The Internet Marketing Driver: Glenn Gabe's goal is to help marketers build powerful and measurable web marketing strategies.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Google SMS and More Mobile Marketing Ideas

Google SMS, Texting Google for Quick AnswersLast week I wrote about short code marketing and using text messaging for mobile marketing campaigns. Last year (around this time), I wrote about Goog 411, Google’s free 411 service that returns results based on its local listings. So today I figured I would combine the two concepts and write about Google SMS, Google’s way of answering your search queries on your mobile device. The short code is 466543, or “Google” on most devices. If you are unfamiliar with short codes, please check out my last post (see link above).

What it is Google SMS and What are the Benefits?
Some of you might be saying, “Why wouldn’t I just browse to Google on my mobile web device and enter my search??” Well, SMS is much faster (at least for now). Texting a quick search query using SMS, with the ability to save that query for future text messages, is a great way to get fast answers to your questions.

What types of searches can you text to Google?
You can see a quick list on the Google SMS site, but here are a few possibilities to get you thinking… How about checking the weather, the score of the Yankees game, defining a word, a stock quote, product prices, directions, flight information, currency conversions, etc. These are just a few of the searches that you can text to Google and I’m confident you are starting to see the value of Google SMS… The problem is that many people don’t even know about it. Don’t believe me? Lean over and ask your coworker now if he or she knows about Google SMS. {Glenn waiting.......OK, you're back} I bet you got a confused reaction from them, right?

To text your search to Google SMS, simple enter the search feature and then what you are searching for, like:

weather pennington, nj
score Yankees
movies 08540
price blackberry curve 8310

Cool, right? And for those of you wondering how much faster it is to text a search versus browsing the mobile web, here’s a quick test on my Blackberry Curve 8310. I’ll look up the price of a Canon Powershot G9:

Browsing the Mobile Web:
Loading browser…
Finding Google….
Waiting for data…
SERP returned…
Checking listings….
Finding solid listing and price for G9
Total Time: 1:25

Using Google SMS:
Texting “price canon powershot g9” to 46653
Price returned via SMS in 8 seconds
Total Time: 16 seconds

Convinced this is a smart way to go? :)

Why this is important to you as a marketer…
Because you don’t have to be Google to achieve the same results for your customers and potential customers. You can do this for your business. Think about it…you can use text messaging to quickly answer questions, no matter what line business you are in. And, the more answers you provide, the more customers and prospective customers you can make happy. The more people you make happy, the more they will talk about your business (can you say WOM)? The more they talk about you, the more business you can acquire. The more business you can gain, the more money you can generate. Do I need to keep going here?

Some SMS marketing examples:
Let’s say you run an accounting firm targeting small businesses and you want utilize SMS marketing. Maybe you can answer basic accounting questions that you know small businesses always have via your short code. i.e. text “FICA” or “1099” to {your short code here}. Help enough small businesses and maybe you build new relationships along with new clients. Do you own a car dealership? Maybe you can answer questions about pricing or features for the latest models. Are you an electronics retailer? Maybe you’ll answer top product questions. i.e. text “SPECS for IPOD Nano” to {enter your short code here}. Again, the possibilities are endless. I explained some other uses for short codes in my last post, but I’m just focusing on the search and answer model here… Do you own a chain of weight loss centers? Provide the number of calories for various products or meals. i.e. text “calories slice of pizza” to {enter your short code here}. You get the idea!

Go ahead, stir up mobile marketing at your company!
I wanted to write this post to keep mobile on your mind after my last post… (Hey “Mobile on My Mind”… sounds like a new Carrie Underwood song…) I truly believe mobile marketing will be huge and it’s basically an untapped channel right now. Heck, there are short codes just waiting to be purchased…and you would be shocked to see how many big brands are not involved yet. It would be the equivalent of Coke not being interested in 10-15 years ago. BTW, I’ll beat you to the punch…Coke already owns the short code for COKE. They are on top of it! Are you? :)


PS Don’t forget to test out my short code…just text IMD to 23907 to sign up for mobile alerts when I update my blog. You can always opt out, but it’s a cool way to see how this works!

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  • At 6:50 PM, Blogger Ryan said…

    I know Google uses the voice 411 service to do voice recognition research. How do they turn a profit or justify the losses with the 411 SMS service.

  • At 7:37 PM, Blogger Glenn Gabe said…

    Hi Ryan. Yes, I also wrote about Goog411 in a previous post. I think it's a great service.

    Regarding SMS, it's hard to monetize text messages due to the limited character count. I'm sure Google wants to monetize SMS, but hasn't figured out the best way to do it yet. I also still believe it's not used very much... As mobile expands and becomes more robust, you can rest assured Google will be there to monetize it. :)



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