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Yearly Archives: 2009

No one can deny the popularity of the iPhone. Everyone’s had the experience of being at a gathering or party recently when a friend or co-worker has pulled out their iPhone just to demonstrate new functionality or the latest downloaded app. Its user-friendliness and sleek, sexy look are second-to-none. iPhone apps even have their own distribution channel built in, adding to a top-notch user experience. This next generation device is certainly an industry leader that is ahead of its time. But at Opt It, we’re concerned that the iPhone might not be the most effective venue for your mobile marketing campaign. Here’s why:

Currently in the U.S., 87 percent of the population has some sort of mobile device. Of that percentage, only 2.4 percent own an iPhone, limiting the reach of any business looking to establish a mobile marketing campaign. In terms of text message marketing campaigns specifically, texting can reach a whopping 98 percent of cell phone users, making it a very powerful marketing tool. When it comes to getting your important message to the largest audience, text messaging is the most successful tool available.

iPhone Applications Advantages

  • Next generation device securing its place as an industry leader.
  • Slick user interface design allowing for ease-of-use.
  • iPhone features allow applications to have a very unique user experience.
  • Apple has deployed a built in distribution channel for iPhone applications.

Text message marketing advantages

  • Text messages can reach 98% of cell phones in the U.S., which is 88% of the total U.S. population – only 2.4% of U.S. mobile phone users have an iPhone.
  • Text messaging is enabled on all phones bought today – no applications to download.
  • It is supported on all carriers – iPhone is only supported on AT&T (12% of AT&T subscribers have an iPhone).
  • Deployments on shared short codes can be immediate – no waiting for an application to get approved and loaded into the distribution channel.

Here’s the bottom line: when it comes to user experience and next generation devices, we here at Opt It love the iPhone. But for businesses looking to launch a mobile marketing campaign, text messaging is the most effective and immediate way to reach your audience, hands down.

When planning for the launch of your mobile marketing surge, the question of whether to use a shared or dedicated short code for your business is bound to come up. Your short code, the significantly shorter telephone number you’ll obtain and give to customers to use to address SMS messages from their mobile phones, is an important piece of the mobile marketing picture. Consider the following when selecting the code type that makes most sense for your business. If you are unfamiliar with short codes or keywords, please read this short piece describing SHORT CODES and KEYWORDS.

Shared short codes are used across multiple businesses and campaigns. Keyword(s) are assigned to specific clients for executing mobile marketing campaigns. Dedicated short codes are leased and assigned to one business or entity. The business has full control of creating campaigns and keywords and all traffic is routed to that individual client. Dedicated short codes allow you to lease a short code that matches your brand.

As you might imagine, shared and dedicated codes are very different from each other and deciding between them requires careful thought. Take look at how the two types compare on key points of interest:

    Shared codes are more cost effective; they allow you to share the costs of the short code leasing, carrier connectivity and software to run campaigns. Messaging itself is still charged on a usage basis. Dedicated codes are more expensive; businesses pay for total control of all message flows and branding. Total cost for dedicated codes include the short code lease ($500 to $1000 per month), carrier connectivity, campaign software and messaging costs.
    Availability of Keyword
    Keywords must be unique per shared code. If multiple businesses want the same code, only one will actually receive it. Dedicated codes come with the ability to have unlimited keywords on short codes and full control of how they act.
    Since many companies with shared code will use a code that belongs to others, businesses run the risk of being associated to other brands that advertise more. This is completely averted with dedicated code, where a business is the sole owner of the code. With that total control, dedicated code owners are able to brand their mobile number into customers’ minds just like the service or product they’re selling.
    While a shared code can be up and running with minimal wait time, typically in a day, a dedicated code takes much longer, 8 to 12 weeks or more.

If you’re on the fence regarding shared or dedicated code, think about your business goals. Is time of the essence? If so, businesses who want to enter the text messaging arena quickly and with minimal cost will likely move forward with a shared code. Those businesses keen on building their brand are typically happier waiting for a dedicated code as well as incurring the higher associated fees.

Opt It’s new age gate feature allows customers to add a message or gate into their message flow that requires the end user to text back their date of birth in order to proceed. This feature is ideal for liquor or beer companies that must verify a user’s age in order to send special offers and promotions or to permit contest participation. Controlling entrance to specific groups allows businesses to meet all laws and requirements for age verification.

Here’s how the Opt It Mobile age gate feature works:

  • In an attempt to join your specific group, the user texts in any keyword, for example: LIQOUR.
  • The user will then receive a message stating, “You must be 21 to join this program – reply with your date of birth in the format DDMMYYYY to join.”
  • The user responds via text “01181974″.
  • The user receives a message back stating that they have successfully joined the LIQOUR group.

Many Opt It clients have had great success with this age gate feature, such as Corona, who has launched campaigns such as contests, targeted event reminders and discounted offers around Cinco de Mayo, as well as the Kenny Chesney summer concert tour. Budweiser currently uses the age gate feature to ensure valid entry into many summer contests and promotions.

Contact your account manager regarding how you can apply the age gate feature to your business needs. Keep in mind that this feature is not available in your account by default, so talk with your account manager for more information.

With Opt It Mobile’s expanded contest features, users can create and manage their own contests. Opt It Mobile users are able to establish a contest by simply entering start and end dates and times for their upcoming event. They may fine tune contests by controlling the number of times a customer joins; allowing for unlimited contest entries per customer, or a specific number of entries per contest, hour, day, week or month.

The Opt It Mobile contest feature also allows for manual or automated winner selection – for example, winners can be chosen to be the “xth” entry, first “x” people or every “xth” person. The number of winners may also be capped to lower your risk.

All contest entries are integrated into Opt It Mobile’s upgraded reporting system, so business owners can see real-time results of their ongoing contests.

Consider how our upgraded contest features can work for you to drive business through your door.

According to some recent reports, the economy may be showing the beginning signs of an upturn. For folks in the retail industry, this is great news. Adding mobile marketing to your retail business plan now is a powerful way to set your business apart as the economy moves forward. This low cost and extremely effective use of text messaging can drive business through the door during slow times and raise business to new levels as things turn around. Consider how adding Opt It Mobile can bring big advantages to you and your customers with ease.

As a retailer, it can be difficult to connect with your customers during tough economic times. With mobile marketing via Opt It Mobile, you’ll have the ability to communicate directly with customers that have given you permission to do so. With immediate release of information regarding limited time offers, specials on expiring inventory or new product and sales alerts, you’ll boost sales no matter what the economy is doing. Opt It Mobile offers features that allow business owners to track redemption on special offers and promotions. This instant customer connection allows you to increase incremental revenue, while reducing promotional costs and earning a higher return on investment.

We know this all sounds great, but how will it work? How can you put Opt It Mobile and mobile marketing to work for you? Our customers in the retail industry utilize Opt It features in a myriad of ways, such as contests, coupons for limited time offers and announcements and reminders for promotions and events. Targeted messages or value added alerts with lifestyle type content, based on the individual interests of your customers, can be sent directly and instantly. For instance, a running store might send alerts regarding stretching before and after runs, a hair salon could text information on managing hair in humid weather or a grocery store might send the latest news on healthy food choices. What’s more, retailers can use the Opt It Mobile platform to obtain customer feedback through text messaging.

In addition to the business advantages of mobile marketing, there are many benefits for your customers as well. Always privy to the latest promotions and special offers, your customers are ‘in the know’ when it comes to your business. Belonging to your VIP club gives them a sense of membership in your business’ community and ensures that they are getting special deals not offered to the general public. They’re also able to receive your information on the channel they prefer – their mobile device – eliminating the need to search for deals or clip coupons. They have everything they need to know about your business right at their fingertips.

Harness the power of mobile marketing with Opt It Mobile and add it to your retail business’ action plan. Your customers with thank you again and again.