Mobile Marketing: Evolution & Future for Small Business

As far as industries go, advertising is one of the most adaptive and resilient.

When you think about it, we are exposed to hundreds (if not thousands) of ads every day, from billboards to TV commercials to banner ads on our desktops.

No matter where we look, it seems like someone is trying to sell us something.

With technology continuing to improve, this trend will only get bigger as evidenced by the fact that mobile marketing is becoming a huge business.

Since most of us are glued to our phones and mobile devices, it makes sense that advertisers would take advantage of that trend.

But how did we get here?

What does the future hold?

Just as the industry adapted from radio to television to computers, mobile devices seem like the road to riches.

To better understand the state of mobile marketing today, let’s turn the clock back and see what led us to this point. (Article continues below)

The Future of Mobile Marketing

The Facts About Mobile Marketing

So just how big is mobile marketing these days?

Well, if you ask advertisers, they will tell you that it is huge.

In 2016, mobile ads accounted for over $22 billion in spending, which is double what it was back in 2012.

Social media giant Facebook has seen an even bigger surge, as mobile ads only accounted for about 11 percent of the total revenue by the site back in 2012.

Today, those same ads cover almost half (45 percent) of Facebook’s marketing revenue.

In fact, things are looking so good for advertisers with mobile marketing that it is the one arena where they are seeing net positive results.

As television and print media go the way of the dodo, marketing has jumped on the mobile train and it shows no signs of slowing down.

In fact, here are some stats to back up these claims.

  • 57 percent of smartphone users have expressed interest in subscribing to an SMS marketing campaign
  • Of those who do sign up, less than 5 percent opt out
  • 90 percent of users who have subscribed to an SMS campaign have said that it provided value to them
  • SMS coupons are 10 times more likely to be redeemed than any physical ones

Now that we’ve seen where we are now, let’s take a look at the long road it took to get here.

And by long we mean short as it only took just over a decade for mobile marketing to dominate the landscape.

Mobile Marketing Timeline

SMS Messaging

To understand how mobile marketing has evolved, we have first to understand the thing that started it all: the humble text.

Short messaging services (SMS) were first created in the early 1990s as a way to send greetings to one another.

Within a few years, advertisers saw the opportunity of a lifetime.

As SMS grew and started to replace calling, it was inevitable that marketing would jump on board and take full advantage of this new communication revolution.

So, if you’re wondering what spawned mobile advertising, this is it.

2000 – SMS Becomes a Thing

Although text messaging had become sort-of mainstream by the late 1990s, it was still a new and novel concept.

The idea of texting someone rather than calling them was seen as silly and unnecessary, but that didn’t stop businesses and advertisers from realizing the potential.

While people at this time still preferred to call each other rather than chat, texting was seen as an unobtrusive way to share an ad with someone.

The first major SMS campaign came from Finland when a mobile news service started texting headlines to its subscribers.

2003 – SMS Becomes Worldwide

Do you remember having a Nokia cell phone?

Of course you do because everyone did at the time.

Even though the features and benefits of having a mobile phone were limited, customers used texting the most.

At this point, all the main carriers utilized SMS messaging and allowed texts to go to phones from other providers.

As a result, texting soon exploded and started to take over as the number one way to communicate with one another.

Now, instead of having awkward silence between sentences, you could text your thoughts and feelings to one another very quickly.

You never have to worry about knowing when a lull in the conversation meant that you should hang up or just wait for the other person to start talking.

Introverts everywhere rejoiced.

2005 – Nike Mobile Ad

With the widespread usage of SMS messaging, advertisers started playing around with different methods of reaching new customers.

Around this time, shortcodes were invented.

Shortcodes allowed texts to be sent and received from numbers that were shorter than standard 10-digit phone numbers.

This made it easier for businesses to send texts while still being able to receive calls.

Then, in 2005, Nike became the first significant company to utilize this new method of reaching customers.

Users could text a number to create a custom-made shoe.

The marketing campaign was a hit, and it proved the viability of SMS advertising as a means to reach new audiences.

It is also around this time that a new landmark was established that would signify an enormous shift in communications overall.

More text messages were sent than phone calls.

2007 – iPhone Release

While smartphones were already around, they wouldn’t become super mainstream until Apple unveiled the iPhone.

Now, users could do so much more with their mobile devices than ever before.

Prior to this point, doing anything extra on your phone meant that you had to deal with unreliable web services which were clunky and hard to use.

As a result, smartphones never really caught on at this time.

Another issue that plagued early smartphones was the fact that advertisers were still creating ads on the computer and then resizing them to fit mobile devices.

However, this resulted in annoying advertisements that were more of a hassle than anything else.

This prompted advertisers to try a bold new approach, which was to create ads exclusively for smartphones.

In this year, a new milestone was reached as 2.7 billion people were now using SMS messaging as a means of communication.

2008 – App Store

Although the iPhone was already popular with consumers, what propelled it to new heights was the introduction of the app store.

Now, instead of having to use the internet to do things and access new features, you could download an app that was targeted for a particular purpose.

With apps becoming overwhelmingly popular overnight, advertisers and marketers quickly shifted focus to make advertisements and campaigns that would utilize apps instead of traditional browsing methods.

2010 – QR Codes

It’s kind of hard to believe now, but at the time QR codes were a dominant force in the mobile marketing landscape.

Users could now scan a code and then be taken to anything that the advertiser wanted, whether it was a website, a landing page or a coupon.

While QR codes were all over the place for a couple of years, they were doomed to failure.

The fact that you had to download an app to scan them, coupled with the fact that no one could really figure out what to do with them, meant that they became extinct almost as quickly as they came.

2012 – Facebook Slump

Although the social media site was certainly riding high during this time, many of its users started to use the service on mobile devices and advertisers were having a hard time catching up.

During this period, mobile ads accounted for only 11 percent of all marketing revenue.

Fortunately, tablet computers started to take off at this time, and more users were switching to smartphones every day.

That meant Facebook could focus more attention on “mobile first” ads, which would help bring the company out of its revenue stagnation.

2013 – Mobile Payments

As smartphones and mobile devices were becoming more prevalent, so were users’ expectations of what the devices could do.

At this point, mobile payment options started to be introduced around the world with huge success.

Now consumers could pay for good and services via their mobile device rather than using physical forms of payment.

While mobile payments had yet to become widespread in certain parts of the world (such as the United States), that didn’t stopped developers from moving forward with new advancements in security and connectivity.

Apple Pay and Google Wallet were trying to expand their markets and make mobile payments the next big thing in 2013.

2016 – Mobile Marketing Spending Climbs

As of last year, advertisers and businesses spent over $22 billion on mobile marketing.

Back in 2012, that number was just over $11 billion.

As smartphones and tablets become ubiquitous, advertisers reaped the rewards of a more connected global landscape.

Tweet about mobile marketing

 

The Future of Mobile Marketing

So what can we expect in the next few years?

Where will we be by the year 2020?

What about the year 2050?

Here is what the experts are saying.

Brand Loyalty

When you think about the biggest companies today, you imagine powerhouses like Amazon, Netflix, Google and Apple.

But why are these brands so huge?

Doesn’t the free market mean more competition?

While that may have been true years ago, that doesn’t seem to be the case today.

Now, consumers are becoming more and more loyal to a few key brands.

What’s the main reason behind this trend?

Consumers can get an inclusive and valuable experience in addition to having better service and features than the competition.

In the future, this loyalty will only become more fervent towards businesses that reward customers.

Niche Interactions

Remember MySpace?

For a few short years, the social media giant was everywhere, and everyone wanted a taste of it.

Then Facebook came along and torpedoed MySpace’s ambitions, and Facebook quickly became the go-to app for anyone who wanted to connect with their peers online.

However, that all is about to change.

As more apps are developed, users will become more and more isolated as they flock to platforms that meet their specific needs.

While Facebook is a great place for everyone, that’s also the reason that people are starting to move away from it.

Simply put, having your mom be friends with you on FB is a total drag, so why not go to a different social media platform that she’s never heard of?

This trend will only continue into the future, meaning that there will be more social options than ever before.

E-Commerce

As we mentioned, mobile payment platforms are slowly but surely becoming more common.

In the future, this trend will only continue upward, meaning that we could be looking at a world where paper money is all but obsolete.

While there will still be plenty of industries that deal with hard currency, most consumers will not ever have to deal with depositing cash into an ATM.

While it can be scary to think about all money becoming digitized, it does make things a lot easier for the user.

Since mobile banking is becoming more popular and more integrated, there is no turning back at this point.

Seamless Integration

We’re already starting to see this in action with Google, but the future will be all about having one account for all of our online activity.

That means that we won’t have to memorize a dozen new passwords or account names, instead using a single login to access everything we want.

Google is by far the best at this right now with the integration of Gmail, Maps, and YouTube.

Soon, other brands will follow suit, and everyone will eventually have one company in charge of their entire online persona.

This is another place where brand loyalty will come into play, as users will flock to companies that can make integration more convenient overall.

Uberization

Whether you love or hate the concept of Uber, you have to admit that it changed the mobile landscape forever.

The way we buy products is slowly starting to change, as millennials and younger generations see the damage done by rampant consumerism.

Instead, the future will introduce a wave of “share economy” based applications and services, where you no longer buy something, but rather rent it for a certain amount of time.

While the implications of this can be staggering (giving more power to owners rather than renters), we are seeing this take shape already.

Apps like Airbnb and Uber are showing people that you don’t have to own everything to get to where you want to go.

The next step will be sharing products and experiences, thereby instituting a pseudo-barter society.

While it’s impossible to know exactly what the future holds, it’s clear that mobile marketing and devices will be a major part of whatever comes our way.

Give the Mobile Revolution a Go

SMS Marketing is an easy way to get involved in the mobile marketing revolution. Sign-up for you free test account and explore what mobile marketing has in store for you.

 

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SMS marketing in the Church

 

Keeping in touch is easier than ever before with text messaging.

Many companies use text messages to spread the word about special events, promotions and any changes in operating hours.  

Since text messaging doesn’t cost too much, thousands of businesses send updates and text alerts for pennies.  

Churches have now realised that they can also use SMS messages to, so to speak, spread the word.

Whether it’s a friendly reminder of an event or a daily message to start the day, churches are looking at how text messaging reaches their congregation easily, quickly and effectively.  

This list shows 10 ways churches spread their word in the technological world.

“The text alerts allow us to send out short, immediate information about needs in our congregation, remind people of upcoming events, and generally stay better connected” – Rodney Veldhuizen of Riverview Reformed Church

 

Stay better connected

 

SMS Marketing Cuts Costs

Text messages aren’t expensive to send, even if it is to a whole congregation.

The cost of text messaging is a fraction of the cost of printing flyers and other paper items.

Not only do you save on printing costs, information is more likely to be spread.

It takes a few minutes to send and receive a text message, whereas it can cost more time and money to print off an announcement.

Here are some examples of how churches save money using text messages:

  • Group message dispersed to all members: “Don’t forget about Friday night’s potluck!”, instead of flyers reducing paper waste.
  • Group messages back to sender: “We will be there!”, instead of phone calls, thereby reducing time spent on the phone.

Reach More People

“We are much more connected, I find the immediacy of the text a much more effective tool than I have ever had before and I get immediate responses where before it would take days or weeks.” – Rodney Veldhuizen of Riverview Reformed Church

 

Immediate Response

 

As more and more people rely on mobile devices, it’s easier to reach out to people than ever before.

No matter if you’re used to calling people or handing out flyers, you can reach more people much faster compared to traditional communication methods.

You also have the option of reaching out to people as individuals or getting to members through a group.

It’s nearly impossible for people to disappear completely, and using text messages are the best way to communicate with a large group of people at the same time.

Sending out newsletters or inspirational quotes is easier to send to a whole group of people at once, rather than a single message at a time, and bulk messaging allows you to do that without much effort.

Sending invitations out to whole groups of people is a popular way to reach out.

Appointment reminders can be sent to people individually or in a whole group.

Auto Messaging

When you’re trying to get your message to your whole congregation it takes a lot of steps unless you have automated messaging.

It’s practical for those who want to set a message for an anniversary date or birthday.

Set up groups to receive the text messages so your church can send out personalized text messages to families, youth groups, kids and adults.

Set criteria for automated messages, such as a christening, birthday, holiday or special event, to create specific messages for certain groups.

This also frees up more time for those in the church to plan and organize events.

Set up personalized text messages for those who have an anniversary with the church or send out birthday wishes.

Create different groups to ensure that everyone in the group gets the right text message sent to them.

Receive Feedback

Using text messages to get feedback is an excellent tool for those that need some more information.

Whether it’s regarding a sermon, choices of songs or a survey about an event, getting crucial feedback can help any church improve its services to a congregation.

Feedback allows people in the church to get involved and gives them a way to voice their opinions.

When you open the lines of communication to get people’s ideas and answers their questions, they feel like they’re part of the church.

Getting people involved allows them to feel important and relevant within the church community.

Getting feedback is important for any church, especially when it comes to important events that need some more direction.

Using text messaging surveys to have an idea of what people think of the sermon.

Asking for feedback on an upcoming event to see what else could be a part of the event.

Subscription List

One of the main goals of many businesses revolves around growing a subscription list, and churches are no exception.

Creating a subscription list allows people to sign up for text messaging notifications.

Not only can you have current members sign up, they can refer their friends to the church.

This allows new members to see how the church fits their lifestyle and whether they want to attend services on a regular basis. Subscriptions are an excellent solution for those that want to expand their message to new people, and getting them involved with a subscription is an excellent way to do it.

Churches can accommodate anyone on their subscription list.

This allows people to have more access to the church’s activities.

New members begin to understand what goes on inside the church.

Use Text Messaging for Live Polls

A live poll is an excellent way to gauge how people are responding to the sermon in real time.

Consider an interactive sermon where congregants ask questions about concepts presented during the talk.

The pastor responds to questions quickly.

Again, this makes congregants feel as if they are a part of the community and a part of the service.

Interactivity allows them to join in and feel like they’re contributing to the conversation, rather than sitting in their chair.

There are different ways to manage the text messages that come pouring in during the sermon to prevent any unwanted interruptions.

There should be some training and rehearsals conducted before the live texting sermon, otherwise the timing and too much information can stall a sermon.

Surveys allow people to ask questions during the sermon, either to the speaker or another individual.

This gives people a chance to be included during the sermon.

Collect Information

Everyone wants to be kept in the loop, and churches can use text messaging to send out prayers and condolences to those going through some tough times.

Text messages allow the church to work with people, and asking simple questions will help get the answers they need.

Congregants won’t have to go in or call in during their busy schedule to make a special request.

Messaging is quick, and any information the church needs can be handled with a simple text message.

It’s ideal for getting people together to help out in any way they can.

Using text messages to send out condolences or prayers.

Collect information via survey through the text messaging system.

Use Text Messaging for Emergencies

During emergencies, text messages can help out a lot of people.

If any weather catastrophe, fire or accident happens, a message sent out by the church can help guide people to safety.

This is especially important in rural communities where landlines may be few and far between, and cellphone service may be spotty.

Using text messages during an emergency allows the church to spread out the safety information to those in the congregation to keep people safe.

It’s a practical idea for those that may not have the best cell phone service in their area.

Send updates about severe weather.

Spread information about disease outbreaks in rural countries.

Church Updates

No matter if the church is under construction or an event is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, there are many reasons to send out text messages.

Sending out updates help people avoid the hassle of coming to an event that is no longer on the schedule if they have a heads up before the appointed time.

Giving your congregation the information they need beforehand will save a lot of time, effort and headaches.

No matter how small it is, congregants appreciate it when the church reaches out and lets the congregation know about any schedule changes.

Try sending out messages about a single service being cancelled.

Let people know about any construction or remodelling.

Improve Marketing for the Church

Getting your church’s name out to more people is an ideal situation if you want to have more people attend your services.

People can learn more about the church if they see more content from the church.

Placing a link to the church in a text message allows people to click on the link and go straight to the website.

This is practical marketing that is easy to do, and doesn’t take too much time to set up.

Churches should market their events and upcoming sermons to have more people attend.

It’s a practical and easy enough way to market to an entirely new set of people.

Send messages to people who are new to the congregation, or want more information.

Allow people to follow a link to the church’s website to find out more information about the church.

Use Text Messaging to Become Better Connected As a Congregation

 

Better Connected as a Church

 

We no longer hear “I didn’t know” which was quite common before we started texting – Andrea Solid from Mountaintop Faith Ministries

More churches use text messaging and Mobile Text Alerts to improve their marketing strategy.

Churches have noticed how effective text messaging can be. Find out for yourself by signing up for your SMS Marketing trial account for free.

They can use text messaging for a variety of reasons, whether it’s to spread their word or have more people join their congregation.

These are just a few of the examples of how churches use text messages for their own marketing programs.

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Top family vacation spots

It’s February. Really.

We’re already into the 2nd month of the year.

This means that spring is just around the corner. Which means that summer is fast approaching.

For many of you, the May-August season means family vacation! It’s never too early to plan your family vacation (in fact, in many cases if you’ve waited this long you’ve waited much too long!).

U.S. News and World Report ranked the 13 best family vacations in the United States. I’ve picked a couple of these that I personally experienced as some of the top family vacation spots.

Washington, D.C.

Our nation’s capital is a huge tourist attraction, for obvious reasons. But does it live up to its hype?

There are so many fun things to do here that it’s difficult to narrow down. From the historic White House tours to the Smithsonian Museums to the various memorials, there’s no shortage of adventures to be had for families.

A wonderful perk of D.C. is that most of these attractions are free! However, this is offset by inflated pricing of lodging and dining in the area. And although there are fun things for kids to do, children won’t fully appreciate the significance of activities such as visiting the Lincoln Memorial or watching the legislature in action at the Capitol building.

Still, I would recommend a family vacation to D.C. if you can swing it! It’s amazing to step foot in such a historic place.

Yellowstone

Yellowstone is a beautiful place, period. There’s gorgeous scenery, wildlife, hot springs, geysers—it’s a wonder of the natural world.

If you’re a camping family or outdoorsy people in any way, this is certainly the place to go. There are tons of hiking and nature-exploring activities available. Keep your eye out for moose and bears and other amazing creatures just walking along as you drive down the road!

Admittedly, however, some aspects of this vacation don’t live up to their full potential. For example, we waited at Old Faithful for quite a while and its eruption was pretty anti-climatic.

That being said, though, I would like to visit here again and take in the whole experience with more mature eyes.

 

Some places listed on the U.S. News ranking that I would love to visit but have never had the chance include Walt Disney World and Hawaii. Travel expenses were just too much to justify visiting these places for my family growing up, but I would love to go someday!

What are some of your top family vacation spots?

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