Michael Halligan

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Michael Halligan

Friday, 18 January 2013 00:00

Mobile Marketing: How Start-ups can Reach Customers Via Their Mobile Phones

What are the best mobile marketing strategies?

This article first appeared February 21st, 2012.


Mobile marketing has been the bane of marketers for the past few years.


The appeal of instant, low-cost and direct access to consumers is almost irresistible, yet few brands have been able to experience any meaningful success.


To understand how to best use mobile marketing we must first understand how consumers react to being targeted on what is, to most, their most personal of devices.


We have a few options to connect with customers on their mobile phones:

  • SMS market
  • QR codes
  • Branded applications for Android and iPhone devices

Despite years of threatening to break into common consumer behaviour, QR codes have not entered anything near mainstream use in Australia.


Displaying a QR code on an advertisement may be cheap and easy but for many brands, it stinks of a marketing department trying too hard to be cutting edge.


Branded applications, particularly those that use the art of gamification, can be remarkably effective if done well, but typically require an abundance of creative talent and money.


That leaves most brands looking at SMS marketing. You’ll commonly hear of this as SMS advertising, but the approach of advertising to people by their phones is precisely why few have had success with it.


SMS marketing first and foremost requires the recipients’ permission. Not only are you breaking the law by messaging those that haven’t explicitly given you permission to contact them via SMS, but you can do far more damage to your reputation than other alternatives such as email marketing.


In realising that you are marketing to a targeted group of customers, rather than just pitching your business as the masses, you can start to take advantage of the possibilities of mobile marketing.


You could use SMS marketing to market:

  • An exclusive offer that’s only available for a short timeframe (one to three days is ideal).
  • Appointment reminders (increase purchasing frequency).
  • Short and sharp personal thank you messages for customers that have just purchased from you (requires a good CRM system but can strengthen a relationship).

SMS marketing is easy to set up, maintain and use and over 97% of messages sent are read.


By focusing your SMS efforts on maximising your relationship with your customers rather than the general public, you could improve your customers’ purchasing frequency and lifetime value.


Mobile marketing is powerful but use it wisely, or your brand’s reputation will be harmed.

Michael is the founder of Engage Marketing and Plan Lab. His agency specialises in working with small businesses to provide low-cost "guerrilla marketing" campaigns and strategic marketing advice.


Ask Michael or any other StartupSmart mentor a question here.

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