Originally appeared on Xerox Small Business Solutions.
By Rieva Lesonsky
Who picks up the paper Yellow Pages to find a local business anymore? Instead, consumers are turning to YP.com and other local search directories, or simply doing online searches for businesses “near me.” Increasingly, those searches are happening on smartphones. If you own a retail store, restaurant, salon, automotive shop or other business that relies on local customers, mobile marketing can help get more customers into your store.
Why is it so important to “think mobile”? Mobile searches in general are on the rise, and mobile searches for something “near me” are growing by 146 percent year-over-year, reports Google. Already, 88 percent of all “near me” searches are done on a mobile device. And those mobile searches get results—76 percent of people who search online for something nearby visit a business within a day; 28 percent of those visits result in a sale. With the average adult projected to spend a whopping 3 hours and 18 minutes a day on a mobile device this year, mobile searches will only increase.
How can you get in on the game? Here are 8 mobile marketing tips any local business can implement.
Optimize your website and email marketing for mobile.
If customers click on your mobile ad or offer and go to your non-mobile-friendly website, they won’t be able to read or act on the information. Create mobile-optimized landing pages for different ads and make sure your email marketing efforts are mobile-optimized as well.
Get listed on local search directories.
When customers search online for what you sell, you’ll boost the chances of being found if you have complete listings in as many local search directories as possible. These include Google My Business, YP.com and Yelp, but there are hundreds of others. Claim your listing on each and make sure your details, such as business name, business hours, address, phone number and a link to your website are current, accurate and consistent across all your listings. (Consistency really counts—it will hurt your business if your address is listed as Street on one and St. on another.)
Institute a mobile loyalty program.
Look into loyalty programs that offer a mobile app so your customers can store their loyalty information, rewards, etc. on their smartphones instead of stuffing their wallets with more cards. Beyond the convenience for customers, these programs collect user data that allows you to personalize your marketing to loyalty program members. Most also enable easy mobile marketing outreach.
Give customers rewards for checking in on social media.
One simple tactic that works is to offer customers a prize, discount or special offer for checking in to your business on social media. Depending on your business and what you’re offering, you may want to give a discount for one check-in or give a more substantial reward for 5 or 10 check-ins. When customers’ social circles see your business mentioned, it helps boost awareness and interest.
Use SMS text message marketing.
Ask customers to opt-in to receive messages from your business. Promote the program on social media, in your emails and on your website, as well as during in-person interactions with customers, to get more sign-ups. Fifty-six percent of consumers have visited a brick-and-mortar business after receiving a deal or offer on their smartphone while near the location. Sending customers time-sensitive offers, such as a discount on services performed that day or a two-for-one lunch special at your restaurant, is a great way to boost business during slow times.
Use geo-targeted mobile ads.
Geo-location marketing uses GPS location data from customers’ smartphones to target them when they enter a specific area. Geo-fencing creates a virtual fence around a region, which can be defined as widely as a ZIP code or as narrowly as your location. When prospects go inside the “fence,” their phone is triggered to display an ad or send push notifications with special offers. Geo-conquesting takes it one step further, using GPS location information to market to your competitors’ customers. For example, a retailer could use geo-conquesting to trigger a mobile offer when a customer gets close to a competing store. Click-through rates for mobile display ads that use geo-targeting are twice those of mobile display ads that don’t, and 50 percent higher than mobile display ads using only ZIP code targeting.
Display click-to-call information.
Put a click-to-call button on your mobile-friendly website so users can call you right away on their smartphones. Google recently added a feature that lets click-to-call numbers automatically display in mobile search ads. BIA/Kelsey estimates mobile search drives nearly 33 billion clicks-to-call to businesses globally—nearly 19 percent more calls than from mobile landing pages alone.
Send printable coupons.
Even when recipients don’t act immediately on your mobile offers, they often print out coupons to use later. Last year, the number of Americans who printed online coupons increased—reaching 62 percent. Make sure coupons sent via email are also printable. These Xerox coupon templates can help. If you (or your customers) have Xerox Mobile Print solutions, the coupons can be printed out anywhere, from any enabled printer. Plus, Xerox security ensures that sensitive customer data is always kept private, no matter where you’re printing. Xerox VersaLink printers, available in both single-function and multi-function options, come preloaded with direct, secure access and out-of-the-box connectivity to Google Drive™, Microsoft® OneDrive®, Dropbox™ and the Xerox App Gallery, which you can direct from the user interface to add your own apps.
As with any marketing effort, it’s vital to first set measurable goals for your mobile marketing campaign. Knowing whether you want to increase sales at a certain time of day, move X amount of a particular product or get X more customers into your business each day will help you choose the right mobile marketing tactic to reach those goals.