When, as presidential candidate, Barack Obama used text messaging to announce his selection of a running mate, Direct Marketers throughout the US, took note.
Many suggested that finally SMS had arrived.
What Obama or his minders were obviously aiming to do was build an opt-in mobile database. And they were successful. Reports at the time indicated that some 3 million Americans jumped on board.
The Obama campaign machine then had 3 million pairs of ears and eyes to speak with, via their mobile phones, for the rest of the presidential campaign.
It sounds simple enough. And it actually is a perfect example of using an interesting promotion to create an opt-in list. A list that can then be 'worked' via email very cost effectively.
With 3 billion SMS users globally, SMS text messaging is used by more than twice the number of people who use the internet. That's quite an opportunity!
So let's get into mobile marketing as quickly as possible, you might say. Fair enough. But there are pitfalls.
The proven Direct Marketing principles need to be followed here, just as in every other channel.
And the first principle to think about is opting in. The ongoing Obama use of SMS worked for it was opt in.
You can integrate mobile into your communications stream most effectively by getting consent.
If your database is up-to-date, you need to go to your existing people and encourage them to opt in. And this is where your creativity is needed. There are lots of offers out there, so you need to choose something enticing that shows your prospects/customers/supporters that there is something in it for them.
There is a great deal more to mobile than this. But if you start out right, you give yourself the best chance to succeed.