Friday, December 30, 2011

Three Ways Mobile Marketing Can Help Small Businesses

Small businesses can help grow their customer base by using effective mobile marketing strategies to interact with them in a low-cost, high impact way. Most people today own a mobile phone of some kind, and text messaging reaches 100% of phones. Many feature phones and all smart phones give users access to the web, which makes a mobile website an important feature to improve customer reach. Here are some additional strategies that small business owners can use to improve their bottom line in the coming 12 months.

1. Use mobile marketing to deliver messages to your target market. Unlike a mass e-mail campaign, text messages are more likely to be opened and since fewer text messages are forwarded than e-mails you are more likely to have your prospect available for the information you provide.

2. Invest in the software required to create, send, and track your text messages. If you don't have information about your results, you won't know whether your campaign is working or you need to tweak something. This option is a great way to get a good return on your investment with minimal cash outlay.

3. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Many consumers are using mobile devices to get product information and pricing so that they can make a decision about where to buy. If your site is appealing to your target market, they are more likely to spend time on it and ultimately buy from you.

If businesses make these changes to their mobile marketing strategy, I can foresee an improvement in sales in 2012 and maintenance of the business’ relevance to buyers. Both of these elements add up to a win/win situation in my book.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Retailers Will Likely See an Increase in Mobile Commerce in 2012

Now that retailers have realized that mobile commerce has moved from being a fad to a fact, they are planning to increase their spending in this area. Retailers may proceed cautiously in the mobile arena, especially until the can measure the 2011 holiday results early in the New Year. However, if early numbers are any indication, 2012 may be the year of mobile shopping.

Internet Retailer has published its 2012 Complete Guide to E-commerce Technology. A full 68 percent of merchants stated their main reason for increasing spending in this area was to attract new customers to their businesses. A further 63.9 percent stated that this strategy was a way for them to boost conversion rates. Another 60.8 percent were interested in using e-commerce technology to generate sales from their existing client base. Approximately one-third of respondents stated that their main goal was to generate more business specifically through their mobile marketing efforts.

Given that consumers have already indicated their willingness to embrace mobile marketing platforms, I really wasn't surprised to learn that retailers are stepping up their game and embracing this technology. I can see that this trend will continue to snowball in 2012, and small businesses can greatly benefit if they implement mobile strategies early in 2012. Larger retailers may have started the movement but if the smaller ones want to compete, they will need to step up their game and get on board the mobile commerce express.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Mobile Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners

I want to suggest some tips that small business owners can adopt to improve the results they are getting from mobile marketing techniques. It is important for business owners to make sure that they are using these tools properly. Unless these strategies are directed to consumers who are receptive to the message they are trying to convey, they will not be effective.

Businesses who want to use mobile marketing need to make the experience relevant for their target market. These techniques will form part of an overall marketing strategy, and business owners should make sure that they are sending out messages to customers who are open to receiving them.

One important tip I am happy to pass along for small business owners is to make sure that their mobile site is optimized for the target demographic. People who are using mobile devices to surf the internet have different needs than users who are accessing the net from a desktop computer.

Mobile internet surfers are looking for very specific information when they go online, and the mobile site must be optimized to provide pricing, product descriptions and other content the customer will find current and relevant.

All businesses using mobile marketing need to ensure that they are taking steps to get to know the customers who are using this service. The more information they can capture about this customer base, the easier it will be for the business to target its marketing to those customers' specific needs.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How Mobile Marketing can Benefit the Cosmetic Procedure Industry

When people think of mobile web sites, they traditionally think of finding a restaurant or local store for a menu or inventory. However, as use of mobile devices grows among consumers, many other industries should join the bandwagon to stay competitive. The medical and dental industries are no exception.

When you think of high-end medical procedures like LASIK, Botox, Laser Hair Removal, Liposuction, and other cosmetic services, you typically think of rich and famous people as the demographic likely to get these services. While celebrities obviously take advantage of these services, there are a growing number of everyday consumers who also use these services. With the popularity of iPhones, iPads, Androids, and other mobile devices being used for searching, your practice should use mobile web to stand out from your competition and get attention of your customers.

Your ideal customer is a busy professional with disposable income and a desire for cosmetic enhancement, and you know they are extremely busy, giving you only moments to capture their attention. In fact, our society has trained consumers to tune out most advertising messages due to the sheer volume of ads trying to vie for their attention. If they don’t see what they want immediately, they move on.

Which does the job better?

A traditional website has lots of great information for detailed research, but customers on the go need brief and relevant points of information to influence their decision on whether or not to contact you over a competitor, such as service offerings or online appointments

They also need to find and contact you with a tap of a button that is easily accessible. A true mobile site allows customers to call directly or get turn by turn with the click of a button.

To engage them even further, you can integrate SMS/Text Messaging technology into your overall marketing/communication strategy. You can build your mobile database by integrating SMS/Text Messaging technology into your existing print, TV, radio and, billboard ads.

One way to build a mobile database is by having customers text a keyword to a shortened phone number, or short code. For example, you can ask your customers to ‘Text BOTOX to 370370’, which allows your customer to express interest in your practice, and also adds their phone number to your mobile database. So when you have customers in your database, you can send them outbound promotions, messages and appointment reminders via text!

You can even send messages at a specified future date/time, or you could send them last minute opening notifications to fill up your appointments by offering promotions!

Other ways to SMS is to reach customers via a Survey or Sweepstakes as a tool to learn about your customer or bring in a larger number of contacts.

Two examples of how your practice could use SMS are:

Watch your staff and patients as they come to your office - they are almost always using their mobile device today.

Final Point Of Fact:

Most of your customers have already decided if they want the services, you offer. At this point, they are deciding which clinic will perform the work.

You need to engage them at every touchpoint during their search for the best person for the job!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Effective Mobile Marketing Strategies for Small Business

Small business owners do not have to feel as though they missed the boat as far as mobile marketing strategy is concerned. I like to see businesses of all sizes embracing mobile marketing techniques as a way to offer more services to customers and increase revenue.

Getting into the mobile marketing game doesn't have to complicated or time-consuming. I think that a small business owner can look at things he or she is doing now and find a way to apply them for commercial purposes.

For instance, text messaging can be used to communicate directly with customers. It can be an effective way to share information about promotions or to distribute coupons.

E-mail is a very common communication tool and it can be used as a very effective marketing tool. I would suggest beginning by making sure that your company web site is mobile friendly and then make sure that you invite your site visitors to sign up for your mailing list. Once you have captured their contact information, you can share information about specials and coupon offers. Another e-mail marketing technique is to invite the people on your mailing list to enter promotions such as a contest.

If you aren't very familiar with mobile marketing for small business (yet), start with the basics and track your results. Make changes as you go along until you find a formula that works for your business.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mobile Technology Helps Retailers Accept Payments on the Go

Recently, I've seen more retailers allowing mobile payments for their purchases in-store. Having to line up and wait my turn to pay for items is a waste of time, in my opinion, and the idea of having to do so is enough to keep me out of the stores during busy times – no matter how good the pricing may be at a retail store.
Small retailers must always be on the lookout for features they can offer their customers to compete against the large chain stores, and the convenience of not being stuck in a lengthy line-up, especially during the holiday season, is an attractive concept. Shoppers want to get into the store and get out with their purchases quickly. Issuing iPads and iPhones to associates working on the floor is a relatively inexpensive way to make it easy for customers to complete their purchases quickly.

These devices can be used to scan bar codes and process credit card transactions. This technology can also be used to fill out order forms for customers or collect information required to deliver items. Small retailers can offer a more personalized service than the big stores can, and using mobile technology on the floor helps sales staff develop relationships with shoppers.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mobile Marketing Budgets for Retailers Still Relatively Low

Lately I've been reading more results from surveys about mobile marketing strategies for retailers. When asked how much of their budget they set aside for mobile marketing strategies, just over one-third (36 percent) said that they had included some resources for it.

Another interesting item in the survey results was that of the retailers who had a plan to use mobile marketing in their business: it amounted to less than 10 percent of their overall marketing strategy. Larger retailers are more likely to invest in mobile marketing, and I suppose that makes sense.

They have more resources to spend on their marketing efforts and the smaller retailers will wait to see how the bigger players fare before deciding whether to follow suit. I'm not sure this this the best approach, though; sales numbers from Black Friday and Cyber Monday point to large numbers of consumers who are ready and willing to use mobile devices to track down bargains and to buy items without necessarily having to visit a brick and mortar location to do it.

Smaller retailers may not have the luxury of waiting it out to see what their larger counterparts are doing before deciding to implement a mobile marketing strategy. Shoppers are ready and waiting to buy now, and this is not just a fad that will go away. I say retailers of any size need to develop a plan now.