How to Do Mobile Marketing for SMBs (Part 1 of 2)

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

Geofencing, push notifications, app personalization — what does it all mean?

If your small business is interested in diving into mobile marketing, the sheer mass of information on the web can be terrifying. Your budget is small, your audience limited, and you’re pretty sure you don’t even know where to start looking for a programmer.

Right now, you just need a basic guide on how to do mobile marketing the easy way. That’s what we’ll do with this two-part series. We’ll start simple and we’ll work our way up to the really good stuff – just in case you decide you want to get a little fancy with mobile app marketing in the future.

Starting on a Shoestring

Mobile app marketing is great, it’s a really cool tool for businesses that can afford to properly execute it and do all the testing that’s required to make an app that works flawlessly and pushes just right, but a cheap app is worse than no app at all. You might as well not bother because no one will use it.

If your budget is limited like so many SMBs out there, you still have mobile marketing options, including:

Mobile-friendly sites. First and foremost, your mobile site should be up to snuff. This is usually a fairly cheap fix, especially if your website software is running on a cloud-based platform. A responsive or mobile-friendly platform makes it easy for people who want to visit your site using their mobile phones to view and purchase what you have to offer without being left with any question as to how the site is supposed to work.

Text messaging. Text messaging is by and large the most popular activity on any given Smartphone, according to a recent study by Pew Research Center. It found that a full 97 percent of people in demographics ranging in age from 18 to 50+ use text messaging at least once a week, with younger users using the technology far more often.

This is a really effective, very inexpensive place to reach your mobile users directly. You’ll have to build an SMS list much like you would an email list, but that will allow you to send targeted messages with active links that can quickly turn into sales.

Targeted display ads. Mobile ads have the potential to reach your audience wherever they happen to be, through the power of programmatics. If you fail to design ads that target each audience individually, however, your campaign will fall flat. Instead of designing one advertisement for your local brick-and-mortar menswear shop, you might create an ad that shows the type of jackets that men in your 18-to-34-year-old age group prefer and another that proudly displays jackets favored by men 35 to 50. By personalizing display ads, you’ll get an even bigger bang for your mobile advertising buck.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is another way to reach your mobile market without investing in an app.

According to Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s 2016 State of Marketing report, “advertising on social platforms” was rated as very effective or effective by 71 percent of the marketers surveyed.

There are plenty of platforms to choose between, but here are a few that you should consider if you’re looking to reach mobile users:

Facebook. Facebook has 1. 09 billion daily active users. Its ads are cheap, it has some of the most detailed targeting tools available anywhere on the planet and, frankly, everybody expects you to be on the social network. Try a few ads here – an SMB can see massive results for under $100 in a testing environment. Be ready to field an influx of questions and orders, though.

Twitter. The targeting on Twitter is less detailed, but if you’re already tweeting, you may see some traction here. Like with Facebook, Twitter’s following is immense, so it’s worth giving it a shot if you’re already participating in this social network.

Instagram. Instagram’s ad platform was launched by parent company Facebook in 2013, with many of the same types of targeting tools. For companies that offer highly visual products or services, Instagram can be a game-changer. A picture is worth 1,000 words, after all. Recent algorithm changes have some users up in arms, but they should make little difference for marketers.

Pinterest. DIYers, gardeners and crafters seem to be drawn to Pinterest, but for marketers it has been hit or miss. If you sell products that would be a good fit for this demographic, it might be worth a try, but you definitely want to research your audience before diving in.

LinkedIn. Like with Pinterest, LinkedIn serves a very specific audience — businesses and business people. It’s an awesome place to market B2B products and services, and you absolutely should have a business profile if nothing else.

Increasing your mobile phone market share without a budget for a well-written mobile app can be tricky.  By taking advantage of inexpensive tools like SMS and social media mobile advertising, you’ll be able to get a foot in the door as you grow your marketing budget. In part two of this two-part series, we’ll discuss just what it takes to build a really awesome mobile app that your customers will love.

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