Websites. Pay Per Click. SEO. Social Media. What's the next step? If you're reading this, you've probably already guessed that it is Mobile Marketing.
What exactly is mobile marketing? One definition is that it is "a form of marketing that uses SMS or MMS to deliver a specific promotion to mobile phones or other mobile devices." You're probably already familiar with SMS, which stands for Short Message Service. SMS is the basic text communication service of your cell phone or mobile device. MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service and is a more rich version of SMS since it allows your mobile device to send and receive images, audio,or video.
You've likely already been exposed to some form of mobile marketing, or perhaps you've voted for your favorite contestant on American Idol through your cell phone. In either case, you may recall that a you were required to text a phrase, e.g. "join" or "vote", to a special telephone number that was significantly shorter than regular phone numbers. This special telephone number is known as a Short Code, which is where you addressed your SMS or MMS message to. The texted phrase is known as a keyword (similar to search engine marketing terminology).
What makes mobile marketing effective? Simply, the reach of mobile marketing is significantly larger and more immediate than traditional internet marketing and search engine marketing. For example, 95% of text messages are opened and read. Further, emails are typically only read within 48 hours on average, while text messages are opened and read within 4 minutes. Today there are approximately 276 million Americans using mobile phones. Worldwide mobile reach is 4.8 billion, while worldwide internet reach is a "mere" 1.7 billion, with almost 5 times more mobile devices than there are computers. The numbers speak for themselves, mobile marketing's reach is immense, which explains why 89% of major brands are currently planning or are already engaged in marketing via mobile phones.
As of August 2010, 38% of US mobile phone users were "very comfortable" with mobile advertising and feel that it "serves an important purpose" as opposed to 12%, who are "not comfortable at all" and feel that it is "intrusive" (source: InMobi and comScore, Inc.) Undoubtedly, these statistics will shift over time as mobile marketing continues to penetrate the market and our society as a whole. However, if you're looking to "take the next big step" in digital marketing, then start a mobile marketing campaign.
Four years ago, an exciting new form of internet marketing called social media started to take shape. Ten years ago, search engine optimization was in its infancy. Keep in mind - mobile marketing today is where SEO and social media were in these respective timeframes.