How can text messaging (SMS) and mobile web sites be a powerful mobile marketing combination? Let’s start off with the basics:
Text Message Marketing
This is when you use a 5 or 6 digit shortcode to create an interaction between your organization and your audience. The user will be instructed to text a keyword to a shortcode to start the interaction (sign up for the mobile club, enter to win, vote for something, etc.). Anytime someone sends a text message to your system their number is stored in your database. Assuming you have notified your users they are opting-in for future text messages you can use this database to send more messages later.
Pro: SMS is great because it’s cost-effective and it works on nearly every phone active in the US. Nearly every mobile user knows how to send a text message. Also, like email, it’s a direct marketing channel. The bigger your database grows the more traffic and sales it can drive.
Con: SMS is limiting because you can only use 160 how to find hidden text messages on phone characters per message. It’s made for short, sweet, and to-the-point messages. It’s hardly a rich multimedia experience.
Mobile Web Sites
These are the cost-effective, widely-accepted, work-on-most-phones, “cousin” of apps. You build them to better reach your mobile audience with trimmed down pages, store locators, mobile-specific features, etc. Because one mobile web site can work on any HTML-capable phone. You don’t need to build an iPhone version, then an Android version, then a BlackBerry (OK, you get the idea).
Pro: Mobile web sites are great because they’re also budget-friendly to build and maintain. In most cases they are just your main web site on a very strict diet. When your users load your main web site on their phone they can be automatically redirected to the streamlined mobile version. This lets you create a specific mobile experience for your audience without asking them to download another app.
Con: Mobile web sites can be disappointing because unless you have a large number of users searching for you on their mobile phone, the mobile site may sit there with very little traffic. Also you may sit there wondering how to promote it. You could try putting the mobile web address on signs and advertisements, but nobody likes to punch URLs into their mobile phone. You could try putting QR codes everywhere, but there’s a better way that appeals to a much bigger audience.