More than half of respondents to a recent survey said they find mobile an easy-to-use platform with which to communicate with their favourite brands, and agreed that they would be willing to pass on offers to their family and friends.

The research,
endorsed by the Internet Advertising Bureau and the Mobile Marketing
Association, shows 54% of the people questioned would be willing to use
mobile to interact with “brands of their preference”.

Every year we seem to herald the coming of widespread mobile advertising but every year we end up bemoaning that it has not yet made the mainstream.

However, incentives could be the key. With seven in ten UK mobile users saying they would happily receive advertising this way, so long as it was incentivised and they remained in control.

Most people carry their handsets constantly, which means that if industry can achieve the right balance then a whole new world of marketing opportunities will open up.

So, what to do and what not to do. Here are a few tips on best practice within this developing area:

Don’t just pitch

This is not just a rule for mobile or even for the web, it has become an important cross-platform guideline.

Consumers do not want to be told to buy X, they want value just for the time they have invested in your marketing.

So, if you make a TV advert, you make it entertaining; if you write a corporate blog to attract potential clients, you make it informative and authoritative; and if you are advertising through their mobile, you add incentives.

Don’t overdo it

While many businesses are not using mobile advertising at all, there are a startling number of small firms that capture phone numbers during a transaction and then bombard these contacts with messages.

This may be because these smaller enterprises do not have the marketing skill to recognise that they risk alienating their customers. Whatever the reason, it antagonises, irritates and alienates people while rarely prompting sales.

A mobile is a very personal device, to intrude too often and without good cause will not do your brand any favours.

Respect the recipient

Handset holders should have the right to control what information they receive. Never embark on a mobile marketing campaign unless consent has been given.

If you are offering a good deal, for example, discount vouchers, the chance to win gig tickets, a daily lottery draw, whatever works for your brand, then your customers will be happy to provide you with their details.

Unsolicited messages, as well as being legally dubious, will antagonise your recipients.

Don’t forget to make it easy for them to opt out if they decide to. It is just good marketing manners.

Target appropriately

If you are to succeed in securing users’ details and continuing to market to them, you are going to need to really be careful with targeting.

Sending grannies the chance to win tickets to Glasto in association with your new flavour of soft drink is unlikely to have the response you are hoping for.

However, it can harm goodwill about your brand, so make sure you’re careful.

Keep it safe

Mobile details are valuable commodities. Unscrupulous and legally problematic firms will bombard phones with messages even if the user has not signed up. Phishing can also be a problem and people are less aware of the need for caution with their phones.

So, if you are lucky enough to have a database of willing recipients, guard it well. Consider even simple measures like not allowing staff to use USB sticks.

Don’t forget, you have a legal obligation to protect users’ details. A bit more information on that is available through the Business Link website.

Remember SEO

Don’t forget SEO for mobile internet is increasingly important as more and more users turn to their phones for quick on-the-go searches.

There are a whole load of mobile SEO techniques open to savvy marketers who want to gain maximum value from the handset platform.

Recently, Tad Chef listed 33 mobile SEO & mobile analytics resources on the SEOptimise blog, which is a good starting point for those wanting to explore the various opportunities on offer.