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Go mobile now or regret it later

Mobile marketing isn't just a tactic for big-name brands. Dave the Shoe Guy made that clear when his simple SMS alert promotion revolutionized his business.

Dave Sheehan is a salesman for Shirise Shoe Salon with around 1,500 customers on his list. At one point, he'd have to spend 30 hours on the phone contacting each of these shoe-loving ladies to inform them of a sale, but not anymore.

"My strategy was simply that I knew if I did what everyone else was doing, I would get what everyone else was getting," said Dave Sheehan, ladies designer shoe sales, Shirise, Chicago, IL. "If I did something different, I would stand out and get a better result."

"No one was doing this in the shoe world that I knew of," Mr. Sheehan said. "This was new, hot and fresh and it still is now."

Dave the Shoe Guy claimed that he was looking for a better way to contact his customers about sales and events.

With 1,500 customers, if he were to spend a minute on the phone with each, he'd cross 50 customers off the list every hour. At that rate, it would take him 30 hours to contact each customer, excluding breaks for eating, drinking or going to the restroom.

Instead, he asked his customers if they'd like to be a part of an exclusive club to receive text messages about upcoming sales, and to his surprise, 1,500 said yes.

Dave the Shoe Guy claims that as a direct result from his SMS implementation with only 1,500 customers, his sales have doubled from $650,000 to $1.3 million a year in the span of a mere two years.

Mr. Sheehan's business went from the worst product to the fastest growing shoe salon in his company for the last three years.

"This mobile platform gives me instant access to a diverse range of people from the president of a company to a stock person," Mr. Sheehan said. "People leave the house these days with their keys, wallet and their mobile phone."

"Now, MMS and the new mobile opportunities like video on demand and more will make mobile the most powerful marketing tool ever and I plan on taking full advantage of it," he said.

From his adventure in mobile marketing, Dave the Shoe Guy also won a trip to London where he got to meet and greet one of the top shoe designers in the world, Manolo Blahnik.

Mr. Sheehan wants others in positions like his to know that this is a time for regrouping and refocusing so that small businesses can be ready when this volatile economic climate calms down.

"My advice to other small businesses who are considering mobile marketing would be to do it now before your competition does," Mr. Sheehan said. "It is not about going out and getting a whole new group of people.

"It is about upgrading the clients and prospects you have now and plugging them into your mobile marketing campaign," he said.

"Lastly, I would say the greatest pain in life is the pain of regret. Go mobile now or you will regret it. This is one pain you can avoid and the return will be well worth your efforts."