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Adam
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 It seems like everyone and their ad agency is talking about “mobile marketing” these days, but what is it and why should a small business owner care?  After all, isn’t this kind of thing meant for BIG business?

Nay, nay, my good friends.

It’s for the rest of us, too.

Lots of businesses are choosing to jump on the mobile marketing bandwagon. With this new advertising strategy, small companies can earn huge profits without spending a ton of extra money.  Sure, multinational companies are pursuing mobile marketing too, but really, it’s a great option for any business, big or small.

With mobile marketing, business owners and marketers can designate specific targets for campaigns and improve customer response on every campaign.

But let’s not discuss that until we establish what mobile marketing is, exactly.

As you know, everyone (well, all the “cool” people at least) has a smart phone these days.  Mobile marketing allows marketers to put their ads on smart phones in the form of either applications or mobile websites. The benefit to a mobile website is in it’s scale--a normal website is very distracting with banners and pop ups and links everywhere, but a mobile website has very little screen real estate.  There are no distractions like there are on a computer screen--it’s just the user and a phone.   A phone the user has with them 24/7, everywhere they go.

So how can this be used to help you grow your business?

Well, let’s say for example that you’re the owner of a magic shop and The Amazing Hugo is on his way to yet another soul crushing five-year-old’s birthday party, when he realizes he forgot his magic bunny at home.  Knowing that if there’s no bunny coming out of his hat in the finale, those kids are going to jump him and crush cheese doodles in his hair, Hugo must find a bunny Right. Now.

Unfortunately, it’s too late to turn back and go home, so he whips out his iPhone/Blackberry/Droid, hits “Google Places,” searches for “Magic Shops,” and Abracadabra! The search turns up three options for Hugo: two of them are traditional websites and poor, panicked Hugo doesn’t have time to click and scroll around to find what he needs.  But YOUR site, however, is a mobile website and it’s built specifically for a mobile device. It gives him the information he needs right there in his hand in the blink of an eye.  Just like, well, magic!

Being a smart magician, after all, he is the AMAZING Hugo, Hugo stops into your store because your mobile website helped him fill his needs quickly and painlessly.  Hugo and Victor, the new bunny, live happily ever after, cheese doodle free and you made it all happen.  You can bet the next time Hugo has a bunny crisis, he’s coming to you!

But that was just one example of what mobile marketing can do for your business.  Here’s a quick and dirty list of what’s so great about using mobile marketing to promote your business:

  • Immediacy is key! Your messages are delivered to customers within seconds.
  • They’re practically free!  For the cost of a text message, you can pull off a mobile marketing campaign.  The price even goes down as volume increases! That’s  pretty sweet!
  • Content is targeted to individuals who’ve opted to receive it, so it’s already going to a receptive audience. 
  • You can make a page where you collect information on your mobile website in exchange for a free download or a coupon. That way, you can get to know your customer, making it easier to target them directly.
  • Your messages can reach their recipients anywhere, anytime because people today are very attached to their cell phones.  They’re with them all the time! Heck, lots of people even sleep with their phones under their pillows! Now that’s access to your customer!
  • It’s easy for mobile marketing messages to go viral since they can be shared so easily. This exposes the messages to a bunch of new potential customers at no cost to you.  In this way, your customers are literally doing your advertising for you, and you gotta love that.
  • Since this medium is still relatively new, there’s a large percentage of potential customers who haven’t see it yet.  This means that you get to look like the slickest slickster in town—you’re on the cutting edge baby, and everyone is super impressed!
  • Results from your campaign can be tracked pretty easily through downloads, page visits, customer opt-ins, and a variety of other methods.  This makes it easier to assess your success and make adjustments to your strategy.

This isn’t really an exhaustive list, but you get the idea of what mobile marketing is and how it works.  Folks are coming up with new and amazing ways to use it every day, so this is not just a fad, people. It’s here to stay! 

Not even The Amazing Hugo can turn back time, so don’t be looking back and wondering why all of your customers have vanished into thin air!

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