Publisher: Kelly Burkart – Posted on 03/22/2013
With more than 90% of the U.S. population using mobile devices*, the question for small business owners is no longer “Should my company use mobile marketing?” but “How can I use it best?” Mobile marketing should be an integral part of your comprehensive marketing plan. To build a successful mobile marketing strategy, begin with what you already have, or what you can get cost-effectively.
Optimize your website for mobile devices
It’s not enough to simply make your website available on mobile devices. Content should be easily readable and navigable on smartphone screens. Make sure customers can get the information they’re looking for without lengthy delays waiting for pages to load and re-load. Provide detailed information so customers can make product comparisons while they are shopping (remember, they may be browsing your site from your competitor’s location).
Use text messaging
Text messaging (or SMS) is still one of the simplest ways to get your message to the masses. The advantage of texting is that it works on any smartphone platform. (Apps, on the other hand, may be limited to either iOS/Apple or Android devices.) By texting, you can quickly communicate special offers or news to your customers.
Check your search engine listings for accuracy
When you look up your business on sites that provide local results like Google and Bing, you’ll find your company listed in multiple locations such as Yellow Pages, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc. Make sure the information displayed for each listing is accurate including location, phone number, hours, etc. If not, notify the site to make corrections.
Build on your existing social media base
Social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter should be an important part of your mobile marketing mix. Avoid overt sales pitches, but do use social media to engage customers by posting updates, events, and exclusive offers, and invite customers to interact by uploading comments, reviews, and photos.
Geo-targeting determines the location of a website visitor and targets specific content to him/her based on that location. One of the best-known examples is Foursquare. When someone is near your location, they can check in at Foursquare on a smartphone to find out if you have any special offers or events they should take advantage of. Using geo-targeting can literally bring people to your door.
Is there already an app for that?
Developing an app exclusively for your business can be a significant expense. However, there may already be off-the-shelf apps you can use or adapt for your business. For example, there are apps available for specific industries, such as real estate and insurance. It isn’t necessary to reinvent the wheel.
Building your mobile site
If you don’t have a mobile site yet, it may be easier and more affordable than you think. Off-the-shelf tools like Ruxter guide you step by step. There are also a growing number of mobile marketing agencies and freelance consultants who specialize in working with small businesses.
Small businesses can’t afford to ignore the power of mobile marketing. Although it’s tempting to dive right in, think strategically and make mobile part of your overall marketing program.
Kelly Burkart is a freelance writer from Minneapolis, Minn. While she has spent most of her time writing about financial services the past 15 years, she has also explored and written about everything from cardiovascular health to travel, higher education and sustainable energy practices.
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