Warmer weather is on the way and people will be out and about more.  It’s even more important to have your marketing tied together both offline and online for maximum benefit.  Specifically, I’d like to single out a few industries every so often and list some ways they can integrate mobile marketing to help grow their business.  This week, we’ll be looking at retail – particularly those businesses with an offline storefront that needs to generate traffic.

The first order of business is to get a mobile short code and put it on everything!   Brochures, newspaper ads, your Facebook wall and even email newsletters.

Create a specific incentive to get people to opt-in. This is VERY important. While there are no rules on the books about spamming cell phones, you want to develop good practices now. It’s only a matter of time before someone abuses their text privileges and a government entity steps in to lay down the law.  Besides, your customers will like you better if you’re not a spammer.  Just sayin’.  Make sure you let them know what else they may get as a result.  Sale reminders?  New product lines?  Joke of the day?  When people know what they are opting in for and the rate at which its sent, the less they are inclined to opt-out. Just make sure you stick to your word.

But don’t just use it to develop your list and get a bunch of new subscribers.  Get creative!  Remember, you only have 160 characters so make your message concise, but clear.  Still need some help on what messages you can send via text?  Try these:

  1. BOGO deals – Get a free item of equal or lesser value when you show this text at checkout
  2. 50% off special – Get half off any item in the new line when you join our VIP text group
  3. Have a boutique shop? Use the calendar feature to set appointments and send reminders.
  4. Temporary closure of the store because of water, smoke, fill-in-the-blank damage
  5. Adding an extra day or longer hours, let them know!
  6. Going to a trade show or business expo and want to be different than the rest of the companies collecting business cards and having people fill out tiny slips of paper?  Collect cell numbers and use the raffle feature to pick a winner for free services.
  7. Announce new product launches
  8. Post links to media buzz about your company.  Have it post to Facebook and Twitter at the same time!
  9. Invite people to events that you’ll host or be at to meet face-to-face.  Don’t feel limited to ones that only you host.  If you collaborate with other businesses on a community event, share it!
  10. Want to generate some goodwill with the fans?  Run a raffle on it for a free give-a-way every so often.
  11. Send customers a special code to use for a discount in any online shopping.
  12. Challenge customers to a “Share” contest.  Have them forward your text to their friends.  Whoever has the most friends redeem the coupon in a certain timeframe wins a prize.

Hopefully, you get the idea.  What else can you think of that would be an interesting way to draw loyal customers to your retail business?  List them in the comments below.