By Rieva Lesonsky
You do it; your customers do it. Consumers across the world use their smartphones to do just about everything on the go. Whether they are checking reviews about products, services, hotels or restaurants, telling their network of friends where they are and what they’re doing, or buying things directly from their phones, mobile marketing is one place you should be putting some advertising dollars this year. If you’re planning on applying for a new small business loan, or extending your business credit line make sure your small business marketing plan is up-to-date by including mobile marketing as part of your business plan.
Before you barrage your customers with a slew of mobile marketing messages, you want to make sure your ad campaign won’t turn customers off instead of attract them to your business. Here’s how to get through without getting annoying.
- Say please. Before sending any kind of ad to your customers’ mobile devices, first ask how they want to receive your marketing messages. The option should be clear on your website (or if you’re having them fill out an in-store survey). Would they prefer updates and sales announcements by email or text message? Most people now have unlimited text messaging plans, but that still doesn’t mean they want to hear from businesses by text. Offer an incentive to sign up for your messages, such as offering a certain coupon only to mobile customers or to the first 10 people who reply to the text message.
- Keep it mellow. Unlike messages sent to a customer’s computer, mobile text messages are usually checked promptly, so be sure to avoid untimely message arrivals—like the middle of the night or too early in the morning. Think about when to capture their attention without being a pest. According to SIT Mobile, mobile phones are used most between noon and 6 p.m., so as a general rule the best time to send out an SMS is during “normal” business hours—between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. If sending appointment reminders, send them with at least 24 hours notice to allow for cancellations. For lunchtime meal deal advertising, the best time to send is 11 a.m.; for weekend events or promotions, the best day is Tuesday or Wednesday.
- Target your message. For instance, don’t send customers who don’t have children text messages about child-related products or services. Sounds basic, but when it’s a text, the message must be even more personalized than an email campaign. Think of your customer as your friend. What do they need to know?
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports