The era of mobile marketing is here. In fact, it’s been here for a while. But don’t worry, it’s not too late to get in on the action! We’re here to help you understand mobile marketing for small businesses and what you can do to get started.
What Is Mobile Marketing?
Digital advertising is becoming increasingly mobile. People can take their laptops anywhere. They can access the internet in most public businesses. Music, YouTube videos, movies, or TV shows can be streamed just about anywhere you can get a wireless connection.
Whether it’s a computer, a tablet, a phone, even a smart refrigerator, modern marketers need to understand that their target audiences are interacting with devices no matter where they are. Gone are the days in which your target audience was sitting in front of a computer at home or at work. Now they could be anywhere and they’re almost always plugged in.
You probably don’t need us to tell you any of this. After all, you could be anywhere right now, too.
But when we talk about “mobile marketing,” we’re referring to the supercomputer that’s currently collecting your pocket lint. Almost everyone has a smartphone – and almost everyone who has a smartphone keeps it within reach most of the time.
In fact, according to an eMarketer study, U.S. adults spent more time using mobile devices than any other device in 2019. At an average of over three hours per day, last year was the first time smartphone use overtook watching TV or using the computer.
The Perks of Mobile Marketing for Small Businesses
So your audience is on mobile. But if you’re a small business owner with limited resources or digital marketing experience, you may be wondering whether it’s worth it to try to meet them there.
The answer is yes. Here’s why:
- It’s fast and direct. Smartphones have permeated every aspect of our lives, so most of us keep them on our person at all times. That means your campaigns are likely to reach your audiences quickly, if not instantly, and they can make purchases on the spot.
- It’s easy and versatile. Mobile marketing isn’t just one thing. You won’t only be sending out marketing text messages, though that may certainly be a part of it. The modern concept of “mobile marketing” is just marketing with a focus on smartphones. Fortunately, there are a plethora of accessible tools available to help you with any method you choose.
- It’s easy to track. Because mobile marketing is a direct line to customers, you’ll also get an idea of how you’re doing fairly quickly. Whether it’s an email, a text, a social media post, or an ad in an app, your audiences will see it and interact with it quickly. Those helpful mobile marketing tools can aid your tracking efforts, too!
For digital marketers, it’s abundantly clear that the smartphone is the way of the future… the foreseeable future, at least. We’ll correct this when people start becoming cyborgs with ads streamed directly into their brains.
But what does mobile marketing for small businesses actually entail? Here are some ways you can harness the power of mobile for your brand:
Texting, or Short Message Service as it’s technically called, may be the quickest way to reach customers. However, there are right and wrong ways of going about this and a few hard rules (laws, actually) that you’ll need to follow.
Marketing through text is a great way to inform your audience of sales or give them coupons, especially if those offers are only valid for a limited time. You can include a link to the relevant part of your website to make conversion a breeze.
But SMS marketing has even more potential. Depending on what kind of business you run, you can use texting to keep customers informed about news that’s relevant to them. For example, you could send them invitations to events at your brick-and-mortar store or livestreaming events online. You can also remind them of appointments, send notifications or updates about bookings or purchases, or collect feedback.
How does it work?
It’s actually illegal to just text customers as soon as you collect their phone number… not to mention annoying. Before you can send any text messages to your customers, you must get their permission. This can be as easy as checking a box when during the collection process.
Some companies also use an optin code to sign up for text marketing. For example: “Text YES to ##### for all the news you can wrap your head around at Susie’s Burrito Shack.”
A Mobile-Friendly Website
This is becoming ever more crucial to any brand’s web presence, but it’s also becoming easier to make one. People are using their smartphones to browse the internet more than ever. When they do, they tend to avoid sites that aren’t built for mobile.
You’ve probably seen these offenders yourself at some point. While they may be good-looking and functional on a desktop, they turn into abominations when viewed on a smartphone browser. The pictures and text are either too small or too large and tend to flow off the screen. Links are tiny and can’t be clicked, or they’re jumbled up and appear all over the page. Navigation is next to impossible. Any kind of checkout process becomes a game of precisely tapping tiny boxes to put in your credit card information.
In short: don’t be that site.
Improving your site’s functionality on mobile devices can boost your customer conversion rates. In other words, a mobile-friendly site means customers are more likely to stay on your page and even make purchases. But making your site mobile-friendly doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re using WordPress or a tool like Divi, you can easily view what your site will look like on a mobile device and make any necessary adjustments. We recommend simplifying your site as much as possible on mobile and focusing on functionality, navigation, and ease of use.
If you’re new to WordPress, you may appreciate our rundown on the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
Consider an App
Apps are the bread and butter of smartphones. Without apps, they’re little more than flashlights that can call and text. That may be a bit hyperbolic, but apps really do give your phone most of its functionality. Many major brands have their own apps and they can be a useful part of mobile marketing for small businesses, too. Depending on the kind of business you run, building an app could benefit your brand, too.
An app isn’t as cheap or easy to build, although the process continues to grow more accessible every year. Tools like Appy Pie and BuildFire can help you get started, or you can contract the process out to a professional.
What could your brand do with an app? Well, that depends on what your brand does. You could use it for scheduling services or in-app shopping. It could also be useful for sending out promotions or creating loyalty programs, which can help boost your customer retention rates. An app can also make your business stand out, showing that you’re tech-saavy and getting with the times.
Utilize Social Media
Social media and smartphones go hand-in-hand. According to this Statista study from April 2020, 98 percent of Facebook users access the site using mobile devices. The Facebook app continues to be one of the most-downloaded apps on all platforms, alongside other social media apps.
Making a Facebook page for your business is easy and gives you access to lots of useful tools, not to mention a boost to your local SEO. But creating a profile on other platforms can help your marketing efforts, too. Check out our guide to marketing your brand on Instagram, or if you’re brave and think you can dance, try your hand at the up-and-coming TikTok. Social media’s real-time aspects excel, as well, so try using Instagram Stories and similar tools to share content with your followers immediately.
Mobile audiences make up a large portion of influencer fanbases, and you can take advantage of that. Consider enlisting social media celebrities in your campaign using influencer marketing.
Email Marketing On Mobile
Email continues to be a strong form of marketing with impressive returns on investment. It’s also an essential part of the strategy of mobile marketing for small businesses, as over one-third of email opens happen on mobile devices.
That means your emails should be created with smartphone users in mind. Build mobile-friendly emails and be sure to try opening them on your phone when you test them. To learn more, read our guide to the basics of email marketing here.
Expand Your Mobile Advertising
If you’ve used very many apps or played any games on your mobile device, you’ve almost certainly seen your fair share of mobile ads. As it turns out, these are surprisingly easy to make. With Google Ads, your campaigns could be in front of audiences on all kinds of different apps. It’s especially useful for local SEO, as people using location-based apps can see your advertisement at the perfect moment as they perform a related search.
Speaking of local SEO, platforms like Yelp and their associated apps should be an important part of most brands’ mobile strategy. These review-based platforms help people find shops, restaurants, and other businesses near them and discover other users’ opinions about those places. Brands can manage their profiles and respond to reviews.
Social media ads continue to be an effective means of reaching audiences, as well. Check out the Facebook for Business page to learn more about creating ads on that platform. Other social media sites have similar pages. If you feel that your brand fits nicely on a certain platform, like Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram, try making an ad campaign for that site and track its progress.
Mobile marketing for small businesses doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all strategy. Each business should approach mobile differently, but all can benefit from it. As we become ever more glued to our phones, mobile marketing will only become a more essential part of an overarching marketing strategy. Now is the perfect time to get in on the mobile action – and your marketing campaign will be better for it!