Think mobile: marketing tips for local businesses

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Thanks to mobile technology, businesses of all sizes and industries – from your local brick and mortar shop to your favorite online retail site – have the opportunity to easily reach people on the go.

Take Accents Style for example. This clothing boutique in Arlington, Texas, creatively reaches mobile customers by hanging incentives in the dressing rooms, including a 10 percent discount on a purchase when customers “check-in,” and a free pair of gold or silver hoop earrings when they “like” Accents Style’s Facebook page. Lucy Huang, owner of the business, says that her mobile efforts are paying off.

“Our posts get great responses. The check-ins via mobile are big incentives for our customers to come into our boutique,” she says.

Mobile is a vital channel for you to reach your customers and will only continue to grow. While mobile is a great vehicle for businesses to market to their customers, many business owners don’t know where to start or think it’s too complicated to do well. Below are answers to some of the most-asked questions from local businesses on how to more effectively reach the right audiences on the go.

1. As a business owner, how do I market on mobile without using a ton of resources? I’m just one person and don’t have the time.

A business’ social presence is a free and easy way to connect with potential customers on mobile. That’s because what you do on your page instantly translates to mobile – and your customers are already there, waiting to hear from you. Of the 1.15 billion people on Facebook, more than 70 percent access the site from their mobile phone.

Furthermore, people on the go are actively looking for businesses in their area: according to a recent Google study, 95 percent of smartphone users search for local information and 59 percent of smartphone users visited in-person after searching for local information. To effectively reach the right customer at the right time, you can tap in to the mobile ad targeting features available across many social platforms. For example, you can target people broadly or narrow down to specifics such as gender and interests. BarkBox, a company that delivers a monthly box of dog goodies (treats, products, toys, etc.) to dog owners, targeted friends of their fans on Facebook who were females and had an interest in dogs. After seeing success, BarkBox deepened their targeting by adding in geographic areas and age ranges and saw even greater results.

2. What are the best ways to create mobile ads?

Given people on their phones usually have limited time and attention spans, it’s important to create compelling and concise content including photos and short videos. For example, North Carolina-based barbecue company Bone Suckin’ Sauce promoted its Facebook photo post on mobile with the hook: “Which is better on the grill? Fish, chicken, vegetables, or steaks?” – to encourage conversation among fans. The company saw an 83 percent increase in online store sales as a result of promoting posts like these.

3. How can I manage my mobile marketing when I’m on the go, too?

Tools like Facebook’s Pages Manager app or Hoot Suite’s Social Media Manager app allow you to manage your pages on the go, whether you post photos, respond to customers via comments, or create ad campaigns.

You need to think mobile to grow your business

Just looking at the growing number of times per day people access the Web on their phones, it’s no secret that mobile marketing needs to become an integral part of your consumer marketing strategy. So don’t wait any longer: Think mobile and you’ll be able to reach new customers and keep current customers returning.

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