According to digital business analytics company comScore, there are over 100 million smartphone users in the United States alone as of early this year. In conjunction with that staggering figure, experts estimate that 68.6 million people do their shopping on their smartphones. Because of these ever-growing numbers, more and more businesses are beginning to see the potential of mobile marketing.
Unfortunately, the majority of small business owners have yet to exploit this flourishing market. From Web.com’s survey of 500 entrepreneurs running small businesses, only a mere 14% have websites optimized especially for mobile use. Yet 69% acknowledge the fact that mobile marketing will be of utmost importance in their business strategy for the next five years. Out of those that have already put in the effort in employing a mobile marketing strategy including a mobile website, 84% have experienced a boost in their trade.
The results are evident. Mobile marketing poses a bright future for marketing for small businesses.
How Mobile Marketing Helps Small Businesses
Mobile marketing contributes to business efforts greatly through a number of factors. There is a continuously growing use of mobile surfing, as people want to be online more and more even when on the go.
They take out their phones and type in keywords on search engines when looking for something, including products and services. In fact, the above mentioned eMarketer study anticipates that about 88.1% of users in the US will do their research on products online this year. It also predicts that about 83.9% will buy something via online transaction.
By having a mobile-friendly website, small businesses become visible to the millions of mobile Internet users. Thus, both audience and profits can grow exponentially.
Get Started With Mobile Marketing
The rationale is clear so the next course of action is to begin mobile operations. However, this requires certain elements that need to be considered.
Make mobile website creation a priority. A standard website without a mobile version will be hard to navigate especially with a smartphone’s small screen in comparison to a desktop computer’s. Big images will take very long to load and might end up taking too much space. Flash elements simply won’t appear, leaving unpleasant blank boxes; and text will not always be resized in the proper format, making it hard to read. There are companies online offering mobilization services, with prices matching the interested business’ needs.
Set up ways to easily connect with customers. Sending and receiving text messages are as vital as accessing the Internet for smartphone users. Allowing them to join the contact list for website updates, deals, discounts and other news and information will give them reasons to continue patronizing your site, product or service.
Integrate Quick Response (QR) codes onto physical marketing materials, and explain exactly what customers can get from scanning it. You can also tell them where they can get a scanner in case they do not have one.
Generate extra revenue through mobile advertising. Placing ads on mobile websites can earn more money for the businesses than ads on standard sites due to the relatively light competition currently in the market. Start soon to establish your small business’ place and get an early advantage over other small businesses.
The Reality of Mobile Marketing
As with any business concept, there are both strengths and flaws to mobile marketing.
Instant communication with customers – Since websites and portals are accessible even on the go, it can lead to a more personal relationship with the audience, which can be leveraged for conversion. Feedback is also instant so strategies can be quickly reshaped according to complaints or praises.
Global reach – Due to its online nature, people from across the country and even around the world can be targeted with multiple marketing campaigns to serve each demographic.
More cost-effective than traditional marketing – Print ads and TV and radio spots are costly and limited in their time and reach. Mobile marketing can reach a wider audience at a faster rate for an unlimited amount of time at a fraction of the price.
Great potential for marketing to go viral – The popularity of social media allows for a clever campaign to explode throughout the World Wide Web. People immediately share things they see online to their friends, family and co-workers, and those people, in turn, share to their own social circles.
Managing results is easy – Collecting customer data through phone carriers and online ads is more convenient through automated software. These are highly important information that can spell success for a small business.
Ad size variety – Due to the different dimensions of smartphones and their screens, there are no standard ad sizes that can be followed to ensure maximum visibility for all mobile devices.
Consumer privacy – The personal attachment people have to their smartphones also means that they want to keep a sense of privacy within their gadgets. Hard selling potential customers is not a viable option.
With its cost efficiency, convenience and wider reach, could mobile marketing be the future of marketing for small businesses? That, we have yet to find out. However, the myriad of marketing opportunities it offers to small businesses is undeniable.
Although there are still noticeable weaknesses in this relatively new mode of marketing, the growth of online mobile use cannot be denied. Its advantages also lead to a faster and more efficient means of delivering exactly what the people want. It’s time small business owners make use of the technology available so both entrepreneurs and customers can benefit in the end.
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