Small business owners must remain agile to respond to shifting trends that ripple through the entire economy, which can often necessitate obtaining a working capital loan to make the necessary investments required to keep pace. One such change on the business landscape is the nonstop growth and ubiquity of mobile devices used in daily ecommerce transactions.
According to a study of 400 companies with 25 employees or fewer conducted by Yodle and Research Now, nearly 40 percent of small businesses have not synced their marketing efforts with a mobile-first strategy. Without optimizing your website to work on mobile devices, you can potentially be missing out on a major component of your core market.
The rise and subsequent impact of mobile usage cannot be underestimated. According to a 2012 Kissmetrics infographic, mobile browser share grew by 1,000 percent between February 2009 and August 2011. As mobile browsing increased, so too did the amount of time customers spend on their devices. According to the source, 60 percent of global consumers exclusively rely on their smartphones or tablets as their primary Internet source. As noted by Google, 94 percent of individuals use smartphones to search for local information.
With the importance of mobile devices growing every day, small business owners cannot afford to ignore this crucial aspect of their marketing campaign. There are several techniques owners can use to boost their advertising efforts and truly capture the mobile crowd:
- Make a mobile-friendly campaign
Although you might already have a website up and in working order, with slick graphics and seamless user interface, this won’t suffice if the site doesn’t work well on a smartphone or tablet. With the vast majority of consumers relying on their mobile devices to access the Internet and research shopping options, you need to ensure your company’s website works properly on these gadgets.
This is also true of your email marketing efforts, since these are also predominantly opened on mobile devices as well. If you’re sending out emails that are best viewed on a PC browser, it could lead to consumers ignoring or deleting these promotions or advertisements sight unseen.
Not only do consumers demand mobile-friendly websites, but not having a web page optimized for mobile could also lead to unfavorable search engine results ranking by Google. The search-engine giant’s algorithm rewards websites that have been optimized for mobile devices, and if you’re not compliant with Google’s Mobile Optimization Guidelines, you can see a considerable drop in your page rankings.
- Make a mobile app
Websites are great for customers unaware of your brand who are browsing the Internet trying to find a new, local product or service. But once you’ve attracted these individuals to your company, you need an easy and accessible way for them to connect with your business in the future. While having customers return to your website is a good idea, making a dedicated mobile application that people can download to their devices provides you with the opportunity to maintain a clear channel directly to the customer.
Right from the beginning, creating a mobile app prospects can download directly to their mobile devices ensures your company gets a branded spot right there on the screen. This alone can boost your customer engagement since every time they slide through their smartphones or tablets, they’ll see the app right there next to their social media apps and emails.
This one-stop entrance point into your ecommerce site not only lets you gain better control of the customer experience, but it allows you to establish loyalty programs and promotions directly aimed at these individuals. Further, you can use the data culled from the apps to create more targeted marketing campaigns.
- Geo-targeted marketing
The Internet provides a medium for anyone to access any available data from any location in the world. While this is great for the consumer, it’s not so ideal for your small business since you don’t know where these individuals are located when they’re browsing your site.
However, small business owners with a mobile-centric marketing strategy can take advantage of geo-targeting tools. These allow you to pinpoint the location of a consumer using your mobile app. You can leverage this data to your advantage several ways.
In the “Local Mobile Search Study” survey conducted by the Local Search Association and reported in SearchEngineLand, 74 percent of consumers were willing to offer location coordinates and data if they believed they would receive something valuable in exchange for the information. With greater access to shopper geography, you can create more customized and targeted location-specific marketing campaigns.
You can use this to find a venue where your target audience might have specific needs, such as at an airport, or use it to geo-fence a particular area, such as a trade show. This lets you pinpoint with greater accuracy where certain prospective clients or customers will be during a specific time, allowing you to use location-specific landing pages or analyze consumer behavior and preferences.
Creating a mobile-centric small business marketing strategy keeps shoppers satisfied and engaged while also providing you with the tools necessary to better target and retain these customers.