Mobile is the hot topic that every digital marketing or entrepreneurial guru can’t keep their hands off of. The world is shifting to a mobile-first future and the businesses that lag behind will find themselves as non-mobile dinosaurs before too long.
For small businesses, understanding how to safely (and cheaply) navigate this mobile future is necessary for survival. That means knowing which mobile marketing tools to invest the time and money in to experience the biggest gains.
This list is designed to help small businesses ensure their success when picking mobile marketing tools. Each tool has proven itself a valuable resource in the mobile world and is worth the consideration.
Google My Business & Yelp
Review sites are valuable tools for both companies and consumers. On the consumer side, it’s a convenient way to see a business’ reputation before visiting or spending any money. For businesses, review hubs like Yelp or Google My Business are important because they help connect potential customers with valuable information, like a store’s address, hours, phone number, menu, services ]and more. Plus, reviews are helpful ways to encourage business. More and more consumers rely on reviews before making a purchase or visiting a store/restaurant/business.
Instagram, Facebook & Other Social Media Platforms
Browsing social media is one of the most common activities of mobile users. If you want to attract these individuals and successfully market to them, you have to go where they gather, which means being present and active on mobile-popular social media sites.
By a landslide, Instagram and Facebook are the most popular social media channels on mobile. But this may change depending on the audience you are trying to reach. Many top social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, allow businesses to target specific types of individuals with ads and marketing efforts, which is a great advantage.
Google’s Page Speed Test
Mobile users expect speed and, when that speed isn’t there, they have no problems abandoning their efforts. This means that, if your web pages take too long to load on mobile devices, it will dramatically damage your ability to connect and serve these users. In fact, research shows that 53% of people will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
And, when mobile customers abandon your site because it takes too long to load, they could easily find themselves heading for your competitor(s). Google’s Page Speed Test is a free tool that will test how fast your mobile pages load and even suggest ways to create faster load times.
Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test
Another Google tool, with greater importance than testing speed, is their Mobile-Friendly Test. This tool came at the tail of the search engine’s announcement that they would be moving towards a mobile-first index.
The tool was developed to make it easy for businesses to determine the mobile-friendliness of their websites. All you do is enter a URL, and Google creates a report of how your pages appear on mobile screens and how mobile-friendly they are. If there are issues, Google will identify them and provide advice on how to resolve the problems.
Email marketing has been a favorite for small and large businesses long before mobile really became what it is today. However, this facet of digital marketing has really been empowered by everyone’s use of mobile devices.
People check their email a lot through mobile devices and at all different times of the day, which makes targeting easier. Reports on email open rates conclude that mobile is responsible for at least 50% of all opens.
MailChimp has been around for awhile and they have a good understanding that, in order to win at mobile email, you need to optimize emails for these smaller screens. In fact, 80% of email users will delete an email if it doesn’t appear correctly on their mobile device and 30% will hit the unsubscribe. MailChimp helps protect you from sending bad mobile emails by providing tools, layouts and other features to create mobile-friendly messages.
Mobile Pay & NFC Payments
People often think of mobile marketing tools as ways to reach out to potential customers through their mobile devices. Mobile pay, on the other hand, isn’t about attracting people via mobile, but empowering them to use their smartphone, tablet or other devices for more things, like making payments.
Mobile payments are faster, more convenient and lead to a better customer experience. The early impact of this trend suggests that, as time goes on, mobile pay will be an expected part of nearly every store’s sales process.
Thanks to mobile and other technology trends, businesses and their customers produce tons of data. This data can be created from any customer-business interaction, whether it is a social media exchange, a purchase made, website visit, abandoned cart and so on.
Anytime a customer engages your business, there is the opportunity to create data. The challenge is that, with so many touch points (especially on mobile), how do you keep data organized and, more importantly, how do you analyze all of this data to uncover usable and valuable insights into improving your business? Enter Google Analytics.
You can check a variety of metrics and data from different sources and efficiently track trends from various dimensions of your business. You can even customize the metrics that Google Analytics tracks. The more information you can gather and process about your mobile customers, the better your ability to serve them.
Progressive Web Apps
When people think ‘mobile,’ they think of apps. Branded apps have long been sought after and created by brands in many different spaces. Businesses develop apps because they provide an engaging and collective way to house their marketing efforts. A branded mobile app can offer a loyalty program, mobile ordering, location-based messages, claim filing, discounts and so much more all from the same source. However, bringing in users and encouraging usage of an app has always been a challenge.
That obstacle may become diminished thanks to the rising popularity of Progressive Web Apps. These apps live in the cloud and therefore don’t require a download. Compared to a native app, there is very little effort (or commitment) required by the user. Yet, they still are capable of housing may of the same features as a traditional app.
There’s a number of tools available to help a small business begin creating their own app experience through progressive web technology.
Mobile marketing is difficult for two reasons. First, with nearly every business pushing for stronger mobile experiences, competition is fierce. Second, mobile technology moves very quickly. Just as one mobile technology seems poised for peak popularity, another comes along and dethrones it. Thus, businesses have to remain agile and take advantage of mobile marketing tools to maximize the impact that their efforts have.
Andrew Gazdecki is the founder of Bizness Apps, a company that helps small businesses build mobile solutions to compete with big brands. Their mobile app building platform makes it possible for everyone to create a mobile app for their business. Many of their customers are mobile app resellers — marketing or design agencies that use the platform to cost effectively build mobile apps for small business clients.