How Do You Integrate Mobile With B2B E-mail?

In my previous column, I focused on fitting social networking into the B2B marketer’s plan. Now it’s time to talk about adding mobile to your cross-channel marketing arsenal.

Does adding mobile touchpoints to your marketing plan make sense for your brand? Will customers sign up to receive mobile messages from you?

Forrester Research predicted earlier this year that B2B mobile marketing spending would quadruple over the next five years, rising from $26 million in 2009 to $106 million in 2014. However, B2B mobile marketing has been addressed by just the most experimental of marketers.

While still a small base of users overall, many of my clients have noticed rising numbers of smartphone users on their websites, and are making plans to tackle the mobile market in 2011. They see mobile as an opportunity to build deeper engagement with both existing customers and prospects, similar to their efforts in social media.

How can you successfully integrate mobile marketing tactics with your e-mail and social media marketing playbooks? Discover how your customers and prospects are using mobile and determine the messages that they will value the most.

Your success will result in stronger brand awareness, better engagement with your brand, and deeper customer relationships.

Consider the following tips as you add mobile to your e-mail and social marketing plans.

Determine How Your Customers and Prospects Use Mobile

Mobile doesn’t make sense if your customers and prospects don’t use the channel. Take a look at your Web analytics. Do you have a growing segment of customers viewing your site on their mobile phones? Does the greatest number of visits come from smartphones like the iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry, or Android operating-system phones?

If your mobile visits are growing, consider optimizing your site for mobile. Remove JavaScript, Flash, ActiveX, and other proprietary technologies that might not support your mobile phone Web visitors.

Analyze your site navigation to verify that a smartphone user with “fat fingers” can easily click on the navigation buttons using their device.

If you have a large number of mobile visitors or a transaction-heavy site, consider developing a WAP site or smartphone applications that allow the user to complete regular transactions quickly and easily.

Develop an SMS Marketing Program

Most of us check an SMS within three to five seconds of arrival. However, if it isn’t relevant, we will ignore it.

The most successful and relevant mobile SMS marketing campaigns rely on one of three criteria to answer the subscriber’s question: What is in it for me?

Focus on content that offers an “insider” VIP experience, time-sensitive information, or location-centric information. Keep at least one of these goals in mind when developing marketing programs for SMS.

Offering an “insider” VIP experience is a great mobile SMS marketing program directed at your best customers and influencers. Offer to notify these customers first, via SMS, about special events, new product launches, trade show parties, and exclusive opportunities to talk to top executives or product engineers. This arms them with “insider” information that they can use to brag to their friends or colleagues about your brand and products.

Alerts about time-sensitive information is also a key program for both customers and prospects. Order cutoff deadlines, reminders about recurring maintenance, special event registrations, live Webinars, or anything else that customers or prospects might miss if they don’t act quickly are ideal for these types of campaigns.

Leverage your customer data to determine if they have acted, and, if not, to trigger a last-minute SMS alert as a reminder.

Lastly, location-centric campaigns are also an excellent use of SMS marketing campaigns. Reminders of conferences or events in their area and location-specific service alerts are great opportunities for SMS marketing messages.

However, don’t get carried away. You can wind up sending too many messages. The statement “relevancy dictates frequency” is even more important with SMS than it is with e-mail.

If the message isn’t relevant to your subscribers, don’t send it. Your subscribers signed up for your alerts for a specific purpose. If you abuse that trust, they will unsubscribe.

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