12 Simple Strategies for Building Your Mobile-Marketing List

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Here is a scenario to consider. Say you sent out a direct mail letter and 95 percent of the people who received it opened it and read it within five minutes. And say that those who responded to the letter did so in about 90 seconds.

So what would you do? My guess is you’d be at the post office buying more stamps.
Put in these terms, businesses begin to see the potential power and profit of using mobile marketing (aka SMS or text marketing or push notifications). About 95 percent of mobile messages are received and read within five minutes.Responses to these types of messages happen, on average, within 90 seconds.

When you factor in costs, the case for mobile marketing is overwhelming. The costs of printing and postage alone dwarf any costs associated with SMS (only 2-3 cents each) and push notifications (free in most cases). Not to mention the USPS plan to begin cutting services means even less timely responses for direct mail.
Where do you begin when you're ready? The how and why of building a good list is a great place to start.

The ‘why’ of building a good list is simple. A good list of potential customers and prospects has been a terrific marketing weapon for a long time and has become essential in the new world of inbound, permission-based marketing. Your mobile app user and SMS lists are people who have raised their hands and said, “Please market to me. I’m interested in what you have to offer and I want to interact with you.” Building a list doesn’t just tilt the game in your favor, it takes you to the big league.

The first step to building a good list is determinin whether your own mobile app (push notifications) or SMS marketing is right for you. I prefer mobile apps for the branding power. I like the free push notifications but either can work.

Next, if you choose SMS, you need to understand short codes. Even if you are unfamiliar with the term, you’ve seen them. Say you walk into your favorite bookstore, Bob’s Books, and you see a poster that says: “Text ‘Books’ to 12345 for Special Discounts and Bookstore Event Dates.” Everyone who sends a text message with the keyword ‘books’ to 12345 will be added to Bob’s Books’ SMS list.

With that one action, Bob’s customers have begun the marketing dialogue and are asking Bob to market to them. Same goes for marketing via your mobile app. When someone sees your messaging and downloads your app (be sure to tell them to accept push notifications in order to get the coupons & announcements) they are opting in to receive your marketing messages. You get the branding benefits and many other mobile app features.  

There are a couple of options to obtaining a short code. One is to register for a specific code with the Common Short Code Administration. The drawbacks here are that leasing your own code is expensive and your code is not usable for weeks as you wait for it to be assigned and then approved by your carrier.

A more practical, faster and less expensive option involves working with a text messaging company to use one of their shared codes. This means that multiple businesses will use the same short code but each business will pick their own dedicated keyword. Customers will be added to the correct list based on the keyword they send.

You need to learn the ‘opt-in’ and ‘opt-out’ rules of the road. Customers who text you must confirm that they are opting-in to your SMS list and also must be given clear instructions on how to opt-out at anytime. When working with a text message company this is usually built in for you but you should still be aware of the rules.

When it comes to mobile apps you know my company, Launch & Hustle, offers those so I won’t add to this already long article.

Now for the fun part… strategies for building your list: I've listed ideas for three types of businesses, beginning with retail mobile marketing.

1. Having your short code and keyword or mobile app on your standard in-store signage is a no-brainer. You can also include them on any special event signage, at any off-site events you host or sponsor.

2. With most text message companies you can have multiple keywords so you can segment your list and provide customers opportunities to opt-in to the type of content they want.

3. Place a sign next to an item that says, “Our text subscribers received a coupon for 20 percent off this item” with the code and keyword on the sign. When they text your keyword to the short code the customer will automatically be sent the 20 percent off coupon. It doesn’t get much easier than that and the same scenario can work for mobile app push notifications as well.

4. With your own mobile app you can setup what’s called Geo-Fencing as well. It’s like setting up a perimeter around your store (say one mile). Everytime someone with you mobile app comes inside the fence they automatically receive your push notification message. You can change it periodically to keep people close by coming back for more.

5. As you begin to transition from traditional media (direct mail, print ads, etc) to digital marketing don’t forget to merge the two by placing your short code or mobile app call to action within your traditional ads.
Restaurant mobile marketing ideas:

6. Signage in the restaurant is again a fairly obvious (but important!) strategy.

7. Have all your servers handwrite on the check a short message asking patrons to download your mobile app or sign up for text messages with the code and keyword and mentioning it as they hand the customer the bill.

8. Here is a small ad you can place in a newspaper: “Last month we sent out text message deals to our patrons allowing them to save an average of $15 off their check. If you’d like to be one of them this month, text ‘Delicious’ to 12345.” Again, the same approach can be used with your mobile app push notifications.

9. Table signage is also a great place to engage your customers. It could say, “Download our mobile app to join our customer loyalty program and earn a complementary dinner.” Or, for SMS, it could be as simple as “Text ‘draft’ to 12345 and receive a free draft beer today.” That establishes a relationship with your customers by sharing other promotions with them and gives them something fun to share with their friends.

Physicians, dentists, orthodontists mobile marketing Ideas:
10. Office appropriate signage is a good idea and not just in the reception area. Your patients are probably bored waiting for you to come to them in the examining room and would welcome the chance to complete a task.

11. Encourage your receptionists to ask if your patients would like to receive their next appointment confirmation via text message. Those who respond ‘yes’ can receive a small flyer that outlines how to subscribe or be directed to text “RemindMe” to 12345.

12. Most of your patients are also looking for up-to-date information about flu shots, allergies, school physicals, etc and would welcome a text or push notification with direct links to relevant information. This is a great way to build relationships with your patients and gives them something to share with friends, thus exposing those friends to your practice.

No matter your business or organization, there are creative ways to build your list. It becomes easier. Involve your staff, especially the ones who love their phones. You might be pleasantly surprised with the ideas they generate. As with just about everything, the important part is to get started.