Mobile marketing and advertising are pretty basic, when you drill down to the core.

There are any number of people who will try to convince you that mobile marketing and advertising are some kind of Wizard of Oz magic – you know, a guy behind that curtain pulling the strings and you’ll never know what the strings do.

In reality, if you pay attention to a couple of simple ideas, use a basic framework to set up your campaigns, and don’t try to overwhelm your target prospects and customers with unneeded junk, you can very likely be successful with your first mobile campaign.

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Let’s take a quick look at the idea of how mobile advertising works and then we’ll get to the five basic things that you should know in order to create and deploy successful campaigns.

Mobile marketing and advertising work by sending messages to your prospective customers smartphones.  These tactics don’t work with flip phones, they don’t work with Google Voice numbers, and they don’t work for landline phones (there are still people who have those things, you know!).

There are a couple of ways to send messages to a mobile phone – text (SMS, MMS) or lock screen notifications.

Text messages are simple, but they are costly and you absolutely must have permission to message the user or you run the risk of a hefty fine (ask Facebook, they’re being charged $12,000 EACH MESSAGE SENT for sending unwanted text messages).

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Lock screen notifications go directly to the users lock screen – as if it were a text message – but these are sent by apps in the phone, cost nothing, and don’t have the same opt in requirements that SMS does.

With that said, either method is currently the most effective way to reach out and touch someone, especially if location and context based messaging are on your radar.  It’s simple and effective to use location via GPS in the phone or Bluetooth iBeacons to trigger a message to your prospect when they are in a specific place, such as your business, or even when they’re standing outside your competitors business.

The five basic things to know before you hit send on your next (first?) campaign:

#1 – Choose your target wisely.

What do you think your target prospects and returning customers want?  Discounts?  Freebies?  Educational material?  You can include all this and more on a mobile wallet pass (but not on an SMS, in case you didn’t realize that) – however, you still need to choose one thing to feature.

#2 – Don’t overwhelm your potential buyers.

Just because you can offer them the sun and the moon does not mean you should.  Heck, we could make this list about 43 items long, but you’d never bother reading it.  Start small and work your way outwards and upwards from there.

#3 – Consistent messaging is key. 

A campaign is kind of like a war (and that’s why they call them a series of campaigns, duh) – you don’t want to win a single battle only to lose in the end.  Take a day or two and think about your end goal, how you can best reach it, and reverse engineer it to create a pleasant journey for your customers.  They are the most important part here.

#4 – Plan your work and work your plan. 

Deciding to go mobile should be at the top of your to do list to expand your business and build your bottom line, but going off without any idea of what you want, or how you need to position yourself and your brand to get there is just silly.

#5 – Rome wasn’t built in a day. 

Once you have an idea of what you want to feature, and have thought about the message that is going to make your customers want to buy that featured item or service, you should settle in for the long haul.  While mobile marketing and advertising are your best chance to reach out to people in a timely, contextual way, these things don’t just happen on their own.

Train your staff to push your mobile passes to every customer that buys something in your store.  Include the short link and the QR code in every piece of collateral you have (mention them in your podcast, radio ads, TV ads, etc), and do not let an opportunity to bring more of your collective fold onboard at each opportunity.

A successful campaign should not only increase sales or brand awareness, it should also set up your next campaign.

Using a stepping stone mentality when onboarding customers for loyalty points, special offers, educational materials, whatever floats your boat and gets them interested, means planning ahead while you’re checking the results of your current campaign.

This isn’t rocket science but it is very important.  The ability to leverage your customers by asking them to refer you to 5 of their friends (via the mobile pass, of course!) is one thing; getting them to deliver for you is another.  Be respectful of their needs, and intuit what you think they’ll see as customer-centric, customer friendly moves and they’re going to respond positively.

Treat them like they’re just a paycheck and they’ll drop you like a hot potato.