understanding exactly what mobile marketing is. In this article we’ll provide that definition as well as some commentary on the industry shift to mobile, and general best practices for your marketing strategy.

What is Mobile Marketing?

Mobile marketing is a form of digital marketing that has grown in popularity the last few years. By definition, it is the process of converting and optimizing your communications and advertising for mobile devices.

Several factors have contributed to the recent growth of mobile. It is projected that mobile e-commerce will be responsible for $2.32 trillion — or about 67.2% — of e-commerce sales by 2021. Mobile traffic was responsible for 52.2% of overall Internet traffic in 2018. The conclusion? Because of the ease and accessibility of internet on mobile devices, cell phones are gradually becoming the target space to reach consumers. Not only can your brand inhabit this space to share information, you can enable consumers to take action with a simple click or scroll.

Other Forms of Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing also encompasses other forms, such as:

  • QR codes: These are 2D images that a phone’s camera can read that will send the device directly to a certain web address
  • Push notifications: Notifications for certain applications on the device are visible on the user’s screen, many of which encompass marketing messaging, such as “special deal on upgrades, expires soon!”
  • App-based marketing: Marketing within apps is a popular tactic, especially as apps themselves have grown in momentum. Most commonly, they come in the form of banners or “pop ups”
  • In-game mobile marketing: Similar to app-based marketing, in-game mobile marketing displays certain ads to unlock features or give users access to certain parts of a game
  • MMSMMS mobile marketing contains multimedia, such as images, text, audio, and video
  • Proximity systems: With proximity marketing, a service SimpleTexting offers by request, messages can be broadcast to mobile users in a specified geographical area. For example, if you are using the Cartwheel app for Target, you may start seeing advertising while you are in close proximity to a Target superstore. A retailer can also send a mobile text message to opted-in users who are near the store, offering a 50% discount if they take advantage of the special within a limited time frame
  • Location-based services: Customized messaging can also be sent with location-based services. Users of social networks such as Foursquare may end up seeing deals that are only activated when they check in to a physical location
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth is a permission-based technology protocol and can also be used as a marketing tool. The most widely known Bluetooth marketing medium is through hotspots provided by local businesses

There are new mobile marketing trends each year. One form of mobile marketing that has shown continual growth however is SMS. Several billion SMS advertising messages are sent out every month globally, making SMS marketing the most popular method of mobile marketing at this time.

SMS Mobile Marketing

SMS or text marketing is a permission based, instant delivery messaging system that connects you with your audience in an effective and cost efficient way. Some of the key features of text marketing include:

  • Accessibility: According to a study conducted by Neustar, the average user receives 1,216 emails per month, but only 178 text messages. With no spam filters to navigate and a lower volume, you’re almost guaranteeing you message will reach its intended recipient.
  • Reach: Over 90% of adults in the United States have cell phones, meaning they can receive your messages.
  • High Open Rates: 98% of text messages are opened.
  • Easy To Use: Almost everyone knows how to text, and almost every cell phone is equipped with the ability to do so. This means you don’t need to download an app or be a tech wiz to receive messages. SMS provides equal access to all demographics.

A host of other features add to the allure of mobile marketing. Between data collection, customization, and autoresponses alone, it’s not hard to see the draw.

Why Have Marketers Switched to Mobile?

Mobile SMS marketing services became more of a legitimate marketing medium when phone carriers began enforcing rules regarding unsolicited SMS messages. Now, if you are a recipient of mobile SMS marketing, it’s because you opted in—and if you didn’t, the provider is likely in violation of anti-spam laws, such as the TCPA. With these regulations came the authority and acceptance of mobile as a marketing tactic.

Along with the industry acceptance came the increased demand from customers for enhanced mobile experiences. As the statistics we’ve mentioned have shown, mobile use has gone on to nearly surpass desktop internet use. Year after year mobile as a preferred method of browsing has grown by nearly 200%! If businesses wanted to keep up with demand, they had to switch to, or at least built out a mobile strategy.

Another factor that influenced a switch was an increase in mobile marketing resources. Internet tycoons like Google and Facebook have rolled out changes to their marketing tools to cater to a mobile friendly audience. The addition of these tools has made it infinitely easier for marketers to build their strategy. Some of these changes include:

  • GoogleAds’ Enhanced Campaigns– Google Adwords, a popular tool for marketers, launched enhanced campaigns integrating mobile ad options as well as traditional Google Ads. Now, users can cast bids for a single campaign across devices. Not only was this a move towards efficiency, it was a gesture that proves mobile marketing isn’t going anywhere soon.
    • Other Google mobile enhancements include: mobile site links, click-to-call extensions, Google offers for mobile, and click to download.
  • Facebook Ads– When creating ads for Facebook, you now have the ability to edit your content so it’s responsive to mobile. Adjust your copy and images to ensure users who are browsing the website on their phone view your ad in it’s best form.

Mobile Marketing Best Practices

With mobile marketing there are endless possibilities of things you can do. But when it comes to what’s best practice, apply the “man wearing shorts in a snow storm principal,” and remind yourself that just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

There are a lot of things you can do with mobile, but a few things that you shouldn’t. For example, if you’re looking to text market, you shouldn’t text people without receiving prior consent. Not only can this tick people off, it can get you in some pretty serious legal trouble.

Other mobile marketing no-gos include spamming, promoting non-mobile-optimized content, and non-strategic communication. In order to make the most of the time and money you spend on mobile marketing, ensure these best practices are followed. (You can learn about SMS marketing best practices here.)

Keep Your Content Simple

Mobile devices are significantly smaller than computers or tablets. The more you make people scroll the greater the odds are of losing their attention. When designing communications for mobile you want to keep it as short and direct as you can. If you’re dealing with larger quantities of information that can’t be condensed, it’s best practice to revert to smaller paragraphs, or blocks of text.

Ensure Your Web Presence is Mobile Optimized

If you’re reaching out to potential customers via mobile, odds are they’re going to check you out while they’re on their phones. This means your website must be mobile compatible to ensure a good user experience. It also doesn’t hurt to make it easy for them to visit your social media pages right from your website—another popular space mobile users might visit to check out your brand.

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Target Your Audience

All good marketing strategies have a target audience. You’ll certainly wind up chasing your tail if you try to target the five billion or so mobile users out there. A great rule of thumb if you don’t have a demographic nailed down is to keep your mobile marketing local, or geo-specific. After all, nearly 1/3 of all mobile searches have local intent.

Combine and Conquer

The great thing about mobile marketing is the relatively fluid costs. There are tools that can fit any budget. Picking the right form of mobile marketing for your target audience is the key, but oftentimes multiple strategies combined is the ticket. For example, if you’re looking to reach teens, you might want to double down and implement a text marketing strategy along with placing adds within the app “Snapchat”. These options can be relatively inexpensive with and have an impressive ROI.

When it comes to mobile marketing, the best thing your business can do is try out different methods of communication and find out what resonates with your target market. Of course, if text marketing is something you’re looking to experiment with, we’d be more than happy to show you the ropes! Try SimpleTexting for 14 days, free of charge and commitment. Start your trial today and begin conquering the world one cell phone at a time.

Alfredo Salkeld
Alfredo Salkeld

Alfredo is SimpleTexting's brand manager. He's passionate about using his 10+ years of marketing experience to help small businesses grow.

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