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Category: ENTREPRENEURSHIP, Marketing and Advertising


Two effective applications of mobile marketing for small businesses
Written by Rowan Govender
1 October 2012

Mobile Marketing is communicating with a consumer through a cellphone to send a simple marketing message, introduce them to a new audience participation-based campaign or to allow them to visit a mobile website. The mobile phone market has exploded in recent years, giving many people access to technology that was previously only accessible on a PC. While many smartphones and even standard phones provide people with access to internet services, there are many people for whom internet access is too expensive, or is simply not an option.


The SMS option

You can use text messages, or SMS (Short Message Service), in order to reach these people. SMS, despite its age, is still an incredibly popular communication tool. SMS is popular because of its speed, reliability and low cost. This is particularly important in South Africa, where an SMS can reach people in rural or less developed areas. Despite the fact that e-commerce is growing with marketing emails being particularly  popular, text messages are generally read faster, compared to emails which can go unread for days in an inbox. Communicating on the mobile device is also much more personal than communicating via email. People are often more willing to give their email addresses, as opposed to their phone numbers.

As a business owner, how can you use the advantages of SMS to help grow your business?

You can use an SMS to notify clients or potential customers about many different things related to your company, including competitions, coupons, special offers, new products or changes to your service. Thousands of messages about your product or service can be sent virtually instantly using bulk SMS. Many companies, such as SMS Portal and (Grapevine Interactive), offer bulk SMS services at extremely competitive rates.

A bulk SMS service can also be set up so that you can receive SMS' from the people you've contacted. For example, you can send a SMS that allows the person you've contacted to request more information, or the option to sign up for your service or order your product. Once they've replied to you via SMS, you can proceed with their requested option.

 

SMS can also be used to contact a company directly. Many businesses offer an SMS service where someone simply has to SMS the company, and the company will call them back. This adds incentive for a potential client, or helps maintain good will with an existing client, as they don't have to cover the costs for a potentially expensive mobile phone call. For example, if a potential client sees an advertisement in the newspaper but happens to be low on airtime, they can send a SMS to a contact number provided on the ad so that you can get back to them.

Careful planning is required before launching a SMS campaign. It is important to ensure that you are not labeled as a spammer by having relevant content and only communicating with consumers who have agreed to be on your contact list.


Using 2D barcodes

2D barcodes, or QR codes, are another great tool for mobile marketing. A QR, or Quick Response, code was first used by the automotive industry. It soon became adopted by other industries due to the fact that it could be read quickly and was able to store more data than a regular barcode.

A QR code can be used on business cards, buses, magazines and many other communication mediums. Any user with a mobile device, such as an Android or iPhone, can use their smartphone to take a picture of the QR code. The information in the code, whether it's a URL, phone number, text message, or any other business information, will then be accessible.

There are a variety of ways a business owner can use QR codes. You can place them in advertisements, business cards, or even t-shirts! The only thing you have to worry about when using a QR code is that it can be clearly read by the code scanner.


The sweech QR code utility

The sweech online marketing and business directory adopts the QR code technology in an innovative way. Each business profile comes with a unique QR code which can be scanned using any smart phone. This action automatically bookmarks the business’s full contact details, website and social network links in the mobile phone,  effectively giving the user quick and easy access to all business information. The sweech platform also facilitates business leads and interactive communication between registered users at the click of a button.

For more information about the sweech QR utility visit www.sweech.co.za , or scan the barcode on this article. Register your business to generate a unique QR code. This code can be added to other marketing material to give potential clients different avenues to access your service and products while providing an opportunity to integrate a single database with other communication channels.

 


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