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The age of mobile is upon us! Get on board or suffer the consequences!

Mobile SMS MarketingA little overboard? Probably. But with the avalanche of data over the past year and blog after article after write-up about the future of mobile, it is pretty clear this is an area of big interest to marketers. The progression of our information gathering methods has always pointed to a personalized mobile experience, though. Think about it. First, we sent messengers on horseback or trained birds to a location to gather intel and return to us. Then we decided to build libraries and venture to these locations ourselves. Eventually the hike became too much and we demanded up to date information in our homes, thus the birth of radios, televisions, and news stations. Soon after, our attention spans began their gradual decline. If the information wasn’t interesting, it wasn’t important. We wanted our data signals personalized, and desktops provided us the opportunity to pick and choose at our leisure. Desktops shrank into laptops and laptops were stripped down and merged with phones, creating a limitless information hub that fit conveniently into our pocket. We definitely couldn’t have been blind-sided by the evolution. Now Google’s next step is to turn us into cyborgs with their out-of-this-world Google Glass product, but regardless of the mobility of the data, the core certainly remains the same: mobile information is here to stay. It is such an integral part of our everyday lives that businesses have to be salivating over the potential marketing opportunities.

More often than not, the common hurdle for SMBs is a limited budget. When money is tight, smarter forward thinking needs to be utilized. A successful marketing campaign is not always dependant on an unlimited budget, and throwing money at a problem generally backfires in the long run. The two are mutually exclusive. If I’ve learned anything from college finance classes, it’s the #1 rule when it comes to marketing initiatives is efficiency. How can a business spend less to make more? Really, that’s the end game: smart money. With local businesses marketing it comes down to two common questions: How do I really know people a seeing my ads, and how do I know I’m cashing in on my investment? If a business can answer those two questions they have a solid foundation moving forward.

SMS marketing can provide this.

Let’s look at the facts:

Everyone has a cell phone, and that is not an exaggeration. There are kids on the younger side of 10 with a device that, in 1960’s, could have put a man on the moon. When I was 10 I wore an empty fish bowl on my noggin and pretended I was on the moon. I didn’t have my own phone until I was in college. In 5 years there are more mobile devices active in the world than there are people!  If a business invests in mobile marketing, they literally open an avenue to nearly every available consumer.

Not only are cell phones abundant, these devices are on our person almost all the time. Turn to the person to your left and ask “What time is it?” 9/10 people will check their phones. Our phones are becoming an extension of our limbs. Sometimes I feel weird without one in my pocket.

Finally, the immediacy of communication is nearly warp speed. On average, text messages are read within 3 minutes upon reception (according to this 2009-2010 Conversational Advertising whitepaper). When our skin itches we scratch. When our eyes are dry we blink. Now, when we hear that jingle we look at our cell phone. It’s almost an instinct.

With all that being said, it’s easy to believe that a well maintained SMS marketing campaign has the potential to capitalize on a road not largely traveled. Look at it from a local businesses perspective. How do I really know people a seeing my ads, and how do I know I’m cashing in on my investment? SMS offers a unique opportunity to craft a low cost marketing campaign on a customer level. Consider 3 these 3 areas: Access, Communication, and Tracking.

Aside from the obvious numbers game, SMS ads allow a business owner to say what they want, to whom they want, and when/where they want. This allows for custom offers or information based on consumer interest, time, and geography. Unlike Google AdWords, billboards, and TV ads which rely on a consumer stumbling across an advertisement or algorithms to decide relevancy, SMS marketing brings the ad to the consumer; more often than not right into their pocket. How often can an ad promise an instant audience? Also unlike other advertising campaigns, SMS offers an anytime, anywhere ad. With no need to bid on time slots or build keyword databases and hope for the best, SMS marketing provides a business owner with an ad campaign and a target audience they have complete control over.

“Set it and Forget it!”

SMS marketing is no Ronco Rotisserie Oven. In depth detailed tracking such as user response, repeat business, effective time frames, and lucrative geography are just a few of the data sets that business owners can utilize to tweak and refine their campaigns.

Did I mention this was low cost?

If time is money – SMS can be instant gratification.

EZlocal recognizes the importance of mobile marketing to small businesses and is launching a complete service solution to create, schedule and deploy campaigns -- stay tuned.