SMB Marketing Tips

260 posts categorized

May 22, 2015

Mobile Marketing Tactics for Memorial Day


Memorial weekend officially kicks off summer, but it’s also the ideal time to experiment with unique marketing ideas that can push your business to the next level during a lull in sales. From social media to military rewards, Memorial Day is a great time to invite people to look at your products and services using one of these unique marketing ideas.  


Special Giveaways

Memorial weekend is one of the busiest shopping times of the year. As people transition into summer, everyone is on the lookout for a good deal. Normally, a giveaway doesn’t sound like a lucrative marketing tactic, but paired with social media, and you’ve got yourself an authentic customer experience they’ll want to share with friends and family. 

Sample App is a great technology to integrate into this marketing plan. It delivers your sample to qualified consumers who will spread the word across various social media platforms about your brand. 



Aside from giving away products, another great way to incentivize sales is with a coupon—but not just any coupon. SMS marketing, or “mobile coupons” are 10 times more likely to be redeemed than traditional paper coupons. These electronic tickets are also significantly less of an investment, and are easier to scale. 

Keypons offer a great mobile coupon system. They’re easy to create for customers on the go. The coupons are delivered either directly to customer’s cell phone or to their social media accounts. 


Creative contests

Using a contest over Memorial Day weekend adds to the excitement of the entire event. Contest in general are a great way to increase short-term sales goals as well as build a future repeat customer base. 

Pairing again with social media, try using a customizable contest platform. Get creative with the contest and consider how best to integrate it with your products. Try a photo contest or a cost-effective sweepstakes. Set up the contest for free and preview everything before you pay using the free Twitter Contest App


Honor Veterans 

It’s easy to get lost in the hustle of the busy weekend, but don’t forget what the holiday is all about. Memorial Day is a great opportunity to provide military men and women, as well as their families with a special discount. In addition to honoring the military veterans, this is a great way to relate to customers that you care about them and appreciate their business. 


Loyalty Program

For business with a brick and mortar store location, there are even more opportunities to reward customers with an on-site loyalty program. In addition to driving sales now, this is a great way to boost sales in the future. 

Check out LoyalBlocks, an app that lets you personalize rewards and transform your store into a special loyalty palace where customers don’t have to do anything to receive special offers. Everything is loaded and built on the app so it’s inclusive and very easy to use. 

However you decide to celebrate Memorial weekend, be sure to take the opportunity to reach out to customers with a unique marketing idea that will get them excited to your products and services over the busy weekend. 


May 15, 2015

Is Your Website Primed for Mobile Users?


At the end of last month, Google updated their algorithms to reward mobile-friendly sites. 

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal,” the company wrote on its Webmaster Central Blog back in February. “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” 

The substantial change in how the search engine giant rank websites means it’s essential that your website, blog, and landing pages are completely optimized for mobile.  

Are you ready for this historic change? Let’s look at what you need to do if you haven’t already: 


Test Your Website 

Google has provided website owners with a free tool that lets them know what they need to do to ensure they’re prepared for the new mobile search algorithm. Simply run the tool on your site to obtain a speedy assessment of whether your mobile rank is good enough for the change. If your site is fully optimized, you’ll receive a success message saying “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly” or something similar. You’ll also receive a visual of how Google sees your site. 

If your website is less-than-mobile-friendly, you’ll receive a notification that reads, “Not mobile-friendly” complete with a list of why not. Typical reasons include “text too small to read,” “links too close together,” and “mobile viewpoint not set.” You’ll also be notified as to how Google sees the page and what you can do to change it. 


Select Your Approach

Google recognizes three different “mobile-friendly” configurations so you may move content as needed. The first is responsive design, also Google’s number-one recommended design pattern. Responsive design never creates two copies of the same site, meaning viewers have only one go-to URL, and the website adapts to whatever device it’s on, whether tablet, get the idea. 

Dynamic serving and mobile websites round out the list, with the former allowing you to again keep the same URL. The difference is the change in HTML, as dynamic serving utilizes user-agents to determine what device the consumer is using and sets up the appropriate view.  

The mobile website option refers to creation of a separate mobile website, however it means creating and maintaining two different versions of content. Responsive design is considered the best option because website viewers, Google, marketers, and website owners are all big, big fans. 



Google has also created a list of common mistakes in addition to its mobile-optimization tool so you may correct whatever’s wrong with your site, if applicable. If your site isn’t optimized, don’t panic--you can still rebuild your search credit. However, the sooner you implement changes, the better. 


May 07, 2015

Infographic: Where Do People Use Smartphones?





May 04, 2015

Is Email Marketing Back?


After years of fighting associations with spam, the proverbial tide is changing regarding email marketing. Facebook, Google and similar major digital media companies are turning to email-based targeting as opposed to traditional cookie-based targeting, as cookies do not work well in mobile browsers. According to Fluent’s new ‘Devices and Demographics’ research, 60 percent of all ads are displayed on mobile devices rather than desktop computers, making “email-based display advertising the future.” 

Advertisers interested in utilizing Google’s latest offering can precisely target the some 500 million people who have Gmail accounts, as well as users who rely on Google for other reasons, such as YouTube accounts. And while these numbers are definitely impressive, Facebook is ahead of the search engine juggernaut: the platform has the email addresses of all 1.4 billion of its users, including Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook addresses among others. 

Google is therefore looking to catch up with the social media giant, which works the “custom audience” angle. The term refers to “reaching customers you already know with ads on Facebook.” 

“You can upload a list of email addresses or phone numbers of at least 100 people and we'll deliver your ad to those people if they're on Facebook,” the platform explains on its website. “You can also build audiences from the people that visit your website or from people who use your mobile app.” 

This gives advertisers the opportunity to send encrypted files of their email marketing lists to Facebook and subsequently re-target the users via Facebook ads. The platform also targets ads to “lookalikes,” or those whose interests match existing users on the marketer’s email list.  

The “Google vs. Facebook war” notwithstanding, one thing is abundantly clear: email marketing is more important than ever. Its equity continues to increase, as such marketing is no longer confined to consumer inboxes. The marketing option is instead becoming the driving force behind social, mobile, and display marketing.  

Marketers with long lists of email addresses are set to take full advantage of email marketing, while those without are scrambling to create extensive databases they can draw from. Email address acquisition isn’t something to put off--it needs to function as the top priority for any company looking to drastically revamp their advertising strategy.

To not take advantage of these new email marketing perks is a way to get left in the figurative dust, as brand awareness, ROI, and overall revenue are all sure to benefit from this new tactic. 


How to Destroy Your Credibility with a Text Marketing Campaign


Text messaging continues to gain popularity and credibility as one of the most effective mobile marketing strategies in existence. If you’ve implemented a texting campaign but aren’t seeing the results you want, you could be guilty of utilizing the wrong tactics. Such errors often spell doom in regards to credibility, so rather than continuing to chip away at your reputation without knowing it, check out the following detrimental tactics: 


Expired Offers

Sending expired offers, or those that otherwise aren’t redeemable for one reason or another will 1) annoy the heck out of customers and 2) make you look terribly unprofessional. If you own multiple brick and mortar locations but the offer is only good at one of them, make this abundantly clear. You don’t want enthusiastic customers to enter your store and find they can’t redeem their coupon--it’s highly unlikely they’ll patronize your business again. 


Going Back on ‘Frequency’ Promises

Do not, repeat do not, go back on how often you promised to send messages. Even one text too many is more than unprofessional--it’s illegal. You’ll destroy your credibility, break customer trust, and find yourself dealing with expensive legal issues. 


Misspelled Word Promotion 

Just one misspelling makes you look, well, not great. Review and re-review texts before sending them to everyone on your opt-in list and avoid kissing credibility buh-bye. Pick words that are neither too complicated nor too generic and you’ll be just fine. 


Lack of Education 

Before starting a text marketing campaign, it’s a darn good idea to educate yourself about everything related to such campaigns. The more you know, the less likely it is you’ll make an error, illegal or not. Review educational resources, talk to knowledgeable business associates, and otherwise make certain you know exactly what you’re doing before launching a campaign. 


Generic Announcements 

Are you only using text message marketing for generic announcements? This is a big clue as to why your text marketing campaign isn’t working. Consumers sign up for your list expecting special offers, discounts, coupons, etc. Generic or “good morning” texts are not what they want, and are a quick way to ensure opt-outs. 


Best Practice Refusal 

A standard set of text message marketing guidelines exist, and refusing to adhere to them not only puts your business at risk, it puts every customer in your database at risk. 

Keep these errors in mind before creating any text marketing campaign. 


May 02, 2015

Mobile Marketing Tactics for Cinco de Mayo


Cinco de Mayo, or May 5th, commemorates the Mexican defeat of French troops at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Celebrated among Mexican communities in Mexico and the United States, it has become a drinking holiday. Cinco de Mayo also offers businesses the chance to attract new customers while having a fabulous time with current ones. If devising a mobile marketing scheme in time for this holiday, check out a few tips to help you out: 


Fun With Hashtags

Why not create a hashtag campaign? Make one about a week or a few days before Cinco de Mayo encouraging consumers to take selfies with your merchandise, such as a Cinco de Mayo cup bearing your brand name. Feel free to create a competition out of it--think creative selfies featuring the cup and the appropropriate hashtag. Give out “awards” on Cinco de Mayo, such as sending coupons or discount information for free food, drinks, products, or services. Don’t feel limited to selfies--the hashtag campaign can include anything you want so long as it’s appropriate. 


Party, Party, Party 

Make loyal customers feel special by throwing an exclusive Cinco de Mayo shindig. Text a special VIP code to customers who have been with your brand for years, regularly purchase certain products or services, etc. The code could function as an invite to a private party of sorts--one that includes free food and beverages, deep discounts on certain items, free trials of services, and whatver else you want to feature. A fantastic way of thanking customers for their loyalty, it’s also a way to spread the word about your brand. After all, don’t happy customers enjoy talking about favorite products and special related benefits?


Sales Alerts

Throwing a huge Cinco de Mayo sale? Let customers know via text. You can also send customers exclusive sales codes that guarantee discounts on the holiday. Consumers never tire of exclusive coupons and promotions, and are that much more likely to patronize your business if they know they can get something for cheap if not free. 


Powerful Call to Action 

Don’t let your call-to-action ruin your Cinco de Mayo mobile marketing campaign. Opt for engaging, if somewhat personal, options such as “Start Your Adventure Here” and “Celebrate Cinco de Mayo With Us By [Doing X and Y].” Whatever you decide, keep it concise and creative, and never, ever use “Click Here” and similar statements. 

These are just some of the many ways to work Cinco de Mayo into your upcoming mobile marketing campaign...

May 01, 2015

Consumers Actually Love Pro-Active Marketing, if it’s Done Right


Consumer expectation has never been higher. Cross-channel interactions have enabled the public to engage directly with businesses, and if they don’t like what they see, they will look elsewhere very quickly. 

Such a wide array of choices has changed consumer attitudes to the way information is received. With targeted digital marketing and mobile marketing tactics, companies can take a pro-active approach to advertising - and people are actually happy about it. 

According to a 2013 survey from Harris Interactive, 87% of American adults want to be contacted about the products or services offered by an organization. The same percentage of respondents to a Frost & Sullivan report said they had a positive image of companies who made follow-up calls after initial contact. 

What does this mean for companies who, traditionally, have avoided pro-active marketing strategies? It would be jarring and counterproductive if they suddenly began calling all their customers in an attempt to be ‘pro-active.’ Businesses must transition gradually, adopting a blended approach, and training staff who are used to providing reactive service. 

Once that element of pro-active marketing has been introduced, the benefits to the customer follow closely behind. Technologies like cloud call center are allowing businesses accustomed to reactive marketing to adapt to pro-active marketing methods. Outbound dialers, automated voice messages and SMS messaging allow businesses to reach out to consumers in a no-pressure, respond-at-leisure manner.

As powerful as these tools are, they need to be wielded in the right way to ensure pro-active marketing does it’s thing. A major issue uncovered by the Harris Interactive research is the delays and pauses inherent to most outbound dialing solutions. Half the respondents said their reaction when answering an unfamiliar number to a delay is to just hang up. If the pause could be eliminated, 55% said they would be more receptive to the information they’re given. 

Voice broadcasting technology is now being used across a wide spectrum of industries. An unfamiliar caller is no longer necessarily taken to be an irritant. Banks, for example, use automated messages to alert customers to potentially fraudulent activity on their account. The ‘opt-in’ culture of modern mobile marketing has done away with indiscriminate auto dialers working through lists of numbers obtained without the recipient’s consent. This has naturally made consumers more receptive to the idea of being contacted by businesses.

As long as your message is offering something of value to the customer, and they have at some stage consented to be contacted, pro-active marketing is an effective way to grow your businesses. With 62% of people taking action after a positive incoming call, pro-active outreach as part of your overall strategy is well worth the investment.


April 21, 2015

Could Google's Mobile Update Backfire?


Today sees the roll out of Google’s most significant algorithm update in years. In response to mass migration from desktop to mobile, the search engine will now use a website’s ‘mobile friendliness’ as a ranking metric. 

It’s great news for businesses who put themselves ahead of the mobile marketing curve in time to reap the benefits. It’s not so great for those lagging behind - many of them big businesses with expensive, unwieldy marketing departments. According to research firm SumAll, a staggering 67% of Fortune 100 companies do not have mobile friendly sites. They can expect their traffic to nosedive now the change has taken effect

The changes - dubbed ‘mobilegeddon’ by some - are perfectly consistent with Google’s track record of responding to shifts in search culture. Mobile traffic has increased, and desktop search has declined correspondingly. For the average user, more likely to access the internet from a mobile device than a desktop computer, the update will doubtlessly improve their experience.  

Assuming Google isn’t doing this for purely altruistic reasons, what are their motivations for implementing changes that will not only harm powerful corporate influences but reduce Google’s own ad revenue?  

One answer may lie in the question. Google knows it must close the gap between desktop and mobile ad rates in anticipation of a full-blown small-screen revolution. Another possibility is that Google isn’t so much reacting to external trends, but rather influencing consumer behavior. If sites render well on mobile devices, they will become more popular, thus increasing the number of mobile clicks.

The businesses who aren’t ready for this will definitely suffer. They may even claim that the content available on mobile friendly sites just isn’t as good, nullifying Google’s objective to (ostensibly) provide a meritocratic search tool. The worst case scenario for Google is that big companies switch their search focus to Yahoo or Bing, and move their ad spending to Facebook. Such gloomy predictions have always failed to materialize in the past, and Google remains synonymous with search for the majority of internet users. 

Nonetheless, it’s a risky strategy. Without ad revenue Google is nothing, but they have proven themselves time and again to be deft at bending with the wind. Whether today’s major algorithmic update will turn into ‘mobilegeddon’ remains to be seen, but as risky as the move may seem, betting against Google is riskier still.


90% of Mobile Marketing Revenue Comes from SMS


It is increasingly apparent that the SMS segment of the global mobile advertising market is very dominant due to the rapid surge in smartphone and tablet use around the world. Some 90 percent of adults in the U.S. use mobile phones, 60 percent of which are smartphones.  The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) believes that soon smartphone use in the U.S. will rise to 80 percent. 

“With consumers carrying mobile devices wherever they go, it has become crucial for marketers to target this large consumer base with mobile advertisements and promotions,” according to Transparency Market Research (TMR). “A mobile advertising platform firm provides services to marketers that allow them to send these advertisements to consumers using mobile devices. Each distinct mobile advertising platform contains opportunities for marketers to deliver their message to a broad range of consumers.” 

SMS is subsequently a “big deal,” as mobile advertising services are easily sent out via text message. Mobile advertising is also being used to place banner ads on smartphone apps, which appear either at the top of the app (mobile web banner) or at the bottom of the app (mobile web poster). One of the many advantages of SMS is it allows users to view and send short messages without worrying about privacy issues or seriously interrupting the receiver’s day. It’s therefore not shocking to note that SMS accounts for 90 percent of total mobile marketing revenue. Simply put, it's the most cost-effective of all mobile marketing tactics.

In addition to SMS, multimedia messaging services, aka MMS, are experiencing an increase in popularity. Other services gaining momentum include full-screen interstitials, mobile videos, and mobile games. 

Transparency Market Research believes the next few years will see advertisers in the global mobile ad marketing space focus increasingly on performance. An increase in ROI spending will likely occur, as will the quantifiable results that follow. Preference for location-based advertising is also growing, and will only get bigger and better in the future. Such advertising makes it possible for advertisers to target specific portions of their target demographic, therefore dramatically enhancing mobile ad effectiveness.  

Unlike traditional phone calls, “spammy” emails, and the days of going door to door, SMS is a safe and effective means of catering to target audiences. Most read text messages as soon as they come through compared to the hours that pass before reading an email or the disgruntled consumers on the other end of a marketing phone call. In addition to its effectiveness, SMS messaging is a low-cost marketing option. No wonder it makes up 90 percent of mobile marketing revenue….


April 20, 2015

Here's Why Your Web Development Should Start with Mobile


Responsible design goes way beyond pixel measurements and assorted limitations, as it’s about deciphering the behaviors and preferences of a target audience, and meeting their needs, whether through smartphones, tablets, or websites.  

Consumer habits and expectations change depending on the device they’re using, meaning content and information must be displayed in the right way. The best option for learning about a target demographic and testing their “commitment to proper responsive build” is starting with a “mobile-first” approach. And while mobile may be the smallest of frequently-used platforms, it is still the favorite. Let’s take a deeper look at starting web development with mobile: 



When developing a brand, quality content is key. However, working through large blocks of copy and trying to find the important points gets tough, making it essential to ask the following question: What is the point I’m trying to make? Once the key theme is identified, it’s time to cut out “filler” content so the resulting post easily fits on a mobile device screen. This not only looks much better, but also makes it more readable for consumers. 

The other benefit to resizing content for mobile screens is once you’ve made the post fit, sizing it for tablets and the like is quite simple. 


Form and Function

Yes, you’re working with a smaller screen when crafting content for mobile, but that doesn’t mean it’s supposed to be anything short of engaging. Think form followed by function, and go for attention-grabbing headers and titles, visually-stunning telegraphic iconography, concise messaging, and quick yet memorable, meaningful takeaways. Create phone, tablet, and desktop “experiences” that takes user mindset into account—again, begin with mobile and go from there.


A Prime Example

A common request marketing agencies receive from clients is creating a product gallery. In terms of mobile, the gallery must be easy to swipe through so one product per swipe is featured with minimal copy. This results in a more intimate browsing experience. Image pairings are possible for tablets and desktops, or showcasing the entire product page. 



Don’t think of mobile as far better than the other options, as each offers its own benefits. Rather, view them as complimentary. On mobile, for example, it’s easy to focus on a given element, while desktops make it possible to display an entire product line and emphasize that the brand meets the needs of a whole range of customers. It’s also possible to group products “visually, physically, or factually” in light of varying market approaches. 

The ability to solve the same issue on different devices is one that cannot be discussed enough, as it makes the ability to change content according to platform easier in the future. It also helps significantly in terms of prioritizing per device, and creating responsive designs.