If you're new to mobile marketing - and, let's be honest, most of us are - it's the perfect time to start building for the future. Today's student is tomorrow's industry expert, so here are four basic steps to get started:
Add mobile capture to your e-mail opt-in page. Why not grab the low-hanging fruit and ask for mobile number and permission? Please, please, please make it optional and do not pre-check the opt-in box. As I never get tired of saying, this is an intrusive, personal medium and you do not want the negative brand impact that comes from non-permission-based SMS messages. Is it OK to do this even though a) your mobile programs are not well-defined and b) you cannot deliver an immediate acknowledgement to the subscriber's phone due to data transfer issues? Yes and yes.
Add e-mail and mobile capture to your Facebook page. This not only helps build both lists but also tells you which Facebook fans are e-mail/ mobile subscribers as well. American Apparel links to the page with a solid offer, "Save 15%" but fails to ask for a mobile number and permission.
The addition of iFrames to Facebook pages allows you to insert the actual profile page functionality from your website into your Facebook page. (The best explanation I've heard is that you essentially cut it out of your website and paste it into your Facebook page - thanks ARS!) Be sure to code your Facebook opt-ins separately so you can tally and track them.
Experiment to find your strongest value proposition. As a great January 2010 Forrester article called "The Splinternet" by Josh Bernoff and Shar VanBoskirk advises, "Adopt an experimental mindset…[ those who do] will thrive in the Splinternet by reaping the benefits of highly engaged customer interactions."
You may not know whether you will continue to support apps, build out your mobile site, team with an LBS (location-based service), or simply send out offers and announcements via SMS. And you won't know until you test the waters. See which offers and services resonate with your audience and enhance your brand. Then wrap it up in a punchy value statement and put it on your mobile opt-in pages in the form of "Do X and get Y" (e.g., "Sign up to get exclusive mobile coupons delivered to your phone"; "Check in with Facebook Places and get a free dessert"; "Check out our new mobile app for an exclusive CMO executive summary.")
Look to retailers who are setting the pace - even if you're B2B. Yes, your business model is significantly different from theirs. But a good idea is a good idea, and you can, with a little imagination, port it over. Online retailers have the toughest competition and the clearest ROI calculation, so they have always been the most innovative digital marketers. Pay attention, as they are setting the standards that your customers, when not wearing their employee hats, will come to expect. Luxury retailers, with the highest penetration of smartphones in their customer bases, are particularly noteworthy.
Any other basics out there? Please add to the discussion below.
Melinda Krueger is a senior marketing consultant with ExactTarget and a digital marketing veteran – starting with direct, moving to interactive, specializing in e-mail, and now charting a course for mobile marketing. Working with the best agencies in the business, she has helped Harley-Davidson, Miller Brewing, Sears/Kmart, CDW, and many others build their interactive marketing programs. Melinda holds an MBA from Marquette University and is a highly-rated speaker for professional organizations and business schools. As the Email Diva, Melinda answered questions on all aspects of the practice. Your questions about mobile are welcome!