If you’re like most small business owners, you’ve heard a lot about mobile marketing and how it can be used to grow your sales and revenues. You may have even read articles about how major corporations are tapping into mobile marketing to build their customer base.
The trouble is, you’ve never seen an article that offers a step-by-step guide on how to get started in mobile marketing. Oh, sure, everybody talks about case studies and examples from the major corporations, but nobody put together a roadmap for the small business owner – you know – the people who get in early or stay late to make sure their businesses are always running smoothly.
When Jeanne Hopkins and I wrote Go Mobile, the #1 best-selling book about mobile marketing, we set out to solve that problem. After all, the small business owner doesn’t have a staff of people they can delegate to. More typically, if a new initiative is going to get started, it’s going to get started by you, not your employees.
So, with that in mind, what follows are some steps you can take to get started in mobile marketing. These have been adapted from the book Go Mobile, so if they resonate with you, then they’ve accomplished their task.
Step #1. Use Mobile Marketing. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people talk about mobile marketing but don’t actively use mobile marketing. Oh, sure, they may understand the concept of mobile marketing, but they haven’t used it enough to become intimately familiar with it.
I’d like to encourage you to go out and scan a QR code today. And to do a Google search from your smartphone. And to download foursquare, LivingSocial, WHERE or SCVNGR and to use one of those apps to check-in at your favorite retail store.
How about downloading the Delta Air Lines app and using it as your boarding pass the next time you’re flying Delta? Or what about using the Starbucks Mobile Card to pay for your next cup of coffee?
All these things may sound intimidating at first, but it’s important to note – it’s very hard to break something when you do any of these things on your smartphone. So go ahead and give it a try. After all, in order to really understand mobile marketing you’re going to have to use mobile marketing. Otherwise, you won’t really have a grasp of all the nuances of this amazing and powerful new tool.
2. Set Up and Launch Your Mobile Website: If you haven’t set up your mobile website already, we have some good news – it’s actually easier than you might think. All it takes is a basic understanding of a few different approaches and then selecting which one is best for you.
But first a little background – a mobile website is different from a mobile app. A mobile website is a big computer file that’s hosted on a computer located at a hosting company like GoDaddy or HostGator. A mobile app is a small software program that lives on your smartphone. An app is kind of like Microsoft Word in that it’s a piece of software that’s been installed on your device.
Okay, so now that you know the difference between a mobile website and a mobile app, let’s talk about building out your mobile website. If you use a content management system like WordPress or Drupal for your blog or website, there are some mobile website plug-ins that you can install that reformat your site nicely so that it’s mobile-friendly. These plug-ins do a surprisingly good job of taking your blog posts and packaging them up in a mobile-friendly format.
Alternatively, you could use one of the plug-and-play systems provided by a variety of organizations. Some of the best companies for this include Mobify, Wirenode, Mippin Mobilizer, Onbile and MoFuse.
Of course, the best option is to have your web designer create a mobile site specifically for your company. If you have a regular website, then you probably have a web designer. And if you have a web designer, then they should be able to add a simple line of code to your home page that “sniffs” out whether your visitor is coming from a PC or if they’re coming from a smartphone. If they’re coming from a smartphone, then they’re re-directed to pages on the site that are designed to be mobile-friendly.
3. Create a QR Code Campaign. You’ve seen QR codes cropping up all over the place, but you probably didn’t know how easy they are to use. Here are some quick, easy steps to get you started using QR codes to offer special discounts to your customers.
a) Create a Mobile Web Page with a Discount. This is the only step that may require the help of your web designer, but the key is to provide something of value. So, for example, create a page that says, “Thanks for scanning our code. Just show this mobile web page to your server to receive 5% off your dinner” or something like that
b) Copy the URL of That Mobile Web Page. Once you’ve copied the URL of that web page, find a QR code generator online (just Google “QR Code Generator” and you’ll find plenty).
c) Drop the URL into the QR Code Generator. Once you’ve dropped the URL into the generator, hit the submit button. You’ll see your QR code pop up instantly. That QR code is unique to your URL.
d) Add the QR Code into Printed Materials. You can include QR codes in your print ads, your brochures or even your business cards. The key is to provide some sort of reward for having the user scan the code.
4. Register Your Business with Location Based Services: A location-based service is a term for an app that customers can download that provides discounts for the people using them. Foursquare, Gowalla, WHERE, LivingSocial and SCVNGR are examples of these. When people open up the apps from their smartphones, they’re offered discounts or incentives that encourage them to visit your business.
Your first step on this front is to claim your business with the location-based services. What does that mean? Claiming your business is just your way of raising your hand and saying, “I’m an official representative of this business and I want to claim our position on your service before any un-official representative does.”
When a customer uses foursquare, Gowalla, WHERE or SCVNGR, they basically “check-in” when they arrive at your business. Checking-in is simply the process of opening the app from a smartphone, then clicking on an icon so that the business knows the customer is at the location. Once they’ve done this, they can use the apps to get discounts, get more information about your business or see where their friends are hanging out.
5. Run a Mobile Paid Search Campaign: Paid search ads show up above the organic search results that are seen when you do a search on Google, Bing or Yahoo. There are several best practices to keep in mind when you run a mobile paid search ad. First, you need to “go local” and make sure your ads would appeal to searches from people who are either in their car, on the sidewalk or in a shopping mall.
The second is to be sure your ads click through to a mobile-optimized landing page. There’s nothing more frustrating than clicking on a mobile paid search ad only to find the landing page isn’t set up to be read on a smartphone.
The third item is to be sure your ads target immediate needs. According to MobileMarketer.com, 70% of mobile search users complete their task after one hour, compared to 30% on the PC. So, target customers who are looking for immediate needs like restaurants, bars, auto repair shops, big box retail locations or book stores.
Finally, you’ll want to broaden the scope of the keywords you select for your campaign. Since mobile search volume is significantly lower than online search, you’ll need to include a broader range of keywords in your campaign in order to get the same kind of “umph” that you get with a traditional paid search campaign.
6. Run a Mobile Display Campaign. Display ads are the small banner ads that show up when you surf the web on your smartphone. They’re different from paid search ads, which are text ads that show up when you do a Google, Bing or Yahoo search. Display ads look like tiny little banner ads and can include graphics, colors and even movement.
What’s great about mobile display (or banner) ads is that consumers respond to them better than traditional display ads. In fact, a recent research study found that mobile ads were opened by 61% of participants while standard web ads were opened by only 7% of the consumers surveyed.
This indicates that mobile ads have distinct advantages over traditional banner ads. First, they have the benefit of novelty, which is always a successful trigger for marketers. And second, they take up a larger portion of the browser page, so they’re more intrusive.
You can get started in display ads by contacting one of the multitude of mobile advertising networks, some of which include iAd (from Apple), AdMob (from Google), Millennial Media and Mobclix.
The Bottom Line – Get Started Today. In the end, the whole point of this article is to help you get started in mobile marketing quickly so that you can use it to attract new prospects and convert them to customers. After all, the main reason you’re trying to learn more about mobile marketing is so that you can use it to grow your business, right?
Growth is good. And mobile marketing can help you accomplish that.
Jamie Turner is a keynote speaker and the founder of 60SecondMarketer.com. He is also the co-author of How to Make Money with Social Media and Go Mobile.
This article is from the SmallBizLady special blog series: 31 Ways to Boost Your Small Business in 2013. #Boost2013
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