Author Archives: Kim Dushinski
Since the first edition of my book (The Mobile Marketing Handbook) came out in early 2009, people have been asking me how to start a business in mobile marketing. Last week I discovered a new idea to add to my answer about how to do it.
Most of the thousands of people I have helped to start and build their mobile marketing businesses have done it via the local business service model – by helping businesses use mobile marketing to bring more customers in the door. I love this business model and, as my core business, continue to train and teach this aspect of building a business.
It is not for everyone though. Some people are people attracted to mobile and the concept of doing something with it, but they don’t really want to start a service-based business.
Until now, I haven’t really had anything to suggest to those folks.
Now I do.
It is a mobile-focused business that can be started for less than $10 and is not about selling mobile services to businesses.
If that sounds intriguing to you, then please check out this website. I highly encourage you to watch the quick videos on the home page and be sure to see the App Questions section of the FAQ.
If you already have a local business mobile marketing company, this is something you can do completely separately in order to have something mobile you can offer to consumers. Plus, for certain types of businesses who might be your clients, this could make an excellent source of residual income for them and you.
This is a great infographic about mobile email. My favorite point is “Start by designing for both desktop and mobile devices rather than designing for desktop and then trying to adapt it to mobile.” Right!
In what could have been a brilliant marketing campaign, Heartland Jiffy Lube found out the hard way that mobile marketing must be integrated with other marketing methods in order to be successful.
As noted by Derek Johnson of Tatango, “TextMarks and their co-defendant, Heartland Automotive Services, the largest Jiffy Lube franchisee in America, have reached a proposed settlement with consumers for the text message spam they sent to mobile phones during April of 2011. The proposed settlement of $47M is to my knowledge the largest in the history of text message spam lawsuits.”
You can see what happened by reading this excerpt of the settlement document, which you can read in full here.
So, Heartland Jiffy Lube had a great idea to get former customers back into their shops for service. They offered these former customers a substantial discount for doing so and for joining their Eclub. This is actually a brilliant idea. Where it all went wrong is that they used mobile marketing as the marketing tool for the campaign.
By sending out an unwanted text message as the initial offer for the discount and the invitation to join the Eclub, they violated actual laws (see the full settlement) and the first of the 10 Commandments of Mobile Marketing: Thou shall not send mobile spam.
Had they sent out a direct mail postcard to these former customers with the substantial discount and the Eclub opt-in information, this could have been a brilliant marketing campaign. The campaign was a great idea. The way they went about getting opt-ins is what failed.
Heartland Jiffy Lube marketers should have been able to see this was a flawed idea by simply asking themselves if they would like to receive an unwanted text message on their phone.
Their text message company, TextMarks, should never have allowed a list of mobile phone numbers to be uploaded into their system. This is a dangerous practice and should not be allowed by any text message company as there is too much room for error…and lawsuits.
Not that I am comparing myself to Moses, but I am taking on the responsibility of writing out the 10 Commandments of Mobile Marketing.
And while they are not being presented to you on a stone tablet, it would be wise to consider these as set in stone if you want to succeed in mobile marketing.
What is your biggest question about starting or growing your mobile marketing business?
I get dozens of emails and calls every week from people who are just getting started in a text messaging business or want to start doing mobile websites or mobile apps or QR Codes and are stalled at some point. They just need to get a certain piece of the puzzle figured out and then they can get moving forward again.
For four years in a row I have watched the Super Bowl commercials with a specific plan of action – to critique the ads that have a mobile call to action. I have sat ready to participate with my mobile phone by my side and for the past three years have been sorely disappointed. Pointing out the mobile misses has been the primary focus of my last three years’ past Super Bowl columns. (See links to all previous years’ critiques at the end of this article.)
Finally, this year I am able to actually discuss three different mobile direct response calls to action that I saw during the game. I feel a bit giddy that this is even possible. I was beginning to despair that no one would ever put a smart mobile marketing direct response call to action in a Super Bowl commercial.
This year there were three ways viewers could use their mobile devices to respond to a variety of ads: via mobile app, text message and QR code. Let’s dive in…
Mobile App Interaction with Ads
First up is the Shazam-Enabled line up of ads. Shazam, a mobile app that allows users to tag music (turn on the Shazam app and hit the tag button on their device while a song is playing) and discover more about the song, the artist and more has expanded their service to include TV. They are calling it Shazam for TV (TM) and it is a brilliant concept.
By placing a tiny Shazam logo on screen during a show or ad spot, users of the app will know it is Shazam-enable and tag it with their app. This will give the viewer additional interaction, information and contact with the show or ad.
Shazam had several companies that were participating in these mobile-responsive ads during the Super Bowl. For a variety of reasons (not knowing which ads were taggable, wanting to spend time with my friends and family who were at our house for the SuperBowl party and new ads coming on every 30 seconds) I was only able to participate in one of the interactive ads. Fortunately, the campaign overall was done brilliantly.
First, the commercial…
Camry Effect: “Connections”
Notice that the Shazam call to action was only on screen for only 4 seconds. This is not long enough. A person reaching for their beverage or grabbing another chicken wing could so easily miss this. I would highly suggest that advertisers keep the call to action on screen for the entire commercial.
That said, once I did tag this ad with Shazam I was in for a wonderful mobile-friendly experience. Notice that the landing page within the app is perfectly designed for mobile and has great stuff. Right up top is my chance to win the Camry. Then I have the link to create my story, which ties in with the commercial itself – real people’s stories with their Camrys. I love the option to see the 2012 Camry and especially the call to action to receive updates.
This is exactly the kind of direct response an advertiser wants – names and addresses of people who saw the ad and are IN THE MARKET for this car. Brilliant marketing.
I really wish I had known which ads were Shazam taggable and I would have tagged more. Just this morning I found the list of taggable ads inside the first tag I made of the game itself. Could have used that yesterday – or more Shazam logos in the ads.
The good news is that Shazam reported a record breaking response to the ads and I am thrilled for them, for mobile marketing as a whole and for smart marketers who are seeking ways to get direct response from these highly over priced commercials.
Text Message Opt In Campaign during Super Bowl
I am also thrilled to share the first text message opt in campaign I have seen in four years of waiting for one. The NFL has done mobile interaction in the past, but this year they really stepped it up.
Check out their ad…
NFL Perfect Challenge
You’ll have to click through and watch it. I cannot find it as embeddable anywhere. But don’t do it now or you might forget to come back. I put the link at the bottom of the page. For now, just check out these pictures of the text message call to action.
The NFL had the call to action showing in almost the entire commercial in the upper right hand corner and then gave it a nice voice over announcement. Super smart. This gave me time to notice there was a text opt in, grab my phone and send the opt in text while the commercial was still on.
Then, they very smartly repeated the call to action several times during the game in transition screens. Granted, this is a luxury most advertisers will not get – repetition. All the more reason to get it right the first time.
It did take 17 minutes for me to get my reply message and I am assuming it is because there was a terrific response.
The message I got was OK. Nothing wonderful.
Although it was clear and to the point. The action they wanted me to take was tap on that link. I did.
Thankfully the page I was sent to via the text message was mobile friendly and captured my information to be notified when the new fantasy football game is launched.
Oh, I really want to know how many people are on that notification list. Wish I could find a press release about how well this campaign went, but I am not finding it. Probably everyone at the NFL is taking a well deserved nap today.
Am also a bit curious if I am only on an email list or if they will also text me. That is a bit unclear as the opt-in communication (i.e. the fine print) was entirely unreadable on screen. My best guess is that it was only about building an email list since there was no mention of how many messages I would receive per month and not STOP messaging in that text message.
So, my hats off to the NFL for smartly promoting their new Fantasy football game and using mobile to build their list.
QR Code Attempt
This last one causes me pain to mention because like the people who are only famous for being famous (folks who are married for 72 days as an example) this company will do anything for attention and I refuse to give it to them. So their name will not be mentioned by me and no link to their site will be forthcoming.
Likewise I am not going to embed their smarmy ad here on my site. But here is the screen capture.
Notice the tiny QR code on the lower left hand corner. Despite worries about what sort of nonsense might be put onto my phone from this company I quickly fired up my ScanLife app the second I saw the bar code and dashed toward the TV to get a scan. (Incidentally, my friends who were over for the game thought I was crazily trying to take a picture of the scantily clad women on screen by that point. Um, no.)
It simply didn’t work. And I have to say that usually whenever I get the ScanLife app anywhere near a functioning bar code, it works like a charm.
Just now when I was grabbing the screen capture for this post, I tried again and even in the calm environment of a frozen screen capture and unlimited time I could not make it work. Were you able to scan the code? If so, please let us all know in the comments what happened. Keep it PG rated please.
So, although they tried to get a mobile interactive response going with this code, which I applaud, they did not implement it successfully. Something I see quite often when it comes to QR codes. Quite possibly, a TV commercial is just not the right spot for a QR code.
Bottom Line: Successes and Failures
Thirty seconds goes by very fast and to compel a viewer to take action via mobile that fast you really need to do two things PERFECTLY – give them a compelling reason to do so and make it easy.
In this regard the QR code attempt failed completely. There was no reason given for scanning the code and it didn’t work once I tried. Sadly, they might as well not have tried this at all. Many in the Twitter stream (#sbads) seemed to think the same thing:
The Shazam taggable ads that did not include the Shazam logo failed as well because the vast majority of viewers had no idea there was even an action to be taken much less a compelling reason to do anything. You have to tell people what to do or they can’t do it. My best guess is that Shazam tried to get all their advertisers to understand this concept in advance of Super Bowl Sunday and were ignored or it was too late to get the logo in the ad. I am also guessing that it won’t take long for the smart marketers using Shazam to make their ads mobile interactive to figure it out.
The Camry ad mentioned above was a success. Winning a Camry is a pretty good reason to push a button on an app. It was easy to do (I didn’t have to leave my seat to do it) and it worked perfectly. The only thing this ad needed was the logo and the “Win a Camry” message on screen for longer. I also think that Shazam as a company could do a TON more pre-game marketing to get more people to download the app and be ready for all the fun mobile-interactive excitement.
The clear winner of Super Bowl XLVI Mobile Commercials was the NFL Fantasy Football campaign. Not only does text messaging work easily on virtually all mobile phones, but the ad gave a great reason to do it. The chance to win a million dollars is absolutely compelling. And the fact that the NFL repeated the call to action in additional mentions was perfect.
Three cheers for the NFL!
See my other Super Bowl columns here:
Mobile Marketing in the Wild:
After school yesterday, my daughter and I went to Jamba Juice. I spotted a really cute QR Code on the wall. The giant strawberry with a QR Code embedded in it was calling out to me to scan it.
If you know me at all you know I am not a big fan of scannable codes. In fact, I have had my new Samsung Galaxy SII Epic 4G Touch since November and have yet to even install a code reader app on it. The one on my Palm Pre was so painfully slow I never used it and when I did I wanted to bang my head against the wall.
I decided it was time to get one and start trying out some codes in the wild. After all, I do sign up for every text message campaign I see and, as you know, I learn a lot from these adventures in consuming mobile marketing.
Back at Jamba Juice, I snapped a couple photos of the poster for you guys to see. (My teen age daughter started pretending to not know me at this point.)
Then I headed to the Market to grab a “QR scanner” as recommended by the poster.
BTW, score 1 point for awesomeness in mobile marketing. Jamba Juice did a great thing by giving some direction on what to do with the code in case I didn’t already know.
They got a positive point also for having a cute QR Code. I mean, who really wants to look at a basic black and white one? Certainly not in giant size on the wall. And it wasn’t just the cute code either, they gave me compelling reasons to do it. As a Jamba Insider I could get “the latest scoop on juice concoctions and insider-only deals.” Giving a compelling reason is another positive point.
Then something happened that was not Jamba Juice’s fault, but it impacted their marketing efforts nonetheless. The App Market was not responding at the time. I couldn’t get to a QR scanner if I tried…and I was trying. Our juices came up, we had a few sips and my daughter waited for me semi-patiently for several minutes while I tried to download a scanner. No luck. We left without me scanning the strawberry code.
If I were a typical consumer, the story would have ended here and probably does many times for first time scanners around the country.
Instead I came home and after a bit headed back to the Market and downloaded the ScanLife Barcode & QR Reader app. I sent the photo of the poster to my email for me to download and get on this post. I scanned it from the email.
Now, here’s where Jamba Juice needed to make a bit of a change. The cute strawberry sent me to a full size website page to sign up for the insider program.
As you can see from this screen capture it was not legible for me. Yes, I was able to pinch and squeeze my way through the form filling in part, but I was annoyed.
If I was not trying to participate in this campaign to be able to report about it to you, I would have closed this illegible page without even hesitating. I don’t want to be an “insider” that bad.
Let me set this concept in stone here. The only device that can work a QR code is a mobile device. Any action that happens as a result of the code being scanned must be mobile centric. Period. The End. Do Not Pass Go.
The Jamba Juice cute strawberry code is almost a great campaign, but not quite because of the fact that the opt in page was not designed specifically to work on mobile.
Oh, and the fact that it has already been a day and half since I signed up and I have not received a welcome message via email or text yet.
I wonder if I am actually a “Jamba Insider” at all.
Additional Resources on QR Codes:
I highly recommend Roger Marquis’ site 2D Barcode Strategy for tons of great information about all kinds of 2d bar codes including QR Codes. And, if you are curious why I am not a big fan of QR Codes, you can read about that on my recent MobiBlueprint blog post, What’s all the fuss about QR Codes?. And, if you want to build and track your own QR codes, check out QR Stuff (affiliate link) – another excellent resource.
Given that nearly everyone on the planet who is old enough to be a potential customer of yours (explored fully here) has a mobile phone, it is imperative that your business takes steps to mobilize now. If your customers haven’t already interacted with you on mobile, they will. Mobilizing simply means making it easy for your customers to interact with you via mobile and determining the best way to reach out to them via mobile with relevant information for them.
Let me start with why the first two steps I am going to share with you are not optional. It is quite simply because the choice to interact via mobile is not in your control, it is literally in the hands of your customer. It is their decision whether to visit your website using their phone, tablet or their desktop computer. If they choose to use their phone and your site is not mobile friendly, then you lose.
Same goes with checking email. If they happen to check email using mobile and your email is too big and bulky to be read easily on the small screen, then it is your email that is ignored. The choice of using mobile is theirs, not yours. Not optional, see what I mean?
Three Steps to Mobilize Your Business:
1. Mobilize your website.
Yes, you need to create a mobile version of your website even if you think that smartphones make mobile websites unnecessary. First of all, smartphones are not yet the majority of phones. In the US the smartphone adoption rate is only 35% as of the end of 2011. It is only 30% in Canada. (See Tomi Ahonen’s blog post about smartphone adoption rates for details.) If you do live somewhere where smartphone adoption is much higher, keep reading to see the second reason you need a mobile site.
Secondly, even though smartphone browsers are, for the most part, powerful enough to serve up a desktop site it doesn’t mean that these desktop sites are easy enough to see and/or use on a mobile screen. It is always smart to give mobile visitors an experience that is customized to their mobile device and the choice to use the desktop version if they would rather.
- Short paragraphs that make it easy to read
- The information that your visitors need when they are mobile (hours, location, etc.) prominently featured
- Small sized graphics that don’t take a long time to download
- Calls-to-action that work well on mobile (click-to-call, links that go to mobile commerce enabled pages, etc.)
- All of this powered by a mobile platform that detects when the visiting device is a mobile one and serves up the mobile site
If your business has a physical location that customers visit in person (as opposed to being an online only business, like mine) a very smart step in mobilizing your business is to create a robust Google Places listing. With Google having a reported 98.29% market share of mobile search, it is an absolute no-brainer to use their free business listing service that serves up mobile search results.
2. Make your email marketing mobile friendly.
Quick poll: Do you ever check your email on your mobile phone? Yes, you do, I’m willing to bet on it. And so do your customers. Most of them probably do on a daily basis. Let me ask you this: what happens if the email you so carefully crafted and designed doesn’t even open on their phone? Or when it does it is unreadable?
You know as well as I do that people don’t have time to read their email twice, much less once. So your one chance at getting your email read is to have it opened and read the first time it is encountered. The best way to make sure that happens is to send every email out as if it will be opened on mobile.
A few tips about mobilizing your email:
- Don’t send multiple column HTML emails filled with lots of graphics
- Instead, keep your email design simple. Consider following the principles of “skinny email” as written about here.
- Remember that any calls to action you have in email should also work on mobile.
3. Build an opt-in SMS text messaging list.
If you are seeking a way to reach past your customers’ crowded email in boxes using a mobile technology that provides relevant value in a hyper timely fashion, you need to look no further than text messaging. Building an opt-in SMS list at this point in time is analogous to beginning an email list in the mid 1990s. The businesses that did it first and did it well reaped great rewards. You have that chance right now.
While email open rates plummet (ironically, even though we are all checking our email on mobile devices) SMS messages are seen instantly or nearly so. And because so few businesses have an SMS list built yet, you have the chance to be one of the few businesses with direct access to your customers wherever they are.
Since I am so avidly against mobile spam in all its forms, I have to say that it is important that you fully understand that any text messaging you send to customers must be done with explicit permission. This is not the post to go into this in detail, just know that it is critical to stay completely above board with text messaging.
A few thoughts about starting an SMS text messaging list:
- The only way to build a list is to launch a campaign that your customers will opt into.
- You must entice them to sign up with a compelling offer – a reason to sign up: a special discount, something for free, information they can only get via mobile, etc.
- When sending out your text messages you want to include a strong call to action, something worth their time and attention and all the details they need to move forward.
If you want to mobilize your business here are some additional resources for education and training:
If you want to build your own mobile marketing business and help other businesses mobilize here are some additional resources:
Why 67% of the world’s population having mobile phone access is a BIG DEAL to your business.
Your business needs to market to reach customers. Plain and simple, without effective marketing your business will suffer. Effective marketing is being able to reach and be reached by the right customers at the right time with the right message. My stance is that no other marketing medium can help your business with effective marketing better than mobile marketing. Let’s explore this concept further.
This post is written based on data and analysis provided by Tomi Ahonen in his post “7 Billion People on the Planet – How Relates to Digital Divide?” My take on the data Tomi presents is about why mobile is such a powerful marketing medium and why every business needs to mobilize now. I am taking only tiny snippets from Tomi’s lengthy post so you should be sure to read the original in its full glory. As usual he has written a very insightful analysis.
First, let’s get to the bottom of the 67% figure. According to Tomi Ahonen’s research, there are 3.95 billion unique mobile phone users (“actual human beings who have at least one mobile phone account and at least one actual mobile phone handset in their pocket”) in the world. When family-shared mobile phones are accounted for, the total reach of mobile today is 4.7 billion unique users – or 67% of the planet.
Keep in mind that 27% of the global population is under age 15 (source: www.globalhealthfacts.org/). So, even though a fair number of those under 15 do have cell phones, it is still safe to say that a vast majority of all the people on the planet age 16 and over has mobile phone access. That’s right; close to everyone in the world who is old enough to be a possible customer for your business has access to a mobile phone. The same cannot be said of electricity, computer access, television, radio or sadly, running water.
As impressive as it is to conisder how many people have mobile access, it is important to note that this is only one aspect of effective marketing. Still to be factored into the equation are reaching and being reached by the right customers at the right time with the right message. Let’s see how mobile works on those accounts.
Being reached is all about having a mobile presence that is accessible when people are trying to find you via mobile. When you consider 14% of people perform mobile searches daily (and many more do mobile searching, just not daily) yet only 12% of small businesses (and 21% of medium businesses) have a mobile website, it is clear that businesses need to stay on top of mobilizing to keep up with consumers in adopting this technology.
Factor in the statistics AT&T released that showed that 43% of local searchers of mobile devices physically showed up at the business location they found in online mobile search results and that 22% of those users actually made a purchase! This means that customers are actively seeking businesses at which to spend money using their mobile phones. Being reachable via mobile is simply not optional at this point in time.
On the other side of that coin is reaching customers. Let’s look at how mobile can help businesses to reach out to customers. First, it is crucial to note that the ONLY WAY that anyone should ever be contacted on mobile from a business is with explicit permission. To do otherwise is mobile spam, pure and simple; it is not smart marketing and in many countries is illegal.
One method of reaching customers via mobile is through SMS text messaging. A business that builds an opt-in SMS list of customers can proactively contact these customers on a regular basis through a channel that is largely uncluttered and gets paid attention to. Since people have their phones with them and on most of the time, when a message arrives it is read within seconds or minutes. Unlike email that piles up in the in box or television commercials that get fast forwarded or paper coupons that arrive in the mail only to be forgotten at home at the critical time, SMS gets read and is with your customer all the time.
There are two ways that SMS can be associated with the ‘right time’ aspect of effective marketing. First, businesses can reach out when they need to in order to make their marketing efforts pay off in a timely manner. An example of this is a restaurant having a slow night. A simple mobile coupon sent out at the beginning of the evening can bring customers to the table (literally) within the same time frame the extra business is needed. No other marketing method can do this as effectively. Period.
From the customers’ perspective the ‘right time’ aspect of mobile marketing comes into play by being able to communicate with businesses as they wish, when they wish, via mobile. You know what that feels like yourself: Doing a mobile search and finding what you need, when you need it. Or grabbing your mobile phone to get ahead on email when you have a minute and opening email that is easy to read on your tiny screen.
As for the right message part of the effective marketing equation, it is important to note that mobile marketing is truly only effective when the right message is incorporated. Because mobile is such a personal medium (for the most part we each use our own phones exclusively and they are with us 24/7) it is critical to always provide relevant value to the customer. Do this by mobilizing your website with what people want when they are mobile; sending out targeted text messages to opt-in lists based on what customers want from your business and keeping your customers’ wants and needs in mind whenever doing anything in mobile marketing.
Mobile marketing has the potential to be the most powerful marketing tool your business has ever used, but it must be utilized correctly and with effective marketing principles soundly in place.
If you want to mobilize your business here are some additional resources for education and training:
• The Mobile Marketing Handbook
If you want to build your own mobile marketing business and help other businesses mobilize here are some additional resources:
• International Mobile Marketing Business Network
• Mobile Marketing BOOTCAMP: SMS Business
• Mobile Marketing BOOTCAMP: Mobile Web
I am so excited to have a new design for my site and want to say that while the site is live, there are still quite a few tweaks and adjustments we are still making. If you see something strange or missing graphics or links that don’t work, please excuse our virtual dust. We’re sweeping up as fast as we can.
Today I will be mobilizing the site (watch for more about that whole process soon) and getting some more questions up on the FAQ page. If you have any mobile marketing questions, go ahead and submit them on the FAQ page.
Once I get my new slider graphics installed and all the loose ends tied up I will have a grand opening celebration and I’ll let you know all about it.
- IMMBN IMMBN International Mobile Marketing Business Network
- BOOK HANDBOOK The Mobile Marketing Handbook by Kim Dushinski
- SMS BUSINESS TEXT MSG BUSINESS How to Start and Grow an SMS Text Messaging Business
- MOBILE WEB BIZ MOBILE WEB How to Start and Build a Mobile Website Building Business
- SPEAKING SPEAKING Invite Kim Dushinski to speak about mobile marketing