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How Mobile Websites and Text Messaging Can Supercharge Your Franchise

By Dan Giacopelli 

Learn how mobile web sites and text messaging can provide franchisees great sales opportunities. The rapid increase in the use of “smart” cell phones, will provide people with a mini-PC that can be used almost anywhere.

There are now more mobile phones in the United States than computers and TVs combined.  Think about that for a moment, then step back and consider how you’re investing your marketing dollars. 

You probably have a great website for your business.  You might run newspaper, radio, and television ads, or perhaps write a weekly email newsletter or blog.  You probably do couponing via a number of distribution channels. You may even have a Facebook page or Twitter account.  These are all fantastic and worthwhile components of a successful franchise’s overall marketing strategy.  Yet it’s likely that you’re ignoring the newest, most effective and fastest growing marketing channel out there: your customers’ mobile phones.

With over 95% of all new phones purchased today having internet capabilities and with sales of models such as BlackBerry,  iPhone, and Android skyrocketing, your customers are increasingly using these devices as their anytime, anywhere go-to way to browse the web, look up important information, and interact with their favorite stores and brands. 

So ask yourself this: If my customers are mobile, why isn’t my franchise?  Here are two innovative and revenue-boosting ways you can use “mobile marketing” to communicate with your existing customers, attract new ones, and supercharge your franchise’s revenue.

1. Get a mobile website!

Imagine you’re on a business trip in a new city and after a long, hot day you have a sudden urge for some vanilla ice cream.  Taking out your phone, you do a quick Google search for the best local spots.  You discover that your favorite franchise, Pete’s Famous Ice Cream, is in town, and you quickly click on the link to get directions.  You end up staring at Pete’s website, which on your phone appears to be a tiny, oddly formatted, unreadable jumble of text, links, Flash video, and images.  Frustrated, you give up and get some pizza from across the street.

This happens much more often than you think.  Browsing a normal website on a phone is a very unsatisfying experience.  This is simply because normal websites are designed to be viewed on a computer, not a phone.  Luckily, mobile websites are designed to do just that.  A good mobile web designer takes the most important content from a franchise’s normal website and formats it to be highly navigable, attractive, and readable on any mobile phone.  Then, whenever a customer visits your normal website on their phone, they’ll be redirected seamlessly to the mobile version and have a great browsing experience.

Mobile websites for franchises may be designed with a variety of useful features – all designed to encourage the consumer to make a purchase – including the ability to find the nearest store, browse products and services, view menus, find important contact information, and even have the ability to place orders straight from a mobile phone.

2. Engage your customers with text messaging

Study after study confirms that text messaging easily tops phone calls and email as the most popular communication method around.  Just look at the numbers.  The Nielsen Company, a consumer research leader, states that mobile phone users ages 18-24 send or receive an average of 790 monthly text messages, while those in high school (ages 13-17) send or receive a whopping 1742!  And it’s not just for kids, either.  The numbers for consumers into their mid-50s are nearly 130 text messages a month.

It’s easy to see how this exciting new marketing medium may be used to supercharge your business.  The right mobile marketing partner can create a highly effective and affordable text messaging campaign to send product alerts, sale reminders, and special offers to your customers, as well as perform surveys, run sweepstakes and contests, and even create a mobile loyalty club to keep them coming back for more.  Plus, since commercial text messaging is 100% permission based – meaning that your customers must specifically ask to receive your messages – you are ensured that your mobile campaign subscribers are dedicated to your brand.  Marketing doesn’t get better than that.

Mobile isn’t just a passing fad; it’s here to stay and becomes an increasingly important part of our lives with each passing day.  Many franchises are already using mobile very profitably. Those who aren’t must take advantage of this opportunity, now, or risk being left behind.

Dan Giacopelli is the founder and CEO of Skoop! Inc. (www.skoop.com), a leading provider of mobile marketing solutions.  He can be reached for questions and inquiries at dan.giacopelli@skoop.com or (631) 940-4052.

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