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Mobilized: Get Your Home Business Cell-Phone Ready
Gearing Up for the Coming Wave of Cell Phone Shoppers
By Joe Dysart
While businesses have long eyed the cell phone as a new revenue stream, recent market developments indicate the technology is finally beginning to deliver on its promise. By 2013, more than two billion consumers worldwide are expected to have made a purchase using their mobile, according to market research firm Juniper ( http://www.juniperresearch.com ). Plus, more than 20% of all businesses worldwide are already offering customers some way to make purchases or order services via cell phone, according to Juniper.
Specifically, many of these businesses are offering “cell-phone-friendly” versions of their web sites, light-weight alternatives that are specially designed to download more quickly to the relatively tiny cell phone screen. Other businesses are bypassing the Web altogether by texting their sales offers and other messages directly to customers’ cell phones, and enabling them to respond — and purchase — in kind.
“Americans are hooked on their cell phones,” says Glen Chancy, chief information officer at CorFun ( http://www.corfun.com ), an e-services and marketing firm. “When you leave the house in the morning, what are the two things you always make sure you have? For most people, the answer is — keys and cell phone. If you want to reach people, texting them on their cell phone is the fastest, surest way to do it.”
Derek Brown, CEO of WebXposure.com ( http://www.webexposure.com ), a Web marketing firm, agrees. “Text messaging is the new wave in marketing,” he says, adding that one of the most powerful components of the advertising form is that it is saved — people tend to save their text messages in their cell phones until the messages are actually viewed.
Texting Your Way to Sales
For entrepreneurs of all stripes, probably the easiest and quickest way to connect with the coming wave of cell phone shoppers is to leverage the text messaging side of cell phone marketing. Businesses already engaging in text-message marketing, for example, regularly text-message established customers with news of private sales, special offers, coupons, and one-time clearance events. Others goose sales by alerting customers about coming price hikes.
And some are even using text messaging to enhance the service side of their business, such as alerting customers that a product that they’ve ordered has arrived, or forwarding along product delivery information from carriers like FedEx, UPS, or USPS. Still other businesses are mixing text-messaging advertising with more traditional forms in print, radio, TV, and Web. Such ads often feature a text message code that customers and potential customers can send to a business for more information about a product or service, or to initiate a purchase.
In each case, these businesses are building these text-messaging lists the same way they built their email marketing lists in the past —offering an incentive in e...