Earlier this week we brought you new information from Google that shows how the mobile web is increasing in size exponentially and is demanding the attention of lead gen companies. Not having a mobile lead generation strategy is no longer an option. Smartphones and tablets have helped push the mobile web into a robust experience for users, and it they’re providing great platforms to generate leads for your business. But where do you start on mobile if you haven’t tried it before?
1. Email Newsletter via Text Message
If you have an email newsletter, you know that the more subscribers you have, the better. And the best moment to sign those customers or clients up is when they’re most excited. If they have to wait and remember to sign up later, odds are they won’t at all.
Almost every mobile phone can now send text messages. Take advantage of that to increase email subscriptions. Here are a couple of things you’ll need to set up.
- A simple text-message autoresponder.
- A signup webpage, ideally one as mobile-friendly as possible.
Here’s how it will work: Ask people to text a particular word to a five-digit number. For example, suppose your company does sales training. In your marketing, advertising and presentations, invite people to text the word “SELL” to that five-digit number (called a shortcode because it’s shorter than the normal, full ten-digit phone number).
Many affordable services can handle the text messaging side for you, for instance, TextMarks. Try googling “text messaging marketing” or “SMS campaigns” to locate others.
When your customers text that keyword, they will immediately receive a pre-defined reply message that contains your website link and call-to-action. For example, “Click here to get free killer sales tips: http://example.com/newsletter.” Ideally, that link will lead to your mobile-friendly website.
That’s where step two comes in: Host a signup page that is easy to read and use on any mobile phone. For example, an iPhone page might look like the screenshot at left.
Notice that the text is easy to read without zooming in, doesn’t require a lot of typing (only two fields), and clearly communicates both the benefit and signup form above the fold.
These tips improve conversions, but aren’t essential. It’s also adequate to publish a very simple form, even if people need to zoom to use it. Just verify that it’s not too hard to fill out on either an iPhone or an Android phone — you can always improve the interface later.
2. Text Message Mailing List
Here’s a powerful twist. Instead of collecting email addresses, you can use SMS to collect your prospects’ phone numbers, and thus, their permission to get texts from you.
The advantages of SMS over email:
- Immediacy: A marketing email is, on average, opened about six hours after it’s sent. By contrast, some studies indicate that on average, a text message is read within four minutes of receipt.
- Near-perfect open rates: Email campaigns see open rates south of 20% on average, meaning the vast majority of marketing emails are never even read. But you can expect an open rate in excess of 95% for text messages. It doesn’t get much better than that.
SMS has another advantage specific to what you’re doing: Your signup rates will be higher. Mobile signup pages require confirmed opt-ins, for good reason. However, in the interim time it takes for people to log into their emails and confirm, those customers may have already changed their minds. On the other hand, text messages allow people to confirm immediately, in the moment they’re most ready to buy-in.
Your Text Messaging Campaign: The downside of SMS is pretty obvious: You can only do so much with 160 characters of plain text. It’s never going to approach what you can accomplish with rich, HTML email today. So you will have to weigh the tradeoffs based on your particular approach.
It’s likely you have more experience with email marketing than with text message marketing, simply because the latter is so new. Overall, remember to respect the more personal nature of the medium. If people hate email spam, imagine what can happen if you overdo texting. Be extra considerate of your subscribers, especially in the beginning, and you’ll do fine.
3. Using QR Codes
Your prospect points her phone camera at a QR code image like the one at left. Then she can choose whether to view the QR link in her phone’s browser, where it will direct her to your homepage. Try using your phone to scan the code at right, which will take you to Google’s homepage.
The potential here is that someone can load a webpage quickly and easily — even if it contains a long, complex tracking code no one in their right mind would type in. Making it easy for your prospects to take action can only increase conversions.
However, not everyone or every device is familiar with reading QR codes. In fact, most phones require an installed, third-party app before they can read a barcode at all. That will change: QR code awareness is growing extremely fast and most new smartphones will ship with their own readers by the end of 2012.
If you have an email list already, throw up a barcode that points to your (hopefully mobile-friendly) signup form. Search “QR code generator” to find free barcode services like Kaywa, for example
4. Mobile-Friendly Landing Pages
For many of the recommendations above, you’ll need to set up a webpage form usable on mobile phones. If your web designer doesn’t have experience making mobile webpages, suggest he use the mobile HTML5 boilerplate as a starting point. He can then insert the web signup form HTML just as he would in a regular webpage.
Of course, you want to check its effectiveness on real phones first. The tricky part here is testing on different phones; there are hundreds of different models in use. And it’s entirely possible to create a webpage that is easy to use on, say, an iPhone, but fails to translate on an Android phone, or vice versa.
In 2012, we recommend you make the landing page readable on iPhone, Android and at least the newer Blackberry devices. Instruct your web designer to put up the webpage, then visit a couple of phone stores to try it out in their demo devices.
If you need or prefer to set it up yourself, but aren’t enthusiastic about things like HTML and CSS, try using a mobile website builder service like Mofuse, Wapple or Atmio. This will also make it easy to create additional mobile landing pages for different purposes.
5. On Stage, Pick One Tactic and Measure It
If you’re giving a talk, you might be tempted to use all of these tactics in one presentation. A better approach is to experiment with these techniques in different presentations, and settle on the one that seems to pack the biggest punch. If you have an email list already, start by capitalizing on that. Then test which tactics lead to more signups.
If you already have a text message subscription campaign, try promoting it in your next talk. If you don’t, it’s worth considering. Text message marketing provides new opportunities for you and your business that are absent in email marketing.
Finally, try a brochure. By including a QR code and a SMS call-to-action, you’ll likely end up with a better response rate. Even so, I suggest you focus on one at a time. Once you have that on autopilot, add another. But always measure and test, so you can tell what’s worth your while.
[via Mobile Web Up]