Important Mobile Trends Small Business People Should Know for 2012 (and What to Do About Them)
Mobile marketing is not only here to stay, it could well be one of the most important marketing tools you can use for your small business. Okay, as a mobile marketing service provider, I’m slightly biased, but the trends are impossible to ignore. It’s simple, if you want to reach people, you go where they are, and where they are, increasingly, is on their mobile device.
More importantly, it’s not only where your customers are, it’s where they look for what they want to buy, and where they recommend the stuff they’ve bought, and love, to their inner circle. In this day and age, their inner circle can include their 1,884 Facebook friends, 762 Twitter followers, and the 8 dozen Pinners watching their every move on Pinterest.
As a business owner, the choice is clear, offer current and prospective customers compelling reasons to spend money with you, and do it where they will see and share those reasons with their significant others, oh, and their spouses, too. Fortunately, it’s not only easier than ever to do that, people have come to expect it, and even look forward to it.
After all, there’s nothing like a buy 1, get the second at 50% off beer and appetizer coupon for your favorite hangout showing up on your phone Friday afternoon at 2:30, when you’ve already mentally left the office, and are only waiting for your body to follow. Your customers welcome deals, and you’re in a great position to deliver them, using a device they just can’t live without (their words, not mine), and would sooner leave the house with than their asthma medication. Even better, this is not just a trend among teens and twenty somethings, it’s spread to all but the most seasoned demographics, and it’s making inroads there, as well.
Here are mobile trends for 2012 and beyond that point to the future of mobile marketing as being very bright, indeed, whether your business is small or ginormous:
Smart Phones Close the Gap
The smart phone split is now nearly 50/50. As of February 2012, 49.7% of mobile Americans own smart phones vs regular phones (Neilsen, Feb 2012). Smart phones are catching regular phones, there is no doubt about it. The trend has been steady, and inexorable. In Feb of 2011, a mere 12 months ago, smart phone use was only 36%. Also, in upwardly mobile areas, the split now favors smart phones.
As I’ve discussed before though, small business owners should stick with SMS marketing (for now), vs migrating to apps or video. The reason is simple. Smart phones read texts, too, while apps and video don’t work for half your customer base. In addition, texts a cheap, fast, easy, and most important, effective.
Android is Pulling Ahead, and Fast
While”iPhone” may be generic for smart phone in the eyes of many, and did record an uptick with the iPhone 4s intoduction, the fact is that Android powered devices overtook them with dizzying speed, and now lead the smart phone OS race. As of Feburary, 2012 (Neilsen), 32.1% of smart phones were Apple iOS devices, vs 48% running Google’s Android OS. New purchasers choose Android over iOS by a factor of 48% to 43%.
You Need a Mobile Website
If you’re a small business owner, you’re shooting yourself in the foot, and possibly a more vital body part, by ignoring an version of your website optimized for mobile users. Why? It’s overwhelming; that’s where your customers look for what they want to buy, even when shopping locally. That holds true for everything from hamburgers to Humvees. At the end of Q3 2011, 38% of customers reported using their mobile device to compare prices while actually in the store, and 24% were searching for and/or using online coupons. Judging by current trends, that figure has doubtlessly risen in the 6 months since those figures were published.
Can’t they do that on your normal website? Sure, they can, if you don’t mind them having to scroll and scan around to read it. It’s all about the experience, and if customers don’t like it, they’ll just leave. If they are already in your store, or looking for coupons, it’s your job to make things as easy and enjoyable for them is possible. Make buying easy, and they will.
Optimize for Local Search or Stay Lost
You need to optimize your Google, Yahoo, and Bing places listings so potential customers can find you. 18% of mobile users reported they use local search information to find local businesses while on the go (Neilsen, Feb 2012). That figure ignores those who also use their laptop or desktop computers to do so, it’s strictly for mobile devices. Think about it, if someone is already out in their car, on the bus, or walking around, and they search for a business that provides what they’re looking for, they are going there!
Sleeping With Their iPHONE?
Maybe not, but people are using mobile devices more than ever, and the trend isn’t slowing down. Between 2008 and 2011, the amount of time that people spent using their mobile devices increased a staggering 88%. (eMarketer, Dec 2011) Contrast that to time spent reading newspapers, which showed a nearly 58% decrease in the same time period. If you’re a small business owner trying to reach customers and prospects, it’s clear where the majority of your resources should be concentrated.
Mobile is Exploding Among the Big Players
The big players have embraced mobile, and so should small business owners. eMarketer projects that mobile ad spending will increase an astounding 80% in 2012, compared to 43% for social media, and 15.6% for non-mobile Internet ads. There is a reason that large companies, who produce the lion’s share of ad revenues, are pouring resources into mobile marketing and advertising. Their mega-buck market research initiatives reveal that it’s where the customers are.
More Mobile Marketers Power the Boom
Why will spending increase 80%? eMarketer’s research (Dec, 2011) points to this: 65% of companies marketing online report they will increase spending on the mobile channel through 2012. That compares to only 49% planning to increase online video ad spending, and a mere 26% who plan to increase their ad network (Google Adwords, Bing, etc.) spending. Again, the money follows the ROI.
See and Hear It
Mobile video ads will be huge in the coming years. It is projected that mobile video ad spending will increase 614% in the next 4 years. That correlates nicely with the increase in smart phones toted by prospective customers, and their propensity to use them for viewing online video. As the percentage of customers who can watch videos on their mobile devices leaves behind those who can not, marketers will put videos persuasive and power an viral ability to good use.
Expect the easy ability of videos to become viral in the mobile medium to be targeted heavily, and produce some exciting marketing. If you’re a small business owner, creativity is the key here. A great viral marketing campaign need not be expensive to trend like Katy Perry or Krysten Ritter, but it has to be creative and shareworthy.
How to Use These Trends to Grab More Business for 2012, and Beyond
Mobile is not only here, and growing, it could well be the one thing that lifts your business from the realm of “just getting by” to an
embarrassment of riches.
Make it Easy
While making it easy for customers to do what you want should be at the forefront of any business owner’s priorities, relatively few are doing it with regards to mobile marketing. Give them an easy way to join your SMS list, so you can market to them over and over again, at times that help your business fill in those slow times. This works very well for both consumers with smart phones, and those without.
Here are a few:
Keyword texts for discounts or free stuff. If there is one thing consumers love, it’s discounts and free stuff, so oblige them. You should have your campaign visible everywhere you can, without looking like that’s all you’re in it for.What am I referring to? You’ve seen them from savvy small business owners already, such as:
- Text “pizza” to 12345 for a 35% discount off your next large pizza・E
- Text “showtime” to 12345 for show time information a free large popcorn at your next movie.
- Text “back” to 12345 for 50% of your first adjustment.
Optimize for Mobile
Having a specially optimized landing page that automatically shows up when a mobile user hits your website is relatively inexpensive and easy to implement, especially considering the ROI it generates. Your regular website company can do this, but there are also many firms that specialize in mobile marketing and can do the work, as well.
Do Both –
Make it easy and optimize. Make sure your mobile landing page isn’t simply mobile a version of your regular website, but an engaging reason for
your customers to either opt in to or mobile marketing list or call your office, establishment, or shop. You can even make a “tap to call” button they can click to instantly dial your phone. They’ll appreciate how easy it is, and you’ll love the business you get. Remember to include a link to the mobile optimized version of your website on the landing page for customers that need more than simply a coupon or quick access to your phone. See More Examples Here
Trends reveal that mobile is the future, but increasingly the present as well. If you’re ignoring this vital aspect to marketing your small business, you’re turning your back on a significant percentage of consumers, and they’ll likely return the favor.
Does your company have a mobile website yet? If not, why not? Also, have you embraced other mobile marketing initiaves, such as SMS? Have they been successful for you?
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