Everyone seems to be talking about the benefits of mobile marketing to consumers. SMS (Short Message Service, commonly referred to as mobile texting) enables you to reach a wide audience in a matter of seconds knowing that most people are likely to respond to your message within an hour of receipt.
But while the primary focus of SMS mobile marketing has been on reaching consumers (B2C), businesses have been missing out on the opportunity to use mobile to market to other businesses (B2B). That's a problem, because now more than ever professionals are relying on their mobile phones to receive and respond to messages that are of value to them.
The fact is mobile marketing has established itself as a valuable component of successful integrated marketing programs providing another channel to reach both consumer and business audiences. With the rapid growth of the mobile market, it's time for B2B marketers to consider how to effectively integrate mobile marketing into the mix.
Mobile Use is Growing Rapidly
Mobile usage has garnered exceptional growth rates within North America and internationally, especially because mobile phone providers are concentrating on delivering a better user experience with more features and capabilities. According to Christina "CK" Kerley, "Forecasts call for 5.8 billion mobile subscribers worldwide by 2013, ballooning from the current 4.3 billion mobile subscribers, with revenue from mobile data expected to surpass fixed-voice revenue by as early as next year." Mobile phones have become a part of our lives, both personally and professionally. We use them to browse the Internet, send text messages, and read and respond to email messages.
Business professionals also rely on their mobile devices to stay informed about industry developments, and to make themselves easily accessible to their teams. Mobile helps to fulfill business needs that keep companies running at an optimal level. Because professionals are connected to their mobile devices as a quick response mechanism, they tend to be responsive to B2B mobile marketing messages as well.
Mobile & Email Marketing Working Together
Combining email and SMS is an exceptional marketing strategy due to the high usage of smartphones. Email and mobile marketing used together provide a cost-effective way to send personalized content that subscribers are looking for and that can return successful and measurable campaign results.
Using both communication channels allows you to cross market and give people more choices for how they want to receive information from you, and ultimately grow your lists. For example:
- Invite email subscribers to opt in to receive the mobile version and special offers.
- Include your mobile short code and keyword on all email marketing campaigns to allow subscribers to text for mobile updates. Use different opt-in keywords for each medium (i.e. email, search, print, etc.) so that you can easily track and measure the success of each.
- Allow SMS subscribers to update their preferences and include their email address in their profile so they don't miss any messages.
Leading Edge Leadership Potential
There are many opportunities for B2B marketers to adopt early and establish themselves as mobile leaders. Start by reviewing your competitors' marketing programs to find out what they are doing with mobile, and then implement how you can differentiate your marketing program from theirs by blending mobile marketing into the mix.
With B2B mobile marketing you can:
- Create a dialogue with your business customers through SMS alerts that keep them up-to-date on information important to their jobs. Mobile has become the most personal communication channel available to bring you closer to your target market without interacting face-to-face.
- Target quality subscribers. Since mobile marketing is permission based, meaning subscribers have to opt in before receiving messages, you'll be able to reach a targeted audience of interested subscribers who want to hear more about your company and offers.
- Increase brand awareness and generate additional revenue. Most people are willing to provide their mobile phone numbers if they can be assured that they'll only receive messages on topics of interest to them. The same goes for business professionals. If you can demonstrate the benefits of opting in to your mobile program, they will be more open to receiving your marketing messages, which can increase brand awareness and start new discussions that can generate new revenue.
Measuring B2B Mobile Success and ROI
We're still learning about the mobile marketing industry and its standards, best practices and overall potential. The question many marketers have is how to track success and return on investment - what are the most meaningful metrics to track and how to report them. Fortunately there are many ways marketers can measure the effectiveness of mobile marketing initiatives. The metrics are dependent on your mobile objectives and what tools you use.
To measure how people interact and engage with your mobile content, you can monitor the same metrics used for email marketing: open and click-through rates, forwarding and sharing. It's also important to monitor of your mobile list growth rate, and track offer redemptions.
Using Web analytics, you can monitor Web site traffic driven by mobile campaigns including:
- Which marketing campaigns and landing pages generated the most mobile opt-ins
- Which mobile campaigns generated the most sales conversions
- What other Web site pages were visited and had the most views to determine their interests (or where they lost interest)
- How much time mobile visitors spend on your site compared to average visitors to assess how engaged they really are
Mobile marketing provides a lot of value by helping professionals stay up-to-date with the latest news, promotions and offers that benefit their business. They're no longer tied to their desktops. That's why it's more important than ever to create marketing content that can be accessed anywhere and on any device to ensure that your on-the-go B2B audience is receiving your messages.
(This article was originally posted at MarketingProfs)
David A Moore is a cross-media marketing junkie fueled by Mountain Dew. His habit is supported at Advantage Printing, a commercial print and marketing service provider serving churches, nonprofits and small businesses.
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