Whether business owners want to admit or not, mobile marketing is the wave of the future. It has more power than any of the current marketing mediums when it comes to generating increased profits. It is significantly more powerful than email marketing, has a greater coupon redemption rate than print media and greater branding impact than either television or radio. Most importantly, when combined with those other strategies mobile marketing actually enhances their effectiveness. But the ultimate question is: how does a small business owner get start in mobile and how does that business owner choose a provider?

The first question that a business owner has to answer is this: do I want to purchase mobile media from a website or do I want to work with a local mobile media professional? If you were to run a Google search for mobile marketing companies you would get pages of results. In fact there were over 25 million results when i last did a Google search this morning. The offerings are all over the board, ranging from systems that use ad words and an unlimited number of messages to systems that offer a limited number of keywords and charge by the message to systems that offer QR codes only. So, lets analyze the choices and applicable considerations.

1: Do I want to work with a local mobile media professional?

There may be a number of reasons why you might choose to work with a local professional. First, that professional is there to help you fully integrate your mobile marketing into your entire marketing strategy. Second, the local mobile marketing professional can help you choose the type of campaign to implement. Choosing whether to go with a VIP Mobile ext Club or a ‘Text2Win” strategy or even a survey strategy can be an important first step with mobile. The final reason for choosing to work with a local mobile professional is the simple fact at you get hands on training in how to use your new mobile marketing technology.

2: Pay by the message or an unlimited message system?

As you search the internet it will become obvious that the pricing for mobile marketing is all over the board. Some systems base the ultimate cost on the number of messages that you purchase at the beginning of each month with a higher per message fee for any overage. One common price point if for the purchase of 1000 outgoing messages every month. The cost for this particular package will range from a low of $59 monthly to a high of $149 monthly. As a general rule the difference in pricing can be found in two aspects of the offer: how much one-on-one support you get and how advanced the system is. Then there the systems that offer unlimited messaging for one low monthly price – generally between $49 and $99 monthly. These systems have some drawbacks in terms of their flexibility and message delivery time. There may be occasions where this type of system will work, but the lack of flexibility can limit creativity.

3: Data Ownership

This is by far one of the most important considerations in choosing your system. If you do not have the ability to download your data then it becomes very difficult to choose to change providers later. Before choosing a system make sure to have the list download capabilities demonstrated.

4: Advanced Features

Two of the more important advanced features of a mobile marketing systems are the ability to capture email addresses easily and to set the system to notify you as soon as you get a new subscriber. The reason for the email capture should be obvious: it contributes to building your email list which can be invaluable when creating an integrated campaign. The notification feature is particularly helpful to anyone looking for the ability to contact prospects when they are most receptive to you – and that is when they have just taken action to get information. A great example of this is the real estate agent that is using a keyword with a short code on their for sale signs. The moment an individual texts for information is the best time to call that person. A system that captures that mobile number and alerts you immediately can give the real estate agent a huge edge.

5: The QR Code

QR Codes (that little strange looking box on signs) sounds very sexy. After all an individual with a smart phone simply takes a picture of the QR Code and gets the information sought. Unfortunately, the business does not capture any of the person’s data such as the mobile number. While this is great for the consumer it is horrible for the business.

There can be no doubt that mobile marketing can significantly increase your bottom line. Unfortunately there are now thousands of choices on the internet and success is closely tied to choosing the right system for your goals. In my opinion there are advantages to working with a local mobile marketing professional. Even there may be a difference in cost, that difference can be more than offset by the level of success that you will realize

Mel Schlesinger is a mobile marketing professional with a focus on providing one-on-one support and training. Mel’s objective is to help small businesses, sales people and coaches and consultants achieve their profitability goals using mole marketing. Mel can be reached at (336) 777-3938.