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5 Mobile Trends Every Small Business Marketer Needs To Know

Mobile & Apps

If you haven’t already, you need to start thinking about how consumers may interact with your business via mobile devices. According to comScore’s latest report, “2012 Mobile Future in Focus,” smartphone ownership nearly doubled in 2011 alone (more than 100 million Americans now have a smartphone) and a growing number of consumers are using them to perform activities such as search, email, social networking, and shopping.

Here are a few highlights from the report and why these mobile trends should matter to you.

Nearly 50% of U.S. and Canadian mobile subscribers used mobile browsers. That means they’re potentially visiting your website while on their smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device with access to the web. If your website is not optimized to look good or be functional on these devices, you could be providing an unsatisfactory user experience or even losing customers.

Tips on getting your site ready for mobile devices: choose blog/website templates that utilize responsive design or that are mobile-friendly; choose an ecommerce solution that offers a mobile version of your store site in parallel with the ‘regular’ version; or use tools like Mobify to create a mobile version of your existing site.

40.8% of U.S. consumers used email via their mobile device. If the emails you send to prospects and/or customers—like eNewsletters, promotional offers, order confirmation emails, etc.—are not optimized for viewing on smaller screens, then you could be providing an unsatisfactory user experience or missing out on opportunities to close more business.

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For tips on designing emails that work well on both desktop and mobile devices, check out the article, “6 Tips for Optimizing Email for Mobile.”

26.5% of U.S. consumers accessed maps on their mobile device. Maps give consumers the ability to search for businesses around their current location or find routes to get to a local business. To reach these consumers, ensure that your business’s location not only shows up on the maps that they’re accessing, but that the information about your businesses is accurate and kept up to date.

Now, you may be asking, “How do I get my business listed on iPhone maps?” Much of the data displayed on mapping applications comes from Google. If you haven’t already, set up a Google Places page for your business. Be sure to choose the category that best describes your business from a consumer’s perspective and include a keyword-rich description. For example, people often use these maps to search for local businesses via general terms like “restaurants”, “shoe repair”, “book store”, and so on. Additionally, if there are industry specific mobile applications that have mapping features that help consumers find local businesses, make sure your business has a profile set up on those too (I’m thinking about apps like Urbanspoon, for example).

Believe it or not, this trend can also help businesses track the efficacy of offline marketing efforts to engage local consumers and get them into stores. Wingstop recently launched a local direct mail campaign that gave postcard recipients the ability to scan a QR code to get driveway-to-store driving directions on their mobile device. Since each QR code is unique and associated with a mail recipient, Wingstop can track when it was scanned and who scanned it (valuable information for organizing follow-up marketing campaigns).

5 Mobile Trends Every Small Business Marketer Needs To Know image WingStop DirectMail wDirections2

Postcard that allows customers to scan a qr code or text a phrase to a shortcode to get door-to-door driving directions on their mobile device. Wingstop card produced by QuantumDigital, Inc.

12.2% of U.S. consumers accessed online retail through their mobile device.

More and more people are making purchases directly from their mobile devices through mobile-friendly ecommerce sites and mobile applications. This capability, for many industries, reduces inbound calls and eliminates order errors by allowing consumers to place and confirm orders themselves. As a business owner, ensuring your site is easy to navigate on mobile devices will help remove potential barriers that could prevent or stop a purchase from your mobile audience.

The comScore study also noted that users are increasingly relying on their smartphones to comparison shop, research product features, and share their shopping experience with friends. Keep this in mind when developing content. Make is easy for consumers to find and share information on your website.

1 in 5 U.S. smartphone owners scanned a QR code with their phone.

There’s been plenty of debate about QR codes. Should they stay or should they go? The marketers that are using them in smart ways will argue that QR codes have value and aren’t going anywhere this year. As more consumers are presented with relevant reasons to scan the codes and as more marketers become aware of the tracking capabilities of unique codes, their usage may ramp up instead of down.

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