How to Do Mobile Marketing for SMBs (Part 2 of 2)

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This is part two in a two-part series. You can read part one here

In part one of this two-part series, we discussed ways to dip your small business toe into mobile waters, even if a high quality mobile app is out of the question right now.

But we’re not going to forget those SMBs that are ready to get their first mobile app in the Apple store and on Google Play. Part two is entirely dedicated to these folks and making sure that app is a hit.

Mobile is a wild place where the online world can reach out and almost touch the offline world – and this is a great thing for marketers who can figure out how to take advantage of that connection. Mobile apps themselves are valuable tools, but they’re still very touch and go. This is partially because of overly soft marketer-end implementation and partially because there are just so many apps out there that users can’t possibly take advantage of them all. According to analytics firm Localytics, app retention is up in the U.S., though, with 42 percent of users returning to an app 11 or more times during 2015.

So how do you make the very best app possible? These tips will get your mobile app marketing going in the right direction: 

Think of your mobile app as an extension your websiteMarketingLand reports that a recent survey from Forrester Research found that 44 percent of companies are using mobile services that are simply scaled-back versions of their online campaigns. Although this approach might be passable, it’s not really going to capture the power of mobile marketing, nor will it allow you to fully take advantage of the power of mobile.

Instead of simply regurgitating your website onto an app platform, give your mobile users something different. Design an app that makes their shopping experience more fun, helps in-store visitors organize coupons or locate specific items or add extras like digital punch cards just to make things a little more interesting. It’s up to you to figure out what would go above and beyond in your app, but if you create something to help your virtual brand connect to the real world, it’ll give users a reason to download and use your app regularly.

When coming up with your small business mobile marketing plan, be sure to keep these important app-development and deployment tips in mind:

Use push notifications, but not too often. Localytics found that push notifications could influence app retention rates.

Over 50 percent of American users who opted in to push notifications also return to the app regularly. However, a deeper look into push notifications by the same firm turned up some interesting data. Half of survey respondents are annoyed by them, the other half welcome them, to a point. Surveys indicate that more than two to five push messages a week would cause 46 percent of users to disable push notifications, if they were to get six to 10 messages, the same users would just delete the app entirely.

That said, some types of pushes are much more welcome than others. The key is to create more personalized pushes instead of using them as user-wide broadcasts. Localytics survey respondents said they’d prefer special offers based on their behaviors and preferences (48 percent), news alerts related to your app (35 percent), new personalized content (34 percent) and location-based special offers (34 percent).

Personalization is key. Moving forward, there’s going to be little to no value in delivering generic content to your users.

The world around these users is increasingly personalized and your app has got to keep up. Luckily, their mobile devices are good at harvesting the very data you’ll need to make sure your app keeps up – provided you’ve planned for personalization from the start.

It’s a safe bet that your mobile user is also on social media. Asking them to log in with Facebook will provide your app with access to a wealth of data to help determine their preferences and predict the sort of items they’re likely to purchase.

If you know you’re going to be offering special in-store coupons via push notifications using geofencing when people get close to your store, you’d better be sure you know a little bit about your shoppers. Don’t just push a 15 percent off anything in the store – push a 15 percent off women’s clothing to that woman approaching the shop or a coupon for toys for the family of four. Know your market, really get to know them. Niches and personalization are the future of commerce for small businesses.

Get Started With Your Mobile Marketing Now

Now that you know how to do mobile marketing the right way, it’s time to hop to it.

If your budget’s small, take advantage of inexpensive access to mobile in the form of SMS lists or social media marketing campaigns. As your business grows, you may find you have the budget to have a custom app crafted after all.

Before you pull the trigger on your own app, though, plan it carefully to ensure it’s both useful and contributes something new to the user experience. A lot of businesses have created apps simply because they believe they need one, without any specific goals in mind. Your app should be better than acceptable, it needs to be dynamic.