Written on March 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm, by Steve Strauss
Where I hail from, up here in the Pacific Northwest, food carts are all the rage. In fact, CNN recently named Portland, Oregon as having the best street food in the world – better than that found in Bangkok, Singapore, or even Mexico.
But we are not alone. Getting great food from street carts is a growing trend throughout the country.
For example, and maybe not surprisingly, in Los Angeles the street cart culture has taken a decidedly mobile, Angelino twist: “Food trucks” (as they are called there) can be found all over the city, but usually they are not in the same place twice. So if you want to find, for instance, the great Kogi Korean Barbecue trucks, what do you do?
Follow Kogi on Twitter, that’s what. Every day, Kogi tweets where the trucks will be that day.
How smart is that? Not only does that strategy get people to follow Kogi, but it also engages their audience daily. Maybe best of all, it does this by tapping into the tool that most of us increasingly use most every day – the cell phone.
Consider this other example: When Dunkin Donuts wanted to increase the sales of lattes among high school and college kids, they got them to opt-in. The resulting text ad campaign increased sales by 21%.
The moral of the story is that mobile marketing is hot.
It makes sense of course, doesn’t it? The way people get their information has gone from wired computer desktops to wireless laptops to now small smartphones. So it should be no surprise that small businesses are getting in on the mobile marketing act. Whether it is a restaurant texting specials or a gym tweeting coupons, small businesses of all sorts are testing how mobile marketing can make them more money.
Here’s how you can join the party:
1. Analyze the audience: Although texting a special is an especially effective tool for reaching younger people, it is by no means exclusive to them. The key thing to keep in mind is that a successful text or tweet campaign will capture people’s attention while they are on the go, so dial into that.
2. Create a good list: There are basically two types of mobile text campaigns: Push and pull. A push campaign is one where you send unsolicited text messages to people who have not requested that you contact them. That’s spam, and that can be both annoying to recipients, and expensive for you.
A pull ad is where people opt-in and give you permission to text them. That’s the ticket.
The best way to create your opt-in list is simply by letting people know that if they sign up for your text campaign they will get exclusive offers that others won’t get. You can get the word out:
- In your store
- On your website
- Via email
- In your advertising
- On Facebook and via tweets
Simply say something like, “Sign up now for our text alerts and get 10% off on your next purchase.”
Creating your own opt-in list is far more effective than buying someone else’s stale list.
3. Choose the right service: There are inexpensive text message service providers and expensive ones with all the bells and whistles. As with most things, you get more when you are willing to pay a little more.
Another factor to consider is whether you want to have your own short code, i.e., “Text in Idol02 to vote for Adam Lambert.” You do this by applying for a short code.
Now, go create your campaign! Contests, polls, sweepstakes, discounts, coupons, games, and promotions work best.