Introduction to mobile marketing

This article was written by Yoav Farbey, computer science graduate and analyst for Hailo Network, which matches passengers and licensed taxi drivers using mobile technologies. He is also founder of mobile marketing agency Fibixio. Fibixio uses a wide range of mobile marketing technologies, including SMS marketing and mobile applications, to generate profits for its clients.

Today, mobile marketing covers a vast range of ways to create and run marketing campaigns on mobile devices. In this introductory article, we will look at some of the many ways you can use mobile marketing to engage with your customers. These include mobile adverts, mobile websites, mobile apps, using social apps like Foursquare, using SMS messaging and using QR codes.

First of all, you need to consider a few basic questions before you select the most suitable mobile platforms for your campaign.

What is the purpose of your mobile marketing campaign?

  • Is it to help your customers access your website?
  • Is it to increase the number of customers you have?
  • Is it to provide a new service?
  • Is it to have appstore presence?

Do you really need a mobile marketing strategy?

Do you know how many hits your website receives from mobile devices every month? You can use Google Analytics to find this out.

You may also need to consider whether there is a place for your small business on the mobile web.

How valuable is a mobile marketing campaign to your business?

  • How much money can be made?
  • How many new customers will you be able to engage with?

Once you have thought about all these things for your business you will be able to select the mobile marketing methods that will be right for you. You can create and manage your mobile marketing campaign with one of a range of tools including Admob, InMobi iAd and others. All these services allow you to manage your campaigns by specifying the demographics of whom you advertise to, the time of day for your messages, and other factors.

Mobile adverts

These are banner adverts that are placed in an app or a mobile website. A mobile advert can link to a website, to another app to download, or to a specific landing page. Mobile adverts are the most dominant form of mobile marketing.

Mobile websites

Mobile websites are sites that are designed and optimised for users to access on mobile devices. A mobile website is a really good first step in mobile marketing. Mobile internet usage is growing and reaching maturity at a faster rate than the World Wide Web was enjoying at the turn of the millennium.

Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker predicts that by 2014 the number of mobile internet users will surpass the number of desktop internet users. Mobile users want a different experience from desktop users. You need to strip out all the unnecessary images and videos and include only the most useful information. It may be wise to make the copy punchier too. Design for mobile devices also has to take into account wildly varying screen sizes, and a huge variation in input devices.

Mobile apps

Mobile apps are small pieces of software that people download to their smartphones to use whenever they choose. Unlike a web browser that allows users to visit any website, a mobile app does just one thing – for example, lets you read a specific newspaper, or find out about your latest products and services. The problem is that every app needs to be developed separately for every mobile operating system including Apple iOS, Android, and Blackberry. There are developers who specialise in each of these platforms, but there are also methods for developing what are known as hybrid apps that work on multiple platforms.

Developing a mobile app is an expensive undertaking, and you need to know exactly what interaction you want to create, and be sure you can supply that need when users reach your site, before you make an investment in this area.

Social mobile apps

Social mobile apps are also a good place to start your mobile campaigns. Often signing up to social mobile services is low risk and low cost (sometimes even no-cost). Adding your business to a social checking app like Foursquare is a great place to begin. You can encourage people to check in to the location of your business and you can reward people when they do. Another example of a social mobile app is Layar, which lets you add images in to a real life map. For example, if you want to display a giant balloon above your business premises you can use Layar to place the object.

QR codes

QR codes are 2D barcodes that can be scanned by cameras on mobile phones, and are becoming increasingly popular. The scan often reveals a URL which links to a specific web page. You can also print QR codes on business cards. There are special applications and websites such as which make it easy to generate QR codes. Many users are attracted by the interaction inherent in the use of QR codes.

SMS messaging

SMS messaging, also known as text messaging, is a classic method of mobile advertising. SMS campaigns are simply a matter of sending text messages to your target audience. To exploit the use of smartphones you can include a short link to launch an app, or access a website.

In summary, you need to decide on the goals of your mobile marketing campaign before you select your strategy and make your decisions about which methods to use. As with any sort of marketing campaign, you must make sure that you can cope with whatever demand your campaign generates.

Unlike print advertising, mobile campaigns require constant attention. If you use a mobile campaign to encourage customer interaction, for example on your website, than you need to make sure that the information and services on your website meets the predicted customer demand. Otherwise your mobile campaign may actually have undesirable consequences. Planned and executed properly, however, a mobile marketing campaign can really help you connect with your customers.