By Rieva Lesonsky

Do you use mobile marketing to reach your target customers? Do you rely on your smartphone or tablet apps to keep your business running smoothly? Then you’re in step with the majority of small business owners, according to a recent survey by Constant Contact.

The survey found the most common mobile tools entrepreneurs use to run their businesses are:

  • 82 percent use a calendar/time management app.
  • 74 percent use a customer communications app.
  • 52 percent use a GPS and mapping app.
  • 44 percent use an accounting/invoicing app.
  • 44 percent use an app for industry news/information consumption.
  • 29 percent use a travel planning app.

How about marketing? Mobile devices including tablets and smartphones, mobile optimized websites and text message marketing are all methods that small business owners are using. However, small business owners are easing in to mobile marketing by starting in their comfort zones. Specifically, 97 percent of small companies that use mobile marketing are using mobile social media, and 71 percent are using email marketing. Just 17 percent use location-based marketing tools such as Foursquare and only15 percent use text message marketing. In other words, small business owners are more likely to adopt desktop-based forms of marketing to the mobile platform rather than focus on inherently mobile marketing tools.

That’s still a start, and it’s better than the holdouts in the survey are doing. Of the 34 percent of small business owners not currently using mobile marketing, 65 percent don’t plan to start. As Americans grow increasingly wedded to their mobile devices, this could be a huge mistake.

How do you know if your customers will respond to mobile marketing? You don’t until you try. While many of the respondents in the survey say they aren’t using mobile because customers aren’t asking for it, a better approach is to think about how you buy products and services, look for restaurants to visit, or search for information online. If you’re most likely to grab your smartphone to do any of the above, then you’d best believe your customers do, too. If you don’t use your smartphone, ask others in different age groups and demographics what they do.