To say that Americans are addicted their smartphones is an understatement. Over 90 percent of them own a mobile phone of some sort and over half of Americans overall own a smartphone. And it's not just us. Around the world, cell phone ownership has surpassed toothbrush ownership — 4.8 billion people own a mobile phone while only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush. More than half of mobile phone owners have their phone within arm's reach during every waking (and even sleeping) hour. Nearly 80 percent of 18-44 year old mobile phone owners check their phones first thing in the morning when they wake up — before even reaching for a cup of coffee — or a toothbrush, if they have one.
Small business owners can take advantage of this obsession with smartphones and use it become better mobile marketers who deliver more targeted messages, promotions and deals directly to their customers’ phones. Here are three simple, effective and fundamental mobile marketing strategies that are perfect for small business owners.
Make sure your website is optimized for mobile
Having a nice website just isn't enough anymore. Even if your website looks phenomenal on a desktop or laptop computer, there's a chance that your customers may never see it at its fullest potential. The percentage of Web traffic coming from mobile devices (phones, tablets and e-readers) is increasing rapidly. In 2012, only 17.5 percent of Web traffic came from mobile devices. As of late 2013, that percentage had increased to 28 percent. That's a 67 percent increase in just one year. It's absolutely crucial that your website is fully optimized for mobile. Customers who have a poor mobile experience — even just once time — are likely to harbor negative feelings towards your business. They'll also feel irritated and distrustful — not a great way to impress potential customers. Your website design should display properly on mobile screens of all sizes. A responsive design will automatically resize itself to fit any screen size and resolution and display exactly as the designer intended. The pages should load quickly both on Wi-Fi and network connections.
Be sure that your mobile site offers the following features and that they're easy to find:
- Your phone number (should be prominently displayed and when customers click on it they should have the option to call you)
- Hours of operation
- Menus, a list of services offered, prices (depending on what your business offers)
- An “About Us” page
- Boxes and forms that are easy to click on and fill in
Don't underestimate SMS marketing
Everyone does the aimless smartphone swipe and check — even if you don't know you're doing it. Whenever you're bored, have a few seconds to kill — or even just for no reason in particular — you pull out your phone and swipe through all the screens, looking for something to jump out at you. Everyone does it and your small business can take advantage of it with mobile marketing. Give customers the ability to opt in to receiving SMS messages and then send them timely updates on deals, promotions and coupons for a good or service your small business offers. Texting your customers is the most immediate way to alert them of new deals and promotions. Texting is also available to every mobile device, while other forms of mobile marketing can only reach smartphone users, and can vary by availability depending on whether your customers have iOS and Android devices.
Use mobile directories and mobile search to your benefit
As a small business, it's important that you're easily found in local searches. Register your small business on local directories like Google Places, Bing, Yahoo!, Yelp, CitySearch, Foursquare and more. Put some time into your local SEO strategy so that you'll be able to capture more mobile search traffic. Be sure that your name, branding and information are consistent across all of your local mobile directories. Make sure it's easy for people to find and contact you and include a map of your location on your website.
Mobile marketing will only become a more valuable, useful and widely used resource as time passes. Some studies expect mobile Internet use to overcome desktop mobile use by 2015. The sooner you step up your mobile game, the more potential customers you'll be in position to win over.
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