Hard Facts about Mobile Marketing for Small Business

If you’re still not sure that mobile marketing is right for your small business, take a look at these results from several recent studies on small business mobile marketing to see why if you don’t already have a mobile marketing strategy in play, you’re significantly behind the times. Consider these findings and comments from top marketing surveys and sources:

• Out of 700,000 small-medium sized business websites 60% do not have even the basic information consumers using mobile web devices need to find their business.

• Over 93% of small-medium sized business websites do not properly render (appear) on mobile devices – including iPhones, Android phones or tablets.

• Of the small businesses surveyed that implemented mobile marketing, 84% reported an increase due to the initiative.

• 64% of small businesses plan on increasing their mobile marketing budget – this means your competition may be more effectively using mobile marketing than you are.

• While 60% of small businesses report they have a standard website, only 26% of these offer a mobile-friendly version and only 14% had a free-standing mobile website.

• Only 39% of small businesses have a mobile search strategy focused on getting them easily found on the mobile web.

David Brown, CEO of one of the firms that accumulated this data, Web.com, recently said, “With more and more consumers specifically searching for local businesses on their mobile devices, it is imperative that small businesses invest in a mobile presence.” He added, “Having a mobile presence can be a huge competitive advantage for small businesses trying to attract local customers by instantly introducing a potential customer to their business’ products and services in a mobile-enhanced way.”

Here are some more statistics showing why now, more than ever, your small business needs a mobile web presence and strategy:

• For small businesses who engage or plan to engage in mobile marketing, 34% say they do it to gain competitive advantage.

• For those small businesses already engaged in mobile marketing, only 1/3 of them plan to devote the same amount of funds and effort to it – the rest plan an increase. None plan to cut their programs.

• The longer your website takes to load, the more people you lose. If it takes more than 2 seconds for your site to load, you’ll lose 40% of mobile users.

• Almost 50% of consumers expect mobile websites to load within 2 seconds and 79% say a bad mobile web experience will keep them away from your site in the future.

• Over half of mobile web users have encountered sites that froze, crashed or returned an error on their mobile device.

• Nearly 75% of mobile web users have tried websites that were too slow to load on their mobile web devices.

• 23% of consumers say they are less likely to transact business with a company that gave them a bad mobile web experience.

• Another 40% of consumers say that a bad mobile web experience would send them to a competitor who offered the same or similar products or services.

These study results should convince you that if you don’t already have a mobile web presence and mobile marketing strategy, you urgently need one. For many consumers, your mobile web presence is the basis of their perception about your company. If you don’t have a mobile web presence, it tells customers you don’t care about their preferences. In contrast, a small business with a mobile web presence that engages the customer and enhances their experience will encourage both new and repeat business.

Increase Business with Mobile Tagging – QR Codes, SnapTags and more!


Connecting the digital and physical worlds – tags are on tangible things – like products, signage, flyers, countertops, display windows, print ads (newspapers, magazines and more.) Scanning them connects the consumer to a relevant digital experience. Using tags allows you to measure response rates to a particular marketing effort.

There are a number of different mobile tagging apps that you can use to tie physical marketing materials to your mobile website, texting program or other mobile marketing services. Some mobile tagging services to consider are:

• QR Codes
• Microsoft Tags
• SnapTags

QR codes are a type of 2D barcode made up of a series of square dots that encode alphanumeric data. When scanned, your smart phone reads the data and takes the action indicated, whether it sends the user to the home page of your website, to a special offer you’ve created or even your company Facebook page.

QR codes were created in Japan and have been widely used there and in Europe, but are just evolving into wide use in America in the past couple of years. The great thing about QR codes is that they are free to use and there are a number of free applications you can use to easily create them for your small business. The downside is that they are more functional than aesthetically pleasing.




Microsoft tags are much like QR codes in their functionality, but have more visual style. Another plus to Microsoft tags is that you can easily create a custom tag in just a minute or two for absolutely no cost. There are five different types of Microsoft tags:

• URL tags – these open a web page on the customer’s mobile phone and sends them to a specific page of your mobile site or a video or some other type of content.
• vCard tags – these open a virtual business card that customers can add instantly to their contact list.
• App Download tags – it recognizes the type of mobile device and sends the customer to the appropriate download source to get your mobile app.
• Free Text tags – this displays text of up to 1,000 characters, but is not an SMS/text message, it simply displays the text.
• Dialer tags – this automatically dials a specific phone number that you specify – it can be your business number, a help-line or even an automatic voice message.

SnapTags work in much the same way as QR codes and Microsoft tags, but typically take either your company logo or associated icon and convert it to an interactive tool that will direct people to your digital content. The upside of using a SnapTag is the advanced customization and visual appeal; the downside is that both creation and use of the tags come with a price tag. There are several different types of SnapTags:

• Branded SnapTags – these are tied to a particular marketing campaign and can take you to product information, a special promotion or something similar.
• Social SnapTags – these are linked to your Facebook or other social media account and allow the consumer to easily “like” you or “follow” you depending on which social media site it is tied to.
• Buy It Now SnapTags – these are linked to a specific product and take the consumer to an instant “buy it now” window where they can buy your product or service instantly.
• Action SnapTags – these initiate specific actions when scanned, such as getting a mobile coupon, emailing you, accessing your website, viewing video or requesting information.
• Mobile Giving SnapTags – these allow your customers to make a donation to a specific charity you have selected. You can even offer to match customer donations to promote your brand.

No matter which platform you decide to try, mobile tagging is a great way to make use of every inch of physical advertising space available. These can be created and placed on your checkout counters, takeout menus, packaging, posters, flyers, print ads, on your car or anywhere there is a physical surface and will increase your brand recognition.

Effective Mobile Coupons – Cashing in on Mobile Marketing!

If you’re a texter, you know that sometimes 160 characters are just not enough to communicate what you want to say. Spilling over into a second text is no big deal when you are texting with friends and family, but when you are texting a mobile offer to a customer, this is a big no-no! A single text – 160 characters (including spaces) – is what you have to learn to work within to craft effective text offers that consumers will rush to redeem.

When you hear “mobile coupon,” do you picture a paper coupon with dotted lines around the edges, ready to be cut out? Most mobile coupons – in reality – are simply texts from businesses with a code to provide at check-out or when ordering food, a product or services that generate the discount promised.

When you write a mobile offer to send out over text, you are sending a mobile coupon. Within the 160 character limit, you have to convey who the message is coming from, what you are offering, the time limit for the offer and the offer code.

For instance, if you manage a pizza parlor, a text offer might go something like this:

Gianni’s Pizza is having a Monday Madness pie sale – $5 for a large 2-topping pizza – good today only 2 pm-10 pm – carryout only – discount code MONDAY5!

That’s 153 characters and it’s pretty good – it covers all the elements, but it can be improved – consider this instead:

Gianni’s Pizza’s Monday Madness pie sale is on. $5 for a large 2-topping pizza. Today from 2-10 pm. Carryout only. Use code MONDAY5 when ordering. 555-555-5555

This refined message is at 159 characters. By stripping out a few words and some punctuation, the text is more targeted and now includes the phone number which would be click-to-call to encourage on-the-spot ordering to take advantage of the time-sensitive offer.

By having the business name up front, you let them know who’s communicating with them – this is appreciated and will encourage them to read on and making the offer immediately lets them evaluate whether the offer is relevant for them. Next, giving the terms and limitations encourages them to act immediately if they are interested in the offer. Finally, providing a click-to-call number makes it very tempting for them to click to access the deal straight away. If they close the offer to look for your number, you’ll lose people who would otherwise have redeemed the offer.

This model is valid for any small business, whether you own a dry-cleaner, hair salon, yogurt shop or landscaping service. The components of an effective text message are the same, only the content relevant to your business will vary.

Once you start sending out mobile offers, you’ll learn which offers generate the highest redemption rates. If you approach your texting strategy like a science experiment, you’ll be able to most effectively hone your text writing skills. This means changing only one aspect at a time. For instance, if you send out a mobile coupon, be sure to keep the text to improve upon it.

Even if you get a good redemption rate, you can always tweak for better results. If your offer was a dollars-off coupon, consider trying a percent-off next time or a buy one-get one type of offer to see which type of discount engenders the best response from your customers. Then, you may want to tweak the time period your offer is valid for – same day offers may elicit a better response than a three day window – depending on your business – but you’ll never know unless you tweak.

When crafting your text message, brevity is key, but don’t use abbreviated lingo unless you have to – for instance “Call to order” is preferable to “Call 2 order.” When people scan texts, this can look like a typo or a spam message that can cause them to delete your message.

Mobile coupons are being redeemed at a rate 10 times higher than paper coupons and cost 1/50th the price of paper coupons. If you’re not using mobile coupons to increase revenues and profits, you’re leaving money on the table every day.

7 Twitter Tips

Here’s another article from our newest online magazine.

7 Great Reasons to use Twitter

In 2006 three young American dudes had a “daylong brainstorming session” and came up with the idea for Twitter. The reason they called it Twitter was because it means “a short burst of inconsequential information” and “chirps from birds”.

Six years on and Twitter is booming. 140 million of us send approximately 340 million tweets per day.

Not all tweets are inconsequential. It’s true that you can watch and participate in conversations of with rock stars, sports stars and film stars. However, Twitter is not just a place for celebrities to air details of their exciting lives or talking about what you had for breakfast.

It has become an indispensable communications tool for businesses, non-profit organisations, celebrities and people all around the globe.

Twitter is having a real impact on how we receive information both on the news and in the media. It has become a key communications channel during major political events and natural disasters. And businesses now rely on it for marketing, PR and customer service.

The fact is if you don’t Tweet then you are missing out on one of the fastest growing social network platforms for your business.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a messaging service that allows you to send and receive messages no longer than 140 characters, or about the size of a news headline. That means that they are really easy to write and read.

Messages on Twitter are public, and you don’t have to give people permission to see what you have written making it easy to meet new people on Twitter.

Here are 7 Reasons why your business should use Twitter:

It’s Easy To Locate and Engage With Customers

Twitter is based on a system of give and take. You post a tweet and your followers respond. It’s simple and direct and enables you to build a relationship with your current or potential clients. With a 140-character limit per tweet, Twitter is also not a substantial time investment.
People on Twitter will expect your business to engage with them. No matter what your sector, the chances are, people are already tweeting about your products, your brand, your company or at the very least, your industry.

It Helps Build Your Brand:

What you Tweet is a piece of your brand just like your logo or a jingle in a commercial. Your tweets help to define you and your business. For example, is your business family-oriented? Does popular music have an impact on your products? Every post you make will have an impact on your brand so post wisely.

You Can Offer an Irresistible Deal:

Everybody loves getting a great deal. When one pops up on their Twitter feed, it can build excitement and generate buzz. How this works is one follower retweets your message to his followers, then they re-tweet to another and they re-tweet to another…

Here are some other tactics that companies use:

Promotions: Offer Twitter-specific discount codes. Most companies report that lower priced items are much more likely to get uptake but do some testing and see what works for you.

Contests: People on Twitter LOVE a contest. A fun, creative game with good rewards can generate a great buzz. If you do run a contest, be sure to describe it on your website and include legal details and small print to cover you and keep it legal.

Contests and genuinely good deals DO get retweeted, so they are a great way of drawing not just business, but brand new followers too.

Another good tip is this: If you do offer a deal, post it a number of times. That way, you guarantee the maximum number of people see it and it won’t just slip under the radar of a lot of people

It’s Great For Networking:

It is well known that people have landed new jobs and contracts with contacts who they met through Twitter. As a small business owner, Twitter can help you manage your contacts to uncover new opportunities for growth.

You Can Engage With Journalists and PR People: Twitter is home to thousands of journalists, media workers and PR people. If you look at practically every major online news site you will come across at least one story taken from Twitter. They trawl through Twitter trying to find newsworthy posts and trends so if you are looking for a little exposure for your business, Twitter can be a great place to connect with these people.

Here is how you can do it:
Post great messages. If your Twitter account is a resource in your sector, journalists will be more willing to trust you. They might even find you through retweets and comments that other people make if your posts are good enough.

Follow the media people who cover your sector. Quite often they will tweet when they are looking for sources. You can build a better relationship with them by following them. Keep in mind though, that they have a lot of people trying to do the same thing so they will be wary and will be able to tell if you are just trying to use them for self interest.

Follow Help A Reporter Out (@helpareporter). Yes, that account really exists. The owner of the account regularly posts inquiries from reporters looking for legitimate sources.

You Can Solve Customer Service Issues:

Every business, no matter how big or popular they are has some customer service issues. It is impossible to please all of the people all of the time. A customer with a negative experience may head to Twitter to release her fury and tell the world.

Savvy companies have figured out that they need to find ways to control the message and do some damage limitation. By having an active Twitter account, you can directly handle these potential issues before they spiral out of control.

The cool thing about Twitter is that you can reply in public, showing everybody that you are a responsive, caring company. A potentially negative situation can then be turned on its head, made into a positive experience.

Twitter is a great way for tackling situations like this: it’s likely, when issues arise, that a number of people have the same issue, so answering publicly can help a lot of people all at once saving you lots of time and aggravation.

You Can Tell People Your Latest News:

Twitter is a fantastic way to push out the latest news about your company.

For example, if you’re preparing to open a new location or unveil a new product, a series of strategic tweets is a cost-effective way to provide that information.

A word of warning though: Don’t make all of your posts just about your company. If you are a brand that a lot of people already love and are fans of, like Apple for example then you can probably get away with posting mostly about your company. But if you are just a small company and not well known it is best not just post about your own company all of the time.

Taking this approach will help build your credibility with existing and potential customers.

You Can Provide Product Information:

If you are just about to launch a brand new product or service Twitter is a great tool for getting the word out to the masses.

A good tweet can build up a buzz and get lots of interest as people start up conversations. At the same time, you can be informative and establish trust with your followers so that they will be eager to buy your product or use your services. Think about Twitter as a way to exchange mutually interesting information.


They are the most popular and followed Tweeters in the world . . . but there’s no need to follow the herd!

  1. LADY GAGA 27,894,920 Followers
  2. JUSTIN BIEBER 25,998,819 Followers
  3. KATY PERRY 24,387,901 Followers
  4. RIHANNA 23,597,381 Followers
  5. BRITNEY SPEARS 19,173,686 Followers

How to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business

With more than 100 million users, LinkedIn is among the most influential social media networks for business professionals today. According to LinkedIn press, more than 2 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages, which shows that businesses all over the world are starting to see the power in this network.

LinkedIn provides the perfect platform for businesses to connect with other businesses, as well as potential clients or customers.

LinkedIn is not only for the big fish; it is equally useful and effective for small companies because it offers great tools, such as groups which assist in the much needed “networking” aspect of business.

Here are 3 reasons LinkedIn can be extremely effective for small businesses:

  1. Company Pages – Similar to Facebook Fan Pages, LinkedIn Company Pages allow businesses to set up a profile on the network. These profiles contain general information about business, such as their products, services, employee information, owner information, etc. Be sure to fill out all of the fields to give a thorough description about what your company and what it has to offer.
  2. Easy to Make Connections – All of the LinkedIn features, such as sharing, messaging, connections, and groups, make it easy for businesses to connect with others. In fact, it’s one of the best online sites available when it comes to “networking.” Unlike other social networking platforms that are all about connecting with “consumers,” LinkedIn is known for connecting businesses with “like-minded business owners.” Again, networking with fellow businesses in your industry – as well as other industries – can add a lot of value to your own company.
  3. More Search Engine Exposure – As you know, one of the most effective ways to capture the attention of local consumers is by coming up in the results for search terms related to your industry. LinkedIn pages are ranked in the search engines, which is another reason your business should establish a presence on this network. There’s no such thing as “too much” exposure, so LinkedIn is another web property you can utilize to gain more visibility in the search engines.

5 Things Businesses Should Do On Facebook

Here is one of the feature articles in this month’s online magazine.

1. Add a Facebook ‘Like Box’ to Your Website

An effective way to drive traffic to your Facebook Page is to promote it on your own website. A ‘Like Box’ makes it extremely easy for your visitors to ‘LIKE’ your page without ever having to leave your website.

2. Add a Hyperlink In Your Facebook ‘About’ Box

In the left hand column of your Facebook page you will see the ‘About’ box. In this box, add a hyperlink to your website to encourage more people to visit your site. You only have a limited amount of space so be sure to keep it simple by posting something like this: For more great deals visit us at: http://www.MyWebSite.com

3. Engage With Your Visitors By Asking Smart Questions

Questions are a great way to engage with your visitors…but there is definitely a right way and wrong way to ask questions on Facebook. People move from page to page very quickly so they will be unlikely to make a comment if the post or question is too long. Make sure you that you ask questions that allow them to make short and easy response.

4. Use Every Pixel To Create A Strong, Well Branded Timeline Cover Image

Consider the Timeline picture as a massive Billboard everyone visiting your page will see. Business pages aren’t allowed any kind of contact details, sales pitches or calls to action on the cover image BUT you can highlight your product, your logo, your staff or even your customers by using a clever mix of images and design. You can get a designer to do it, but there are many free sites that will help you do it yourself.

One thing to keep in mind: For many, this will be the first contact with your company, so keep it fun but professional; engaging but fresh. And update it regularly.

5. Don’t Forget to Secure Your Custom Facebook URL

Once you have created your Facebook page, go to http://facebook.com/username and secure a username for your Facebook page. Top Tip: Keep it simple so that people will remember it. If you get too clever or creative, you might confuse your audience.

More Business Today Magazine

More Business Today Online MagazineI’ve started a monthly (potentially) online magazine. Please take a moment to click here and take a look. Your feedback would be very much appreciated.

In this issue of More Business Today online magazine, you can read about:

  • Goodbye Google Places, Hello Google+ Local
  • 5 Things Your Business Should Do Right Now To Profit From Facebook
  • Why YouTube is your secret weapon
  • 7 great reasons why your business should use Twitter
  • How to use Google + to give your business a competitive edge
  • And More!

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