Mobile technology constantly changes the way we do business. From mobile-optimized websites to marketing via text messages, successful mobile marketing strategies will see you attract your fair share of today's smartphone and tablet-wielding consumers.
Mobile Marketing Helps You Acquire New Customers
A recent survey from the Web.com Group found that 69 percent of small businesses consider mobile marketing crucial to their growth in the next five years, but a majority of these small business owners have yet to fully embrace mobile marketing. Of the small businesses that have joined the mobile marketing revolution, the Web.com Group says 84 percent have seen an increase in new business activity due to their mobile marketing efforts.
To put mobile marketing strategies into perspective, Small Business Computing spoke with business owners who have integrated mobile into their marketing plan in the past year and have seen an influx of new customers and increased sales as a result.
In reading these small business success stories, keep in mind that another small business owner's experience is actionable advice for your own business. You can take what they've learned to leverage specific mobile marketing techniques and to improve your own small business marketing.
No Billboard Space? Try Mobile Search Instead
Rons Auto Repair Center has been a permanent fixture in Ames, Iowa since 1982. Lisa and Richard Martens purchased the business in 2007 and, like many small business owners, have tried traditional marketing methods -- print ads, bulk email and direct mail marketing -- with little results.
Figure 1: Unable to use large billboard signs for advertising because of residential zoning, Rons Auto Repair Center turned to mobile marketing instead.
One big problem for the Martens is the location of the shop. Rons Auto Repair Center is a half-block off Lincoln Way, the main street in Ames. "You can drive along Lincoln Way several times a day and never see our business. We're invisible from the main street and heavy traffic area in Ames," says Lisa Martens. The five-bay service center is also in a mixed commercial and residential zone, so they are not allowed to place more than three small signs to advertise.
Lisa Martens describes Ames as a college town with a lot of students. "I don't carry a mobile phone, but it's something I notice that our customers do. I've always been interested in Facebook and trying to get a better listing on Google, but I'm not up on new technology to do these things myself, "she said, describing a scenario that's common for small business owners.
Martens found service provider Yodle, a local online marketing platform, and says it piqued her interest. Yodle is basically a service to help small businesses with mobile-optimized websites, listings on Google, Yahoo and Bing maps, and paid-search services across multiple desktop and mobile outlets.
Martens likes the fact that she doesn't have to be mobile or tech-savvy to take advantage of these technologies for the business. Using a unique tracking number, Rons Auto Repair Center can tell where calls come from and see how many of them are a direct result of online and mobile marketing spending. After five months of using the service, Martens says they currently track $9,100 in new sales each month back to their mobile marketing efforts.
"We see 23-28 new customers per month with an average bill of $326. We have new customer repair orders, and we're seeing previous customers from 2009-2011 return to our shop this year because the Rons Auto Repair Center name is front and center in mobile search, "she says.