Pick up your phone. It’s time to think seriously about mobile marketing…

With last month’s sell-out of Apple’s iPhone 4 on launch day, it’s clear that the mobile market is thriving, led both by the ever-present hype and some genuinely amazing technology. Do you know anyone who doesn’t have and use a mobile of some kind?

It’s marketing gold dust – a device that, for the majority of users, is at their side or in their pocket for all their waking hours. But using mobile marketing effectively isn’t easy. Many organisations, while highly focused on online marketing and exploring the possibilities of social media, have shied away from mobile-specific campaigns and sites.

Give it some thought though. Even the simple first step of creating a mobile-optimised version of your website could pay dividends. When your customers are out and about and need information about your services or products, or perhaps want to share them with colleagues and associates, where do they look? When they head for your standard website using their iPhone, BlackBerry or other web-enabled handhelds, do you know what experience they’ll have? If your standard site doesn’t adapt well to the smaller screen and variable speeds of mobile data streaming, you could be turning happy customers into frustrated ones just like that.

With a mobile version of your website, you’ll be a step ahead of the competition already. If you provide useful information that customers are likely to want to access in real time, your site is a great candidate to be bookmarked on customers’ mobiles – making it easy for them to return to you again and again. If you sell through your website, can you make it easy for customers to buy from you using their mobiles? The simpler it is, the more likely they are to stay loyal. With so few really good mobile site versions around so far, particularly those with shopping cart technology, just giving customers the capability to buy online over mobile is a differentiator that could drive extra business through your door.

From a mobile version of your website, you could take the next step and look at other mobile marketing campaigns. With GPS and satellite positioning standard on many mobile devices, you can generate advice, vouchers or other information that’s timely and specifically relevant to the mobile user’s location. You can send out alerts, competitions or offers exclusively to your customers or prospects. And you can link to more information on your mobile website, and tie in with social media too.

Of course, mobile devices are seen as highly personal. Just as consumers are infuriated by cold calling on private home numbers, mobile phone users are very sensitive to intrusion on their number. If you push out information to mobiles, it needs to be informed that users will definitely value, enhancing your brand and reputation rather than condemning them as the source of “unsolicited marketing”.

There’s a major challenge for marketers in brevity, too. On the small mobile screen, a few words are all you have, so each one needs to count. The possibilities of video and audio are there – but whether you’re communicating to businesses or consumers, you have to be sure they won’t dismiss your campaign as gimmicky and miss the key message.

For all these reasons, it makes sense to seek expert help with planning a mobile marketing strategy that’s likely to deliver a return on investment. A mobile marketing specialist should be able to recommend, plan and implement applications, mobile sites and campaigns which strengthen customer loyalty by offering genuinely valuable information and functions.

We’ve been developing our expertise in this area for some time now, keeping pace with new capabilities and techniques. But your mobile marketing doesn’t have to be complex. Have a look at the mobile version of our website www.breathe4u.mobi on your phone or handheld. It’s very simple, quick to load, easy to scan through, and – most importantly – it only takes a key-tap to phone us directly from our contact number on-screen.

Whether you’re thinking about taking the first steps into mobile marketing or if you have more sophisticated ideas, we’d love to have a chat. We can help you work out what mobile marketing activities could generate business and reinforce loyalty, and we can call on our content services partners if customised apps or special functions look like a good choice for your business.