Small business owners are feeling bullish about the New Year finds Yelp in its first annual Small Business Pulse Survey. Among the small businesses active on the crowd-sourced review site, 85% across a variety of industries – from food service, health and medicine to retail and home services – indicated that they expect their revenues to grow as much as 26% in 2016.
While optimism prevails, small businesses still recognize that they face challenges in growing. Yelp found that the top challenges include attracting and retaining customers (60%), managing a limited marketing budget (32%) and competition from larger businesses (30%).
When it comes to leveling the competitive playing field and growing your customer base, all signs point to the growing importance of mobile marketing. Nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone and for many the devices are their entry point to get online, reports Pew Research.
Mobile marketing essentials
As you plan your mobile marketing strategy, consider the following from “8 Mobile Marketing Stats to Help You Plan for 2016” from Social Media Today.
- 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site
- apps account for 89% of mobile media time
- 83% of mobile users say that a seamless experience across all devices is very important
These stats indicate that your mobile marketing strategy at a minimum should include:
Mobile friendly website: Mobile users have little patience and that extends to waiting for a site to load. A KISSmetrics survey found 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. For that reason, one of the first steps of your mobile marketing effort should be to create a mobile website to complement the one you already have for computer access. Mobile websites avoid lots of rich content that take a long time to load and make navigation difficult for users. Your siteshould just have the basics, including your logo, select photos and content that is absolutely necessary to help visitors make a decision about your small business.
Apps: There are a number of ways mobile apps can help your small business, says Melanie Haselmayr, CEO of Mevvy, a tool and app store, in “7 Seasons Why Your Business Needs a Mobile App.” For starters a well-designed icon will not go unnoticed on a mobile device, which helps maintain your small business visibility among customers. Mobile apps also provide a convenient and flexible way to interact with customers at any time and wherever they are, and through push technology you can remind them about your products and services. If you have a loyalty program, customers can conveniently collect their rewards via a mobile app. This capability results in more downloads and more return customers.
Text messaging: Text messaging is an expedient and effective technology to alert customers and prospects to your small business announcements, including new products or services, special promotions or events. Keep in mind that regulations require recipients must agree to opt in to your messages before you can send them any. In addition to getting permission, be consistent in your messaging. To build you your small business audience, you need to send out messages regularly not once in a while. Also integrate your mobile text messaging with your social media by including links to your Facebook page and other social channels to strengthen the connection.
Mobile ads: Due to the increasing amount of time consumers spend on their mobile devices, by 2019 mobile ad spending is expected to rise to $65.87 billion or 72.2% of total digital ad spend, according to eMarketer. Mobile ads can be especially effective when you add a special offer. Mobile banner ads like traditional banners take users to a specific offer or advertisement on a site once they click on an image. Also video advertising is on the rise, with expectations from BI Intelligence report that mobile video ad revenue in the US will top over $4.4 billion in 2018, up by a five-year compound annual growth rate of 73% from 2013.
In Part II of the series, I’ll look at how mobility is affecting customer service, including the role headsets play to ensure quality interactions.