Local Mobile Marketing: An Opportunity Too Huge To Ignore

Travis Van SlootenGeneral Online Marketing

Local mobile marketing in its simplest terms is getting your website or marketing message in front of your targeted audience via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets like the popular iPad.

Why Local Mobile Marketing Matters to Your Business

All you have to do is look around and see how mobile devices are revolutionizing the way everyone communicates and gets their information. On average, people check messages, send texts, and return phone calls from their mobile phones 37 times a day. There are more Internet-connected mobile devices than there are desktops and laptops combined. According to CBS News, there are more than 5 billion cell phones in use worldwide, and about one billion of these are capable of connecting to the Internet.

If those numbers aren’t enough to convince you mobile marketing is important to your business, maybe this will:

“A recent study showed that 95% of smart phone users search for local information on their phones. 88% of the smart phone users take action within a day. 77% have either called or visited a local business because of the information they gathered during their smart phone search.”

What are you waiting for? From small start-ups to multinational giants, businesses are quickly shifting more dollars and resources into their mobile marketing efforts. Now, more than ever, is the time to get in front of your target audience by creating a compelling mobile marketing initiative before your competitors do.

How to Get Started

The first thing you should do is make sure your website is mobile friendly. By mobile friendly I mean you want to be sure your site looks good and is easy to navigate on mobile devices. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you are likely losing business from mobile users.

The easiest way to determine if your website is ready for the mobile market or not is to simply pull it up on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet device like the iPad. How does it look? Is the content all jumbled and hard to read? Is it hard to navigate? If your answers are yes, then your website isn’t mobile friendly. If it’s not, you’re not alone. Most websites are not optimized for mobile devices.

If your website is a WordPress site, one of the easiest things you can do to make your website mobile friendly is to use the WP Touch plugin. Otherwise, the next best thing is to have a totally separate mobile site created or implement “responsive design.”

While all businesses benefit by having mobile-friendly websites, some businesses benefit more than others. If your business offers any sort of mobile product or service, emergency services, or simply appeals to those “on-the-go,” you fit in that lucrative category.

A perfect example of a business that benefits from instantaneous connections to customers with a mobile website is a car towing service. A motorist breaks down and is in need of an emergency towing service. Since he is not home, it is likely he will use a mobile device to find the towing service he needs. This highlights both the need for a mobile-friendly website, and a website well optimized for the search engines.

Designing a mobile website can be a challenge because there are so many inconsistencies between the devices used to access your website. Some, like smartphones, have very small screens and others, like iPads, have larger screens. Some can view Flash-video content, and some, like the devices from Apple, cannot.

Some have relatively fast processors, and full-featured browsers, and some don’t. Most do not have a full-sized keyboard, if they have a keyboard at all. Because of these factors, it is important that you optimize your mobile website for “touch screens.” This segment represents the fastest-growing segment of mobile devices, and nearly all of the new devices in production use touch-screen technology.

Local Mobile Marketing Strategies

The most basic mobile marketing strategy is to send “mobile coupons” direct to your customers’ cell phones. The coupons arrive as regular “text messages” and are received just like any other text message. The customer then just shows their “coupon” to the business to redeem it.

Other strategies expand on the basic strategy. Instead of sending your customers coupons, you can send them news about an upcoming sale, notify them of store hour changes, or send them to a page on your website asking them join your email list that will give them more (and better) discount offers.

Of all the strategies, the text + email invitation is the most powerful. You not only get to send these customers coupons via their mobile devices, but you can send them coupons and information via their email too. It’s the perfect one-two marketing punch!

Local mobile marketing is simply too huge of an opportunity for any business to ignore. Whether you are a small mom and pop business or Fortune 500 company, you should be tapping into the local mobile market in anyway that you can.