Tag Archives: phone

Accountants: What’s the Best Way to Find New Clients?

by Brian O’Connell

When folks learn what I do for work they often ask me the same thing, “What’s the best way to obtain new clients?”

That’s not an easy question to answer. There’s no one answer. Whole books have been penned on that topic. It’s dependant on the type of practice you have, where you’re located, where you’re trying to take your firm, and of course, your character. Each firm needs to craft a marketing scheme appropriate to the talents of it’s people but I’ll give you a short, generic, abstract to kick-start you.

There’s almost no immediate benefit to networking, but get started on it right out of the gates anyway.

Networking may be the life’s blood of any successful firm, but it’s a long term strategy. Take the time to cultivate prospects. At first the time will feel wasted. It will likely seem to be frustrating and senseless at the start, but as the years pass and quality prospects start contacting you you’ll be glad you did it. The most thoughtful, wisest business people rely on networking to find their accountants. Period.

In the meantime there are a lot of rank and file clients to be had, but there are also a lot of accountants competing for them. When you first get started these people will form the bulk of your client base. These clients are what used to be called “walk-ins”.

Ten years ago direct marketing was very effective, but times have changed. Direct marketing is pretty much useless these days. You could track down recent business licenses in your area and try to contact the owners by phone. For many years I made a a good living out of this strategy. It just doesn’t work any more, though. I don’t recommend it.

Get yourself some business cards (with web address and tag line) and network your butt off. Give them to everyone. And don’t forget the tag line. Every time you hand someone your card give them a reason to visit your site. Don’t be shy. Get cards. Just ask for them. Get phone numbers and email addresses. Once you have them, cultivate them. Sign them up for your newsletter. Send them an Email wishing them a happy thanksgiving.

In my admittedly biased opinion the internet is one of the best sources of clients. Get a good website and a monthly email newsletter. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a lot of work and very slow and expensive, but it’s also an AWESOME prospect magnet. For the long term it’s worth investing in. For short term just buy ad space on Google using Google Adwords. Also, get your business on Google Maps and optimize your site for Google Places (Local search). This will probably also require some investment on your part, but local search is a let cheaper and easier to get a good ranking in than old-school SEO. Expect a one-time cost of about $500.

So how can websites help accountants network?

The basic strategy of networking is to identify a prospects need, then to offer a solution to fill that need. It’s all about demonstrating the benefit of your service to the prospect. As an accountant you’re in a unique position to offer solutions to problems that really matter to people. Perhaps they’re buying or selling a house. Maybe they’re saving for their children’s education, or retirement, or maybe they’re not certain if they should buy or lease an expensive piece of equipment for their business.

Don’t misunderstand the purpose of this kind of marketing. Prospects will almost never be so impressed with that value that they’ll fire their CPA and hire you right there on the spot. It won’t rack up billable hours for your firm. Networking is a long term marketing strategy. The goal of your networking efforts is to demonstrate your value to the prospect. You’re trying to put your brand in front of the prospect and keep it there so that in a year, or two, or five; when the prospect is ready to switch accountants; yours will be the first name they think of.

A well designed accountant’s website can significantly impact your networking power. Online financial calculators and a libraray of financial articles will bring visitors back to your website over and over. As we’ve already established, when networking your job is to figure out what that persons needs are and demonstrate your value by presenting a solution. Your website can help with that. Next time you hand a prospect your business card you can offer a solution that takes them to your website, complete with your brand at the top of the page and your phone number at the bottom.

Learn the art of the Tag Line. Nobody is going to call you or even visit your website unless you give them a compelling reason to.

These “walk-ins” will pretty much take care of themselves if you do a good job setting up your website. Just pop into your adwords account from time to time and make sure you’re not getting outbid by too many competitors.

It’s time to get busy networking again.

Learn to use online social networks too. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook…

Then network your butt off. Everyone is a potential prospect. Parents, friends, vendors, everyone. Be careful not to judge prospects. That’s a trap. Nobody is too poor for a business card. In 5 or 6 years they may well be standing someplace very different.

About the Author

Brian O’Connell is the CEO and founder of CPA Site Solutions, one of the country’s leading web design companies dedicated entirely to websites for accountants. His firm presently provides websites for more than 4000 CPA, accounting, bookkeeping, and tax preparation firms.

Mobile Marketing Fantasy Vs. Reality

Author: Rachel Lieberman

Those who doubt that mobile marketing hasn’t made headway might want to go amp themselves.

Among the brands that ponied up millions for a piece of the Super Bowl this year was PepsiCo beverage Amp Energy. While its 15-second TV spots didn’t venture far from the proven realms of Big Game locker-room humor—one featured an overweight truck driver starting a stalled-out car via jumper cables hooked up to his nipples—a quieter, related effort was reaching much further out. How far? Well, to people who might not even have had the game on at all. As part of its NFL deal, Amp Energy sponsored Sprint’s exclusive Super Bowl mobile channel, which allowed it to run ads via cell phone. A photo of the Amp can materialized on cell phone screens along with music, swirling green flames and the tagline “Go Amp Yourself.” (Hopefully, none of those cell phone users elected to do it with jumper cables.)

When a Super Bowl ad effort stretches into the cellular realm, it’s surely a sign that mobile marketing has arrived, right? After all, even though the third-screen spot was a timid boil-down of the in-your-face TV version, the very idea of adapting a commercial for mobile distribution would have seemed like an alien concept only a few years ago.

Today it is a reality, sort of. Around this time 12 months ago, experts were busy touting mobile marketing as the Next Big Thing. It wasn’t. And not a whole lot is different. Mega brands like Pepsi and Burger King are still toe-dipping in the mobile pool, testing various forms of advertising and promos even as the bulk of their spending dollars go elsewhere.

As mobile expert John Hadl puts it: “It’s hard to get a real read on the value of mobile when you’re only spending $25,000 to $50,000 on it.”

But things are beginning to change. Mobile marketing is “headed in the right direction,” said John Vail, director of the interactive marketing group at Pepsi-Cola North America, Purchase, N.Y. “It’s just taking a lot longer than people thought.” Mobile analytics firms such as U.K.-based Bango are helping companies measure mobile Web site traffic, what devices recipients used and the countries they’re in. In February, 58 million mobile subscribers reported that they’d already been exposed to mobile advertising, per San Francisco-based Nielsen Mobile (a unit of Nielsen Co., which also owns Brandweek). While that’s only 23% of today’s total mobile subscribers, that number will spike as marketers’ mobile experiments continue to grow. And Hadl, who serves as managing partner of Beverly Hills-based BrandInHand, overseer of Procter & Gamble’s mobile efforts, added that a threshold is approaching: “Once there’s direct proof of ROI,” he said, “the spend will shift faster than the industry can handle.”

That might happen as soon as two years from now. Forrester Research forecasts that mobile-marketing spending in the U.S. will surge from the $270 million it stands at now to $405 million in 2009. Then it all goes exponential, doubling every year through 2012, at which point the Cambridge, Mass.-based research firm predicts mobile marketing will be worth $2.8 billion.

Marketers view the mobile marketing explosion as “inevitable,” said Bill Jones, president of Atlanta-based mobile Internet platform provider Air2Web, which counts Starbucks and UPS as clients. Some are “really trying to accelerate” the channel because “properly used it is the most effective mechanism to interact with customers and prospects.”

All of which begs the question: How can marketers profitably use mobile devices to deliver their brand messages right now?

What follows are some of the answers. Like many emergent ideas in the tech realm, mobile marketing’s birth has been attended by as much fantasy as reality, and marketers are learning the painstaking (and, at times, just painful) differences between the two. For instance, studies repeatedly show that many consumers don’t like to get ads on their phones. (A mere 10% of mobile data users deem ads received via PDAs to be acceptable, according to Nielsen Mobile.) At the same time, a third of the same respondents said they’d be OK with seeing ads, so long as the spots offset their mobile bills—say, via free minutes. “That,” said Nielsen Mobile corporate marketing vp Paul Okimoto, “is where we’re starting to see an uptick.”

No doubt, we’ll start to see many more of those. For now, here’s the story on the mobile-marketing phenom today—both fantasy and reality.


Customers dig mobile games.

Videogames were once synonymous with geekdom, but one glance at who’s using a Wii these days (including AARP members and the physically disabled, at last check) shows how dated that stereotype is. This love affair has carried over to mobile devices. In fact, some watchers are now predicting that the global revenue from mobile games will eventually surpass that of traditional console and handheld versions. According to U.K.-based consultancy Understanding & Solutions, mobile gaming is expected to hit $6 billion by 2011.

Some brands are already prepared to embrace this passion by offering free downloadable games for mobile devices that keep their brand front and center. The latest is BK City, debuting April 21, an elaborate game with three worlds (five games in each) ranging from a castle to a BK drive-thru. It will be available across all carriers except for Verizon. POP, online ads and mobile ads, of course, will support the effort. BK City is the latest creation of Mobliss, Seattle, whose prior efforts include Nickelodeon’s Rugrats Food Fight and Brady Bunch Kung Fu.

“A lot of what mobile content advertisers throw out there is cheesy,” said Tia Lang, director of media and interactive for the Miami-based chain. But, “as players progress, our game gets more difficult. It’s fun, funny and relevant to our target.”


People will never use their phones to buy stuff.

Think again. Remember when everyone was worried about using credit cards online? Even some tech-savvy shoppers wrung their hands over cyberthieves stealing their identities and draining their savings accounts. (Psst—it rarely happens.) Even as those same worries have swirled around mobile banking and on-the-go transactions, the truth is that a quarter of cell users with mobile Web access have already trusted their handheld devices to do their shopping, according Harris Interactive, Rochester, N.Y. Sixteen percent already use mobile banking services and one-in-five respondents hope their phone becomes a mobile wallet.

Smarter brands are beginning to respond. In January, Pizza Hut began allowing U.S. consumers to order from any of its 6,200 stores using the mobile Web or text messaging. The chain said it expects half its sales to come online or via mobile devices within the next five years. Papa John’s began offering the ability to text in orders last November.

“If privacy and security issues can be caged, mobile banking and mobile wallet services could launch the next leg up for mobile operators,” predicted Joseph Porus, vp of Harris Interactive’s technology practice. Rajeev Raman, CEO of mywaves, a mobile video destination whose clients include MBW, concurs. In the near future, he said, “purchasing movie tickets, fast food and music via mobile phones will be considered normal, everyday behavior.”


Convenience works.

Skip the cleverisms; brands that give consumers information that makes their lives easier are the ones that’ll benefit. “That’s why we bought the phone in the first place,” Hadl said.

Starbucks, for example, makes it easy to find the nearest latte with a mobile-based store locator. When is that blue turtleneck you ordered going to show up? UPS will let you track the whereabouts of your package on your mobile device.

“Too many people pigeonhole mobile marketing as just being ringtones or wallpapers,” said Air2Web’s Jones, whose company created both applications. Brands that sponsor services that tell users things like where the is nearest baby-changing station or where is the store where I can buy what I need, will thrive, added Hadl of BrandinHand. “Soon,” he said, “mobile devices won’t simply be a push medium.”


Texting (aka SMS) isn’t effective.

Like hell it isn’t. While many are looking at mobile video, the mobile Web and other features, the simple, text-only brand campaign often still is what works the best. Why? Because even the oldest, most primitive cell phones out there have the technology that lets people receive a text promo and respond to one. Plus, the practice of text messaging has already been widely adopted.

In December, 1-800-Free411 attached ads sent to users who opted in to receive text horoscopes, diet tips and other information from a company called Limbo. While the free-information service usually gets about 40,000 to 50,000 new callers daily, that volume shot up to nearly 80,000 a day after the mobile ads ran. Overall, Limbo received a 7.1% response rate for text ads it ran for its clients in the fourth quarter.

“The forgotten technology of SMS will be a much bigger factor in digital spends than anyone is predicting,” said Jonathan Linner, CEO of Limbo, Burlingame, Calif., who’s amused that so many marketers are buzzing about putting a movie or banner ad on a cell phone. Those people, he said, “Don’t’ get it yet. You’ll get 10 times better performance from SMS.”


The iPhone’s changed everything.

One of the biggest hang-ups (pun intended) for mobile marketers is the lack of “high” in the tech. We’re talking about antideluvian cell phones that everybody was carrying around prior to last summer, when the Apple iPhone hit stores. In January, CEO Steve Jobs had promised the iPhone would “reinvent” telecommunications. Some disagreed. Some still do. But mobile-marketing advocates generally aren’t among them. The average iPhone user over the age of 18 is five times more likely to explore the mobile Web and 11 times more likely to use mobile video or TV, per Nielsen Mobile. An iPhone-toting American also is 70% more likely to use SMS.

“Look no further than the iPhone for proof that improving the device and user interface can radically increase media consumption,” said John Najarian, svp-media and business development at the Comcast Entertainment Group, who oversees E!’s mobile page.

Better still, the iPhone’s popularity has meant lower-price imitators—triggering a new generation of “smart phones” that experts like Chetan Sharma, co-author of the just-released book Mobile Advertising, believe will make up as many as 20% of the domestic market in two years. (More powerful data pipelines as well as all-you-can-eat data plans will help, too.) Thanks to the iPhone, Sharma said, Americans finally think the cell phone “is more than just something you talk with.”


It’s getting easier to run mobile marketing programs.

Dream on. It still takes about two months to get a major carrier like AT&T or Verizon to approve a text program. And that, according to Gene Keenan, vp-mobile services at Isobar, San Francisco, and vice chairman of the Mobile Marketing Assn., Denver, is “ridiculous.”

“You can by a URL and have a Web site up in two hours,” Keenan said. “It’s still way too hard for brands and agencies to do mobile.” Even worse: “Until it’s easier for big brands to participate, you won’t see the big money.”

Keenan and experts like him have likened carriers to walled gardens: nice to be part of, but good luck getting in. They exert authoritarian control over their on-deck content (that’s the proprietary stuff available only to subscribers) and move with Soviet-style bureaucratic slowness in approving marketing programs.

For instance, WAP sites and banner ads have to be customized by handset and by carrier. “It introduces a lot of complexity,” Sharma said. “You can’t press a button and have a program launch nationwide. You have to negotiate everything and get your content approved.”

But stay tuned; fantasy might turn to reality by this time next year. “You can get over the wall,” Hadl said. “You’ll get hot and sweaty doing it, but you can get over. AOL already proved that this [walled approach] is a model for failure.”


The mobile ecosystem is evolving rapidly.

Quick as the pace of technology is, sometimes it never seems quick enough. But mobile advocates hamstrung by tools that haven’t kept pace with their marketing dreams may soon be doing a high-tech jig. In November, Google announced Android, a new Linux-based operating system for mobile. Microsoft just inked a deal with Nokia that’ll bring its Silverlight platform to mobile. And this quarter, Yahoo! will launch what it calls onePlace, a mobile bookmarking tool that will allow better control of information. These developments come on the heels of AOL’s ’07 purchase of Third Screen Media, a company that serves banner ads to mobile Web sites. Nokia bought the mobile agency Enpocket last year, too.

All of it, said Sharma, means that “there’s a cautious optimism” out there. “Optimism, because of the uniqueness and reach mobile presents. Caution because of the enormous fragmentation in the industry.”


There is one killer application.

Just like Gilda Radner and Dan Aykroyd debated whether New Shimmer was a floor wax or a dessert topping (it’s both!) on Saturday Night Live, each marketer seems to have his own miracle claim for mobile marketing. And so far, nobody’s quite nailed it.

Take GPS-enabled initiatives, which some see as the potential holy grail of mobile marketing. CBS Mobile announced a test earlier in the year that’ll pinpoint ads to customers based on where they happen to be standing, and Burger King’s Lang has been lovingly nurturing the idea of “serving customers an ad at lunchtime, asking them if they’re hungry.” The problem? “Those kinds of things are fantasy.”

Hardly the only one. “My fantasy is offering Pepsi Smash [music programming] as video-on-demand optimized for the third screen for millions to view,” Vail said. P&G, General Mills and others are currently in test with Cellfire, a company whose technology allows customers to store e-coupons on their cell phones.

There’s the dream of direct-to-consumer mobile video, alive in the mind of BMW Mini as it kicked off a program with mywaves in January. Still others are excited about mobile search; more than 46 million used their phones to search for information in the third quarter of last year, per Nielsen Mobile.

Alex Muller will tell you that GPS-driven mobile marketing won’t be a fantasy for much longer (then again, he’s CEO of GPShopper, which enables mobile-using customers to track down the best deals on stuff they want to buy.) “There will be a point,” he said, “where flipping through a paper circular won’t make sense.”


There needs to be standards.

Mobile marketing is still a lot like the Wild West: a landscape of many players of various reputes, each a competitor peddling his wares and promises. “We need to develop more standards to reduce the friction out there,” said Jordan Berman, executive director of media innovation at AT&T Mobility, New York. “There needs to be more uniformity about how programs get off the ground. I’m on the MMA board of directors and we all agree it is a confusing marketplace out there.”

Then again, people said much the same thing about the Web itself when it was new. The growing pains, Berman said, are natural: “Online is like a toddler; mobile marketing is still in the womb.”

Courtesy of Brand Week

By: Kenneth Hein

About the Author:


Article Source: ArticlesBase.comMobile Marketing Fantasy Vs. Reality

Mobile Marketing With Text Messaging

Text Message Notifications
Photo by Skokie Public Library
Author: Josh

The prospect of launching your first mobile marketing campaign can be downright scary. Mobile is a new platform, with new conventions, new language, and new metrics. Perhaps you’ve read a white paper in the past. It was probably dozens of pages long and filled with incomprehensible jargon. It discussed mobile marketing campaigns that promised paradigm shifting results. The only problem with the paper was that the campaigns it spoke of were dauntingly complex, and they seemed to rely on technology that has yet to truly arrive. Moreover, they were expensive, and they necessitated that you put your business in the hands of an expensive marketing firm.

We understand where you are coming from. And that is why we put together this Ez Guide To Mobile Marketing With Text Messaging. What makes this paper different?

  • Simplicity: Mobile Marketing encompasses a number of exciting different methods, from mobile video to location-based advertising. The problem with these methods is twofold: they are unproven and require consumers to possess sophisticated devices, and they are incredibly complicated for businesses to implement. That’s why we like to focus on SMS. Text messaging bypasses these hurdles. Nearly every mobile phone supports text messaging, and with 600 billion text messages sent per year in the United States, a majority of consumers are familiar with the technology.
  • Do-It-Yourself: Mobile Marketing does not need to be difficult. This guide will show how you can quickly get started with a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) solution that won’t sacrifice any of the power and effectiveness of an expensive, agency-run campaign.
  • Cost: In economic times good or bad, you always want to keep a careful eye on the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing campaigns. DIY mobile marketing with text messaging fulfills this goal in two ways. First, text messaging is inexpensive. Rates per message are as low as a few pennies each. And second, you can use a powerful DIY mobile marketing software package to carefully monitor costs and response rates in real time.

Ready to learn how easy it is to launch your first mobile marketing campaign?

About Ez Texting:

Since 2006, Ez Texting has led the mobile marketing industry in providing a simple, affordable text messaging platform for small to medium-sized businesses. We proudly offer the only US-based turnkey online solution that allows clients from all industries – education, hospitality, religion, politics, non-profits, technology and more – to develop and execute a text messaging campaign within minutes.

Own a fast-food franchise and need to send instant coupons to hungry customers? Organizing a weekly soccer league for your kids and want a quick way to communicate with fellow parents? Looking for a way to capture incoming leads for your sales team? Look no further.

Using our powerful platform, clients can setup SMS alerts, voting, contests, polls and much more. Get instant feedback from your members right to your Ez Texting inbox with our true 2-way messaging capabilities. And with the easy-to-remember shared short code 313131, setting up keywords is a breeze. We also offer advanced API and dedicated short code options.

Ez Texting currently supports messaging to the US and Canada for a rapidly growing client base of over 40,000 users.

A Note From Shane Neman, CEO of Ez Texting, Inc.

A few years ago, the term “mobile marketing” was a concept far too esoteric and technical for businesses to grasp, let alone attempt to implement in-house. Ez Texting offers a web-based mobile text messaging platform for businesses. Here’s how it works: You connect to Ez Texting online, tap out a message and then it is sent out to your intended audience (customers, organization members, employees, etc). For marketers, customers on the receiving end can choose to either ignore the note or respond to the promotion.

When a local sales team from Jostens, the yearbook and class ring company, recently used Ez Texting to remind students in the Puyallup, Wash., area about payment due dates, the number of people who paid for the company’s graduation products ahead of schedule rose by as much as 40%. Because of that success rate this Jostens team scrapped its direct mail campaign, saving it roughly $1,000 in postage.

We love helping people reach that “Aha!” moment. So many clients come to us with ideas they can only conceptualize. It’s rewarding to present them with techniques that can help their ideas evolve into real results.

We also love educating customers about what exactly mobile marketing is, how they can use it and showing them what kind of results they can expect. That’s a big feat for a small team of people, but we have managed to help over 40,000 customers and continue to do so every day.

– Shane Neman
CEO, Ez Texting, Inc.

What Is Mobile Marketing & Why Is It Different?

Mobile Marketing is, simply put, the practice of extending your marketing efforts to mobile devices. Today ‘mobile devices’ primarily means mobile phones, including smart phones such as the Blackberry and the Apple iPhone. In the future we will likely see full-fledged mobile computers, with persistent connections to the Internet. Such devices will offer a rich media marketing platform. However, those services are not yet here on a meaningful scale. For example, less than a quarter of Americans have ever browsed the mobile web And this represents the fundamental conundrum facing your firm when you consider whether to launch your first mobile marketing campaign. You’ve heard that mobile marketing is the future of advertising, but just not yet.

Only that’s not the case.

Contrary to what you may have heard, Mobile Marketing is here, and savvy firms, from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses, are already running successful mobile campaigns. SMS Text Messaging is the key to this puzzle.
Nearly every phone in the United States supports text messaging. Over half of all

Americans have sent or received a text message. The average mobile phone subscriber sends nearly 200 text messages every month. When you look closer, at the prized 18 – 29 demographic, the adoption rate is even higher, edging toward saturation at 85%. Among those 30 – 49 years old , the adoption rate is at 65% and climbing

So Americans are clearly texting. But what do they think about being marketed to via text message? In a recent Direct Marketing Association survey, 70% of the sample revealed that they had responded to a marketing text message. To put this in perspective, the DMA adds that only 30% of those surveyed responded to a marketing email.

Why are consumers so eager to respond to marketing text messages? The answer reveals the value text messaging offers to both you and your customers:

  • It’s Interactive – 21st century marketing is about having a conversation with your customers, rather than shouting at them. A world saturated with intrusive advertising like spam, pop-ups, and commercials has overwhelmed consumers. Increasingly, they tune out messages broadcast to a wide audience, whether by using digital video recorders to skip past commercials, or simply by ignoring the banner ads on their favorite website.
  • It’s Personal – Your customers expect you to speak to them, and text messaging allows you to reach them individually, whenever, wherever, in the palm of their hands. This reach is of value to you the marketer. It also is of value to your customers. With a few taps of their thumbs they can respond to whatever message that you have sent them. With text messaging you can build relationships with your customers.
  • It’s Immediate – Text Messaging, like Twitter, and Instant Messaging, is blazingly fast. With text messaging you can communicate with your customers as speedily as they are now accustomed to living. You can also move quickly. Say you are a winter wear shop and you see that today a snowstorm is on its way. In less than five minutes you can send a text message to your customers containing a special offer on hats and gloves.
  • It’s Trackable – When you send out text messages to your customers you can see, in real time, who has responded to your message.
  • It’s New – Although thousands of companies large and small are already marketing to their customers via text message, the medium is still in its infancy. If you act now, you are letting your customers know that you are a forward-thinking firm. Your marketing efforts will break through the traditional clutter.

What Is The Value Proposition?

Mobile Marketing comes in many different flavors. For the vast majority of businesses, we think that text messaging is the best way to reach your consumers. In order to give you a quick overview of your options, below we walk you through the forms of mobile marketing other than text messaging that are available, explaining their pros and cons.

  • Advertising on the Mobile Web – Many prominent websites now offer custom tailored sites for mobile phones, via WAP, and specially designed iPhone or Blackberry sites. The problem is, less than a quarter of Americans use the mobile web. This seriously restricts the reach of your mobile advertising campaign. Furthermore, when you design a banner ad for the mobile web you need to make sure that it will display correctly on thousands of different devices, made by over a dozen different manufacturers.If your firm does decide to build its own WAP site, you can easily integrate it into your text messaging campaigns.
  • Bluetooth/Infrared – In recent years a number of brands have rolled out Bluetooth and infrared marketing campaigns. In a typical scenario, a street advertisement will offer consumers the opportunity to receive marketing content wirelessly at the ‘hotspot.’ We have seen such initiatives from Discovery Channel and Pepsi using New York City bus stop shelters. These campaigns, while technologically innovative, are rare.
  • Location Based Advertising – Many mobile phones are equipped with Global Position System receivers. In a typical scenario, a store may send a special offer to a consumer when they are in the neighborhood. This technology is growing in popularity overseas, but it is very much in its infancy in the US.
  • Multimedia Message Service (MMS) – Most mobile phones support multimedia messages, which can contain text, sound, images, and even video. The iPhone, notably does not support MMS. The downside to MMS marketing is that receiving such messages can be costly to consumers. Furthermore, different networks and different devices conform to differing standards, hindering simple, ubiquitous campaigns. Successful MMS campaigns are typically run “on-deck,” which means that they confined to a single carrier. Although running an “on-deck” campaign allows you to leverage the power of MMS by conforming to a particular carrier’s technology, you are limited to that carrier’s customers
  • Mobile Search – Marketers familiar with Cost Per Click (CPC) search advertising programs such as Google AdWords, may be aware that these programs are now available on the mobile web. Extending your CPC search campaign to the mobile web presents numerous challenges. First, mobile search suffers the same ‘reach’ drawbacks as mobile advertising. Furthermore, the major cellular carriers hope to keep searches in house, rather than ceding their users to a mobile search engine; and when consumers search on their mobile device their intentions are very different than when they are sitting at their desktop.
  • Mobile Gaming – Consumers have begun to embrace gaming on their mobile phones. Some firms have begun to advertise within freely available games. Mobile gaming is certainly popular, but it does not offer scale. Furthermore, your firm may have difficulty finding suitable placements.

As you can see, all of these marketing formats have serious drawbacks. We would not be surprised to see them become more viable in the future. For now though, none of them offer the reach, the simplicity, and the low cost of text messaging.

Now let’s take a look at mobile marketing with text messaging:

  • You Can Do-It-Yourself – Small and medium businesses that do not have the inclination or the resources to work with a marketing agency can launch a text messaging campaign in-house using a simple web-based software/service like Ez Texting. All you need is a web browser and a credit card to get started.
  • Text Messaging Is Inexpensive – The cost of text messaging is important to you and your customers alike. Sending out a mass text messaging campaign is inexpensive (prices as low as a nickle per message). Receiving text messages comes at a very low price as well: most mobile phone plans include at least a few hundred messages per month, and additional messages cost only pennies to receive. Heavy texters – most of whom are concentrated in the 18-35 age group – are likely to have unlimited message plans.
  • High Penetration Rate – Half of all Americans are already texting, and even those who don’t text are almost certain to own a phone that supports text messaging. Over 250 million Americans own a mobile phone, and nearly all of them are ready to receive your message. No other type of mobile marketing can match text messaging’s reach.
  • Begin The Conversation With Text Messaging – Other types of mobile marketing will grow in importance in the future. If you start text messaging with your customers now, you’ll have the relationship (and data) in place to reach them in new ways in the future.

How To Start Your Text Message Marketing Campaign In 9 Steps

As this is the Ez Guide to Mobile Marketing with Text Messaging we hate to complicate things, but we do need to help you understand an important difference between the two common types of text message marketing campaigns. Don’t worry – the difference is simple, but as you will see, the steps that you will take to get started will vary based on the type of campaign that you are planning.

There are two types of text messaging campaigns: pull and push. In a push campaign, your firm starts off with a database of opted in phone numbers. A pull campaign is designed to build a database of phone numbers for future use.

  • Pick A Firm – Can they handle volume; do they support all carriers; do they offer easy-to-use software; do they offer advanced features you may want to use down the road?
  • Target The Customers/Members You Would Like To Reach – The power of marketing with text messages is that it allows you to reach the customers you want to reach. Figure out who they are before you design your campaign. (If you are conducting a push campaign, you already have these customers’ phone numbers. If you are launching a pull campaign, you will design the campaign to best reach your target customers)
  • Setup A Means To Collect Numbers – There are three ways to collect phone numbers. You can direct your customers to opt-in by sending a message with your keyword to a short code; you can collect customer phone numbers using a web widget; or, if you are conducting a push campaign, you can easily import previously collected phone numbers into your campaign database.
  • Choose A Keyword – A Keyword is a short word (which may include numbers) that customers send a text message to, in order to join your list. An example would be: ‘Text KEYWORD to SHORTCODE to join our text messaging list.‘ When you select a mobile marketing firm to work with, such as Ez Texting, they will allow you to use their shared Short Code. In Ez Texting’s case this code is 313131 Feel free to give this a try! Text EZ to the number 313131 and see what happens.
  • Choose A Good Call To Action (CTA) – You want to offer your customers value in return for joining your database. A typical CTA might go: Text KEYWORD to SHORTCODE to join our text messaging list and receive 10 percent off your next purchase at the boutique.
  • Design Your Promotional Efforts – Your mobile marketing campaign can stand alone, or it can compliment your existing marketing campaigns.
  • Keep It Simple! – When you send out a mass message, keep it simple. You have 160 characters. Use them wisely. And always send a test message to yourself!
  • Always Allow Your Customers To Opt-Out – When you first text your customers you need to let them know how to Opt-Out from receiving future text messages. This is usually accomplished by replying STOP to one of your messages.
  • Track Your Results – When you run a campaign you are going to collect a lot of data – response rates, time of day, and other data points. Use that data to design your next campaign and you’ll achieve even greater ROI!

The Value Of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Mobile Marketing

As we’ve already shown you, Mobile Marketing with text messaging is easy. There are other advantages, beyond ease of use, to DIY text messaging:

  • Ease Of Use – A Mobile Marketing package like Ez Texting is simple to use. It is web-based, which means that there is no software to install. You can check on your campaigns and launch new ones from any computer with an Internet connection or even directly from your own cell phone.
  • Cost Effective – Our current economic climate is extremely challenging. There is a good chance that your customers are spending less. Meanwhile, your competitors are cutting prices, hoping to make whatever money they can. When you start looking for places to cut corners, your marketing budget often winds up in the crosshairs. A DIY mobile marketing campaign allows you to keep talking to your customers without the upfront costs of traditional ad buys. You can’t afford to stop advertising, and text messaging allows you to eschew expensive, untargeted campaigns in favor of inexpensive, targeted campaigns. Many Ez Texting clients tell us they were able to cut back on other, more costly advertising methods once they built an effective database of opt-in customers.
  • Control – Everyone needs a helping hand every now and then, and a premier mobile marketing firm like Ez Texting is always there to help you get started and answer your questions. What you don’t need is an expensive agency to do things you can do yourself, on their terms, instead of your own. Ez Texting’s software allows you to conceive and send messages on your own. Even more importantly, you control every dollar that you spend.
  • Data – When you run your own mobile marketing campaign you control your data. Names, phone numbers, response rates – whatever data you collect, it is all yours. Do not rely on an agency to provide you with your data upon request.
  • Campaigns That Are Uniquely Yours – Instead of allowing an agency to repurpose a cookie-cutter campaign, with a DIY solution you (or your marketing team) design campaigns that fit what your company does and what it represents.

Text Message Marketing That Goes Beyond Mere Messages

SMS Text messaging is the most popular and effective form of mobile marketing because it does exactly what it is supposed to do. You can achieve great ROI doing nothing more than occasionally texting your customers with notices, reminders and offers. But, as you will see, there is so much more that you can do. Importantly, for you and for your customers, all of these compelling methods keep things simple.

  • Mobile Couponing – Invite customers to text in your keyword to receive instant coupons that they can display in your store for a discount. In numerous surveys, consumers report that they are especially open to messages that offer value.
  • Contests – Commonly referred to as “Text-2-Win”, a mobile contest offers consumers the opportunity to text in to win a prize. Ez Texting’s software includes built-in contest functionality, allowing you to randomly select winners or to offer prizes to the first x number of entries. Every person that texts into the contest will be added to your database of phone numbers
  • Voting & Trivia – Interacting with consumers often produces the most successful marketing campaigns. Not only do Voting & Trivia allow customers to put in their two cents on a topic, but you collect valuable demographic data about your target consumers’ likes, dislikes and personality trends.

Tips & Tricks To Turbo Charge Your Mobile Marketing Campaign

Do-It-Yourself mobile marketing with Ez Texting’s software is simple. That does not mean that our software isn’t extremely powerful. After spending a few minutes sending out experimental messages, you’ll be ready to try out some of our advanced features:

  • Message Forwarding – The messages that your customers send you can be forwarded to your email address or directly to your own mobile phone. Radio stations use this feature to relay song requests to DJs. Churches set up forwarding to a cell phone for anonymous prayer requests during church services.
  • Send Messages From Your Phone – When you just cannot get to a computer with an Internet connection you still can send out messages to your database of customers. This is perfect for one-the-go clients and marketers. Busy working the floor at a convention or a trade show? Send out timely messages to your clients from your mobile phone.
  • Message Scheduling –If you know that you want to send out a message at some time in the future, just enter it into the system, schedule it, and then when the time comes the message will be sent out automatically.
  • Web Widget – A fully customizable signup widget allows patrons to join your text messaging database from any website, email blast, MySpace or Facebook page. This security-enabled widget only subscribes unique, active cell phone numbers. Simply copy and paste the widget and you are done!
  • Random Sends – Running a special offer? Only want to hit some of your customers? With a random send the Ez Texting software will send out messages to x number of random phone numbers in your database.
  • Application Programming Interface (API) –Generally API is for advanced users only. If you don’t know what an API is, it is probably best to skip to the next page. Through your Ez Texting account, you can use our API to integrate the sending and receiving of text messages with your own website or application. This is helpful for firms with existing platforms, such as doctor’s offices that wish to add an SMS notification system to their CRM tool.

Look Who’s Texting

As we said in the introduction to this guide, mobile marketing with text messaging is already here. Businesses large and small are running campaigns this very moment. Last year, SuperStop USA, a gas station in St. Paul, MN, launched one of our favorite Ez Texting powered mobile marketing campaigns:

SuperStop USA– When gas prices are scheduled to go up, SuperStop USA owner Tony Donatell knows in advance. He believed that his customers would make it a point to fill up their tanks at his station if they were alerted in advance of the price increase. What Mr. Donatell needed was a way to quickly reach his customers with this information.

SuperStop USA found a solution with an Ez Texting powered program called Gas Alerts. To attract subscribers, the station deployed Point of Purchase (POP) displays featuring their CTA, ranging from in-store signs at the registers to promotional posters outside at the pumps instructing customers to text “GAS” to 25827.

Super Stop amassed over 70 subscribers in less than two weeks. They reported a response rate greater than 20% for each text message blast. The program is still going strong a year later.

The following three campaigns were some of 2008’s most prominent and successful mobile marketing efforts:

American Idol– A few years ago, the producers of American Idol and AT&T teamed up to allow Idol viewers to vote on their favorite contestants via SMS. In 2008, fans voted in record numbers, sending in 78 million text messages. In 2008, AT&T expanded their Idol efforts to include “voting reminders, trivia, a TXT-n-Win sweepstakes promising the winner $50,000 cash and a trip for two to the Idol series finale in Los Angeles, and contestant ringtones and video clips featuring outrageous audition moments.”

President Barack Obama’s 2008 Election Campaign – Political historians will be studying Barack Obama’s historic campaign for decades to come. There is one thing that everyone already agrees upon – Obama’s New Media team leveraged the web, social networks, and text messaging in unprecedented ways to communicate with supporters, recruit donors, and enhance get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts. Famously, the Obama campaign announced their Vice Presidential selection of Joe Biden to opted in subscribers via text message. The message went out to 2.9 million mobile phones. The phone numbers went into the campaign database.

Finally, when Election Day came, supporters received text messages reminding them to vote. This was much more than a nifty way to end a campaign that exploited text messaging so successfully – research has found that SMS is more effective than all GOTV methods other than old fashioned door-to-door canvassing. Canvassing may be more effective at turning out votes, than text messaging, but it costs nearly 20x as much per recruited vote.

The American Red Cross – The American Red Cross raised $190,000 dollars in 2008 with its Text 2HELP program. The program is activated during major disasters. According to The Wireless Foundation, “subscribers of participating wireless carriers can send a text message to “2HELP” (24357) containing the word “GIVE.” A $5 tax-deductible donation will be made to the American Red Cross for disaster relief efforts. Donations will appear on customers’ monthly bills or be debited from a prepaid account balance.”

In 2008, the Text 2HELP campaign was advertised across various communications channels, and received its biggest boost when both Presidential candidates called their constituents to action. During the Republican National Convention, Mike Duncan, the chairman of the RNC, asked convention attendants to take out their mobile phones and text in a donation. The Obama campaign leveraged their own text messaging campaign to aid the Red Cross, sending their entire database of subscribers a message asking them to text GIVE to 24537 (2HELP).

About the Author:

Since 2006, Ez Texting has led the mobile marketing industry in providing a simple, affordable text messaging platform for small to medium-sized businesses. We proudly offer the only US-based turnkey online solution that allows clients from all industries – education, hospitality, religion, politics, non-profits, technology and more – to develop and execute a text messaging campaign within minutes.

Article Source: ArticlesBase.comMobile Marketing With Text Messaging