SMB Marketing Tips

257 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 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 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 28, 2015

How to Reach Students with Your Mobile Marketing Campaign


There’s a good reason marketers scramble to get the attention of college students. Sure, they’re increasingly hard to reach, but according to a new eMarketer report, college students are “poised to out-earn and outspend non-college millennials for decades to come.” 

There are 19 million college students in the US, and nearly all of them are mobile users engaged in multiple social networks. These networks have become the primary playground for creative marketers, as they bypass traditional media buys with shareable content. 


The Social Student 

College students aren’t just looking to be entertained. According to the report, students are influenced to buy by several factors including peer recommendations and money-saving discounts. While this may or may not be surprising, it does speak to the tech-savvy side of millennials—marketers can’t just throw money at targeted mobile displays or video. A student-targeted mobile marketing campaign needs to be cleverer than that.  

According to Michael Hanley, an advertising professor at Ball State University, “About 65 percent of students report receiving mobile ads, and 70 percent of them don’t like it.”

Social campaigns are the remedy to this marketing problem. Matt Britton, CEO of MRY, a creative and technology agency headquarter in New York, said, “The most effective form of social media marketing is always creating content that’s highly shareable.” 


Short and Sweet 

To keep marketers on their toes, the sharable content should also be compact—small enough to consume within the restrictive space of mobile screens and short attention span of the college user. 

“When you think about people on their phones,” Britton continued, “they’re scrolling so quickly that if you try to come up with long-form content, they’re not going to take time to read it.”

Some apps are built for this kind of content; SnapChat and Vine, for example, proliferate this kind of content with an emphasis on creativity and viralability. Marketers simply have to find ways to appeal to students from within these and other social networks to succeed in communicating new products and services. Explore what these apps can do for your next mobile marketing campaign.


Say Less, Show More 

Britton also advises the use of imagery as a means to communicate more effectively within the time and size constraints. Instagram is one app that has defined the practical use of creative imagery to build brand recognition and communicate sales and discounts. Moreover, GIFs have recently increased in popularity across nearly every social media channel, which really drives home Britton’s point.  

Does this mean the written word is doomed on the Internet? As far as marketers are concerned, it would seem so, with long-form content being replaced by hashtags and images that are presumably worth 1,000 words. As for the students, most of their reading must get done in textbooks. 



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 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.

August 09, 2015

10 Mobile Marketing Case Studies to Pay Attention To


Whether you’re looking for hard facts on mobile marketing or creative inspiration to help launch your next campaign, these ten businesses showcase the very best mobile marketing has to offer. 


TAO Nightclub

This Las Vegas dance club seized the night with a VIP text message that went out to 2,000 subscribers on a slow evening. That same night, the club had 220 more attendees who, in addition to the cover charge, each spent $20 on drinks. The club made a cool $6,170 extra dollars that night, proving that impromptu campaigns can be incredibly effective.



Using multiple forms of marketing including kiosk advertising, email, and social media, RedBox was able to increase its pool of mobile subscribers in just ten days. The campaign was called “10 Days of Deal” and encouraged customers to opt in via text for a chance to win a discount on their next rental. The customers saved some money and RedBox generated more than 1.5 million text messages to users in ten days. 



PETA2 is a youth-based subgroup of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). During Warped Tour, PETA2 solicited concertgoers to text “BUTT” to a short code that subscribed users to PETA2’s “Animals Don’t Smoke” initiative, which is aimed to stop cigarette testing on animals. Participants were rewarded with shirts and hats for opting in. Once subscribed, new users were texted information urging them to send their support for a ban on cigarette testing to the FDA. More than 25,000 people joined this mobile initiative. 


Texas Roadhouse 

This popular western restaurant began a six-month mobile marketing pilot at 20 locations in an effort to boost their mobile subscriptions. The “TextUs Loyalty Club” offered patrons a free appetizer in exchange for the opt-in. Forty-four percent of customers were willing to provide personal information in exchange for the reward. Roadhouse’s campaign was largely successful, generating an average 17% redemption rate during the test period. 


Dunkin’ Donuts 

Dunkin’ Donuts is popular throughout the U.S., but a regional campaign in Boston proved successful for this quick-service restaurant. Using radio and Internet advertising, the company was able to capture 7,500 new mobile subscribers—17% of those new subscribers forwarded the messages and promotions to a friend, increasing the Boston area’s store traffic by 21%.  


Papa John’s Pizza 

A U.K. branch of the widely popular pizza chain Papa John’s pushed a campaign to its current mobile subscribers offering discounts on pizza. In the three weeks the franchise ran the campaign, overall sales increased by 33%.


Red Cross

Even nonprofits are getting in on the mobile marketing action these days. The Red Cross, collected donations after Hurricane Sandy, which was reported to have caused an upwards of $50 billion dollars in damage. By linking the donations directly to a user’s phone bill, the donation process was streamlined and easier for the average person to complete. Twenty percent of all the donations raised by the Red Cross’ effort were from text messages. 


Pizza Hut 

Geofenceing is a digital perimeter that sends text messages to subscribers based on a user’s proximity to the geofence. Pizza Hut in the U.K. set up geofences within a half-mile of each of its 340 store locations. On average, these stores were 142% more efficient at increasing incremental sales, 4.4 times more effective than TV ads, and 2.6 times more effective than online ads. 


Blumish Irish Cider

Blumish Irish Cider also elected to use a geofence to target males between the ages of 18 and 34. The campaign shot out a text message when a target was within a half mile of a pub that served the company’s cider. More than 1,000 pubs were used in this geofence project. When activated, the text message would text a map with the location of the pub and point the user in the right direction. During a month-long period, 77,00 text messages were sent out, and the user engaged these messages nearly 50% of the time. What’s more, 25% of those who received the text message actually went out and bought a cider from one of the locations. 


Six Flags

In Maryland, Six Flags used text-to-win contests and mobile alerts among its target demographic of teens to boost attendance. They advertised the contests with social media, in park advertisements and radio promotions and received 5,000 new mobile subscribers. These subscribers were sent VIP ticket sales info, park information, and weather updates. The park saw a direct increase in attendance from teens as a result of this campaign. 

July 29, 2015

Marketing Has Gone Hyper Local


When geo-targeting technology first began to emerge a few years ago, small regional businesses of all kinds were given the opportunity to market themselves to larger numbers of potential customers than ever before.

As a mobile marketing tool, geo-location was a gift to retailers looking to attract more walk-in business. It enabled businesses to target users to within a square foot, sending time limited discounts and special offers only to those people most likely to take advantage.

As region-specific mobile marketing tactics become more sophisticated, SMB owners have a dizzying array of options: beacons, GPS, location information garnered from previous interactions - they’ve all ushered in a new era of hyper-localized marketing. 

Such accurate technology is helping local businesses maximize efficiency on tight budgets. Even without geo-location, mobile marketing tactics are already the most cost-effective way to reach more people. With it, that cost-efficiency improves further still, granting small companies a way to reach the widest customer base they can realistically serve. 

It looks like an exciting future for targeted mobile marketing. The technology has already reached lofty levels of sophistication, but there are a few places it can go. Some mobile marketing analysts are looking towards pitching discounts according to what the weather’s doing. It’s certainly not relevant for every type of business, but bars serving cold drinks on an outside patio would love to know if it’s about to rain just before they’ve sent half-off mobile coupons. Other local data like traffic conditions could begin to play a role in geo-targeted advertising. 

One thing’s for sure: these tools are allowing creative, imaginative marketers to realize their wildest dreams without being thwarted by technological limitations. If the rapid rate of development continues at the same pace, mobile marketing tactics will look very different in a decade - exactly how different is anybody’s guess.