ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Marketing Dive acquired Mobile Marketer in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out the new Marketing Dive site for the latest marketing news.

Southwest Airlines builds email database via mobile initiative

Southwest Airlines is aiming to bolster its email list of opted-in users with a mobile ad campaign that lets users sign up for weekly messages via their devices.

The mobile ads are running inside iPhone applications such as Pandora and Draw with Friends. In addition to email, the ads also play up Southwest Airlines? social media efforts.

"We see mobile advertising as an additional touch point for our Customers as they are migrating more toward mobile devices. As our customers are more comfortable using these devices, it presents a new way for us to engage with our customers," said Chris Mainz, spokesman for Southwest Airlines, Dallas,TX.

Mobile savings
The Southwest Airlines mobile banner ads read, ?Only people who sign up get the emails ? Click ?N Save.?

The ads then encourage users to tap to learn more about the company?s email program.

Via a mobile landing page, users can sign-up to receive weekly emails by typing in their email address.

Once users sign up for emails, consumers are brought to another landing page where they can ?Like? the brand?s Facebook account or follow the company on Twitter.

Additionally, users can download the Southwest Airlines iPhone app via the landing page.

Users can interact with social media and the brand's app

?Travel brands are among the most reliant on mobile audiences, so finding ways to reach people on the go and adding them to an email database pays big dividends,? said Mike May, head of insights at Real Magnet, Bethesda, MD.

?Segmenting is critical to email marketing. Using mobile ads to build a house list lets Southwest know that these contacts are heavy mobile users. They can then send mobile-friendly or even mobile-specific emails to this audience, tailoring the design and even the copy length for the mobile channel,? he said.

Mr. May is not affiliated with Southwest. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Opted-in users
With high email open rates consistently happening on mobile, letting users opt-in to an email program via a mobile ad unit is a great way for marketers to build their databases.

Additionally, email helps Southwest build a longer-term one-on-one relationship to retarget consumers in the future.

Southwest is not the only company using mobile advertising to its advantage to build an email database.

Earlier this year Dole used mobile advertising to let users not only sign-up for the company?s email program but also join a new online community, for example (see story).

For a travel company in particular, a mobile ad with a quick direct response such as email can be a great way for a company to target consumers who are looking for deals and offers on flights.

?There's a myth that mobile always means distracted,? Mr. May said.

?Next time you're waiting at the gate for your plane to arrive, look around at your fellow passengers. How many of them have a smartphone in their hands? And how many of them look bored, as opposed to busy?? he said.

?Many consumers use mobile devices to fill gaps in time, so asking for an email address or even more information is not always a tall order. Just make sure that any input is easy to type into, and buttons are large and visible.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York