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Mobile Integrated Into Marketing Strategy = Success & Increased Revenue, Part II May 16, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, mobile coupons, Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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Part II – Low-Cost / No-Cost Methods of Mobile Marketing

In Part I of our multi-part Mobile Marketing series we learned that Mobile Marketing is most effective when incorporated into an overall marketing strategy, and used as a supplement to the mediums you are already using. 

In Part II of our series we’re going to discuss a variety of low-cost or no-cost methods of Mobile Marketing that a small business can utilize to promote their firm.  So let’s look at some ways a small business without a substantial budget can incorporate Mobile Marketing into their existing marketing strategy:

  1. Local Business Listings – These are the free yellow page listings by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and many other directories; and these directories are the resource that consumers will use to find your business – particularly when they are ‘on the road’ and searching on their mobile device. There are over 60 local business listing websites on the Internet in five different categories. They include the search engines, social communities, 411 websites (aka yellow page type websites), GPS websites and the age old business directory.  Most of them are free but need to be ‘claimed’ by your company in order to insure they contain accurate information that drives customers to your business.  Failure to ‘claim’ your listing may mean that inaccurate information about your firm is posted to them from other sources, or that someone else may hijack your listing for unscrupulous purposes.  To effectively ‘claim’ your listings can be extremely time-consuming and tedious, therefore, an alternative option is our Local Business Listings Management Service which can handle this task for you.
  2. Google Mobile Coupons – Google is just one of the search engine directories where your business should be listed to insure it will be found via Internet or Mobile search, however, Google offers a distinctive advantage.  For over a year now Google has been offering all businesses with a Google Local Business Listing the ability to include Mobile Coupons as part of their listing.  The Mobile Coupon tool is FREE to use, and you can include multiple coupons with your listing.  Then when your firm comes up in the search listings, potential customers will also see your Coupon.  It could be just the advantage you need to make them pick your company over your competitor’s!
  3. Social Media – many of the most prominent social media sites now allow members to access them via their mobile phones, in fact, Facebook which boasts 400 million users, recently publicized statistics which indicate that more than 100 million of those users are using mobile phones to manage their account.  This means if your firm already has a presence on social media, that you are likely already benefitting from Mobile Marketing without taking any additional actions.  However, if you’re not yet participating in social media, then it’s time to get on board!  If you would like to learn how social media can work for your firm and help to increase your Mobile Marketing presence, or if you would like assistance in developing and managing a social media program, please go to the social media section of our website.
  4. SMS Messaging (text messaging) – According to the Director of Research at Nielsen Mobile, “People look at every text message they get”, and they do so within 15 minutes; in fact, studies show that 97% of cell service subscribers read any text messages they get within 15 minutes.  Can you think of any other advertising medium where you are almost guaranteed that every person targeted will see your message?  In today’s “on-the-go” world, studies show that 84% of mobile phone users keep their device within 10 feet of them at all times.  Considering that over 85% of potential consumers have a cell phone, that’s a huge potential customer base that’s easily accessible (as long as they have opted-in to receive messages from you)!  Recent surveys also indicate that consumers are very accepting of mobile offers sent to their phones as long as they are from companies in which they have interest.  The really good news is that the technology has advanced far enough that there are now SMS Mobile Marketing platforms where you can easily create your own text messaging campaigns within minutes – and starting as low as $25 per month!  Learn more about your text messaging options on our website.  Some ways you might use SMS messaging might include:  coupons, contests, regular ‘tips’ about your product or service, and incorporating your KEY WORD and SHORT CODE in your print, billboard, radio or TV advertising to encourage people to opt-in to your mobile list so you can then contact them via SMS on a regular basis with offers designed to encourage them to do business with you again.
  5. Mobile Website – In the last 5 years it has become an imperative rather than an option to have an Internet website.  Now, it is also becoming an imperative to have a mobile version of your website.  These sites are optimized specifically for easy viewing on the wide variety of mobile phones available today and are NOT just scaled down versions of your Internet website.  However, technology advances have also made this option much easier to implement, and services exist where you can build your own mobile website or have it done for you typically for several hundred dollars or less.  Learn more about mobile website options on our website.
  6. QR Codes – Another very viable and cost-effective Mobile Marketing option are QR codes.  These are 2-dimensional graphics (similar to the barcodes on products you buy at the grocery store) that contain information that can lead your customers to a website, display a coupon, provide driving directions or a map, provide contact information, or many other valuable uses. In order to ‘read’ a QR code a consumer downloads a QR code reader into their phone (though the software comes standard in Europe and Asia, that is not yet the case in the U.S. but likely will be soon), then they take a picture of the code with phone’s camera and the software automatically sends them to whatever content you had embedded within your code.  You as an advertiser can place these codes in your print ads, on websites, on billboards, on t-shirts, in emails, or on any other printable or digital medium where a camera would be able to take a picture of it.  Learn more about using QR Codes on our website.

This is just a brief overview a few of the many ways in which Mobile Marketing can be utilized to promote your business cost-effectively.  If you would like to learn more about the ways Mobile Marketing can help your business specifically, please contact us via our website or email us at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com .

In Part III of this series, we’ll review case studies that show a variety of ways Mobile Marketing is being utilized by other small businesses so you can begin to consider how to apply this high ROI  technology to your business.  Future segments of the series will continue to explore Mobile Marketing, and attempt to answer any questions submitted to us about the medium.  If you would like to have your questions about Mobile Marketing incorporated into our series, please submit them to us directly at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com and include “Mobile Marketing Questions” in the subject line of the email.

Mobile Integrated Into Marketing Strategy = Success & Increased Revenue, Part I May 9, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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9 comments

Part I – Mobile Integration into Marketing Strategy

There’s a lot of ‘buzz’ these days about Mobile Marketing and how it’s changing the world of advertising, and direct communication with consumers.  However, as marketers begin to become familiar with all of the Mobile options available to them, one issue they will need to give serious consideration to is how to integrate Mobile into their existing marketing strategy.

To help facilitate a better understanding of Mobile Marketing and the most effective ways to use it, over the next several weeks we will be publishing a multi-part series which discusses this hot, new medium and the best ways to incorporate it into your existing marketing strategy.  Additionally, we will also answer any Mobile Marketing questions sent to us by our readers!

One of the biggest mistakes that many advertisers make when they start using Mobile Marketing, is to assume that it’s a stand-alone medium – and then when it doesn’t work as expected, they write it off as an ineffective medium – all because they haven’t learned to use it correctly.  So let’s make the most important point about Mobile Marketing now – MOBILE MARKETING IS NOT A STAND-ALONE MEDIUM; MOBILE MARKETING WORKS BEST WHEN IT IS PART OF AN INTEGRATED MARKETING STRATEGY AND A SUPPLEMENT TO THE MEDIUMS YOU ARE CURRENTLY USING.

So what does this mean?  Let’s first define what we mean by an ‘integrated marketing strategy’.  One definition we found that seemed to represent the idea well was:  “A simple way to look at integrated marketing is to think about your customer and analyze all media that you’ll need to use in order to reach him/her with your message, keeping in mind that a consumer will need to see/hear your message AT LEAST 7 times before they will recall it. Integrated marketing also deals with managing those media so that you coordinate activities that will generate a higher impact when combined.”  The concept includes online and offline marketing channels. Online marketing channels may include e-marketing campaigns or programs, from search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click, affiliate, email, banner to latest web related channels for webinar, blog, micro-blogging, RSS, podcast, and Internet TV. Offline marketing channels may include traditional print (newspaper, magazine), mobile, mail order, public relations, industry relations, billboard, radio, and television.

In a recent article in Mobile Commerce Daily, Best Buy representatives discussed their own mobile strategy and offered this advice for those starting to utilize Mobile Marketing, “Use mobile as an integrated part of a larger strategy, not as a one-off channel.  Particularly if you are a multi-channel retailer, customers have an expectation of a consistent experience regardless of which entry point they access, be it online, the phone, or the store. That’s why for the most part, our mobile communication strategy was an extension of our overall holiday strategy and there were consistent elements across.”

In Part II of this series, we will discuss a variety of Mobile Marketing methods a small business can use at low-cost or no-cost to promote their firm.  Future segments of the series will continue to explore Mobile Marketing, and attempt to answer any questions submitted to us about the medium.  If you would like to have your questions about Mobile Marketing incorporated into our series, please submit them to us directly at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com and include “Mobile Marketing Questions” in the subject line of the email or post them as comments on this blog.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting and training firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

Learn Why You Need a Mobile Strategy for Your Company May 7, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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Today, every company needs to have a mobile marketing strategy that integrates mobile with other marketing tools they are implementing; mobile tools might include:  a mobile website, text messaging (SMS), MMS, QR Codes, banner ads and more (learn more about each type of mobile marketing on our website).

A mobile strategy should thread through all avenues of marketing that are existing already within a company and should not be a separate entity, according to Marci Troutman, CEO of Siteminis, Atlanta in an article for Mobile Marketer Daily entitled, “Why Brands Must Have a 360-Degree Mobile Web Strategy“.   She further indicates that it’s most effective when mobile becomes an additional marketing channel threading though and linking to all existing channels, i.e., store signage, electronic media, print media, Internet and store associate training.

In the same article, Ran Farmer, managing director of Netbiscuits, Washington says, “Do not misunderstand mobile to be the little brother of the PC Web.  Mobile will very soon be much bigger than the PC Web.”

If you would like to learn more about how Mobile Marketing can help your business, please contact us at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com, visit our PC website or visit our mobile website on your cellphone at StrategicGrowthConcepts.mobi.  You can also text the word STRATEGIC to 244326 to join our Strategic Growth club and to become eligible for discounts on Mobile Marketing services for your company.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting and training firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

ComScore Study Shows Increasing Mobile Use by Consumers; Time for Business to Start Reaching Them Via Mobile May 6, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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comScore recently released its’ latest report about Mobile Phone subscribers; which phones they’re buying, which carriers they’re using, and which functions they are using on their phones.  Those firms who are still deciding whether or not they should be taking action to get a Mobile presence for their firms should find the study quite interesting.  Below, find an excerpt from the study regarding the use of phone functions.

In an average month during the January through March 2010 time period, 63.7 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device, up 0.6 percentage points versus three months prior. Browsers were used by 30.1 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers (up 2.6 percentage points), while subscribers who used downloaded applications made up 28.6 percent of the mobile audience (up 2.6 percentage points). Access of social networking sites or blogs continued to increase, posting gains of 2.8 percentage points to 18.7 percent of mobile subscribers.

Mobile Content Usage
3 Month Avg. Ending Mar. 2010 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Dec. 2009
Total U.S. Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
  Share (%) of U.S. Mobile Subscribers
Dec-09 Mar-10 Point Change
Total Mobile Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Sent text message to another phone 63.1% 63.7% 0.6
Used browser 27.5% 30.1% 2.6
Used downloaded apps 26.0% 28.6% 2.6
Played games 21.6% 21.8% 0.2
Accessed social networking site or blog 15.9% 18.7% 2.8
Listened to music on mobile phone 12.1% 13.2% 1.1

As the study indicates, text messaging is used by over 60% of subscribers, a web browser is used by over 30% of subscribers, and almost 20% are currently using their phone to access sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  And the numbers will only continue to rise!  The mobile phone is how consumers are communicating with each other, and in increasing numbers, with the firms they want to do business with.  To learn more, read the complete comScore March 2010 study.

Those who have not yet implemented a Mobile Marketing strategy for their business need to begin work on one right away – if you don’t, be assurred your competitor’s will be – and then they’ll have a significant advantage over your business!

Strategic Growth Concepts would like to assist you in assessing your Mobile Marketing needs and determining how best to incorporate Mobile into your existing marketing strategy.  The answers are not the same for every firm; for some, it might be text messaging and a mobile website; for others it might be developing a mobile application and a series of mobile banner ads.  We at strategic have the marketing experience and mobile knowledge to help you find the best solution for your firm.  If you would like to schedule a call to learn how Strategic can assist your firm with its Mobile Marketing initiatives, please contact us via our mobile website at www.StrategicGrowthConcepts.mobi, our Internet website, or email at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com .

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting and training firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

Social Media for Crisis Management: Watch BP to learn what NOT to do May 3, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Web 2.0.
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11 comments

Anyone who has watched the news lately is likely familiar with the horrors of the situation currently taking place as a result of an oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, which has resulted in 11 deaths and a continuing and ever-expanding oil spill.  This rig was owned by international oil company, BP Global, and several investors.

As I have continued to see news coverage of this horrific incident, I was struck by the fact that I’m hearing from the news media, various industry experts, politicians, and just about anyone else who has an opinion – the only one I haven’t heard from is the CEO of BP.  So I started doing some searching to see if I’d missed it.  First I searched the Internet to see if I could find any statements from BP’s CEO, then I searched their website to see what news releases had been issued.  My findings were interesting.

The incident happened on April 20th.  Three days later the company finally issued a news release with a statement from the CEO, stating that employees were the first priority and they were cooperating fully with the Coast Guard etc. to insure everything possible was being done for them and their families.  It wasn’t until today – May 3rd – that the CEO finally made a public statement himself on MSNBC (at least that I could find); and in that statement proceeded to indicate that BP is not to blame, to tell you who else should be blamed, and also noting that they would, of course, be responsible for clean-up.  From what I could find, I didn’t see any evidence that BP had made any effort to communicate other than basic posting of news releases to their website and some minimal distribution of them to the major news outlets.  As a result, very few of the search results came from BP, but rather from anyone and everyone else who has something to say on the subject.

Here are some of the articles I found:

For BP, Oil Spill is a Public Relations Catastrophe

Feds Raise Pressure on BP Over Oil Spill

Oil Spill’s Blow to BP Image May Eclipse It’s Cost

BP, TransOcean Lawsuits Surge As Oil Continues to Spill

BP Had Other Problems in Years Leading to Gulf Spill

BP Chief: Failed Equipment Caused Explosion, Spill

When I look at this situation from a PR perspective and consider how Social Media could have helped them – instead of the immense damage it has done to them since everyone else is talking, but they aren’t; I saw this as an educational opportunity for small businesses.

If you Google ‘BP Oil’, you can find hundreds of references to the incident – on blogs, on Twitter, on YouTube, but none of it by BP themselves.  This is not to say that active participation in Social Media could have made the problem go away, but it could have given them a chance to better inform, to answer questions, to gain sympathy from the worldwide community by showing that they cared deeply for the lives lost and the on-going damage to the environment, and the resulting economic challenges that will be faced by the regions affected.  Instead they have chosen to distribute limited information, and when they do speak, it’s all about trying to shift the blame elsewhere.  So much for the years they’ve spent crafting an image as an environmentally-conscious firm; that’s up in smoke now (or covered in oil may be a better phrase)!

The mistakes in their strategy are so numerous I can’t even begin to count them; therefore I’ll suffice it to say that the company has provided us with ample opportunities to learn from their mistakes.

So what are the lessons learned from observing BP? Let’s reflect (I will only comment on mistakes and lessons as they relate to Social Media, not BP’s specific message):

  1. Don’t wait until a crisis happens to think about the ways that Social Media can assist your company; establish a presence on all appropriate Social Media sites and incorporate them into your everyday communications strategy, that way, they’ll already be there when you need them.
  2. Place links to your Social Media sites on your website to insure that people interested in your company know that you have a presence on Social Media and they know where to find you.
  3. Right now –  develop a Social Media strategy for your firm that incorporates everyday communication and crisis management, and put it in place so that it already exists should you need it for managing a crisis situation; should you need assistance in this area, Strategic Growth Concepts will be happy to assist you.
  4. Having an established Social Media strategy in place prior to a crisis will enable you to build a constituency of customers and followers to which you can explain your position and provide information if and when a crisis occurs; this constituency will help you disseminate your message virally through the Internet.
  5. When a crisis does occur, immediately step up your communications!  Develop a message plan and start distributing those messages through every Social Media platform that is appropriate.
  6. Communicate as often as possible through every means possible; issue news releases and insure they are distributed to related blogs and Internet search engines – not just the standard press; utilize YouTube to show videos of the situation if its appropriate, or of your CEO making a public statement; use webcasting tools such as BlogTalkRadio to engage in two-way live conversation with those interested in talking with company representatives about the matter – and then distribute it as a podcast via Facebook and Twitter (assuming of course that your company already has a presence there!).
  7. Don’t talk ‘at’ people on Social Media, talk ‘with’ people; engage in conversations, answer questions, ask for input.
  8. Put a ‘face’ on the company; take advantage of tools such as YouTube to distribute a message and speak plainly about the company’s thoughts on the situation.  Allow people to see how it affects the executives at the company emotionally.
  9. Monitor all Social Media – even those in which you are not participating – so you can address any issues being discussed there about your firm and its crisis situation and pre-empt some of those discussions that are just getting started.

Obviously it’s unlikely that your firm will ever experience a crisis of the magnitude of the one currently being experienced by BP Oil.  However, situations are relative – while it may be an incident of a much lesser magnitude, its impact upon your company and its customers may still be significant.  The best thing you can do is insure that your company is prepared to handle it in the best way possible.

In closing, we urge you to be pro-active in considering how Social Media can assist your company in communicating, and insuring that you have a plan in place in case a crisis situation should ever affect your company.  Should you need assistance in developing a Social Media strategy, we at Strategic Growth Concepts would be happy to assist you by evaluating your needs, and then developing and implementing a plan with you.  You may easily contact us at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com or via our website.

____________________________________________________________

The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting and training firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

FREE Mobile Marketing Service Give-a-way Contest for Small Businesses May 2, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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2 comments

Strategic Growth Concepts Sponsoring 2nd Annual National Contest for Small Business Owners in support of U.S. Small Business Administration’s 57th Annual National Small Business Week Celebration

Small business owners across the U.S. have the opportunity to win 3 months of FREE Mobile Marketing Services for their business from Strategic Growth Concepts.  Strategic is sponsoring this 2nd annual national contest, as part of their efforts in support of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s upcoming National Small Business Week celebration.

Contest entrants have the opportunity to win the Grand Prize, 3 months of FREE Mobile Marketing  Service along with Marketing Consulting from Strategic, or one of five secondary prizes, 1 month of FREE Mobile Marketing Service and Marketing Consulting from Strategic. Entries can be submitted thru May 18, 2010, with winners being announced during National Small Business Week, May 23 – 29, 2010.

To learn how your firm can enter for a chance to win, click HERE to read complete details.

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