Press: 5 Mobile Marketing Tools to Reach Customers on the Go (via Mashable)

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business. 

With more than half of U.S. adult cellphone owners accessing the Internet from their mobile devices, you can be sure many consumers are open to getting information on your business while they’re out or on the road. Looking to up your mobile marketing game to reach these customers? Here are five vendors that can help.

1. MailChimp

Email marketing is one of the most popular ways to stay in touch with customers, and there are now many tools that can help you mobile-enable these programs.

For example, MailChimp has added a number of mobile features that allow you to view your email campaign stats, see who is tweeting about you and manage your lists and subscribers from your mobile device. MailChimp also offers mobile-friendly templates for your newsletters, so your campaign will look good when users read it on their mobile devices.

MailChimp customers can now also take advantage of services such as Chimpadeedoo, which gives customers the ability to sign up for your newsletter via an iPad. Customers visiting your store, restaurant or trade show can sign up on the spot. One company, Monkey Joe’s Parties & Play in North Carolina, was able to grow its subscriber list from 250 to 10,000 users using this app.

MailChimp offers a free plan (2,000 subscribers and up to 12,000 emails per month) that includes all of these mobile-friendly features and more.

2. Red Stamp

If you’re looking to make an impression with your digital correspondence, check out Red Stamp –- the company just launched Create Your Own Collection that enables small businesses to create and send custom, branded letterhead, business cards, notes, invitations and announcements from mobile and desktop devices.

Red Stamp says its customers are landing new clients by sending customized thank you notes as they walk out of meetings, and they’re also using the service to share visual, branded, real-time conversations with their social networks and create festive, branded invitations for events and get-togethers.

Golden Age Design, a small business that restores mid-century furniture, is using custom stationery from Red Stamp for several types of correspondence with customers, including sending out photos of their furniture finds to their clientele in real time.

The cost is a one-time fee of $29.99 for custom design and set-up and a $4.99 monthly fee for unlimited digital and social sharing. Paper postcards are just 99 cents — including $0.33 U.S. postage — and Red Stamp will print, address and mail your cards for you. International sends are an additional 30 cents.

3. Swipely

Mobile functionality can also make it easy for customers to join your loyalty program. For example, payments company Swipely now offers a simple “text to join” mobile loyalty program that works seamlessly with the credit or debit card consumers already have in their wallet, as opposed to having them manage (and often lose!) paper cards, punch cards or key chain plastic cards.

A popular organic restaurant with multiple locations in the Bay Area is using Swipely to run its mobile loyalty program, promoting it with signs in their restaurants that invite customers to join the program with one simple text message. In one month, they saw that 60% of the customers that hit their mobile signup page submitted their credit card to join the rewards program. In January alone, hundreds of customers signed up, which means that the restaurant can now market to those customers via email.

Swipely’s loyalty program is free for existing customers.

4. TextUs

A recent Time magazine mobility poll found that 32% of people would rather text than talk if given a choice. With this in mind, TextUs.Biz allows businesses to send and receive texts from customers via their computer or iPad. Small businesses can use the service to send customer appointment reminders or group promotional offers, while customers can use it to text the company’s main business phone number to request an appointment or reservation.

According to the company, the service is ideally suited to customer requests such as restaurant reservations, changing hair appointments or answering questions about car repairs, which are often easier to manage via text messaging versus a phone call.

Connor Doyle uses TextUs.Biz to manage customer service at West End Salon in Boulder, Colorado.

“TextUs has greatly reduced the amount of time our front desk staff is tied up on the phone and has allowed us to concentrate on even better customer service,” says Doyle. “Our clients love the ease and simplicity of sending us text messages and our staff uses the service almost exclusively for communication with the front desk.”

TextUs is free for the first 100 messages, which includes web and iPad access. For small businesses sending more than 100 messages a month, the “basic” cost is $24/month for 1,500 messages, the “premium” is $44/month for 5,000 messages and “pro” is $74/month for 10,000 messages.

5. Facebook

According to recent Facebook usage research by IDC, smartphone users check Facebook an average of 14 times per day, so make sure to consider Facebook’s latest advertising products, such as Facebook Offers and Promoted Posts, to reach and engage your target customers on mobile.

For example, SweetFrog Frozen Yogurt recently saw an average of 2.9% redemption rate onFacebook Offers, Facebook’s virtual coupons that are available on both desktop and mobile. Some stores reported over 10,000 in-person redemptions.

Promoted Posts, which allow business owners to easily turn an engaging post into an ad to reach more people with their messages, also work well on mobile. According to Facebook,Sam’s Chowder House, a local restaurant in Half Moon Bay, CA, used Promoted Posts to drive a 19% increase in both their monthly number of guests and monthly gross revenue.

One final note: Facebook’s Pages Manager app now allows you to manage your Facebook Page, post photos, comments and ad campaigns all from your phone.