It’s a given that mobile devices have the potential to drive a fundamental shift in business growth, and many businesses are integrating mobile marketing campaigns to tap into the personal, powerful and portable nature of the medium.

To quote our friends at Lyris, “In the online marketing world, email is considered a medium with broad reach – everyone has an email address, and everyone receives marketing messages in their inbox. But, globally, mobile texting has twice as many active users as email. Mobile texting – also known as short message service, or SMS – is a vehicle for online marketers that provides an even broader reach.”

Having launched several mobile marketing campaigns for our clients, we’ve learned the hard way that before you leap into execution mode, there are some important steps to consider first.

Here’s our top 7:

1. Strategize.
First ask yourself, why do you want to use mobile marketing? Without jumping on a bandwagon, does it make sense for your products/solutions/market? If yes, then what will be considered a success? Building a marketing database, creating dialogues with your customers, sending relevant & timely campaigns..?

2. Allocate a budget.
Strategy is important, but if you don’t have the budget to execute, then your goals will most likely not be met. If your mobile budget does not yet exist, consider re-distributing a line item in your existing budget as a first pass.

3. Integrate mobile in your mix.
Infuse your other existing media channels with your mobile call to action, for cross-marketing purposes. Not only does it complement your marketing efforts, but it maximizes brand interaction and utilization.

4. Get short code help.
There are service providers out there who specialize in working with aggregators  to obtain carrier certification and provisioning needs. It’s a long and complicated process, that is best left to the experts. Here are two that we’ve worked with and recommend: in the US, Lyris and in Canada, ZipStripe.

5. Plan your campaigns.
Once you have worked out the short code and keyword details of your mobile marketing campaign (see above), it’s time to design a campaign that includes something of value to the audience, therefore encouraging participation. Ensure relevance and timeliness of the offer, keep it simple and think about the ease of use. 

6. Test before you send.
Most ESPs offer an email or text rendering tool to preview your campaign before you send it out. Be sure to try it out with as many mobile devices as possible, to avoid technical glitches and frustrating your audience.

7. Have customer service at the ready.
Mobile marketing is subject to its own set of rules and regulations, especially in the short code provisioning space. Make sure you include a toll-free number, email address and a URL for terms and conditions to support your campaign. A lack of customer support can kill even the best mobile campaigns.

If you are just beginning to think about your mobile marketing strategy, check out the 2009 MMA Global Awards for some inspiration and ideas.

Got a great mobile campaign to share? Send us the link!