Mobile Marketing

There are various reasons why mobile marketing will continue to rise in the next few years (the Mobile Marketing Association predicts mobile marketing spend will rise 124% from 2016 to 2017):

• Smartphone Hardware / software. Improvements in the hardware / software of the smartphone itself (i.e. faster processers, more memory, better operating systems, more apps – allowing for more functionality and better user experience).
• Smartphone Users. Many more people will be using smartphones (Nielson predicts that by the end of 2011, there will be more smartphones than feature phones in the US – a jump from making up about 10% of mobile devices in general in 2008 to about 50% in 2015).
• Social media environment. Mobile is well suited to social media
• Mobile technology/platforms/channels. Certain mobile technologies/platforms/channels will come of age / just continue to grow in importance. See below.

Location-based Marketing
In location-based marketing, marketers are able to reach mobile phone users via GPS and location-based technology – basing their marketing efforts on the location of mobile users. Not only that, but they can refine what they communicate based on knowledge they already have on the user. This all leads to: relevant marketing, on-the-spot marketing opportunities, as well as various creative possibilities in which to communicate to audiences.
We’ve already seen the success of location-based social network sites such as Foursquare and Gowalla. On top of this, Facebook has introduced its location-based Places, Twitter has introduced geolocation, Apple has introduced its iAd (that includes the ability to target users based on location), Google has acquired AdMob (that includes location-based advertising capability), and more. Lastly, the Mobile Marketing Association has published the results of a survey in which “26 percent of that group has used a “map, navigation or some other mobile phone service that automatically determines your current location.”
Looks like geo-location marketing is going to big.

Augmented Reality
In augmented reality, an image of reality is modified in some way to create an altered image. Depending on the creative team behind a campaign using augmented reality, augmented reality can be used in a variety of ways. Nike used it with great success in their treasure hunt campaign to promote the launch of the sportswear giant’s T90 soccer shoe in 2008. Geoffrey Handley of The Hyperfactory (mobile marketing agency), Hong Kong wrote after the huge success of this campaign: “The 3D augmented reality is really taking mobile a step further. .. With all this digital and 3D stuff, you get this little sticker that unlocks a journey into this augmented world, It wasn’t all about selling a shoe. It’s making Nike an innovative brand, unusual and different.” More recently (2010), there have been successes such as: Stella Artois Le Bar Guide, Layar Browser, We Are Autobots, and more. Looks like augmented reality is going to increase in importance, and a particularly useful tool for people in branding.

Apps
Apps are playing a key role in the success of the mobile industry in general. Gartner predicts the mobile app market will increase from $6.8 million in 2010 to $29.5 billion by 2013. IDC believes Apple’s iPhone will have 300,000 apps will have available by year-end.
But apps are, also, important in mobile marketing. Firstly, advertising within apps. Advertising within apps is predicted to be worth $0.6 billion, worldwide, in 2015. And, secondly, branding (i.e. brand-sponsored apps). Many brands have had great success with brand apps. However, increasingly, companies are considering mobile websites instead of apps (unless they have the marketing budget for both). There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Certainly, branded apps will remain important in certain situations i.e. for enhancing user experience of the brand – but success, here, will depend very much on the creative and marketing thinking behind the app.

Barcodes / QR Codes
Mobile (2D) bar codes contain information that can be picked up by mobile phones. The information can be used for a range of marketing purposes (promotions, to activate downloads, discount vouchers, and more). Bar codes can be strategically placed in public areas adding an extra dimension to existing marketing channels i.e. product display, promotions display, adverts, and so on).
QR Codes are the most popular kind of mobile barcode.

SMS
Text message advertising has been around for a while. It’s always, potentially, been attractive to marketers because of its various marketing purposes (promotions, alerts, voting, coupons, and more), can be relatively cheap with relatively good ROI (compared with emails, for example), and more, and has a less spammy reputation than email because of the tight anti-spam regulations in the mobile industry.

SMS Shortcodes. SMS Short Code numbers are short and easy-to-remember SMS Text numbers. They are displayed on many different types of media. This enables marketers to provide product information, promote products, send audiences a link to a mobile site and more.

Spotlight Idea

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10 steps to doubling print ad ROI, using inbound marketing

Advertise With Greater Confidence Knowing You’re Maximizing Your Response Rates

“Half my advertising money is wasted. The problem is that I don’t know which half”, said William Lever, founder of Lever Soap Company back in 1886. Sadly, well over a century later, it’s estimated that 50 percent of advertising budgets are still wasted on programs that don’t produce a meaningful response. Yet, marketing executives are being held increasingly accountable to deliver greater, more predictable, and measurable returns on investment from their advertising spend, according to Forrester Research.

While some marketers grow increasingly frustrated with declines in response rates to their traditional print advertising and shifting their focus to digital channels, others have discovered how to “crack the code” and are achieving new highs in response rates and returns on investment through properly integrating the offline and online channels. This guide aims to provide the practical, yet frequently overlooked, tips and critical action steps to dramatically increase the response rates and maximize the returns on investment from print advertisements.

1. With so many distractions today, capturing customers’ attention with an ad has become as much science as art. While a great picture can tell a thousand words, studies show that wondering eyes automatically gravitate more towards pictures than words. Use a relevant, high contrast image that supports your core message. So don’t make your audience “work” – read more than is absolutely necessary. Use a picture whenever possible to enhance your offer. Pictures of people and smiling faces are very  effective.

2. If your image succeeds in capturing your readers’ attention, the rest of your ad copy must gain and keep their interest – that’s where your headline plays a pivotal role. Think of your headline as “an ad for your ad”. Its sole purpose is to captivate your audience and “sell” them on reading the rest of your ad copy. Eyes automatically gravitate towards large, bold text. Therefore, be sure your headline stands out from the rest of the ad copy. Focus on your offer’s key benefits. Most readers are “skimmers” and will make a split-second decision about whether or not to keep reading. A “skimmer” should be able to get the “gist” of what the ad is about by the picture and headline (and subtitles if applicable). Books have been written on the topic of writing effective headlines. Refer to a few and them by your side for creative inspiration.

3. Readers are “skimmers”. Avoid long, small-type paragraphs. Instead, bullet out your offer’s benefits whenever possible. Newspapers like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal are written at an 8th grade level to make the content easier to consume. So present your offer’s benefits in an easy-to-digest manner. Use color and call-outs to deliver the most relevant points.

4. If your ad succeeds at capturing your audience’s attention and interest, be sure to provide a clear, concise call-to-action; tell them what to do next. Don’t leave it up to them to guess what they should do next. If you want them to call a phone number or visit a website, say so. And be sure to include the benefit of doing so. An extra incentive  can instantly increase response rates. For example  by applying an expiration date to your CTA, you can instill a sense of urgency and further increase response. If you’re selling flowers, for example, your CTA might be to visit your website and offer a coupon code with an expiration date.

5. Providing readers multiple options to respond to your ad can not only dramatically increase your overall response rates but also increase the value of your response. A Direct Marketing Association study found that customers who buy from two channels (vs. just one) are between 20 and 60% more valuable, while triple-channel buyers are 60-125% more valuable. Ads that provide readers the option to respond by calling a phone number or by visiting a web page tend to get higher responses than identical ads that offer only a single option.

6. Displaying your main company phone number in your ad is sure-fire way to keep yourself guessing about the performance of your ad. Instead, use unique phone numbers with call tracking. By assigning a unique number to each of your ads, you can accurately test and measure which ads generate the best response. You can view reports to analyze the data and adjust your advertising to increase the overall ROI. This is critically important for new ad campaigns.

7. Most advertisers today already get it. Displaying a website address in a print ad increases response rates. But where many ads fall short is by display the link to their website home page. For better results you can measure and repeat, drive customers to a unique web page, specifically designed to complement your ad, also known as a “landing page” or “micro site” using a personalized URL, or “PURL”. This method is proven to provide a better user experience and increase conversion rates. Sending customers to your home page and making them hunt through your website for the offer they’re interested in is a sure way to aggravate them and lose sales.

8. Studies have shown that the majority of prospects don’t convert into customers the first time they’re exposed to a brand, product or service. Conversions increase over time as prospects are repeatedly exposed to an offer. Since the majority of visitors to your landing page won’t immediately convert, provide an incentive that gains you their contact information.

8. Assuming 5 percent of visitors to your landing page immediately convert and another 10% take advantage of an incentive and share their contact information, you’re building a highly valuable database of prospects and customers. Nurturing those prospects with routine email offers further increases conversions over time – effectively increasing the ROI from your print ad.

9. The saying, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” doesn’t ring more true when it comes to direct response advertising. Create variations of your offer using live A/B tests to determine the best response. You might determine mid-campaign that one version of your landing page is clearly outperforming the other and redirect all traffic to the winner to maximize conversions. To make all this possible you must, of course, properly install and configure a web analytics program and understand how to interpret the data. Using PURLs, you can clearly see how visitors behave; how long they stay, where they click, how many convert, etc.  – providing you the hard data you need to eliminate the guess work.

10. Properly analyzing the data contained in web analytics and performance reports will clearly indicate how visitors respond to a given offer and interact with the content. This valuable insight can then be confidently applied to the design of future print ads to incrementally improve response rates and maximize advertising ROI.

While any one of the above tactics can produce immediate measurable results, you can expect the greatest positive impact from a comprehensive approach. I hope you’ll gain value from this guide and that you’ll advertise with greater confidence.

Source: AIS Media

Testing Inbound Marketing Campaigns before $$

With the advent of the internet and the widespread use of social media, inbound marketing has also evolved greatly, representing a fundamental change in the way people offer their products and services to the general public. For any business to succeed in the present environment, it must have a strong presence on the internet.

The amount of buying and selling on the internet is increasing all the time, so staying ahead of the competition is imperative. This brings us to the question: What are the components of a successful inbound marketing strategy? An even more important question in this regard is how you can test the effectiveness of inbound marketing strategies before you begin to invest in them?

Let’s begin with the first question. A great inbound marketing strategy involves utilization of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), press releases and social networking, as well as pay-per-click campaigns on the internet. Implementing an inbound marketing campaign is a daunting task because it depends on the nature of the product or service as well as the resources allocated for marketing.

Now, the second question. Of course, if you want to make an investment, you will first want to know how effective the inbound marketing strategies are. This can be achieved by determining the outcome of the marketing strategy. It is much easier to find out whether the strategy is being successful or not, rather than trying to delve into its mechanics. If the strategy is successful, it will translate into an increase in sales. If it is not, well it will also be visible. The gauge for measuring the success of any campaign is to find out its level of resonance with the consumer base.

There are some technical aspects of the strategy that you may also review in order to better understand its effectiveness. A great inbound marketing strategy is applied from the bottom up. If the website is built on shaky foundations, it will be next to impossible to be noticed by search engines. The inbound marketing strategy should be based on an in-depth awareness of the steps involved in the development of a profitable online presence. Furthermore, this knowledge must be implemented in a professional manner.

The SEO or the Search Engine optimization is the most important aspect of the website’s core. However, even a webpage with a great SEO design or code foundation may not be able to attract the kind of traffic that will translate into better profits due to its lack of the essential human touch. A good inbound marketing strategist understands the need for incorporating videos and animation in the website, and how they are able to sway a potential buyer.

An effective inbound marketing strategy is built around the idea of driving people towards your website. A good marketing strategy will enable you to review your website and come up with suggestions on how to make it more presentable. However, this is not all. You must also have a strong presence on social networking sites so that you can update existing, as well as potential customers about your products and services.

Testing the effectiveness of an inbound marketing strategy calls for reviewing its mechanics and watching the results it is generating in terms of enhanced sales and increasing profits. Only after going through this process, can you decide whether an investment is feasible or not.

Viral Ad “need to have’s’

Broadcasting a message through viral marketing is one of the most effective and widely accepted methods of marketing. Viral marketing involves the creation of unique and quality content that compels people to share it with others. Creating and executing a viral marketing campaign on the other hand is a very challenging task that requires a perfect plan and extensive research.

Here are a few pointers that can help with the creation and execution of a viral marketing campaign

Get an immediate reaction

A diplomatic stand is ideal to use in press releases and interviews, not in viral marketing campaigns. In order to make your content viral, you need to inspire and compel your audience to spreading your content. Viral marketing is all about having strong opinions that address the emotions of your audience. You cannot please everyone. You need to take a stance that gets an immediate reaction from people.

Come up with something out of the blue

People are bombarded with the same old monotonous ad campaigns and other marketing techniques on a daily basis. As a result, people have adapted themselves to tune out the commotion. Instead of trying to promote your product and showing people how cool it is, try something new like how you can use the product very usefully in unusual circumstances or situations.

Viral marketing is not about advertising alone

Everybody crafts unique and creative advertisements and yes some of them do go viral. But, viral marketing is not all about making creative advertisements. You should find newer and less explored avenues to create an interesting story.

Once more

“Once more” this is what your audience will be saying if your content goes viral. Creating a single piece of viral content is good but a series of content that goes viral is one of the best things that can happen. It also insists your audience to act instead of simply appreciating your content. Making sequels is a good idea to quickly gain brand recognition.

Sharing and Commenting

Sharing is caring and the same applies to your brand. Sharing is also the bread and butter of any viral marketing campaign. The easier it is to share your content, the greater is its impact on your campaign. Make sure that you content can be easily shared via email and social networks.

Another important aspect of viral marketing is commenting. Commenting helps you connect with your target audience and as always, a personal touch goes a long way in making any content go viral.

Why Invest in an Inbound Marketing Strategy ???

Businesses have been relying on traditional outbound marketing strategies for too long. An average person is continuously being bombarded with thousands of advertisements, emails, telemarketing, and many other outbound marketing tools. As a result people have come up with numerous ways to either block out or ignore outbound marketing strategies.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is a new innovative marketing strategy used by online marketers to get across to the ‘tougher’ audiences. It focuses on the use of certain non traditional methods such as search marketing, content creation and social media marketing in order to attract visitors by addressing their interests. Inbound marketing can be easily monitored and attract high quality leads to boost sales.

Inbound marketing aims at creating marketing campaigns based on the consumer interests as opposed to traditional marketing strategies that aim at generating interest among consumers based on your campaigns.

Why not traditional marketing?

Traditional marketing involves the implementation of conventional marketing techniques such as email marketing, billboards and commercial advertisements. The conversion rate using traditional marketing techniques cannot be measured easily. Another huge disadvantage posed by traditional marketing strategies is its inability to target potential customers. As the ads are simply shown to a host of people, there is a good chance that your ads may go unnoticed or reach the wrong audience.

Why go inbound?

There is no doubting the fact that people are leading increasingly active online lives. We now rely more on Google, Yahoo or Bing to explore and get information about products.

So it is not surprising that marketers today are investing more money on advertising online. Inbound marketing is one way of reaching out to potential customers – it is a strategy where you try to be found when someone searches something related to you. It is much better than hurling an advertisement on somebody’s face. Marketers today are more interested in being found by their consumers and targeted prospects, rather than seeking out individuals who may not have a need for their products/services.

The internet is no longer a platform of monologues. Social media has transformed the internet into a platform for dialogue between businesses and customers. This is one of the main reasons to opt for inbound marketing rather than the traditional outbound marketing strategies. Inbound marketing helps marketers stumble upon customer interests and modify their marketing campaigns to cater to customer demands.

LinkedIn Marketing Strategy

LinkedIn Marketing has quickly gained center-stage as large numbers of businesses are realizing the value and potential that LinkedIn has to offer them. With a number of corporate and industry leaders, LinkedIn has gained prominence as one of the world’s largest social networks. In such a scenario, hesitation to cash in on the opportunity can cost your business valuable leverage when it comes to online marketing.

Brand awareness through LinkedIn

One of the most popular ways LinkedIn is being used is to generate brand awareness. In order to do this, first you need to establish your presence through a company page. You can then use this as a promoting machine where you can market, re-market, target and re-target your brand identity to people across the globe. You can also engage your audience and make sure that they keep returning to your content. When this happens, you will see that the customers will begin to associate your brand with your niche. This is possible because LinkedIn provides highly relevant content to an audience that is interested in your brand.

Advertising

Another popular marketing technique used mostly by B2B businesses is advertising on LinkedIn. Although the market for advertising on LinkedIn is still in its evolutionary stage, a large number of B2B businesses are leveraging it for job titles, and other marketing initiatives. Advertising on LinkedIn has been proven to be highly effective as it allows you to narrow your targets based on where your potential prospects are likely to spend most of their time on LinkedIn.