Mobile marketing is key for small- to mid-sized companies, and that includes marketing at the local level.
When you consider that more than half the United States population now uses a smartphone, the time to reach them is now. Maintaining your market position and attracting customers at a local level should start today. Here’s how.
Your localized mobile marketing strategy needs to get started by gaining access to customer devices. That means building your email, text/SMS, and mobile app user databases. If you don’t garner customers on a local basis, someone else will.
Having a “value-based” approach to asking customers to join your text/SMS or email list is important. Offer a compelling reason for customers to receive messages from your business, such as a coupon code when they sign up. Injecting value into your mobile marketing is important to help you compete with other options in your demographic and market.
With these two principal strategies in place, you can move to the methods and tactics you’ll use to communicate them. Remember, it is possible that 5 out of 10 people in your community are now using mobile devices to make buying decisions.
Set Up Your Strategies
Mobile marketing methods and tactics include:
- Text/SMS to your customers
- Emails with links to your mobile-ready website
- Delivering mobile video or images about your business
- QR codes for offers or information
- Localized pay-per-click ad buys
Mobile marketing tactics give your small or medium-sized business greater control over your messaging and how people find you. These are support tactics that can be used as loyalty programs, affinity programs and special offers:
- Creating your own mobile app
- Get recognized with check-ins using FourSquare or Google+
- Meld your mobile marketing with social media sites
- Use mobile directories and get on the “mobile map”
You should never assume that your communications, especially payments by credit cards, are automatically secure. Always choose a credit card payment processing company that is PCI compliant. Nothing harms the reputation of a local business faster than news of credit card fraud or identity theft. The right payment processing company can actually help your business be more efficient in moving sales through mobile marketing. In fact, sending e-receipts is a great way to get email and SMS addresses. Be sure to communicate that the customer’s information is protected and will not be re-sold or abused.
One of the most important things to know when migrating your marketing to mobile, even on a local basis, is that people aren’t seeing your message the way you might like them to. If you’re just sending your website address to their smartphone and your site is not set up for responsive design, what customers see might be a shrunken, hard-to-read version of your site. Not ideal.
That means responsive design may be important to building successful customer relationships. Mobile users don’t want to sort through a site that is not ready for them.
Communicating with customers through social media is a great way to start conversations and maintain brand and location awareness for local customers. If you have a blog, be sure to distribute it in a mobile form and let your customers offer feedback and make comments. With this sort of advertising, you’ll be on your way to long-term relationships and referrals.
Turn Events Into Mobile Marketing
Events or entertainment associated with your business offer great opportunities to talk about your business in inviting ways. Follow up every event with photos of those who attended, and link to your website or social media pages to invite customers to dig even deeper.
Leverage Local Partnerships
Building collaborative relationships with other local businesses can greatly add value to your mobile marketing message while expanding your own network. If you’re a wine shop, partnering with a restaurant that advertises BYOB can be a great way to partner, especially if the restaurant promises “no corkage fees!”
Timing is Everything
Take time to study and think about your customer database and when they’re making decisions. Mobile marketing is often a question of being in the right place at the right time. If you’re a hair or nail salon looking to fill Tuesday and Wednesday appointments, then Sunday and Monday may be your window. But if you’re a busy restaurant that usually fills up on a Friday, offering carryout specials may make your night even more profitable.
Mobile marketing for local businesses does not have to be expensive or time-consuming. All it takes is a sound strategy and the commitment to carry it out. Then your share of local business will come your way.
Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a firm that helps accept credit cards for small business. She brings more than 15 years of experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management, and marketing to the company and also serves on its Board of Directors.