Greg Hickman is the Creator/Host of Mobile Mixed, a Mobile Marketing Consultant focused on retail. Hickman is also the Co-Founder of Thumbfound, a boutique, independent mobile marketing agency. Greg started off as a self-professed “agency guy,” and had the opportunity to work on brands like Pepsi, Lipton, and Walmart. In this line of work, he created and managed digital, in-store and grassroots marketing campaigns.
In 2005, Greg moved on from the larger agency to a smaller operation, but still worked with major brands, including AT&T, EA Games, Sony Pictures, The New York Jets, Florida Marlins, Winterfresh and Axe. Greg created mobile marketing campaigns for these giants, bringing them into a new space.
Over the last 3 years, Greg has spent his time and focused his passion towards developing, implementing and managing mobile marketing programs for a media network of 300 shopping centers across the country. It’s an understatement to say that the mobile marketing space for retail is a hot commodity right now. According to Hickman, “Implementing the right mobile strategies can have huge impacts on your business. Whether it’s driving people to your establishment, generating increased sales online or improving retention I can help. I’ve managed initiatives that cover Mobile Web, Smartphone apps, SMS, QR Codes, Location based services, mobile SEO etc.”
Mobile marketing for businesses big and small in the retail space is not going anywhere any time soon. That’s what makes Greg so passionate about his strategy through Mobile Mixed. Greg wants to help you create integrated mobile marketing strategies by talking with the best and most successful mobile marketers out there.
Learn more about Greg Hickman and Mobile Mixed at http://mobilemixed.com/about/
Narrator: Speakers, publishers, consultants, coaches, and info marketers unite. The speaking of wealth show is your road map to success and significance. Learn the latest tools, technologies and tactics to get more bookings, sell more products and attract more clients. If you”re looking to increase your direct response sales, create a big time personal brand, and become the go to guru, the speaking of wealth show is for you. Here is your host, Jason Hartman.
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Start of Interview with Greg Hickman
Jason Hartman: Hey, it’s my pleasure to welcome Greg Hickman to the show. He is the creator and host of Mobile Mixed. And he is an expert on mobile marketing. He was in it way before in the old days, before the iPhone, back in 2005. So, in internet years and especially in mobile marketing years, that is the olden days. Hey, Greg, welcome. How are you?
Greg Hickman: Thank you for having me. I’m doing very well.
Jason Hartman: The pleasure’s all mine. So tell us a little bit about your background and the show and what you do now.
Greg Hickman: Absolutely. So, got started in mobile marketing in 2005 and this was kind of before the iPhone took off. So, I worked with a lot of brands and professional sports teams, implementing mobile promotions, using text message marketing, and what was then called the mobile web. It’s since evolved consulting with a handful of different businesses, have worked with shopping centers, large retailers, and primarily now small to medium sized businesses that are looking to generate leads in sales with mobile marketing. So, mobile marketing means text message marketing, mobile websites, smart phone applications and things of that nature. And the site and podcast really got started, I will tell you honestly selfishly. I wanted to interview people that were doing really cool things in mobile marketing. So I started interviewing some big brands and the people that represented the mobile efforts there. And that has evolved. A lot of small business owners kind of started following. They wanted to learn more about the topic, and have now kind of focused on training those readers and listeners on how to implement these programs on smaller budgets so that they’ll actually see results. So, that’s kind of the Cliffs notes.
Jason Hartman: Right. Hey, Greg, so give us some stats on the mobile marketing industry and why it is such a big deal and why it’s just all the rage. And then I want to ask you about the way some speakers and convention companies are extensively using mobile marketing. I’ll share some of my own experiences with that. But what’s the big deal about mobile?
Greg Hickman: Yeah, so the way in which we as consumers consume content has changed. There have been reports that more people will access the internet from their mobile phone compared to their desktop PC by the end of next year. I believe that’s already happened now. The few that I think are really important are ways in which, at least from a digital perspective, that businesses are now communicating with their customers has pretty much gone all mobile. So, depending on your industry, they say about 43% of all emails are opened from a mobile phone. I know some retailers that that’s well over 50%. If you look at Facebook, they just announced that over 70% of all of their usage is happening from a mobile device. Twitter is in the exact same ballpark. YouTube, 25% of global YouTube views are happening from a mobile device. So, really, at the end of the day, you have to kind of follow the consumer. They decide how they connect with you as a content creator, as a business owner, and you really just need to be there to give them the best experience possible, and that just happens to be on a mobile phone at this point. So, for all of those reasons, I think as a business owner you can’t ignore it anymore. You really have no choice. And I’ll end with Google just made an announcement that I believe it’s mid to end of September, they will start changing the way that their results display sites from a mobile search perspective. So, if you do not have a mobile optimized site, they’re actually going to de-rank you, demote you in their search results for people that are searching from a mobile phone because so much of search now is conducted, especially on a local level, from a mobile device. So they’re aiming to please the mobile searcher, the mobile user. So, if your business isn’t mobile optimized, you might not be showing up anymore.
Jason Hartman: Okay, so while that’s a really good thing to know and that’s something every listener needs to pay attention to, WordPress has a mobile feature and when you do a WordPress site, which is certainly the most popular platform, it comes up in the mobile version of it I think automatically, I don’t know. I mean, our web developer may have done something special to make that happen on our sites, but it just seems like you get a mobile version automatically when you’re on a mobile device. Is that correct? And does that do the job in other words or do you need to do more to make yourself friendly to Google’s mobile search results?
Greg Hickman: I would say it depends. So, WordPress has evolved a lot over the last few years, and if you use their base theme, usually it’s called 2011 or 2012 or 2013, they now build that using what’s called a responsive design. So if you’re using that based theme, yeah, all of your content will be mobile friendly, so that’ll help you be offering that mobile solution, so that’ll help you in your results from a search perspective.
A lot of themes that people download that they use instead of that base theme, just because that base theme is very bare from a creative look and feel perspective, are not responsive. So if you’re using something that is not responsive currently from a WordPress perspective, yeah, you are not going to be offering the best experience. So there’s kind of two things to look at. Responsive design is one solution that a lot of WordPress themes are now starting to adopt – not all, but many of them. And then there’s this concept of creating mobile experience. So you can use content management system tools like a WordPress that are focused on creating the mobile optimized solution. So you kind of have those two options really. So, it really depends on what WordPress theme you’re using. If you are using WordPress, there are also some plugins out there, but the plugins really only mobile optimize the blog in a lot of cases. So, if you’re a restaurant and you’re using WordPress and you use one of these mobile plugins, it might not be optimizing the critical areas of the site that are gonna be converting those customers or converting those customers or converting those visitors rather. So, it kind of depends.
Jason Hartman: Okay, well, there’s an answer for you. Okay, so I have been impressed going to conventions, concerts, speaking events, to see that a lot of them have an iPhone app and they are using mobile marketing extensively. I mean, they’re doing text messages for conference updates, mapping of the venue and where the breakout sessions are and all kinds of things. That’s pretty impressive. And certainly everybody’s on a mobile device at one of those events. So, very good fit for that. Can you address that at all?
Greg Hickman: Yeah, absolutely. I think, like you mentioned, that’s a perfect venue to offer a mobile solution that’s actually solving your customer’s problem. So, as an event organizer, most people probably have their laptop with them, but they’re not using it throughout the entire day, depending on the structure of the conference, being able to quickly look at your phone, see the agenda, engage with other people that might be attending similar sessions or workshops. The apps that are available for some of these conferences today are really, really sleek and you can see when you connect it to your social media profile, who of maybe your friends are attending the same sessions and things like that. You can create your own schedule so you can kind of have your own calendar of events. But it really is just a way for event organizers to offer a utility that people can have in hand that delivers them value throughout the entire event. I see a lot of conferences now doing like sweepstakes within those applications. And then you also have the text messaging side that you mentioned.
The thing that I really love about text messaging, especially from an event perspective, is that most likely, as an event attendee, you’re gonna delete that event app after the event is over, unless it’s some sort of overarching company that hosts tons of events and all of those events have information within that one app which you don’t really see that much of. So, once that app is deleted, you have to get them engaged again for the next conference. Whereas with text message marketing, you can be opting them into receiving notifications for that event and then kind of be sending them updates. Maybe there’s special opportunities that you need to communicate or maybe a speaker cancelled or a time got changed that using text messaging, the immediacy of that is really, really powerful, which I’ll talk about in a second. But you’re capturing that mobile number for future marketing. So, when that event is ending, you can send out one more message saying “Hey, we’re really happy you enjoyed the event. If you’d like to receive messages for an upcoming event, if you’ll be attending, reply yes. And all those people that reply yes are opting into receiving messages about this upcoming event whereas if they just deleted the app, there’s really no way for you to connect with them for those future events. So, it is low tech. It’s not as sexy as smartphone applications. But it does do the job and really powerful.
And the immediacy aspect is what makes it so powerful. So, statistically, 97% of text messages are read within 15 minutes. And it’s just over 90 that are read within 4. So, there’s really no other channel that is as immediate as that, that is as personal as that, and then that really sort of interrupts as much as that. So, there is no text message spam folder. It’s not like Twitter where it’s kind of on demand where I have to go look to see if someone messaged me. Depending on my settings, it’ll break through all of the clutter and your recipient will see it within minutes which is extremely powerful when you have a time-sensitive offer.
Jason Hartman: Sure it is. What are some tips on ways people can use mobile marketing? I mean, I know there’s a zillion ways and we’re all familiar with them to some extent because we use them as consumers. We consume this, maybe we’ll remember we joined a text list and we’re getting text. Maybe we’re using several apps, coupon apps, things like that. But what are some of the hot things, the special thing that kind of stands out?
Greg Hickman: Sure. I always like to approach things from a strategic perspective. And I’ll start with the fact that most businesses that get involved in mobile, whether it’s text message marketing or an app or what have you, they typically dive in from a tactical perspective, so Ben 10 games download for mobile they see someone doing text message marketing and then they just start doing it. They don’t really have a reason for behind why they’re doing it. So what I like to kind of do with businesses is mobilize something that they’re already doing. So, if you look at like a retailer, most retailers have some sort of loyalty program. They send out coupons or things like that. You can just mobilize that program by whether it’s through text message marketing or what have you, that’s something you already do in your business, you’re just doing it in a different way.
So a comment that is often stated in mobile is the what in business hasn’t changed. We’re trying to sell more stuff really at the end of the day. And it’s really the how we’ve accomplished that has changed, so instead of spending all this money on print coupons, why don’t you mobilize those coupons and deliver a weekly coupon via text message? So, I always look to the business to see what they’re already doing and start there, but outside of that it’s with the importance of having that mobile website, it is really a no-brainer to say the first thing you should do, if you don’t already have a mobile website, is to make sure that people can find you and have a good viewing experience from a mobile device. So, I don’t know if that completely answers it but I’d prefer to keep it simple because I think a lot of people try to overcomplicate it and say create an app or what have you, but it really is mobilize something that you’re doing that’s actually solving a problem for your customer’s life easier or maybe even solving an internal problem.
Jason Hartman: Very good points. So what can a business expect in terms of creating an app? Is there sort of a certain entry point price-wise and any ideas for app creation?
Greg Hickman: Yeah, so there are a handful of tools and services out there that will help you create what I call stock smartphone applications. You have drag and drop functionality of you can embed your Facebook feed or your Twitter feed and have an event calendar. I personally don’t like those. I think you’re very boxed into that experience, and those businesses capitalize on the business owner who thinks they need an application for something. I will tell you that the mobile web is all about discovery and applications are all about loyalists. So, if your business has loyalists, an application might be something you want to get involved in. And when you approach that loyalist, you don’t want to just repurpose your mobile website into an application. And a lot of those solutions, those D-I-Y do it yourself solutions, really that’s all they offer is we’re gonna put all of your website content into an app where that doesn’t necessarily deliver any extended value to the loyalists.
Jason Hartman: No, I get it. I want to ask you, though, obviously something custom is better, nobody’s gonna doubt that, but what are the names of some of those services that do this like drag and drop functionality and things like that? Because when I’m thinking and asking that is that it might be like the first step if someone listening doesn’t have the budget or they don’t know exactly what to do custom, once they start tinkering with it, I know I found this in my own business, and once I started kind of tinkering with something, my interest level increases and I’m thinking, gosh, we can’t do that with this because it’s boxing us in too much and if we can do that that would be really cool. So, I think it’s maybe worth mentioning because it might get some people on the bandwagon.
Greg Hickman: Sure. So one that comes to mind is a company called Appsbar. That’s really the one that comes to the top of my mind at the moment because I really try to avoid those.
Jason Hartman: Okay, fair enough.
Greg Hickman: So, yeah, I would check out Appsbar. I actually know the founder of that organization, a very good gentleman there, really just trying to help a lot of businesses. But I think, again, because of knowing that it ends up being a loyalist, you kind of need to go above and beyond. So, most of these solutions, if you even just create a mobile app for my business, you’ll get a handful of them. And they’ll range anywhere from $50 a month to I see some that are like $500 a month. And some of that is dependent on which features and functionality you want to incorporate from their suite of tools. But if you do go custom route, depending on where that development is done, you can expect to pay a couple thousand. And if you’re going super advanced, you have a franchise and there’s 50 locations, you’re definitely gonna be 10s to 20s of thousands of dollars at least.
Jason Hartman: Okay, yeah, it can be expensive. Okay, other hot tips in mobile marketing?
Greg Hickman: So, I would say the most overlooked thing is mobile optimizing your email. Most businesses are already using email, so you can, depending on what service provider you’re using, you can download responsive email templates, very much like the responsive website design which essentially just reformats your email template to display better on a mobile phone. And if you literally Google “Responsive email templates” you’ll find a handful of options. $8, you can download a handful of templates. $20, that price point, you can download those and incorporate those into the email service provider that you use.
But a couple of tips there that have nothing to do from a technology standpoint, just thinking about how your customer and when your customer might be opening the email, a lot of people send emails early in the morning from a newsletter perspective. Well, if you’re anything like me, the first thing you do is unfortunately look at your mobile phone and delete as many emails as you can from your email inbox to kind of just filter out the things that might slow you down when you actually do sit down at your desk. It has become that filter for us. And things that might make you stand out if you look at subject lines, a lot of people talk about write an intriguing subject line that will allow people or engage people to open.
Mobile devices, you have maybe 5 to 7 words before that subject line gets truncated, before you see the “…”. So start reviewing the emails that you send out to your customers, and if the excitement and the enticing aspect of that subject line is in the 10th word, you might want to start thinking about rewording that subject line so that within 5 to 7 words you’re saying something that is going to make me want to click and open or tap and open rather. So, I think that’s really important. A lot of businesses miss that. And there’s no technology behind it. That’s just pure copywriting, knowing your customer, do you need to be mysterious. The one thing you need to do, “…” and that’s like your subject line, those works. So, you have to experiment, but just know that 5 to 7 words, you’re truncated and no one’s even reading the rest of that. After that, I would say if you have any sort of clickable links or buttons in your e-mail, make sure that they are mobile friendly. So, if you have a paragraph that has 3 links in it on a mobile device and I go to click with my thumb, am I likely to hit 2 of those links? So am I gonna be mis-clicking on certain things? You want to avoid that, so you want to create some padding in between your links. And if you’re using a button, the best practice is 44 pixels by 44 pixels at the minimum is what the button should be that is kind of defined as thumb friendly. So, mobile optimizing your email is a no-brainer start just because of that statistic we shared earlier.
Jason Hartman: Let me just ask you about that. The mobile optimization of email is for auto responders, is that correct?
Greg Hickman: Auto-responders, newsletters, any email that goes out.
Jason Hartman: Alright, but it’s not something you would use individually like within your Apple Mail or Microsoft outlook, right?
Greg Hickman: Correct, correct. Yeah. So, if you’re sending like a newsletter that has graphics and stuff, you can download templates that will be mobile optimized, and then if you are sending emails that are just text based, that still applies though. And if you’re B2B and you’re a salesman just sending emails and you know that your ideal customer was probably looking at it on their BlackBerry or something, then you might want to consider what that subject line is because if they happened to use their mobile device as that filtering mechanism like so many of us do, they might never even get to your email, so even just standard peer to peer emails, I think these are things that people should be considering.
Jason Hartman: Good, good stuff. Anything else you want to say just to wrap it all up, Craig?
Greg Hickman: So, we just talked about mobile web, the importance of that, we talked about how you should approach your app if you do build an app and the mobile email and we highlighted text messaging. But I would just end with the power of text messaging is that you’re creating that database that you can remarket to and have future messaging to. So, just like generating leads via email, it can be a good channel to capture leads off of direct mail, off of TV, radio. It really can create an interactive experience on what was once non-interactive media. So, I will end with that one.
Jason Hartman: Good points. Well, the website is MobileMixed.com, and I challenge everybody listening to go hit Greg’s website from their mobile phone. I give you a little bit of a test there, Greg. And I’m sure it is very well mobile optimized. Good, good stuff. Well, again, MobileMixed.com, and Greg Hickman, thanks for joining us today.
Greg Hickman: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
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