How Mobile Works – A Tactical Primer, Part 1

This is the first entry of a two-part series examining the four key elements of mobile marketing needed to successfully execute a mobile marketing campaign.

Dutch Hollis I talked a bit earlier about convergence in the mobile space, and my colleague Bryce talked about determining your needs for a mobile strategy. Let’s set aside what mobile marketing will look like in the future and whether or not you need a strategy today. Let’s assume you already have a strategy and want to get some mobile (SMS/MMS) campaigns going. Then what ? Here are some key points you need to understand about mobile marketing.

Customers Pay

There are many plans out there that include unlimited or generous texting limits, but the majority of plans do not. Unlike email, search, or display advertising, your mobile message may incur a distinct per-message charge for your customer. That means you need to consider the value of your message to the recipient very carefully. Does the recipient find value in your message? Enough to pay for it?

There’s also a difference between standard and premium text charges. Premium charges occur when the entity sending the message collects a per-message fee in addition to the fees charged by the carrier. Think about the “Lucky Case” game on NBC’s Deal or No Deal where you get to enter a contest, but each text message entry costs an additional $0.99 – that’s a premium fee. While these can be a revenue stream in and of themselves, they need to be accompanied by a compelling promotion or very high – value content. If your message is strictly for marketing purposes, steer clear of premium fees.

Most of the campaigns you’ll create as a marketer will only be “standard” charges – the ones the carriers impose. While you do need to be cognizant of the fees customers may pay, the only other consideration is that your opt-in message carries some text along the lines of “Standard text messaging fees apply.”

Mobile Opt-In

Opt-in is its own beast when it comes to mobile campaigns. Perhaps because of per-message fees and likely due to lessons learned from the advent of email and the subsequent spawning of spam, the process of opting-in is much more closely watched by the industry and government agencies. This involves carefully planning out the processes your audience will use to opt-in, opt-out, and get help well before the campaign starts, and getting those approved by the carriers in advance of your campaign launch.

Your mobile marketing provider should be able to walk you through this process or handle it for you. But it’s important to know that this process exists and that it is designed to make the mobile marketing arena safer for marketer and consumer alike. Build in some time for these approvals.

This is the end of part one. Check back for the other two key elements to successful mobile marketing campaigns.

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