In my last postKeep small business hiring strong with flexible work options, I talked about the need for mobile collaboration tools, such as cloud computing, to enable your team to work anywhere, anytime and stay connected to your small business operations and to each other. While your team needs to stay connected on the go over mobile devices, using headsets for audio clarity, your customers also want to be able to engage with your company wherever they are. Increasingly they depend on smart phones and tablets to get up-to-date information about your products and services – including specials and promotions – make a purchase or inquire about the status of service.

In order to meet customer expectations,  you need to take your marketing mobile. If you don’t, you can bet your competitors will, especially when you consider that nearly 2/3 of Americans own a smartphone and for many the devices are their entry point to get online, reports Pew Research. Other statistics that make the strong case for mobile marketing from23 Crazy Mobile Marketing Stats Shows Mobile Is a Must in Your Business” include:

  • 70 percent of mobile searches lead to action on websites within 1 hour
  • 43 percent of customers are more likely to make a purchase when mobile offers are part of an orchestrated campaign that unfolds over time across multiple channels
  • Mobile offers are redeemed 10x more frequently than print offers

Mobile marketing essentials:

Mobile friendly website: Mobile users have little patience and that extends to waiting for a site to load. A KISSmetrics survey found 40 percent of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 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 site should 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.

Mobile email: Today, 65 percent of all email gets opened on a mobile device. To engage with your mobile customers, you’ll want to keep your email subject line 25-35 characters and be economical with copy, which means it should brief and to the point. Also keep paragraphs short and use bullets to call out key points. Avoid using too many images and also make sure that your message will be clear if an image doesn’t download. Regarding your call to action, use a button instead of a link. Buttons are easier to click on touchscreens.

Text Messaging: With an open rate of 98 percent, text messages should be a key component of your mobile marketing. Use text messages to alert customers and prospects to your small business announcements – new products or services, special promotions or events – and even include a link to a video or provide a toll-free number to make it easy to contact your small business. Keep in mind that regulations require recipients must agree to opt in to your messages before you can send them any.

Mobile customer service: You also can take your customer service mobile with text. A survey conducted last year by Harris Poll found that indicated that over half of the participants would like to contact customer service over text rather than the phone or computer. For a mobile and immediate solution, 64 percent said they would prefer text. Employ text to enable customers to schedule or change an appointment, ask a question, check on the status of an order or refill an order, confirm a reservation and more.

Mobile directories: Make sure your new mobile site is included in mobile business directories, such as Yelp for Mobile or Google My Business. Craft a simple description of your small business products or services and include your hours of operation, phone number and address and a link to your website

Mobile social: Social and mobile literally go “hand in hand. Even back in 2013, Mashable reported that 65 percent of time spent on social networks happens on mobile. Mobilize your social media efforts by adding Facebook, Twitter and other social channel buttons to your mobile site so that customers can connect with you. If you blog, make sure that it’s optimized for mobile viewing.

When you add it up, it’s pretty clear that mobile marketing makes “cents” for your small business.