I can generally hear the excitement in my own voice when talking about the emergence of new marketing opportunities. It’s the fact that the marketing mix has exploded with a raft of tools, where even small business can make great strides for the smallest investment. They provide greater flexibility, generate better statistics to measure, and are in general far more affordable.
Whilst social media gets much of the publicity, mobile marketing spend is tipped to explode in the next two years. Unfortunately however, the majority of small to medium business will see mobile marketing as something they can’t afford and/or will never have the resources required.
Well, I thought I would try in some part to allay any fears or hesitations of small business and produce eight key applications that small business can explore on a budget.
The beauty about SMS marketing is the fact that, every handset will have SMS capability. There may be a few users that are still trying to grasp such technology (My Mum) but they are few and far between. As a small business this means that, no matter what your business, who your customers are, SMS is a viable marketing option.
The first step is to build a contact list. This should be done in your business and should be done as part of an exclusive discount/offer to encourage uptake. Once the database is compiled, find a service provider for you to send the mass SMS messages to your contact list. You will be able to find deals from 10c to 15c per SMS where as sending via your normal mobile subscription will cost you 25c for each message.
Messages should not become too regular and content should be a priority. Put yourself in their shoes, is the message you’re sending really worth it? If possible include a call to action such as present this SMS for a discount, or ask them to visit your website to enter a competition with a particular codeword included in the message. The options are limited really only by your imagination. Just remember to include business name and contact in each SMS.
I love QR Codes. I actually feel like I am one of the few trying to champion the cause in Australia. QR (Quick Response) Codes are simple two-dimensional codes, very similar to the retail barcodes that have been used for years. They are becoming a great opportunity for businesses looking to do something different with their marketing on a budget.
Basically, smartphones all have the ability to scan QR Codes and deliver information in a timely manner to the handset. Scan the QR Code and the user is then taken directly to a Youtube video, presented with a text message, or directed to a website. Try scanning the code to the right as an example.
I have posted tips for Real Estate Agencies recently and in this post I suggested QR Codes be printed on For Sales signs, marketing flyers and local paper advertisements. With these QR codes people can be instantly taken to a Youtube video, which takes them on a tour of the property. This is just an example, you will no doubt have come up with an idea relevant to your business already.
Take the opportunity to encourage repeat business. Can you guarantee your customer is going to come back again? There is no certainty, that’s for sure. So why not promote a competition that will gain attention and generate excitement that will ultimately lead to brand retention and word of mouth. So when a customer comes into your business, encourage them to SMS a code to enter your competition to win. Provide an opportunity to subscribe to receive further updates (See tip 1).
Location-Based Consumer Deals
Foursquare and Facebook Places lead the charge for location-based services. The technology allows people to ‘check-in’ to locations (based on GPS location) and leave tips. With this users can accumulate visits, become ‘Mayor’ of a location, attract special deals and earn badges.
If you go to check in to a location you will be presented with a list of venues and they will be identified by priority when offering a special. So for the business owner, implement a special, offer 20% discount for your Mayor, this will encourage competition and loyalty amongst users. You can also offer discounts/offers to every 20th person checking-in, or to someone who has checked-in so many times in a week or month. Again, the opportunities are aplenty and the special should be suited to your objectives.
Encourage User Generated Content
The explosion of social media is based on a desire for human beings to share information with friends, family and the broader community. Word of mouth has often been referred to as the most effective marketing tool, well now online technology has provided the opportunity for word of mouth to explode. We are now researching products/services before purchasing, so there is a great opportunity to maximise business should positive reviews exist in the online environment.
Offer deals or encourage customers to leave feedback (See tip 4). There are a number of vehicles for customers to post reviews including True Local, Yellow Pages, Google Places, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp, Blogs, Youtube, etc. With competition for business, increasing within a globalised world, a positive review or referral may mean your next sale. How cheap is that for marketing.
Bluetooth is becoming more prevalent in the community as the technology is used to synchronise our devices including hands-free units.
Bluetooth marketing, often referred to as Proximity Marketing, involves the blasting of messages within an area of up to 200metre radius. It must be said though, the devices within the area need to have their bluetooth turned on and accept your message. Your message can be as simple as a text message, coupon, picture message or even a short, compressed video (incl TVC).
If you’re a small business in a shopping centre or busy shopping precinct then have the bluetooth unit set up in your business and keep the message blasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The message can be controlled to ensure that it goes to the one device only once and all statistics can be accessed.
More people browse Facebook on a mobile handset than they do a personal computer. In fact, within two years it is predicted that people will spend more time browsing the internet on a mobile handset than a personal computer. What does this mean? Well it means that if you want to maximise visits to your website, you will need to have a mobile-friendly site.
Mobile Phone Applications
Mobile phone applications provide business with a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your customer. They can be a great way to expediate the process of information. However, they can be expensive and perhaps not always necessary for smaller to medium businesses. If you have some technology competence then try designing your own application, check out http://www.buildanapp.com.
Mobile phone saturation in Australia is greater than 100%. That is there are more phones in this country than people. It’s an impressive statistic and with further developments including the uptake of smartphones, the opportunities will develop rapidly. Mobile marketing still presents hesitation amongst many business owners, and yes there is still a need to be mindful of producing spam but you should not ignore the opportunities. Australians are early-adopters but at the moment, small to medium business participation in the space is lagging behind.
If you need any help or advice please feel free to comment or to contact me.
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