Mobile marketing is huge and growing, and if you’re not marketing your business to mobile users, you’re missing out on traffic. Smart phones are personal, fun, and go with you everywhere you go. And major players are throwing money at developing mobile-based everything.
Some day soon, real soon, you won’t even need to carry a wallet because you’ll be able to wave your smart phone over a gadget to make purchases, just like scanning a credit card. But that’s tomorrow… Here’s what you can do to market your business mobile style right now.
1. Get a Mobile Website!
Have you visited a site specifically set up for mobile with your smart phone? Forget all that zooming and scrolling to see a full-sized site on a relatively small phone. For some super fly examples check out Amazon, Facebook, and Fandango.
If you’re on a WordPress platform already, setting up a mobile site is so easy. All you have to do is download the WPtouch plugin which will automatically transform your site to a customizable, smart phone-compatible application-style theme.
2. Text Marketing
This is actually something NOT to do unless you really have valuable information that customers both want and have asked for. People are intimate with their phones and text messages, and the number one modern marketing faux paux is to be overtly intrusive. That said, if you can romance your mobile customers a bit and get into that special space, you’re doing something right.
The best way I’ve seen text marketing used is for alerts when a specific product goes on sale. You can even integrate this with another functionality like QR codes, so a customer can scan a specific item and select an offer like “alert me via SMS when this item goes on sale.” Badda bing.
This is a location-based social network that lets customers rate a business and earn points for visits. Out and about, and need a good restaurant, cleaners, movie store, whatever? Check the Foursquare mobile app. And it’s more interactive than just reviews.
When you’re at a business, you can “check in” and gain points and even become the “Mayor” of a particular place if you’ve checked in more than anyone else. Business owners can offer specials, coupons, rewards and discounts. And Foursquare isn’t the only one. Facebook and Google are starting to do the same thing.
4. QR Codes
Surely you’ve seen these by now. To read it, get on your phone, go to apps, and download “barcodes scanner.” I suggest the app with the digital zebra. Actually any will do, but this is the best I’ve found. Now, let’s make your very own QR code with this QR code generator. These are still new and hip, but in a few years they’ll be everywhere. What’s awesome about them is that they can store 2kb of data. Sweet.
How should you use it? If you’re a cab company, make a QR code that stores your phone number, print out stickers (lots of online services do this for you) and post them on telephone poles with “cab service” written below. Then customers can scan and dial your number automatically.
How about if you’re an appliance manufacturer? You could have a QR code on the ovens and refrigerators you sell with all your service information, etc. Do you sell wine? Have a QR code on the bottle that has information about the wine, location the grapes are grown, foods the wine goes well with, even a link to your, eh um, mobile ready website.
More ideas you ask? How about: paper-free ticketing, health and nutrition information, real-time scheduling information, packaged food recipes, clothing tags, building permits, cocktail napkins, movie posters, car windshields in dealerships, books, coffee cups, wedding invitations, nametags, yada yada.
5. Mobile Coupons
This is not a new idea, but it’s still brilliant. Remember when your grandma would hold up the shopping line to shuffle through that enormous, overflowing pendaflex coupon purse? People love electronic coupons because they save paper, and they don’t get lost.
You can make mobile coupons available to customers on websites, through search advertising, in mobile apps, and on and on. You can even tell customers to scan a QR code on a coupon in a magazine.
6. Local Listings
Forget all these fancy new ideas. If you don’t have you local listings up to date and consistent, you may as well throw your iPhone out the window. Or your customers ought to because they won’t be able to find your business. The big two local listings are Google and Bing, but there are many more. There’s a nice list here.
You want to make sure the information is the same for all the listings, and that you completely fill them out. That includes adding photos where possible.
7. Mobile Commerce
Don’t miss out on the huge market of customers that make purchases through their mobile phones. Amazon sets the standard for online marketplaces with its mobile-ready site. Do like they do, and make it easy for people to buy.
8. Free WiFi
Want mobile folks to participate in all this fun stuff? Start by making your place of business mobile-friendly and set up free wireless.
9. Mobile Apps
There are a lot of app possibilities that connect customers with your brand – from trivia games to maps and music. There’s an app for almost everything, and if you can provide product information, account information, and the like, you should consider having an app too.
There are even apps out there that detect when a customer is near a store, offering rewards to enter and shop. Mobile users like apps better than web browsing because apps are dedicated to a specific function, and are often more efficient than web browsing.
10. Mobile Ads
Google Adwords has a program specifically set up to target mobile customers. It’s highly customizable, and you can even target specific applications or devices. There’s still the Pay Per Click option, but Google also has a new option to pay for only the calls generated by your ad. Pretty cool.
Guest writer Ryan Howard is a search strategist with TahoeSEO.net, a search engine optimization strategy and web marketing firm in Lake Tahoe.