Why and How to Use Mobile Coupons

More than 50 percent of consumers surveyed say they’re interested in receiving coupons on their mobile devices, but only 10 percent have, according to a recent report by the Mercator Advisory Group. If you run a mobile business, mobile marketing — to the users of smartphones and tablets — could prove to be the most effective strategy for building a customer base and customer loyalty without depleting your budget.

Here’s why, and how you can get started:

Define your objective. Consider the goal of your mobile campaign. Do you want to enhance customer loyalty, promote a new location, attract a new audience, or feature a new item? Make a list of all the things you’d like to accomplish with your mobile coupons and create a budget that is realistic for what you aim to achieve. Mobile marketing services vary in price; expect to pay from $20 to $100 a month, not including the coupon value itself.

Capitalize on mobility. It’s been estimated that up to 95 percent of the population now uses a mobile device and that text messages are typically checked within five minutes of receipt. Mobile marketing campaigns present a prime opportunity to reach existing customers when they’re close to you, to let prospects know you’re nearby. Make sure that you’ve optimized your website for easy reading on mobile devices, too. Google’s GoMo allows you to see what your site looks like on a mobile device and helps you adjust and optimize the layout.

Find the right vendor. There are strict compliance requirements when it comes to mobile marketing. Using a professional mobile-marketing service will not only ensure you execute your campaign legally, but also provide you with valuable marketing intelligence around which promotions captured the highest responses. Although some of the most popular mobile vendors (such as Foursquare and Yowza) require advertisers to have a physical location, not all do. GeoQpons enables geo-targeted campaigns that reach prospects within a 10-mile radius of your business at a given time and allows you to establish unique offers for up to 20 locations. Want to maximize an existing customer database? Look into a service like TXTin.

Make your messages meaningful. Lead with the most salient part of your message and tailor promotions to current conditions. The beauty of mobile marketing is its inherent ability to react on the fly. If it’s an unexpectedly hot or cold day, promote products that appeal to those conditions. If you have extra inventory to unload before the business day ends, hold a fire sale.

Promote your promotion. To increase the reach of your mobile campaigns, think about the big picture: Add a banner graphic to the home page of your website. Tell your social media fans and followers and your in-store customers about your new mobile marketing initiative.

About Stephanie Taylor Christensen

Stephanie Taylor Christensen holds a master’s degree in marketing and has 13 years of marketing management experience for Fortune 500 companies and small businesses. She is a regular contributor to sites like ForbesWoman, Real Simple, Mint, Minyanville, and SheKnows, and writes for several private business clients. Her work is frequently syndicated and sourced by Yahoo! Finance, SFGate, TodayShow.com, and The New York Times. She is also a small business owner, having founded WellnessOnLess.com, and Om for Mom Prenatal Yoga in Columbus, Ohio. Connect with her on Twitter @WellnessOnLess.
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