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Mobile Marketing Strategies – Why Mobile Check-in’s Fail

March 14, 2012

Mobile Marketer questioned in a post yesterday the future existence of independent mobile check-in apps such as Foursquare.  They noted that both Gowalla and Loopt were acquired and subsequently shut down. Even Facebook is struggling with what to do. With all of the hype that surrounded these companies and concepts a year ago, why did they fail?

I see two primary reasons:

  1. The majority of consumers will not expend the effort required to check-in (i.e. perform a not-very-consumerish-action) without promise of an exceptional reward.

The last thing a merchant should want me doing after walking into the store is digging out my phone, loading an app and checking-in. They got me all the way to the store and in the door, now I want to see some cool and interesting merchandise! Foursquare is still experimenting with the ties between rewards and actions, but because of the above reason I think they’re on a trail to nowhere.

  1. When it comes to interaction with merchants, consumers want to be connected – not gamified.

Consumers are much more interested in being handed a reward rather than having to jump through a hoop (or hoops) to receive it. That’s a pretty basic observation, but unless there is more than novelty involved, how long can the check-in craze be expected to last? Receiving a virtual badge for your efforts is the very definition of novelty. Surprise! It’s wearing off.

The lesson for merchants is straight forward – use mobile to connect with your customers and reward them for allowing you the privilege of that direct connection. To be sure, there’s certainly value in knowing when your customers come in the door, but for now I believe the best way is the old fashioned one – greet them at the door.  Customer service still works better than magic.



John Epperson

John Epperson is a co-founder and President of Ruxter. Having worked in various fields across the technology spectrum in the last 20+ years, John has gained a broad understanding of technology. Together with the Ruxter team he has developed a web-based application that allows anyone to quickly and easily harness the power of the mobile internet. You can contact him here. Follow Ruxter on Twitter.

Mobile vs. Social Media (aka the express lane vs. the traffic jam)

March 8, 2012

Last week Facebook released a statistic that was like a flashing red beacon for me. Businesses, take note: if you’re using Facebook to engage your customers, only 12% of status updates are seen by your fans. Yes, that’s right, only 12% of what you post is seen by another person. Details here, courtesy of Tech Crunch.

At first that’s kind of surprising, but intuitively it makes sense – the average number of friends per Facebook user is 245, according to Pew Research. This means that as a business, you’re competing for the attention of your customer alongside 245 of their friends. Even if you’re a gambler those aren’t very good odds. Apply this logic to other social media sites and it’s obvious that social media is not the ideal medium for grabbing the attention of your customers.

In contrast to those stats, mobile may as well be a direct connection to your customer. Consider these numbers: 98% of text messages are read, and over 90% of those are read within 3 minutes of receipt (per studies done by Nielsen and others). This makes it easy to see why mobile is now considered the most valuable marketing channel.

Whether you’re running a small business or national chain, numbers like these make it crystal clear that mobile must be a priority in any marketing efforts. But remember, it’s a valuable channel to your customers too! When you’re delivering promotions or news, make it worthy of that direct connection.
John Epperson

John Epperson is a co-founder and President of Ruxter. Having worked in various fields across the technology spectrum in the last 20+ years, John has gained a broad understanding of technology. Together with the Ruxter team he has developed a web-based application that allows anyone to quickly and easily harness the power of the mobile internet. You can contact him here. Follow Ruxter on Twitter.

Bringing clarity to the mobile space for SMB’s

November 17, 2011

ClarityGoogle recently announced an initiative called GoMo. Google’s objective with the initiative is to help provide businesses with some direction as they begin entering the rapidly materializing mobile space. Even if Google’s ulterior motive of gaining new advertising clients is fairly obvious, it’s still a noble and much needed resource. However, after seeing what they created and the broad scope of the information presented, it made me realize that we at Ruxter need to launch our own initiative to improve the resources we currently provide to small businesses.

Mobile marketing options for small businesses have never numbered so many, nor created such a confusing and overwhelming set of choices for the average small business owner. Consequently, Ruxter’s resources will differ from those of GoMo, in that we will provide information and guidance developed and presented to be especially useful to small businesses.

Over the next few weeks we will begin creating publicly available mobile resources and will do our best to clarify the mobile landscape and help small businesses put these new technologies to use.

John Epperson

John Epperson is a co-founder and President of Ruxter. Having worked in various fields across the technology spectrum in the last 20+ years, John has gained a broad understanding of technology. Together with the Ruxter team he has developed a web-based application that allows small businesses to quickly and easily harness the power of the mobile internet. You can contact him here. Follow Ruxter on Twitter.

The myth of mobile marketing ROI

September 16, 2011

ROIAlright, first off I need to put a qualifier on the title. I’m specifically referring to the SMB’s out there. Big brands have super big ideas and those always take some ciphering to determine whether they’re worth executing.

For all businesses, ROI is almost always an integral part of every decision. Operating Ruxter, I understand the need for ROI analysis. Most of the time it’s just some quick mental arithmetic, and other times it’s a more detailed process, but ROI guides the investment of all of our resources.

Resources are always in short supply for small businesses and that is what makes mobile marketing such a natural fit as you will see.

In the last two years the number of mobile marketing options available to small businesses has grown enormously. And because of the many competing solutions, the costs have come way, way down.

In fact, the expense of creating and operating ongoing mobile marketing efforts are now so low as to render any ROI analysis that takes more of your time than reading this blog post a waste of time. The investment of both time and money is now so low as to be immeasurable, yet the possible returns are left to your imagination.

To break it down using Ruxter’s lowest cost plan of $29/month (which is probably less than your monthly phone bill), you can have a:

  • Mobile optimized website complete with a map and click-to-call. (This will take you less than 15 minutes to setup)
  • Text messaging to reach up to 250 customers twice per month
  • Your own custom keyword and shortcode
  • Real-time analytics to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns

And so you still might ask how does this make ROI irrelevant? How about looking at it this way – using the example above, you can reach 250 of your customers directly for $.06/each anytime you want to! Compare that to running an ad in the local paper or sending a direct mailer. And if you really want to know where that $.06 went, you can check the analytics and see when and how many customers read your message!

SMB’s take notice! In the mobile space you can now compete toe-to-toe with the big brands.


John Epperson

John Epperson is a co-founder and President of Ruxter. Having worked in various fields across the technology spectrum in the last 20+ years, John has gained a broad understanding of technology. Together with the Ruxter team he has developed a web-based application that allows anyone to quickly and easily harness the power of the mobile internet. You can contact him here. Follow Ruxter on Twitter.

It’s a plane! It’s an app! It’s the mobile web!

July 7, 2011

Ruxter blimpI was having lunch with a friend earlier this week to get his opinion on some of our upcoming changes to Ruxter. One of the major things we’re working on is an updated look and feel for our user-created mobile websites. Shifting priorities and resources have prevented us from updating them as we wanted to during the last 12 months or so – in technology time that can be eons.

As I was demonstrating the new features and enhancements, when I showed my friend the updated mobile web interface design he asked, “This is mobile web right? You’re not using an app?”. This caught me a little off guard and the significance of the questions didn’t really occur to me until later in the day. And it is this: the processors and web browsers on mobile phones are now capable of rendering a web experience that equals what only an app could do not much more than 12 months ago.

Having been firmly on the mobile web side of the web vs. app debate from the beginning, I’ve been watching the web gain on the flood of apps for a while now.  And I have to admit, it feels really good to have Ruxter stepping into what was previously app occupied territory.

In the coming months I’m looking forward to seeing the creations of the large brands as they continue to put their apps on the side burner and begin embracing the mobile web. As for Ruxter customers, who have much smaller budgets, in the very near future we look forward to providing you a mobile presence that is second to none.



John Epperson

John Epperson is a co-founder and President of Ruxter. Having worked in various fields across the technology spectrum in the last 20+ years, John has gained a broad understanding of technology. Together with the Ruxter team he has developed a web-based application that allows anyone to quickly and easily harness the power of the mobile internet. You can contact him here. Follow Ruxter on Twitter.

SmallBusinessComputing.com Twitter Chat #SBCChat on Mobile Commerce

April 14, 2011

SmallBusinessComputing.com will be conducting their first Twitter chat next Wednesday at 2:00 pm EST, kicking off with an excellent topic – mobile commerce.

  • Topic: Mobile Commerce
  • Date: Wednesday, April 20
  • Time: 2:00 pm EST
  • Place: Twitter – Chat Hashtag #SBCChat

I’ll be on the panel (Tweeting from @ruxtermobi) along with a lineup of small business and mobile marketing pros -

Igor Faletski, CEO of Mobify, Aaron Sandoval and Melissa Vincent, vice presidents at UR Mobile, Annette Tonti, CEO of MoFuse, Aaron Maxwell, founder of Mobile Web Up, Laurie McCabe, principal analyst and co-founder of SMB-Group, Vangie Beal, ecommerce expert, Jennifer Schiff, Schiff and Schiff Communications, Dan Muse, B2B Quinstreet and Lauren Simonds, Small business Computing.

So if you’re interested in learning more about mobile commerce for small business, join us next Wednesday afternoon at #SBCChat.

More details on Small Business Computing’s #SBCChat here – smallbusinesscomputing.com

QR Codes: Connecting People, Print and Mobile

April 14, 2011

There’s been a lot of buzz around QR codes lately, and with good reason – they’re an excellent bridge from print advertising to mobile.  QR codes have great potential, but remember that good mobile marketing practices remain at the core of a successful campaign.

Here’s a presentation on QR’s and 2D barcodes with examples of QRs in action -

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