A Walking Billboard in the pocket of your Customer 24 Hours a Day
That’s what an app can be for your business.
Imagine how important that is to be one of the 26 apps that the average person has on their mobile phone. What’s that real estate worth to your business?
Number of Apps Available
It seems like everybody is making apps today, even the US government thanks to President Obama’s initiative that all departments have apps. You can even get the IRS To Go while picking up your cup of Java at Starbucks.
It’s no surprise how many apps there are given how much time Americans are spending with their apps. Let’s take a look at just how many apps are available:
- Google Play (formerly Android Market) – 1.3 million
- Apple App Store – 1.2 million
- Windows Phone Store – 300,000
- Amazon Appstore – 240,000
- BlackBerry World – 130,000
- Galaxy Apps (formerly Samsung Apps store) – couldn’t find number
- Nokia Store – 120,000
- (Stats Source = Statista June, 2014)
App Development is Expensive
When it comes to mobile marketing, marketers must be very careful when considering app development due to its cost.
Here’s a cool tool that can give you a quick estimate of the cost of app development for your project.
But, while the cost to program a new app is at an all-time high, it may be amazing to many that 95 out of the top 100 apps in the apps stores are FREE!
It’s important that you have a basic understanding of the primary types of app development that are available to you. Consulting with your developer will give you the background you need to decide what type of app you should develop.
- Native Apps –
Native apps live on the device itself. They are installed through the app store and are developed specifically for just one platform. Because they are unique to only one platform, they can use the other features that are already on the phone such as the camera, the GPS, and your contact list.
If you are in an area with no connectivity, a native app will still work and it will be fast. Think of downloading a travel guide.
A major negative of native apps is the update process. If the business wants to update, it must submit those updates to the app store and then have the update pushed to the users.
Another negative for native apps is that you have to pay a 30% fee to Apple for all purchases made on its app store.
- Web Based Mobile Apps –
Web apps are really websites that may look like native apps, but they reside on a browser. Most are written in HTML5. They are usually accessed from a web page where the user is given the option of “installing” them. The install, however, is not really the app itself, but a bookmark to the site.
One of the advantages of a web based app is that you don’t have to go to the app store to find it. Also, if the business wants to update it, it’s as simple as updating a web page; no submission to the app stores necessary.
Another advantage of web based is that there are no content restrictions. Apple, for example, has been notoriously prudish in its willingness to accept some content. Hence, it was Playboy that was one of the first companies to use web based apps.
- Hybrid Apps –
Hybrids are, as you would expect, a combination of Native and Web-based. One of the advantages of hybrid apps is that they work on any platform. Therefore, costs are significantly reduced since the code can be used on multiple platforms.
When you are competing against a million other apps vying for the consumer’s attention, you can see why it’s important to have a well thought out strategy for marketing your app.
While every marketing strategy is going to be different when it comes to apps, there are some basics that you need to get right to have any kind of chance.
- Include the most important keywords and keyword phrases so that you show up when a consumer does a search in the app stores. Otherwise, it’s almost like your app doesn’t exist.
- You need to be able to sell the app when the consumer arrives at your page in the app store. Exciting graphics and adding video.
- Social media is big. Facebook is almost always a critical part of your app marketing plan.
- Mobile advertising – what better place to advertise your new app.
- Create buzz prior to your release date. Think email marketing, press releases, and all the same strategies you’d do if you were having a store grand opening.
- Encourage positive customer reviews. If you get off to a bad start with reviews, it’s very difficult for the app to recover as it will be buried in the app stores.
It’s extremely difficult for an app to get a following, even if you represent a well-known brand. Be sure to not spend all your budget on development or you’ll have a great app that nobody knows about.
Text Message Marketing
SMS text message marketing is the workhorse of mobile marketing. It’s the pillar that holds up the mobile marketing building. If you can only do one thing in mobile marketing, it should be text message marketing.
That’s because text message marketing is inexpensive and offers the single best ROI of any mobile marketing tactic that you will employ. Whether you are a national retailer or simply a local Mom and Pop pizza shop, there is place for text message marketing in your marketing plan.
Text Message Marketing is opt-in marketing, meaning that you must have permission from your consumer before sending them a promotional text message. While getting permission may seem like a daunting task at first, it’s precisely why SMS text message marketing is so darn effective.
Until recently, you could send somebody a promotional text message if you had a previous relationship with that consumer. In other words, if you were a tire retailer and you had a list of consumers that had purchased tires from you in the past, you could send them a promotional text message.
That all changed on October 16, 2013 when new TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) laws came into effect. It caused companies to change the way they do business with text message marketing and in many cases, it required a new opt-in from consumers. Because not all previous opt-in consumers chose to re-opt-in, the new laws dramatically reduced the size of many companies’ opt-in databases. (If you’d like an attorney’s point of view on TCPA compliance, click here.
Now, in addition to numerous other requirements, you have to have “express written consent” to qualify a consumer as a legitimate opt-in to your database. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to have a signed paper for all of your opt-ins (although that is a legitimate qualifier for an opt-in), as an electronic signature is also permitted.
In most cases, a company obtains a legitimate opt-in via an interactive text message promotion. In other words, the consumer will:
Text RESULTS to 84444
Here’s another sample from the San Jose Sharks:
Text SJ to 742757
Once the consumer has opted-in to your database via an interactive text message promotion, you can now send them broadcast text messages in the future. It is the broadcast portion of the equation that is usually the big money maker for your business in terms of increased business.
Broadcast Text Message Marketing
Capturing the mobile phone number of your customer or prospect is very valuable indeed. In fact, one of our national retail customers has pegged the value of an opt-in to be $11 per month in increased sales. With a database well in excess of 100,000, you can see how this is significant.
But, we’re not the only one that sees a tremendous value in obtaining a mobile opt-in for text message marketing. Ace Hardware has pegged its value of an opt-in as being $183.60 lifetime!
The key to broadcast text message marketing is to send the consumers messages that are of value. That may seem obvious, but here’s why it’s so important. There is a fine line between your best customer (somebody who has liked your company to the point where they’ve ASKED to receive your advertising) and your worst customer (somebody who you have sent so much stuff to that they’ve opted-out of your text message marketing advertising).
Keep in mind that the laws regarding text message marketing require you to provide a convenient method of permitting the consumer to opt-out of your database. In most cases, the consumer simply needs to reply with STOP to opt-out.
Send too many messages that are not pertinent to the consumer and you’ll likely get an opt-out. If you’re Ace Hardware, you can see just how much that opt-out will cost you!
There’s no magical number of broadcast messages that should be sent each month. That really varies based on the product. If you opted in to the San Jose Sharks message above, you’ll see that the hockey team indicates that you may receive “5msgs./wk.”. That may seem like a lot when compared to a department store, but keep in mind that fans of a sports team are passionate about that team and they won’t mind receiving five messages per week. On the other hand, if you are a local pizza restaurant, five messages seems like it’s too much.
Short Code Marketing
Now, let’s make sure you understand some definitions. In the sample interactive text message promotion above, “RESULTS” is a keyword and “84444” is a short code.
A short code is an abbreviated phone number such as 84444.
In some cases, “long codes” are used for text message marketing. A long code is simply a traditional 10-digit phone number that does many of the same things that a short code number can do, albeit it’s not really intended for interactive text messaging. Some carriers frown on long codes, in part since they don’t make any money from them. That’s why I’ve only ever seen small, local businesses using long codes.
A keyword is used in most instances to provide the identifier for the opt-in. If your business owns its own short code, it then owns all of the keywords associated with that short code. In that case, the keyword will identify which promotion the consumer opted-in to.
But, most businesses will utilize a shared short code such as 84444. The reason why is that it is quite expensive to obtain and continue with a short code. A company that is in the business of text message marketing can amortize the cost of activation (about $3500) and the monthly cost ($1000 for a vanity short code such as 84444) over numerous businesses that use that same short code. The only major negative of a shared short code is that it is possible that the keyword that you wish to use is being used by another customer.
Why Text Message Marketing
If I can only leave you with one piece of information, it is this one:
“97% of mobile subscribers will read a text message, even a promotional one, within 15 minutes of receipt.” (Nielsen)
That’s why text message marketing is so valuable. You can reach your customers when they are most likely to buy! Moreover, your customers have opted-in, meaning that they WANT to receive your messages.
My company has done work for Subway in sending text messages for the Subway restaurants from Maine to Maryland. When does Subway send its text messages? At 11:30 AM when customers are in the office or out on the job site and starting to get hungry for lunch.
With text message marketing, you have the perfect storm for any type of advertising:
- It’s your best prospects, because they’ve asked to receive your advertising.
- You are almost 100% sure that they are going to see your message. Can any other medium make that same claim?
- You can reach your customer when they are most likely to buy! If you buy radio advertising, you don’t know exactly when your advertisement will run and if you buy newspaper advertising, you have no idea when your advertisement will be seen.
This year, I have been given the distinct honor being chosen as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Denver. I am teaching a graduate level course in the Communication department in Mobile Marketing. Over the next few days, I will be presenting some of my articles that have been written for teaching in this class. Here is the first of those articles.
In the 21st century, a phenomenon occurred in the United States and the world. A mobile phone began appearing in nearly every pocket and every purse of every person old enough to own one.
American Express coined the phrase “Don’t Leave Home Without It” long before the mobile phone, but that phrase probably better typifies the mobile phone than it ever did the credit card. Leave your mobile at home and you’re likely looking for the next place you can safely do a U-turn to go back to pick it up. If you’ve ever lost it, it’s probably worse than losing your wallet or purse. It’s our lifeline. It’s our gateway to the world.
Your Digital DNA
Never before in the history of technology has one device become the centerpiece of our lives. The cell phone you own today is your digital DNA. If you grew up in Denver, but have since moved to Austin, you’ve probably continued to maintain that 303 area code number despite the fact that you live in the 512 area code now. You will likely die with the same mobile phone number that you have today regardless of where you move.
Your mobile phone is so very personal that even spouses don’t share it. And, most people would even consider it an invasion of privacy if your spouse looked at the text messages on your mobile. When your phone rings, it plays your favorite ringtone that you selected. Only you control what apps you put on your phone. And, only you know the passwords to open them. Your mobile phone is YOU! Nothing you own is more personal.
Your Message on the Move
In 2007, my company hired an advertising agency that came up with a catchy slogan for us to describe our mobile marketing services: Your Message on the Move
At the time, that slogan did a great job of portraying the potential that mobile marketing brought to the advertiser. Now, you just didn’t have to reach the consumer on their landline when they were at home, when they were watching television or reading the newspaper (remember them?), or on their desktop computer when they were in the office. Now, you could reach the consumer when they were out and about…and nearby to your store. You could reach the consumer on their terms and you could reach them 24/7.
But, something changed along the way since 2007. Now, mobile no longer just characterizes reaching people that are on the move, because mobile has become the norm. Today, mobile is consumed everywhere, even on the couch at home—something that was not commonplace in 2007.
Cutting the Cord
That’s why more and more Americans are cutting the cord. More than 41% of Americans now live in households that are cell phone only with no landline present. With minorities and the poor mobile is even more pervasive–over 53% of Hispanics, for example, are living in homes that are cell phone only.
The History of the Mobile Phone
The first mobile phone call was placed in St. Louis on June 17, 1946. That call was made from a car phone.
Prior to 1973, mobile technology was limited to phones installed in cars and trucks. Motorola and Bell Labs raced to be the first to produce a handheld mobile phone. That race ended on April 3, 1973 when Martin Cooper, of Motorola, made the first mobile telephone call from a handheld mobile device. Commercial sales of the prototype system, however, were still a long way off and did not become available until 1983.
Mobile as a Medium
Today, the amount of mobile subscriptions in the USA exceeds that of the total population. That is, there are about 1.1 mobile subscriptions for every adult and child in the country! See the breakdown of carrier market share here.
Thus, mobile offers the perfect storm for marketers to reach a vast, still comparatively untapped, marketplace.
In this course, you will learn about mobile marketing. Mobile marketing refers to nearly everything done on a mobile device from the most basic of services (text message marketing) to the most complex (apps development) and everything in between.
The mobile train has left the building, but there is still time to get aboard. In fact, the mobile train has just started making its long journey. No doubt there are plenty of stops along the way with seats open to savvy marketers that are willing to jump on board.
This is one train you don’t want to miss!
What could be more appropriate on Thanksgiving Day (in our US office) than to talk about our restaurant clients and how mobile marketing works for them.
Want to know more about text message marketing?
The following three videos will give you an idea of how text message marketing is still the go-to mobile marketing tool for businesses.
Interviews by Brad Bierman.
Our Newest Product Offerings: International, MMS, Text to Landline
In the first video, Bob Bentz talks about how ATS Mobile wisely chose the same short code in both the United States and Canada. What that means for you is that your text message marketing will work the same in both countries and you won’t have to change your advertising creative to accommodate both countries. In addition, Bentz discusses some recent enhancements to its messaging services which now include:
- International Texting
- MMS Picture Messaging
- Text to Landline — we can now soon offer you the ability to send a text message to your landline phone.
Text Messaging for Radio Stations
In the second video, ATS’s Steve Gonzalez discusses the importance of a mobile marketing messaging strategy to engage radio station listeners.
Holiday Texting Tips for Retailers
Finally, Scott Bronenberg discusses the upcoming holiday season and the importance of text message marketing for retailers.
Want to watch more videos from our Mobile Marketing Knowledge College? Click here to watch last month’s videos.
In October, the focus of the Mobile Marketing Knowledge College interviews were on text message marketing. ATS Mobile’s Brad Bierman, a qualified expert in this field himself, interviewed key staffers to get their insights and advice on how to best utilize text message marketing in an overall mobile, digital and traditional marketing plan. Discussion topics include: retail; apartments; restaurants; strategy.
Listen to our mobile marketing consultants give advice on SMS marketing.
Text Message Marketing for Retail Stores
by Scott Bronenberg
Text Message Marketing for Apartments
by Barb Breeser
Text Message Marketing for Restaurants
by Kevin Campbell
Text Message Marketing Strategies
by Bob Bentz
Our Mobile Marketing Product Line
At ATS Mobile, we do so many things that sometimes it’s kind of hard to keep track of them. That’s why we’ve put together this presentation to give you an overview of what it is that we exactly do from a product perspective.
Of course, what we really do is talk to you and find out what your needs are, then come up with a strategy to drive digital and mobile engagement with your customers.
The decision on where to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner is a spontaneous one (see the stats here). So, if your text message or search reaches their mobile phone at the right time, there’s a good chance that they will choose your establishment.
A recent study from the National Restaurant Association shows just how important it is to have a mobile-optimized website. If your website is not mobile optimized, 61% of potential customers will simply leave for one that is. (Source = Google) An astonishing 46% of people went online to find directions to a restaurant and 23% ordered by mobile.
Here’s why people are ordering from their mobile phone, instead of the old-fashioned way. For baby boomers and Millenials, it’s mostly about ease of ordering and not having to wait.
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