In my annual prediction article for OPEN Forum, I predicted that mobile would finally land firmly on the radar of the small business marketer. We’re at the halfway point and all signs point to that coming true.
Funny thing is though, as small businesses rush to jump on the trend, they are approaching it in much the same way they did when the crush of social media’s hype finally won them over: by looking at the tools, technology and tactics as some sort of new marketing frontier.
In my view, there’s really no such thing as social media marketing or it’s newly minted cousin, mobile marketing; it’s all just marketing in a world that’s turned increasingly social and mobile.
The very first question you need to ask yourself as you analyze this new beast is this: How can I use any of the new tools and mediums to build deeper and more efficient relationships with the customers I already have?
If you can answer that question then using any new tool to generate new business will be a snap.
The most personal medium
As you draw up your mobile plans, you must remember that mobile devices are different. This device is in your customer’s pocket, at arms length at all times, and even on the bedside table as they sleep. This is a trust-building or eroding device like no other.
The key question
As you scan the conversation about mobile, always use your current customer as a guide. People get tripped up with things like SMS as some new form of lead-spamming evilness. And it can be that, but when you view it as a way, for example, to equip your current membership customers with the latest update of information, it might just turn into a power tool for you.
The things to consider now
I believe there are some core areas regarding mobile that need your initial attention; cover these and you can start to branch out.
1. Get your mobile website up to standard
Use tools such as WPTouch WordPress plugins. And start to explore mobile landing page builders and campaign builders such as BuildmyMobi from Network Solutions.
2. Take another good, hard look at local search directories
Get your Google Places, Bing Local and Yahoo Local pages rocking with content that makes it easy for mobile searchers (brimming with buying intent) to find the facts—store hours, brands, directions, coupons and specials.
3. Look into local paid search and display ads
Look into services such as those offered by Google Boost, AdWords Extensions and Where.com as a way to connect directly with mobile shoppers looking for something right now.
4. Look into text messaging or SMS
Text messaging as a tool can create another potential contact and communication option (you don’t ever have to spam anyone so don’t discount this option just because you’ve been spammed). Use things like short codes to make it easier for people to request information or sign up for your newsletter. Think of ways to use text as a special status tool for your insider’s club or referral champions. Create a way to move merchandise to your best customers in flash sales. Check out tools such as Mobile Storm, CallFire and EZTexting.
Again, if it you can find ways to use the new breed of mobile tools to make life better and more convenient for your current customers, you’ll never go wrong.
Image credit: Ed Yourdon via Flickr