391 posts categorized

October 08, 2015

6 Halloween Marketing Ideas for SMBs


Everyone’s favorite spook-tactular holiday is approaching, and with it comes the opportunity to drive more customers to your small business. Check out a few of the super-cool Halloween-related possibilities for small business marketing to implement while you enjoy the beautiful fall season: 


Welcome Trick-or-Treaters

Participate in a trick-or-treat event with other area businesses, or simply welcome costumed tykes into your store. Put treats that relate to your business in bags, such as candy featuring your business name, pencils, erasers, small note pads, and pencils. Kids love getting small toys in addition to candy, so feel free to be as creative as you want.


Create a Haunted House

Turn your business into a haunted attraction, and have your employees dress up as various ghosts and goblins. For example, if you have a retail business with aisles of merchandise, turn each aisle into its own special “haunt.” Encourage employees to get really creative with their costumes, which they’ll be all about if they love Halloween. Provide a discount that’s attractive to parents bringing their kids to your business, such as 10 or 15 percent off certain merchandise. Giving away coupons to customers upon their completion of a haunted house is also a fun possibility. 


Offer a Halloween Promotion

Send email coupons or codes to customers that are only good on or around Halloween. Text message codes are another possibility. Decorate your store as extensively as you want—or as much as your budget allows—to further draw people in and look for decorations in dollar and “five below” stores. Dress up in a creative costume and have employees do the same, which again they’ll likely be excited about. 


Hold a Costume Exchange

Show your dedication to the community by hosting a costume exchange. It’s not only a great way for customers and potential customers to cull and subsequently procure new costumes for cheap, but it’s also a way to familiarize locals with what you offer. Besides, people will likely jump at the chance to get rid of old masks of politicians and find something fun without spending a small fortune. Halloween costumes are expensive, after all!


Throw a Halloween Party

Make your business Halloween party central! Host an open house that allows consumers to learn more about your business while enjoying mystery punch and pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies. Designate a section for games, which will keep kiddies occupied, and offer freebies such as temporary tattoos, face painting, and of course plenty of candy. Ensure party-goers leave with goodie bags that feature more freebies and lots of information about your business, including business cards. For best results, make certain all freebies feature your business name and contact information. 

These are just some of the many ways to use Halloween to your small business’s marketing advantage. Have fun and get creative, and don’t forget to ask employees for their input and help. Most people love Halloween, and are excited to participate in anything involving the spooky holiday. Have fun! 

October 04, 2015

APUS and InMobi Team Up to Capture Chinese Mobile Market


How does an already-huge company reach more mobile users? It teams up with another huge company in a quest to, together, dominate the Chinese mobile market, among others. 

Chinese start-up APUS and Indian mobile advertising firm InMobi are forming an alliance to reach a hoped-for 500 million new users in China, India, and other countries by 2016.

InMobi is the leader in customizing Android software. InMobi is India’s top mobile advertising firm. InMobi, in fact, competes with Facebook and Google in the $100 billion worldwide mobile advertising market. It’s one of the only Indian start-ups to make a profit and it already reaches about 1.4 billion devices.


What’s in It for APUS? 

The new partnership will help APUS earn advertising revenue from ads run on InMobi’s platform. APUS will likely see a boost in its user base and enjoy a share in the huge Indian smartphone market. 

APUS’ flagship product lets Android users customize the home screens on their smartphones. APUS hopes to gain more than 80 million users as a result of the deal with InMobi, which will lead to hefty profits.


What About InMobi?

InMobi will gain access to more than 200 million additional users by partnering with APUS. They’ll have exclusive access to all APUS users in India, which total more than 25 million. 

This partnership is the first of its kind between two of the fastest growing tech power companies from China and India. The time is right for APUS and InMobi to make this move, as the smartphone markets in China and India are growing rapidly.

APUS and InMobi’s deal comes after recent media reports that Google has plans to re-enter China. This partnership is important for InMobi if it wants to secure a stronghold in the country. Google pulled its services out of China five years ago, largely because it refused to self-sensor search results.


What’s Next? 

In an official press release, InMobi said, ““InMobi will share its vast expertise in India to help APUS establish a larger footprint in India, enabling an increased user base and market share. In return, APUS will engage in monetization partnership with InMobi….”

InMobi offered, ““InMobi will provide local expertise to APUS to help them understand the unique Indian app market and will aid in user acquisition programs including providing guidance localizing the APUS app experience and acquiring the right talent to help APUS India grow as APUS aims to make its app climb to the top five in the local Google Play store.” 

The big goal is APUS “becoming the leading Android user system in India by the end of 2015 and acquiring more than 80 million users in India by 2016.” 

However, this deal is not the only big thing on the horizon for InMobi. The company is placing heavy bets on its new mobile advertising product, Miip. Miip gives customers curated lists of products they might be interested in, based on their previous choices and their personalities.

InMobi is currently estimated to be worth about $2.5 billion.





October 02, 2015

How to Identify the Right Mobile Niche for Your Brand


Businesses that are succeeding today are using mobile technology to do so. They’re harnessing the power of mobile apps, mobile search, and text messaging to tap into consumers’—and other businesses’—demands. They’re also embracing mobile technology because it is effective, and it can no longer be ignored. Gone are the days when businesses could afford to forgo mobile technology due to cost or lack of understanding. Today, whether you’re already using mobile technology to advertise and grow your business, or are new to the game, you need to be identifying the right niche for your brand and reaching out.

To identify the right mobile niche for your brand, you first need to determine who your customers are, what devices they’re using, and how they’re utilizing mobile technology. Then, you need to position yourself as a company that’s mobile friendly and knowledgeable, and you need to supply what your customers are demanding.

Let’s take a look at a few ways in which businesses are identifying the correct mobile niches for their brands and seeing success:


When Public Opinion Matters

Mobile marketing to smartphones and tablets can help build a brand’s reputation or save one that’s damaged. The right mobile marketing techniques can increase customer count and shift negative perceptions of a company. 

Take, for instance, a business like a hotel or restaurant. These types of companies are prone to receiving negative feedback from disgruntled customers, many of whom document their anger and frustration online. These businesses benefit from mobile customer service techniques that bring a warm and fuzzy feeling back to the customer. Mobile marketing in these circumstances can include texting discount codes to customers and offering easy booking from tablets and smartphones. 

Brands that have been associated with more traditional marketing techniques, like banking, can utilize mobile marketing strategies to appear more contemporary and current. Recently, we’ve seen an increase in the number of banks offering mobile banking as a way to keep customers satisfied. Businesses that want to compete today need to be where their customers are. And, they’re on their mobile devices.


Mobile Devices to Meet a Specific Need 

Along with the rapid increase in mobile device usage, we’re seeing an increase in the types of mobile devices available and their usage possibilities. This is making it easier for businesses to come up with products and services specifically targeted to help other companies. 

New and unique niche market opportunities have arrived because of the ease of use of mobile devices. Crime scene investigators, trucking companies, and even pavement manufacturers are making the most of mobile technology and offering solutions that have never seemed possible. Those investigating crimes can use software applications to scan tablets and smartphones for important information. Truck drivers’ driving behavior, speed, and other stats can be monitored by their company via tablet. Sensors embedded in pavement can now be monitored, and tests can be analyzed easily via mobile technology.

Today, mobile technology offers opportunities for nearly all businesses—you just have to find the right method for you.

September 11, 2015

Make the Most of Grandparents Day



The ultimate sleeper holiday for savvy marketers, Grandparents Day (September 13th) is somewhat overlooked, slipping under the radar less than a week after Labor Day. 

Why don’t more businesses capitalize on it? After all, who are we talking about here? A significant portion of grandparents are Baby Boomers, the generation with 70% of the disposable income in the United States (according to The generation representing 35% of the population, with spending power projected to reach $15 trillion by the decade’s end.  

For marketers, this is the grandmother-lode. Not only do Baby Boomers have the money and inclination to spend it, they’re easier to reach than many people assume. Daily, 71% of Boomers spend time online daily. More than half are on Facebook, and two thirds regularly use SMS messaging. When it comes to mobile marketing tactics, that about covers all the bases. 

What’s interesting about this spending power is how it’s wielded. We already know that children are influencers and parents are buyers. Grandparents have double the number of generations beneath them, buying for their children and - even more lavishly - for their children’s children. Boomers spend $52 billion on their grandchildren before they’ve even got round to buying for themselves (and get around to it they do!). Clearly, we should be focusing much more attention on Grandparents Day. Let’s consider Boomer spending in two distinct forms: for themselves, and for their descendants…


Spending on Themselves

Baby Boomers are probably the wealthiest generation in history - and they’re not afraid to spend their hard-earned cash. Over the past year, 36% of Boomers have attended at least one sporting event; 22% went to the theater; 14% visited an art museum; 12% went to a rock concert. They’re also 11% more likely than the rest of the adult population to have eaten at a steakhouse or seafood restaurant in the last month. Apparently. Add to that the increased spending on holidays, cars and other forms of entertainment, and you have a pretty lucrative market.


Spending on Their Kids… and their Kids’ Kids

Tapping into the grandparent/grandchild relationship is the smart move for marketers. Get Boomers excited about mobile apps - they’re quick and easy to purchase, and the grandkids will probably prefer it to traditional toys. Use social media to differentiate the desires of children of all ages.

Remember, Baby Boomers are a lot more tech savvy than you might think. Furthermore, they know their grandkids are digital natives, and they want to engage with them on a technological level. They have the money to spend on themselves and their offspring, so why not devise a mobile marketing campaign that encourages cross-generational engagement? Happy Grandparents Day!

September 07, 2015

Avoid These Common Mobile App Marketing Mistakes


Mobile apps have taken the world by storm.  A recent study cited in Forbes estimates that by 2017, 87 percent of all connectable devices sold will be mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Companies that aren’t marketing on mobile are missing out, however companies that market badly on mobile networks are simply wasting their energy.

Here are some of the most common mobile app marketing mistakes and the top ways to avoid them:


Using the same marketing strategies you’ve always used.

Mobile is not your traditional media, and it doesn’t mesh well with traditional marketing strategies, according to a recent white paper by Fiksu. Traditional marketing often fails to resonate with mobile-first audiences, who are increasingly younger groups with a keen sense of their likes, dislikes, and desires.

In order to avoid this mistake, don’t market for a broad audience. Instead, leverage data-driven marketing tools to put specific messages in front of specific audiences.  Then, give audiences a way to interact, such as by downloading a free item, playing a game, or clicking a link to learn more.


Assuming you can simply transfer the desktop experience to mobile.

Mobile users are, by definition, on the go. Meanwhile, a desktop website or app rarely translates well to the smaller touchscreen format of mobile devices.  A “mobile” site that simply recreates the regular site, but at one-eighth the size, is likely to be baffling, un-navigable, and take too long to load. Any one of these will cause a user to click away quickly.

Instead, a recent article in Kissmetrics recommends crafting a mobile-specific version of your desktop site. Aim for something that will load in three seconds or less, has a few easy-to-read menus, and puts the essential message of your brand front and center.


Failing to tailor content to mobile messaging.

Whether you choose an app, a mobile site, SMS messaging, or all three, you should tailor your content to meet your specific goals. For instance, to send a link to users, make sure the link fits well into a text message or email, and then make sure that the content it links to works on all devices.  


Building an app without promoting it.

Over half a million apps currently exist, according to one Entrepreneur article, and more are created every day.  Without a plan for promoting your business’s app, even the most carefully designed, appealing, and easy-to-use apps will quickly get lost in the “noise.”  Before you launch the app, make sure you know how you’re going to promote it to existing customers and to new ones and follow through.


Neglecting to track and optimize marketing in real time.

Sure, millions of potential customers use mobile devices.  But how many of them are you reaching? What’s the payoff for the money and effort you’ve sunk into your mobile outreach? How could you do better?

Mobile marketing changes even more quickly than traditional marketing.  Today’s “sure thing” traffic source is tomorrow’s ghost town. To make sure your message keeps reaching your target audience, track the data and respond to the trends and patterns you see.

Engage customers, integrate networks, and decrease costs by working with a company that specializes in making mobile app marketing work for you.

September 06, 2015

Mobile Spending to Increase 160% in Three Years


The best place to be if you’re a CMO is at the forefront of a marketing trend. According to a recent survey published by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the trend ahead is more spending on mobile. 

The CMO Survey included more than 200 inquiries to top marketing agencies and professionals. Mobile spending currently floats around 6% of total marketing budgets, but is estimated to increase by 160% (to just less than 16%) over the next three years. Duke’s survey, conducted biannually, is one of the oldest dedicated exclusively to marketing. 

For CMOs across the country, the increase is easier said than done. Money can certainly buy mobile ad space, but it doesn’t guarantee returns on investment. Getting ahead of this trend means answering important questions about which mobile marketing tactics are most effective for your business.


Choosing the Best Marketing Methods 

For starters, CMOs should carefully consider the best options available to leverage both the consumer and the brand. This means assessing the target audience, developing content that articulates a benefit, maintaining continuity across all media channels, and figuring out when these targeted customers are most likely accessible and through what media channels. Master these goals and you’re headed for the promised lands; make a misstep and you might damage the brand, or worse, consumer relations. 

The survey found a large gap between the effectiveness of B2B and B2C mobile marketing, with the latter greatly outperforming the former. Both categories were addressed in various fronts including customer acquisition, engagement, retention, messaging, sales, and profits.  

Mobile marketing’s greatest strengths among these categories come as no surprise: engagement and messaging lead the pack. This makes sense as mobile marketing certainly compliments the way people intrinsically use their devices to communicate and engage with content in real time. 

Like all things that promise a big payoff, there are risks involved. One of the issues most noted in the survey is the difficulty involved in quantitatively assessing the success or failure of social media marketing. Currently, social media sites are among the most trafficked via mobile.

Today, much of the marketing done via social media is handled by a third party, so getting accurate data or analytics can be difficult, sometimes impossible depending on the platform.  

CMOs have the difficult task of weighing the risks of ambiguous social media campaigns, with pressures from board members and other higher-ups who have noted behavioral trends shifting increasingly towards mobile.

That being said, it looks like getting ahead of this mobile increase comes down to research and analysis before dollars and cents. 


September 05, 2015

5 Ways to Mobil-ize Your Fall Marketing Strategy


As kids return to school and tans start to fade, you know summer is officially over. For mobile marketing campaign managers, the shifting seasons provide an ideal opportunity to regroup and devise some thematically-appropriate ideas. To help you, we’ve put together some mobile marketing tactics sure to boost revenues during Fall…


Autumn-ate Your Website

Give your homepage a Fall makeover to show your audience that you are up to the minute. A themed blog post or two can - if this one is anything to go by - will give you fresh, topical content! 


Think of the Children!

Offer school-related special offers and promotions. If you’re in clothing retail, push seasonal outfits - try the local college campus to reach students, and give them discounts to engender brand loyalty.


Support Local Sports Events

Most of the major sports seasons kick or tip off during Fall. Capitalize on this by getting involved with your local team. Many large high schools have established, sponsored athletics programs, and small schools currently lacking something similar might be amenable to you approaching them with ideas. Of course, sponsorship requires an outlay of money, the return on which may not be easy to track. One thing you can be sure of: if you get your name attached to a team, there’s a guaranteed weekly audience for the rest of the season. If you’ve got the budget to go all out with free t-shirts, samples and coupons, it could turn into a lucrative long-term partnership.


Thematic Social Media Engagement

As with your website, letting your audience know that you’re constantly in tune with current events will project a positive brand image. Use social media to engage your audience, and share seasonal links and special offers. Social media is a great tool for receiving feedback, so listen to what your audience has to say and respond in kind.


Mark the Main Events

Fall is punctuated by two main holidays: Halloween and Thanksgiving. You’d be crazy to ignore these massive commercial opportunities, so make sure your office does something for each. If appropriate for your business, why not run a Trick or Treat day for kids? Encourage your workforce to dress up, and document the event for sharing on social media. When Thanksgiving rolls around, send out cards to your customers to let them know you’re grateful for their business.

Making the most of Fall is easy with mobile. You can easily scale up a mobile marketing strategy that seemed to work at the micro level, and if you want to keep everything low-budget, there is still much you can do - you just have to get creative. 


August 18, 2015

Here’s What Your Digital Marketing Campaign Should Look Like


SMBs are constantly looking out for convenient, affordable and effective marketing methods. But in order to make digital marketing work, you need to understand how each  marketing strategy operates. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the main strands of an effective digital marketing campaign:



The digital marketplace is crowded, so visibility is one of the first - and toughest - challenges a business faces. Creating a strong SEO strategy requires detailed research of your industry and target market, and a thorough knowledge not just of your products, but how the majority of people will search for them. Establishing which keywords you will target is the first step. Next, your onsite strategy (that is, for your own website) should incorporate enough keywords that the search-engine bots know what you’re all about, but not so many that it affects the fluency and style of your content. Your offsite strategy pertains to how external web spaces refer to your site. That means accruing inbound links and promoting your brand via guest posts on other industry websites. A diverse SEO strategy is the most effective in terms of boosting your rankings in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS).



Mobile marketing is the process of reaching an audience through smartphones and tablets. It could be in the form of native technologies like SMS messaging and voicemail, or amending existing web content to make it more ‘mobile friendly’, or, if you have the budget, via apps and other types of software. There are many ways to reach people using mobile marketing. A solid mobile marketing campaign encourages users to visit your site and social media pages.


Social Media

Social Media has been a huge boon for SMBs. Even on a very tight or non-existing marketing budget, entrepreneurs can use social media to good effect. Most of the big social media players - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn - are free and easy to use. 



Regular blogging is a good way to establish authority in your industry. It constantly increases the size of your website by adding fresh, relevant content, adding value even if you don’t command a huge readership. But a truly compelling, well-written blog containing original expert opinion will give your brand credibility with competitors and customers.



It’s not the first port of call for marketers any longer, but email should still form part of a multi-channel marketing strategy. For getting rich content out to large numbers of people, it’s hard to beat. Be sure to use it to full effect, offering something of value with every email. As with SMS marketing, email marketing demands a lightness of touch, so avoid sending emails much more than once a month.


August 15, 2015

Do “Dumbphones” Still Have a Place?


Wondering if “dumbphones” still play a role in today’s tech-savvy universe? The answer, which may surprise you, is a resounding yes. Such phones offer a variety of helpful features and perks, and an increasing number of people are opting for them over smartphones. In fact, Microsoft recently released a phone under the Nokia brand that’s free of apps, Wi-Fi, 3G, LTE, and a touchscreen and costs just $20 before tax. The only accessory is an extra battery, and yet experts predict huge success.  

So who wants to purchase “dumbphones”? Plenty of people—about 590 million this year, actually. Such people include children obtaining their first phones, consumers who require a second phone, and those who are simply uninterested in using smartphones. 

Let’s look at some of the benefits of using not-smart phones, as well as some of the highest-quality options currently on the market: 



Smartphones feature glass screens, and once they crack…well, either replacement or a lot of tape is in order. Phone cases are therefore imperative to preserving the safety of a smartphone, whereas regular phones are virtually indestructible. 


Easy Texting 

Texting using standard cell phones is quite simple compared to smartphones, as it doesn’t take long to memorize the keypad and text with your eyes shut. And as we know, SMS messaging remains the central component of any successful mobile marketing campaign - precisely because it reaches the parts other messaging services cannot.


Fantastic Battery Life 

Forgetting your smartphone charger means scrambling to ask friends and co-workers if they have theirs—otherwise you’ll be looking at 19 percent battery life before the day is over. Leaving your regular phone charger at home? Not a big deal. 



Highly affordable and easy to replace, “dumbphones” don’t set you back by the $800+ price tag associated with smartphones.


Fewer Distractions

Facebook, Instagram, assorted app games—all the features make smartphones seriously distracting. “Dumbphones,” on the other hand, make calls and texts, and that’s it. This meant you’d actually engage in the moment and remain aware of your surroundings as opposed to looking down at your phone incessantly. It also means you won’t be looking up anything and everything on your phone and taking pictures of your food. Or taking selfies. 


It Always Worked 

With “dumbphones,” it usually didn’t matter where in the world you were—they always worked. There was no freezing or rebooting involved. The simplicity of the technology is key to its endurance in the age of increasingly high-powered smartphones.


“Dumbphone” Options

Some of today’s most coveted “dumbphones” include: 


  • Kyocera Rally ($29.99): The Kyocera Rally is a simple, sleek phone from T-Mobile that includes Bluetooth connectivity, a VGA camera capable of recording video, and a speakerphone.
  • Nokia 106 ($24): The aforementioned Nokia 106 is a basic phone that lasts up to 35 days on standby mode with only a single charge. 
  • Pantech Vybe ($29.99 with two-year contract): Pantech’s new phone is available to AT&T customers and features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. It also includes a camera and the ability to connect with Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.
  • Samsung Jitterbug5 ($99): This phone is an uncomplicated flip option designed for seniors. It comes with sizable backlit keys, an emergency response button, a simple interface, and a powerful speaker for those who have trouble hearing. 


The “dumbphone”...there’s definitely still a market for it.

August 10, 2015

How to Create a 'Joined Up' Marketing Campaign


According to a report released by Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) online retail purchases accounted for 24% of all retail sales in 2014. This number is up 14% from 2013, as well as the average basket value, which increased by 4%. 

Consumers are making more purchases online than ever before, and retailers are looking for ways to capitalize on this growing trend—in particular, how to link digital marketing with a customer’s physical experience in retail locations around the world.

Also noted in the report, customer experience ranks highest among retailers looking for positive growth in 2015. By focusing on improving a customer’s experience both online and off, retailers expect to see continued growth in online purchases—uniting digital efforts with the real retail world.  

One way retailers are able to this is with beacon technology, a Bluetooth device that connects with a customer’s smartphone based on proximity. Retailers can place these beacons in store entryways, on shelves or near checkout to offer instant rewards, promote special campaigns, or favorable discounts to loyal customers.  

Another example, and perhaps one of the easiest to implement, is the use of marketing hashtags to push consumers into a digital conversation. This is particularly effective with physical advertisements (billboards, TV commercial or radio ads). A hashtag used in the right place at the right time can be tremendously effective at provoking curious consumers to venture online, particularly on mobile where most social interaction takes place.  

SMS messaging or texting is another positive rout many retailers are taking to engage more intimately with their consumers. The upside to texting is that it’s immediate, highly effective at gaining responses and allows consumers to feel more directly connected with a retail company. 

Most importantly, proponents seeking a unification of the digital gap believe respect for the end user (thoughtful and relevant communications) will be significant in the process of developing a lucrative online sales funnel. Some marketing companies strictly focus on the mobile devices; its capacities and limits, which doesn’t align with improving a customer’s experience. 

Finally, 61% of retails agree that cross-channel marketing will be a focus in 2015. This means managing an integrated and thoughtful campaign that carries across several marketing mediums. By developing a cohesive message that points in a singular direction (towards more sales) the link between digital and reality will likely grow smaller.