Source: Small Business Trends, 7/5/16
We’re living in a golden age of business technology. Evolving ecommerce solutions are making it simpler than ever to reach customers across the globe, while new apps and social trends are constantly popping up and shifting the goalposts in terms of marketing strategy.
In order to stay competitive, small business owners have got to keep up with the times. Yet according to researchers, a vast number of companies are still a bit wary of hopping on the bandwagon. They tend to rely on traditional, tried-and-tested marketing methods, and find the prospect of developing digital, mobile-friendly strategies a bit daunting.
But believe it or not, taking steps to reach new customers via digital and mobile technologies is completely pain-free. Better yet, you don’t need to be a tech genius in order to implement these tools. At the end of the day, crafting an effective mobile marketing strategy is really about common sense — but to help you get started, here’s a list of quick tips that will enable your business to join the rest of the twenty-first century.
Mobile Strategy for Small Businesses
1. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-friendly
Nowadays, users spend more time surfing the web on mobiles or tablets than they spend on clunky desktops. That means you’ve got to ensure your website translates well onto all viewing platforms. If your site doesn’t look great on a smartphone, it’s worth taking a look at what aspects are and aren’t working. Sometimes embedded videos, over-sized images or odd numbers of menu items can be enough to bring an entire homepage crashing to the ground.
When in doubt, if it’s not working on a mobile, lose it. After all, there’s no point spending time and effort marketing your company to people if they aren’t able to get the most out of your website.
2. Use Responsive Design
Another important mobile marketing basic is to ensure that your website uses responsive design. That’s essentially a fancy way of describing whether a website automatically adjusts its layout and content depending upon the size of screen and type of device it’s being viewed upon. Again, this is pretty important to web marketing, as users typically don’t have the time or patience to fiddle with zooming in and out of your pages.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be terribly tech-savvy in order to create a responsive website. If your company’s website is hosted via an affordable web builder like WordPress or Squarespace, there should be a host of free templates at your disposal that have been coded to be fully responsive and 100 percent mobile-friendly.
3. Try Sending Some Texts
SMS marketing has been increasing in popularity over the past couple of years, and it’s definitely worth a shot. So long as you maintain a up-to-date customer contacts list, you don’t even need to bother with some overpriced marketing agency in order to reach customers via text. That being said, you’ve got to be smart about it.
Users will be very likely to open your marketing messages, but you’ve got to give them a reason to click through to your responsive and mobile-friendly site. Special, time-sensitive discounts, limited quantity offers and exclusive information typically perform well.
4. Use Social Media
Social media is one of the most important weapons in your marketing arsenal – especially if you’re experimenting with different mobile marketing strategies. If you are sending SMS messages or HTMLs out to potential customers, push them onto your Facebook page. Encourage them to ‘like’ or share mobile images and get involved in conversations about your products, services or the wider industry as a whole. By engaging users on social media, you’re unlocking a whole new level of brand potential.
5. Optimize Your Emails
Believe it or not, company newsletters are just as effective today as they were twenty years ago in terms of marketing potential. The only difference is that nowadays, emails have gone mobile. Around 65 percent of all emails are now opened on smartphones rather than desktops or laptops. Bearing that in mind, you’ve got to ensure your emails are mobile-friendly.
That means you should tone it down on the big images or graphics. Be concise, and don’t be afraid to go crazy on the hyperlinks. Push users onto your social media channels, landing pages are particular product pages on your own site.
6. Use Abbreviated URLs
Mobile users typically want brands to be short, sweet and to the point when it comes to marketing messages. That’s where abbreviated URLs come in handy.
If you’re keen on sending customers to a specific landing page or item on your website, it always helps to provide them with a short URL that’s easy on the eyes and easy to remember. There are loads of free URL shorteners out there. It might seem like a trivial detail, but it’s always the little things that can make the biggest differences.
7. Use QR Codes
QR codes are just about everywhere nowadays. You see them in magazine ads, on wine bottles and all over store shelves – and they’re absolutely brilliant. By taking a quick snap of a code using a mobile phone, you can be instantly transported to a custom-built landing page designed to tell you all about the product or service you’re on the verge of buying.
Better yet, even the world’s biggest technophobe can create a custom QR code for their business without breaking a sweat. There are loads of free tools out there, and they couldn’t be simpler to use.
8. Use Google AdWords
If you’ve ever considered investing a bit more in your company’s digital presence, you have probably come across Google AdWords. It’s a brilliant tool that helps you to capitalize on searches from would-be customers – but not everybody takes advantage of its mobile optimization capabilities.
You can actually now segment mobile searches and manage mobile ads separately. By doing so, you can learn to track and measure all of the mobile-traffic your site gets, which will also help you decipher whether your other mobile marketing methods are actually paying dividends.
9. Buy Mobile Ads
Unlike sink-or-swim print advertisements, mobile ads are dynamic beasts that can provide your business with unprecedented returns. Because you can target your audience based upon demographics or their geographical area, mobile advertisements are able to reach individuals that are far more likely to be engaged by your marketing messages.
There are quite a few mobile advertising networks that offer a range of affordable PPC rates.
10. Create Mobile-friendly Content
It’s all well and good to attract users to your responsive website using well-crafted SMS messages or mobile ads – but if the content on your site puts people off, all your hard work will have been for nothing.
Mobile users are typically going to be checking out your webpages on small screens. They’ll probably be surrounded by distractions, too. Bearing that in mind, all of your web content has got to be short and snappy. Don’t waste time with colorful descriptions or passive tones of voice. You’ve got one shot in order to get people’s attention – make it count.
At the end of the day, these are just a few basic tips. Once you’ve laid the groundwork for an effective mobile marketing strategy, you can start experimenting with different techniques and trying out a range of emerging trends.
Just remember that mobile marketing is all about consolidation. Texts, emails, ads and social media have all got to work alongside one another in order for you to effectively promote your small business online.