4 mobile marketing strategies for small business owners

4 mobile marketing strategies for small business owners

Embracing mobile marketing strategies is essential for the success of any business, regardless of its size. Some of the largest corporations, such as Starbucks and Michael's, have successfully integrated the use of apps, mobile websites and digital coupons in order to best reach and accommodate the needs of their customers. Businesses searching for ways to increase their mobile presence – whether they're trying to decide upon creating an app or which platform may be best for releasing coupons – should consider the following when crafting their mobile plan:

1. Make an app
In a world where there truly does exist an app for almost any imaginable need, companies should not stand to be the exception. As the number of consumers who own smartphones rises, as does the expectation that companies have jumped on the app bandwagon. Business owners should look to some of the more successful corporations that have incorporated apps into their operations, such as the grocery retailer Kroger's. According to Mobile Commerce Daily, this store historically receives a lot of traffic to its mobile app. The site reported that the success of Kroger's app can be attributed to its ability to customize to the needs of the individual user. Downloaders can store their favorite items, use the location services to find the nearest branch, refill prescriptions and access digital coupons pertaining to their taste profiles.  

2. Distribute mobile coupons
Small business owners should consider distributing mobile coupons, whether they're accessible via an app, from the website or from an email. Unlike offers found in newspapers or traditional catalogs, digital apps allow consumers to easily carry discounts from location to location. Instead of having to sift through a stack of paper coupons in order to find a particular one, people can access the offer digitally, allowing the cashier to scan a barcode directly from the cell​phone's screen. In addition to providing ease of use, Business Insider reported that mobile coupons can increase the number of visitors to an actual store, enticing consumers to visit a physical location. One retailer that uses this particular strategy is the arts and crafts store Michael's. Through email campaigns, the company distributes time-sensitive coupons, such as those that offer 20 percent off in-store prices on one day only. 

3. Create digital customer loyalty programs
While the benefits of consumer loyalty programs cannot be protested, making these initiatives accessible through mobile technology may be beneficial for businesses. Through these digital means, companies can offer incentives to preexisting customers, such as links to promotional giveaways or discounts for frequent visitors to the store. Some companies offer punch cards for consumers who purchase a certain number of items from a business, so transferring these programs to digital forms ensures that more customers participate and have access to benefits.

4. Take advantage of mobile social media
Companies who already embrace social media sites in their operations should further consider the ways in which mobile social media can further their businesses. Some sites, for example, operate solely on mobile platforms, such as Instagram and Vine. Other pages, including Facebook and Twitter, are some of the most downloaded apps available, meaning that a large number of users check these sites on their phones each day. Greg Stuart, CEO of the Mobile Marketing Association, told USA Today that social media mobile marketing may be especially beneficial for small businesses, as local consumers would be able to reap rewards from the closest branches.

"Local merchants have a better opportunity on mobile, in part because they can craft it to fit their business," Stuart said. "Most consumers only go about half a mile for dry cleaners."

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