Mobile marketing is the next frontier. More than one billion people around the world use smartphones. In America, 56 percent of the population uses a smartphone—that’s roughly 140 million people. According to Nielsen, smartphone penetration last month reached 64 percent of all mobile users.
So, with that rate of adoption, there are few better channels to enrich relationships and offer the personal attention that improves the customer experience. Effective marketing today means communication that is relevant, timely and personalized.
Businesses, especially those that regularly interact with their customers, would be wise to start making plans to integrate mobile marketing into their marketing strategy. Here’s a look at how four industries are approaching the opportunity:
Many restaurants run lunch specials or have discounts on certain days of the week, such as half-price wine on Wednesdays. These are great ideas to get customers in during slower times, but only if you can get the word out at the appropriate time.
By using SMS texting, restaurants can reward customers by sending out a heads-up about specials or other upcoming events. Popular eateries might broadcast the unexpected availability of tables on a busy night, for example.
It’s important to think about the timing of your messages. If you send a text about half-price appetizers at 7 p.m. on a Friday, chances are many of your customers have already made their plans for the evening. On the other hand, if it’s a slow, rainy afternoon, sending out a notice for half price burgers for the following two hours might get people out of their homes.
The best mobile marketing solutions allow business owners to send texts to certain geographic areas. A national chain, for example, can reach customers across the country at peak times, instead of sending out a message to all time zones at once. In most cases, it’s best to time your text an hour or two before people start thinking about where they want to eat
Retail is another great arena where mobile marketing can make customers feel more connected and appreciated.
Target is one retailer using mobile marketing to its full potential. Users who opt in get a text each month with a link to eight or 10 mobile coupons. All they have to do is show the cashier their phones so a barcode on the coupon can be scanned. This element of convenience helps consumers who don’t have the time to clip and organize coupons, but still want good deals
Target also offers text reminders through its pharmacy and allows customers to refill or cancel a prescription via text. The prescription refill is more a matter of convenience than mobile marketing, but it gets customers used to expecting texts from the retailer.
Remember: The bottom line is enriching the customer experience. Done right, mobile marketing is like including customers in a select club – a kind of “inner circle” of shoppers.
Another good use of mobile marketing is to cut through the “email noise” of a busy period, such as Black Friday. During busy times, shoppers’ inboxes are clogged with sales circulars that, let’s face it, are usually deleted or marked as spam. Sending texts is a great way to get their attention immediately.
In healthcare, the goal is the same as in retail and hospitality: Improve the patient’s experience and let him or her know you care
Mobile marketing is commonly used to remind patients about their appointments, let them know about extended hours and fill them in on any specials the office is running. For example, a dentist offering discounted teeth whitening can send a text instead of an email and avoid being banished to the spam folder.
You can also use mobile marketing to inform patients about health concerns. Dermatologists can send their patients a text on days with a high UV index. And general practitioners can even text their patients with a reminder about flu shots. Sending regular reminders is to keep your practice – and good health habits – at the front of patients’ minds.
For starters, movie theaters are using mobile marketing to send texts about snack specials and show times. They’re also helping customers find tickets to the hottest new films. If a highly anticipated movie is opening, the theater chain can send reminders about when tickets become available so fans can get their seats before the show sells out.
Movie chains that offer loyalty programs can also use SMS texting to remind customers how close they are to unlocking a reward. If a customer hasn’t used his reward card recently, mobile marketers could send out a text with a special offer, such as half-price popcorn.
The common thread among industries is that consumers want quick, convenient access to the best deals. And they want to know you care enough to keep them in the loop. An SMS texting program allows you to do that better than any other medium. Stop fighting for attention in an over-crowded inbox and personalize your interaction with consumers through mobile marketing.
Skip Cass is the chief executive officer at LRS and an expert in operational efficiency and creating a memorable guest experience.