Big businesses successfully employ mobile marketing strategies and campaigns effectively, using industry knowledge and dedicated budgets and webpages. Small businesses, however, often have the right intentions but the wrong tactics, and many fall far short of expectation on mobile devices.
Mobile marketing priorities for small businesses
As of November 2013, it is estimated that global mobile phone subscriptions are as high as 6.8 billion, a number that is projected to rise to at least 8 billion by the same time next year. Using this data, it is important to note that, according to studies, more people worldwide have access to a mobile phone than to a toothbrush, water or electricity.
Last year alone, 1.7 billion smartphones and devices with access to the web were sold, expanding the market for important and effective mobile marketing for businesses – especially small and growing ones. In the UK, the market for smartphones is more accessible and affordable than ever, and Apple’s iPhone – for example – can be yours for as little as £30 a month on a phone contract.
With a broader, younger and more engaged audience now on mobile, it is integral to a successful marketing strategy for small business to optimise their mobile web outputs with content designed, written and created specifically for this medium in order to maximise its reach and consumability. Four main priorities must be deployed by small businesses in this bracket, which include:
Get listed on Google Places
By creating a listing for your small business on Google Places’ free online mapping directory, visitors searching the web for products or services in your area, which are relevant to your business, will be presented with the location, contact information and URL of your brand in a prominent position at the top of their search engine results page.
Google Places also allows previous customers to rate and review your business, leaving comments and tips for future shoppers and users. Businesses with a five star consumer rating on Google Places perform best in search results, as well as traffic reports, making a listing imperative for small businesses.
With smartphone users within arms reach of their device for 90% of their waking day, it is likely that retail decisions are made following a mobile search of the stores and businesses in their local area, once again emphasizing the significance of a listing on Google Places.
Make your mobile site usable
A well-designed, well laid out site that looks beautiful on desktop does not equal a navigable, usable mobile site, just by visiting it on a smartphone. Mobile sites must be responsive, with clear menus, call to actions and integrated contact opportunities and function buttons, such as a click-to-call button on the business’s mobile site.
The Matter Of Form website, for example was re-launched with mobile analytics data in the summer of 2013, and since then, after making crucial changes to the site to ensure ease of use across all platforms, the bounce rate from our mobile site has dropped by over 5% in just a few months.
Make it easy to buy from your mobile site
New research shows that 40% of mobile users who regularly shop on their smartphones will use their device whilst in-store to search for deals, more information and – where necessary – stock levels of nearby stores, in order to enhance their shopping experience.
An estimated 33% of British smartphone users will do their Christmas shopping on a mobile this year, creating huge opportunities for small businesses to perfect their mobile sites and strategies in order to harness the power of last-minute purchases on devices, and the receptive consumer base of mobile customers.
Mobile marketing must always be easy to use, and purchasing options need to be clear in order for a mobile site to become a successful and relied upon m-commerce solution.
Harnessing consumer-facing social activity and engagement is crucial in the battle for sales and popularity both on and offline, as grabbing the attention of your mobile audience at their most receptive time will ultimately result in higher conversions and engagement rates.
The average smartphone user opens the Facebook app ten to fifteen times per day, making regular Business Page postings and paid advertising the perfect way to enter their sights daily. For small business, the impetus must be on delivering the highest level of customer service and likability as possible, not amassing huge numbers of superficially dedicated fans and followers.
Up to 80% of UK smartphone users are reported to access micro-blogging website Twitter on their phone, using the well-designed, easy to use mobile version of the site, or the dedicated iPhone, Blackberry or Android apps. Two-thirds of UK users also access Twitter whilst doing other things, such as watching television, and a staggering 50% also check the social network in bed, giving advertisers and businesses round the clock access to receptive and influenceable visitors.
According to LivingSocial, nearly a quarter of all small businesses in the UK earn up to and over £1000 a year through social media accounts. With frequent and on-brand updates across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn platforms, these companies are able to converse with their consumers in interesting and accessible ways, and use that relationship to drive sales and conversions. Over 75% of the 4.8 million British small businesses currently in operation are collectively missing out on over £550 million a year by not using social media effectively.