Case Study: Mobile Marketing FAIL

Like a lot of people, I’ve been thinking that I really need to start exercising. And like a lot of people, I’ve been putting it off since Ronald Reagan was President. Regardless, as I get older, the daily aches and pains have intensified to the point where I can ignore them no longer, and everything I read — along with my recent physical therapy experience — tells me that the place to start is to get more active.

Way back when, I was a member of a mid-size downtown gym. I liked the place because it was basic, unassuming and uncrowded — a stark contrast from the 70s Disco Sleazy Chic of their closest geographical competitor. I was a member for about four years, and then life changed in a number of ways, I moved, fell off the wagon, so to speak. You know how it goes.

So this past Monday morning, drinking my coffee, I look them up on my iPhone, because (1) I have a history with them and (2) whenever possible I like to patronize local, people-owned businesses instead of faceless corporate franchises. To my surprise, my old gym is onboard the mobile marketing train, has a pretty great mobile-formatted site. And right on the main screen is the motivation I need, the words nearly every gym procrastinator responds to: 14-day free trial.

Perfect, I think. Get your free trial right here, right now. I click, fill out the wonderfully short form and send.

And then…it all fails.

First, the subsequent confirmation screen — counter to my expectation — contains no info, no details about my free trial. No coupon to print, no code to take with me, nothing I can act on. Just a message saying hey, thanks for your interest, we’ll get back to you about this when we feel like it.

OK, so it didn’t say that. But it did say “someone will contact you shortly” or some other insincere bullshit.

Guess what? I don’t want someone to contact me. If I did, I’d have called you, or emailed and asked for a reply. I filled out your online form specifically because I don’t want to talk to anyone, I don’t want to hear how great the gym is, I want no part of the pitch. What I do want is to see something that allows me to walk into the gym tomorrow morning and start my free trial. Period.

And then…it fails again.

It’s been a solid week. I’ve received no emails, no phone calls, no contact of any kind. Now, I realize I said I didn’t want to talk to anyone. But let me put on my consultant hat for a minute and pretend I’m trying to help them get more members. If someone fills out one of your forms, they are essentially communicating that they are interested in giving you their money. Maybe not explicitly, but it’s certainly a distinct possibility, because they sought you out, not the other way around. And if you fail to respond — forget within 24 hours, think the next 3 hours max — you leave that money on the table.

Successful mobile marketing – the kind that gets people to vote with their wallets – starts with taking the time to think about what people want from you. What they expect to happen while engaging with you (and afterward). Take a look at your Analytics or web logs. How many people filled out your form? And how many of them never heard back from you in any way, shape or form? How much potential revenue does that represent that is now lost? All because someone somewhere was too lazy to reach out to them?

Do it right, or do something else.

And in all honesty, the better approach is to pay your developer for another couple hours and have him/her post a coupon on the resulting page that the person can just print and show up with. Make it easy for people to do business with you. Eliminate the barriers, the hoops. Get them in the door, NOW.

Take off your traditional marketing hat and burn it. The way you’re doing things doesn’t work anymore. For better or worse, the Internet has enabled instant gratification, especially when it comes to mobile marketing. And if you don’t provide it, you’re not only leaving money on the table — you’re leaving a big hole for your competitors to drive their entire fleet of trucks through.