Mobile Marketing for Small Business
By: Robert Bellenir
This article will help you understand the benefits of mobile marketing. Mobile marketing technology is changing the way all businesses do business. From mobile-optimized websites to marketing via text messaging, small businesses can grow their businesses and get a leg up over the competition by implementing numerous mobile marketing strategies.
What is Mobile Marketing?
The first question many small business owners have is “what is mobile marketing anyway?” Mobile marketing can be defined in many different ways. So it is only natural that different businesses think of mobile marketing in various ways. Mobile marketing is about reaching out to your audience on their mobile or “smartphones,” through text messages, and through mobile websites and mobile applications. Mobile marketing is about how, as small business owners and consumers, we are connected 24/7 and now have endless information at our fingertips.
• It’s about how mobile internet usage will overtake desktop usage by 2014.
• It’s about how 80% don’t leave their home without their mobile device.
• It’s how 97% of smartphone use is at home, 83% on the go and 78% in stores.
As a small business owner, consumer behavior can have a dramatic impact on your business. Some recent statistics indicate that:
• 68% of mobile searchers connected with a business; 55% called the business or service; 50% looked the business up on a map or got directions. Can you see the opportunities for local businesses?
• 65% of mobile searchers visited the business and 48% visited the website of the business.
• 35% of mobile searchers made a purchase.
• 75% of consumers will wait only a maximum of 5 seconds for a web page to load on their mobile device before abandoning the site.
• 48% of consumers are unlikely to return to a mobile site if it didn’t work properly during their last visit.
The sum of these statistics is an exciting opportunity for small businesses. The fact is that most local businesses have not adopted any mobile marketing strategies within their marketing mix. Moreover, the increasing trend in mobile gadgets demonstrates that this is not a passing fade or a shiny object, but something that will continue to reap benefits for your business in the future.
Mobile Marketing Results in New Customers
A recent survey from the Web.com Group found that 69% of small businesses consider mobile marketing crucial to their growth in the next five years, but a majority of these small business owners have yet to fully embrace mobile marketing. Of the small businesses that have joined the mobile marketing revolution, the Web.com Group says 84% have seen an increase in new business activity due to their mobile marketing efforts.
Mobile Market Strategies for Your Small Business
There are a number of strategies that your small business can implement to get started down the mobile marketing road. These strategies may require some outside assistance, but can be a smart investment and provide new avenues to reach your customers (or potential customers).
Mobile Optimized Websites
A mobile optimized website (or mobile website) is designed specifically for smartphones and not a desktop computer. This is important because the small screen is much different than a normal desk-based monitor. A mobile website doesn’t require that someone scroll left or right. It doesn’t require that someone zoom to read text. On a mobile site, the navigation is built for efficiency, the images are optimized for quick loading, and the content is minimized to be most effective.
In order to attract potential customers via mobile marketing, it is important to have your most important online information—contact details, products, and services—accessible and formatted properly across different mobile platforms (like Android and the iPhone). If your website doesn’t work with certain platforms, you are leaving those potential customers behind. Poor online experiences don’t convert customers. When viewers visit a website on their smartphone that is not mobile optimized, they will go elsewhere.
At the end of the day, mobile websites should be the first mobile strategy that you implement for your business. Consumers are going to visit websites on their smartphones whether or not your business has a mobile version of its website. The question is can your business afford to ignore this segment of consumers?
Text Message Marketing
Mobile text message marketing (text marketing) has arrived for the small business owner and is growing faster than any other advertising medium. Your customers are on their mobile devices every day, all day. Small businesses need to market to their customers where they are, at that moment, directly and instantly. Text marketing is perhaps the most efficient connection to theyour customers. If you already have a large list or database of customers, text marketing can be your most valuable sales tool.
For example, if your business already sends out email blasts to your list of customers, then a text message marketing campaign is virtually the same. The only differences are that you need to collect mobile phone numbers rather than email addresses for your opt-ins and that the messages will be delivered instantly to your target audience’s mobile phones, rather than being sent to an email inbox to be opened (hopefully) someday. You can send out coupons or offers to your customers via text messaging to incentivize and reward loyal customers and attract new ones. Your coupons can even include promotional codes that allow you to measure the effectiveness of your text marketing campaign.
Quick Response (QR) Codes
A QR code (it stands for “Quick Response”) is a mobile phone readable barcode. Simply encode a URL into the QR code and then point a mobile phone (or other camera-enabled device) at it. If the device has QR code decoding software installed on it, it will fire up its browser and go straight to that website (or phone number, your email address/text message application, V-Card data, or just plain text). With these codes you can share coupons, promotions and discounts. And all your customers need in order to use your QR codes is a mobile or smart phone. QR codes allow you to reach out to your customers in an efficient manner and give them relevant information in a simple way.
The option of developing your own mobile application (mobile app) has become more available and cheaper to implement for small businesses today. However, before you invest in a customized mobile app for your customers, make sure that there is a demand for your mobile app. Generally speaking, most consumers do not find a lot of value in uploading a small businesses’ mobile app if they are not likely to use it very often. Another important factor is that mobile optimized websites work universally, while mobile apps do not. One phone’s Internet browser opens a website as reliably as another’s, but an Android app simply won’t work on an iPhone or a BlackBerry. You’ll need to create separate apps for each specific platform or pick and choose your platform support.
Mobile marketing has become the new standard in small business marketing in 2013 and beyond. It’s great for securing business with your customers who are on-the-go. Plus, it can save you a small fortune compared to other public relations, promotions, and advertising channels. The bottom-line is that mobile marketing for small businesses is essential for growth and there is no better time than now to take advantage of all the mobile tools available.
Our Mobile Planet: Understanding the Mobile Consumer, Web.com, November 2012.