American Marketer


3 ingredients to build a successful mobile marketing campaign

August 2, 2011


stacy-lewisBy Stacy Lewis

To keep pace with current, hip marketing initiatives, you have taken the plunge – you have signed on to run a mobile marketing campaign. You found a company that specializes in text message advertising, signed on for a short-term trial, and even created your own keyword. It is exciting.

Judging by the countless mobile marketing success stories being written daily, it was a wise business decision.

Consumers read their text messages, even texts from advertisers, at a rate that blows away any other advertising vehicle. Story after story confirms it. Mobile marketing works.

Despite becoming increasingly common, it still carries with it a certain cache, a “cool” factor that can help separate you from the competition. So you signed on. You are ready to launch.

But now what?

Launching a mobile marketing campaign is simple. Running a successful one, you are learning, is a completely different challenge, one that likely has begun with a mind-flood of questions. “How do I get people to participate?” “What messages should I send?” “How do I make this increase sales?”

It is not as difficult as it may seem now. It does not have to be time-consuming and it does not have to be expensive. But it needs a plan, a strategy that includes three distinct qualities: promotion, relevancy and exclusivity. Let us explain.

Promote your mobile campaign wisely

Your mobile campaign only works if customers participate, and customers will only participate if your opt-in message is promoted.

Let us dispel a myth now: promoting a mobile campaign does not require an expensive campaign.

To get the word out, think through who it is you are trying to reach.

Are you targeting current customers to ensure that they become repeat customers? Restaurant and store owners can hang a sign at the cash register. Bar managers can include a promo on receipts. Golf course owners can add the message to scorecards.

There are dozens of low-cost – or no-cost – but high-impact ways to promote your campaign.

To reach beyond your current client base, include promotions on your social media fan pages.

If you currently run print or online ads with local media outlets, add the mobile promotion to your ads the next time you refresh your creative.

And be sure your employees are informed enough about the campaign to explain to customers and potential customers how it works and what its benefits are.

Make your message relevant

To build your database, your opt-in promotions should offer an incentive, whether a percentage off a customer’s same-day purchase, a mobile coupon for a future sale, a free gift, or even entry into your Mobile VIP Club.

Whatever the offer, make it relevant to your business.

In other words, promoting a chance to win $1,000 will likely get a lot of response, but not necessarily the response you want.

Your goal should be to build a database of people who express an interest in your product or service, not simply a chance to win a wad of cash.

Restaurant owners can seek opt-in users with offers of meal discounts. Golf course owners can offer a cut in greens fees. Bar owners might give half off a person’s first drink.

By keeping the offer relevant to what you provide, you will build a database of consumers who are more likely to respond to future messages.

Make your customers feel exclusive

Now that we have outlined the number of ways to reach customers with your opt-in message, remember to tailor those promotions to make select audience groups feel special.

In-store customers might receive a discount on that day’s purchase, but your message that reaches people on your Facebook page should resonate differently. It can be as simple as: “Join our Mobile VIP Club for Facebook fans and get special offers every Wednesday.”

People do not often give away such a prized possession as their mobile phone number for nothing. The key is to create a valuable, relevant enticement that gets consumers excited enough to respond, and then promote that enticement to the right audiences.

Mobile marketing works. You are savvy enough to have recognized that. By including these key elements to your campaign, you will find that you are also savvy enough to write a mobile success story of your own.

Stacy Lewis is sales director at TXTin Mobile Marketing, a Carlsbad, CA-based mobile marketing company specializing in text message advertising campaigns for small-business owners. Reach her at