Mobile marketing – “the use if the mobile medium as a means of marketing communication “ or “distribution of any kind if promotional or advertising messages to customers through wireless networks” 
In any branch of marketing, a key to being effective is to market in the correct channels, to the correct audience, and to engage your consumers. The rise of mobile marketing gives you the opportunity to be successful in all of these categories. Since 2010, the number of smartphone users has nearly doubled from 62.6 million users to 115.8 million users and is projected to grow to 192 million users by 2016. The use of mobile devices also allows you to have real time access for engagement with consumers. Both of these facts, point to how essential the use of mobile marketing is to the success of your overall marketing campaign.
When discussing mobile marketing, you are referring to much more than the mobile site, things such as NFC, SMS, LBS, QR codes are all sophisticated parts that fall under the general term mobile marketing. Here we will discuss the basics of the mobile site and its importance for businesses to have them.
When discussing mobile sites there are 3 key competencies that they must possess: Immediacy, Simplicity, and Content. What this means is that when a website loads on a person’s phone, they see it as a simplified, easy-to-read version of your regular site, which highlights the important content, and not just a shrunken copy of your regular website.
Well-designed mobile-friendly sites provide a great overall website experience to your mobile users derived from an increase in customer engagement, improved customer satisfaction as well as an innovative/high quality appearance. Considering the continuing growth of the use of smartphones as well as the mobile web, it has become essential to provide a second to none mobile experience which provides quick access to information about your business.
Benefits of mobile friendly websites include:
- Opportunity: Mobile presence opens up new windows of business and networking opportunities.
- Compatibility: Mobile websites can be viewed through the browsers of all major smart phones.
- Efficiency: Simple navigation through easy to use features improves customer experience. Mobile websites give the quick information that your visitors want. Most users don’t have a whole lot of patience when it comes to finding what they need with their smartphone too.
- Awareness: Provide the public with easy, mobile access to your company’s services offered, pulled from your original website content.
- Accessibility: Mobile friendly websites can be viewed from anywhere while on the go!
- Speed: Mobile users are often short on time, squeezing in online tasks as they go about their day. To help them, mobile sites are designed to load faster than regular sites.
Having a mobile-friendly site is a low cost but very effective feature to offer to your customers. It also follows the increasing trend of the rise of smart phone and popularity of mobile internet. It is expected that within the next three years, more people will be accessing the internet via mobile that those using a PC.
Now is the time to go mobile!
“Mobile Marketing.” 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_marketing
 McGeHee, . “MobileWebGuy.” N.p., 01 12 2012. Web. Web. 2 Apr. 2013. <mobilewebguy.com>.
 “Number of smartphone users in the U.S. from 2010 to 2016.” Statista (2013): n.pag. Statista. Web. 2 Apr 2013. <http://www.statista.com/statistics/201182/forecast-of-smartphone-users-in-the-us/>.
As a small business, it can always be difficult to find new ways to attract customers. But why not try something you’ve already got… your store? Turn your store into a destination that customers want to come to. Although this may sound like a tricky concept, it may be easier than you think.
As a small business, you have tools that are available to you that can help your turn your store into a destination. These tools include
1. Customer service
Your associates are going to be your number one tool in turning your store into a destination. Your employees can build a connection with customers and be more than just a sales person to them, they can become their friend! All this takes is a little bit of engagement. Employees should ask customers questions to help start a conversation, this small task can create so many opportunities. When customers trust employees at a store they will make it a priority to shop there, to go to the store even if it’s out of their way.
It’s important that employees at your store understand the products that they are selling. If a customer asks them a question, they should be prepared to answer and continue to assist through the sale. It’s such an opportunity to sell more than just the original product! Product knowledge allows employees the opportunity to inspire customers to try a new project or take up a new hobby!
The atmosphere of your store also plays an important role. You want to create a clean and organized environment where customers can come in relax a little bit, and enjoy themselves while they shop. Over-cluttered shelves and messy aisles aren’t going to encourage someone to want to come back. Make sure you take pride in your store, just as you would if you were inviting a friend into your home.
Tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and email marketing are a great resource in turning your store into a destination. You can constantly post about fun and exciting things that are taking place at the store and give people a reason to come in! Make customers want to be a part of your destination!
Presidents Day will be here before you know it, which means it’s time to get ready for the first big sales weekend of the year! Take this time to start your year off with a bang and offer your valued customers some great money-saving opportunities.
A great way to drive traffic into your store is by offering something the whole family can enjoy, such as an interactive coloring contest. You can hold a Presidents Day themed coloring contest which would be something for the kids to enjoy and have specials the adults can take advantage of as well. This time of year is well suited for DIY home improvements. Focus on offering specials geared towards the demands in your area; whether it’s home furnishings and replacing those worn out kitchen cabinets, or offering some great buys on major appliances, you’ll be sure to have something for everyone!
It’s also the perfect time to start planning ahead for spring! Big savings on lawn equipment is always a hot buy and it’d be the perfect time for your consumers to purchase a lawn mower that was a bit pricey in the summer months to prepare for spring that’s right around the corner. Discounting winter gear, such as snow blowers and snow shovels would be a hot deal too!
Providing outstanding offers will be sure to start your year off on the right foot; be sure to take advantage of this monumental weekend and make it a memorable one!
One of the most important aspects of having your business online is to make your website easy for both users and search engine robots to understand. Creating the website and making it user friendly is the easy part, making the search engines understand and find it in the mass amounts of online clutter is a bit trickier. That’s where search engine optimization comes into play, without SEO many websites will be invisible to search engines.
It’s true, you can build a flawless website, but it can remain invisible to search engines unless you promote it. Due to the sophisticated nature of search technology, search engines rely on relevance and importance to determine where to display results. More specifically, Impressions and Clicks are two metrics SEO uses to determine the relevance and importance of websites.
An impression refers to the number of times a webpage is displayed in search.
Clicks are another metric for measuring SEO and refer to the number of clicks on your website.
There is a vital difference between impressions and clicks when determining which metric more accurately displays good SEO. Engagement! Using clicks as the metric, allows you to measure customer engagement whereas impressions do not. Impressions count the number of times an ad or website is displayed, there is no information regarding whether or not the viewer even notices it. But clicks can show you the number of viewers who saw your website, were interested in it, and clicked to see it. Engagement is important because high levels mean customers are more likely to share it with their friends, thus increasing your exposure.
Knowing which metrics most accurately display the success of your current SEO tactics will play a vital role in your ability remain competitive and up to speed with the ever changing search engine technology.
Impressions measure how much you are going to the viewers, but clicks measure how many of them are coming to you! Which are you counting?
It’s no surprise that love is in the air each February. Since February is the month of love, take the opportunity to reach your customers on a whole new level with your Facebook page. Customers show their love by commenting back, and most importantly sharing your posts on their own wall. This will expose your business to their network of friends and family. So how do you get noticed let alone loved? Go beyond the ‘Like’ and engage your customers by following these simple steps that will make them love your Facebook page:
A picture is worth a thousand words: Post as many photos you can. Customers are more responsive to images. Pictures of your staff, store pets or mascots, interior and exteriors of the store, and any events are great. Remember, cute and creative pictures sell and will generate the most comments. Combined with a witty caption, these photos will trigger a ton of engagement. You can also try a ‘caption this’ photo where you post a funny picture and let your audience write their own captions.
Don’t write a novel: Keep text to a minimum. We suggest 80 characters or less. Short, clever posts will receive more attention than long wordy ones. Remember to have fun with each post and don’t be afraid to be casual and social. It is a social network after all.
Be patient: If new posts aren’t working be patient, especially if you are just starting out. Work on building up your likes first to reach a larger audience. Have employees, friends, and family comment back to get started.
Tag, you’re it: Start tagging local businesses or organizations in your posts. If you are sponsoring an event with the local chamber of commerce tag them in a post like this, “Don’t miss the job fair this weekend. All the local businesses with the @ExampleChamber will be there!” or if you are just attending a community event, “Can’t wait for the festivals this year at the @ExampleVenue.” Try tagging followers directly in pictures and comments back. For example, post a photo of a new product that you know a regular customer would like in it: “@ExampleCustomer, you’ll really like this new dog toy for Max”. Tag them in the photo to get their attention, plus they’ll love the spotlight and might even post a photo of Max back with his new dog toy.
SHARE: See what other businesses, organizations, and even the media is posting in your community. Share powerful stories or urgent messages to spread the word. Also encourage your audience to SHARE your post on their own walls to spread the word. This works well for events and upcoming promotions.
Customer service is ALWAYS key: Respond to any questions and posts in a timely manner. Negative posts are inevitable but your wall illustrates your ability or inability to serve your customers. Customers get frustrated when they are ignored. You wouldn’t ignore a customer in person, so do not do it on Facebook!
2013 is right around the corner. Each January we evaluate the year and our experiences. Looking back, we find ourselves thinking of the best times and even the most challenging. This year make a change! As the New Year approaches, set a resolution to plan ahead for 2013. Develop a solid marketing plan that will benefit your small business. Work with your staff members and NMR specialist. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Research: Take a look at your demographics and also look into the numbers from the previous year. Determine your successes and measure your losses. If a sale or promotion worked well in a certain month, do it again. If you have a new product maybe create a new in-store event to showcase it during a month when your numbers were low.
- Set realistic goals: If a year plan is not realistic for you set a six or three month plan to get started. Gradually train your staff to achieve small goals. As the year progresses, extend your goals and make them more challenging. This will get you and your team in the habit of achieving even the smallest tasks that are set in front of you.
- Plan: Work with your team for feedback. Since your staff is out on the floor working directly with customers see what they have learned over the past year.
- Expand: Use social media and email marketing to your advantage. Work with your NMR specialist to develop new ideas for your website. They can also provide website analytics to measure successful content.
- Evaluate: Make sure you evaluate your plan once it is complete. What worked best and what can be eliminated? This will help you gain focus for future planning.
One thing that we all have in common is that at one point in our lives, we have played a game! Whether it was on the board walk, local fair, restaurant, Grandma’s house or the neighbor’s game night…we all have done it and we probably got some sort of thrill out of it! Why not bring the games to your business?
Energize your business with a game! Many of us think of “consumer incentives” as giving back to our loyal customers but now in a generation raised on video games, “gamification” may be more appropriate! Integrating a game into your business can really win your customers hearts and minds!
Consider Foursquare, a company built entirely on a game-design model. Users earn badges (awards) for checking in at places they like to frequent. Over 8 million people have downloaded the Foursquare app, and use it to check in. What a hit this has become.
So, Foursquare sounds a little elaborate right? Well, games do not have to be complicated or complex at your business. Create a game that can either run for a day, a week or month if you would like. The reward to the customer can be a plethora of things. Perhaps a % off their next purchase, or their choice off a clearance rack, or an entry into a gift card. The possibilities are endless.
How about creating a game week called Flip Chip? Upon check-out, your counter person can have a chip (or a coin) and they flip it. Perhaps one side of the chip is blank and the other has a blue dot on it. If they land on the blank side they do not win. If they land on the blue dot side, they WIN! 50-50 chance…I would play for that!
People enjoy positive reinforcement….and, well, play is fun! Gaming reinforces players through positive feelings generated by achievements, which can be through points, badges, discounts, a free gift or reward—tangible or not. Games generate positive feelings. Giving customers something positive encourages additional interaction with your brand, service and product.
So the next time you dust off the Monopoly game, Hungry Hippo or Uno, think about bringing a game to your business. “What good feeling game can I bring to my customers?” It can be fun for them, you and your team and will energize your business on so many different levels!
From time to time I hear about a consumer based creation called Yelp, and how it’s becoming quite a big thing as far as business ratings go. Since word of mouth can often be half if not a larger percentage of free advertisement, Yelp can be very important in making sure consumers keep coming back.
Yelp is an unbiased website, allowing consumers to post the good, the bad, the funny, and everything in between as relates to experiences they have had at any type of establishment. In this, Yelp does everything in its power to maintain that honest, hardworking businesses get the recognition they deserve.
This can be an asset to small businesses who are already honest, hardworking, and customer based, and can even help businesses that may not understand why they are not getting more traffic. As these are truly your customer’s honest opinions of their experiences at your business, you can see where there may be holes in your presentation to the consumer. Encouraging customers to give a review on Yelp can create a better relationship with those customers, letting them know that their opinion is important.
This then directly affects your website, the more customers talk about your website, the more often your name and website will appear in search results. This also helps localize your search engine results, helping tie your website and your business to local consumers more efficiently then by a simple Google Search, as a search in Yelp specifically targets local businesses.
So the answer is? Treat your customers right, and they’ll take care of you too.
Social media offers so many benefits for businesses, which is great, of course! But sometimes it’s hard to think of things to post about that will keep customers engaged. It doesn’t matter if you have 50 likes or 50,000, increasing engagement is an important factor for business pages of all sizes. We all know it’s important to keep our social media pages up-to-date, but how do we do it?
Why not introducing games such as Guess the product? Guess the product is a fun game you can play on social media and make it relate back to your store! Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Take a picture of a product in your store
- Zoom in on one part of the product that won’t make the product seem as obvious
- Post the zoomed-in picture to a social media site such as Facebook and encourage customers to guess what the product is
- The next day post the original photo (not zoomed-in) and congratulate those who guessed correctly
- Don’t forget to thank all of those who participated
Games such as this are a great way to increase engagement on your page and it encourages customers to have fun! Go ahead and give it a try!
There are a lot of ways to promote your website. QR codes, social media, e-mail marketing, etc. However, there is another way to help promote your website that a lot of people don’t even think about, and that is to list your website and business information with your local Chamber of Commerce.
This is important to do because your local Chamber of Commerce is constantly updating their directory and people are constantly looking at it for the items, products, etc. that they need for whatever it is that they are doing. For example, if you are a rental company, and you rent equipment or party supplies to customers, people can easily find you in the business directory. By having your website listed with your business information, people will then be driven to your website to see what you have to offer. This can really help increase the overall increase in website visits.
Online business directories are even more important to have your website listed on there. Why? Think about it, how much of today’s business and communication is done via computers and mobile devices. Think of how much everyone goes online to search for a product or a service. If you’re website is not listed in your local Chamber of Commerce online business directory your website will not reach its full potential.