Small businesses may feel they lack the expertise to launch an effective mobile marketing campaign. How can they compete with bigger companies and stay current with the fast-changing world of mobile technology?
The first and most important step for small businesses is to make sure that their websites are mobile-ready. Your potential customers almost certainly use a mobile device to access the information they require whilst they are on the go.
Consumers must be able to quickly access the site and get the same information on their mobiles that they would on a laptop or desktop. Responsive design ensures that the site automatically conforms in size to the viewing device the user is on. Information helpful to customers on the move should be included such as maps and price lists.
Increasing numbers of mobile users make purchases from their smartphones, and if the business is one that sells online, this should be a fully functional feature for mobile users.
In addition to a mobile website, businesses should ensure that they have a Google+ page so that it is easier for customers to locate them in search results and get important information like their address and phone number.
Apps can be an excellent addition to a strong mobile strategy, but there are a few caveats. Apps can be expensive to develop, and despite stories of developers becoming millionaires off of their ideas, most make little impact.
If a small business has a creative app idea and someone who can develop the app at a cost that is not too high, an app can be a deal clinching feature for a business.
However, apps that fail to deliver any significant new information or functionality beyond the website are generally not worth the effort of either the customer or the business.
Businesses should consider whether predictive technology would be useful for customers. Predictive technology is simply assessing what the customers next step might be based on things such as demographics and the action the customers are currently involved in.
For example, a customer purchasing a winter scarf might be shown a hat to match it.
A customer making limousine reservations for a large party might be shown specials the company offers in tandem with local nightclubs.
Businesses can give customers an incentive for checking in on Facebook, Foursquare or other social networks. For example, a restaurant might offer a voucher for a free dessert on the customer’s next visit.
Businesses should be prudent about marketing with text messaging. These should be opt-in and used sparingly. Texts should be sent when there is some sort of time or inventory limit for the customer such as a particularly good sale that lasts only 24 hours or on items that are nearly sold out.
These are just a few of the ways businesses can make the most of mobile opportunities. Small business owners can also familiarize themselves with what other similar companies are doing both to get an idea of what is possible and to distinguish themselves by offering something different.
Embracing the mobile channel and having a customer centric mobile marketing plan is a key area that a small business must give consideration to. Entire segments of their target audience now use mobile devices to research products, communicate with providers and purchase goods and services online.
As a small business in a highly competitive and fast changing, evolving digital world, the mobile channel is an opportunity you cannot afford to miss out on.