By: Brent Barnhart
on Saturday, September 22, 2012
When it comes to small business marketing, a lot of what we hear either sounds like a broken record or feels like beating a dead horse.
Your business needs to do this, your business needs to do that. Your business needs to hop off last year's bandwagon and get on this year's. Your business can't live without buzzword X and will surely fall apart without buzzword Y.
It's easy to get caught up in the trends and flavors of the week when it comes to marketing, which leads to this question; how's your mobile marketing strategy going?
Remember mobile marketing? Appealing to existing and potential customers on the go. Engaging through Social Media and apps. Leveraging ratings and reviews. Sound familiar? Sure, maybe a few years ago it felt like a bunch of empty buzz.
But not anymore; it's time to believe the hype.
Why? Recent data shows that the sale of smart phones worldwide has overtaken that of personal computers
. Meanwhile, a number of markets are showing us that more people access the Internet through phones and tablets through at-home desktops and laptops.
Long story short; if you've been sleeping on mobile marketing, it's time to wake up.
It's not much of secret that more and more users are going mobile when it comes to spending, but now the data's becoming concrete. Mobile is not a trend; tech-savvy teenagers aren't the only ones using smart phones and spending money online anymore. Smart phones are being used by over half
of the entire country. The mobile audience has become a melting pot of users utilizing a variety of sites, apps and services to spend money away from home. They're certainly not afraid to spend, either.
Consider the sheer amount of people utilizing Social Media. Nearly one billion users on Facebook
. YouTube has four billion views per day. 140 million active users on Twitter, 175 million on LinkedIn. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Consider also that a bulk of those users are mobile and, as we mentioned earlier, they aren't afraid to spend. The aforementioned sites are making billions in ad revenue alone.
It's not all about ads, either. Think about reviews sites such as Yelp
, which is home to 78 million users and 30 million reviews as of September 2012. Businesses are seeing huge returns from such review sites, which provide free advertising through positive customer reviews and allow additional exposure to your business for just being itself. Such sites offer promotions and loyalty programs for reviewing customers as well, encouraging returning business and helping companies build a foundation of dedicated buyers. And yes, most of these users are mobile.
It's not enough just to be a business online these days; it pays to be mobile.
For many small business
owners, this fact seems like a headache. It feels that the Internet marketing landscape changes so quickly as it is; now there's such a deep focus on the mobile aspect. Fret not. Having a mobile presence is crucial, but certainly not impossible. It doesn't have to eat up your free time, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg. What it does take, however, is a bit of thought.
For example, what does your business' website look like from a smart phone? What about a tablet? Your customers aren't just looking at your site from their home PC. And remember, your website serves as your business' first impression to a good chunk of your potential customers. If your website shows up as a jumbled mess a new user's phone, that user might think of your business as a jumbled mess.
Social Media presence goes a long way, too. What if someone's looking for a business in the area? They may turn to Facebook or they may turn to Yelp, for example. Make sure to have your crucial business information, such as your address and hours, consistently posted and up-to-date on such sites. You don't have to get absolutely carried away when it comes to appealing to mobile users; simply include the red meat of how they can find you, what you're all about and how they can buy from you.
Speaking of buying, ensure that any transactions that can happen on your business' website can happen on the go (your online shopping carts, etc).
Having a mobile strategy for your small business
is way more than just hype and the numbers don't lie. Think about the buzz around the new iPhone; sold out everywhere, lines out the door and guaranteed to bring in billions and billions for Apple. Don't you want a slice of that pie?