152 posts categorized "SMB Marketing Tips"

March 25, 2014

HTC One M8 Goes on Sale in UK

Depositphotos_25180327_xs

HTC’s new smartphone went on sale today at several stores in London, ahead of a general release on March 27. International consumers will have to wait until April 11 to get their hands on the device.

The HTC One M8 was officially unveiled just one hour before it became available to shoppers at six Carphone Warehouse and three Phones 4U stores. A few handsets were also released at a press conference in New York.

The HTC One is being heralded as one of the best designs to hit the smartphone market to date. According to a press release published on the T-Mobile website, the HTC One has “the brainpower of a true superphone… [and] stunning hardware design.”

The device has two cameras on the back, allowing photographers to take shots capable of mimicking the depth-of-field control that was once the sole preserve of DSLR machines. Another winning feature is Motion Launch, which lets users quickly deploy their device without having to first unlock it. A phone call can be taken by putting the device to your ear; the camera can be activated simply by upending the phone and hitting the volume button. 

Despite all the bells and whistles, HTC’s new offering faces an uphill battle in terms of marketing. The company aims to make high end products capable of competing with iPhones. To a certain extent, they’ve achieved that with the HTC One, but they lack two key things that Apple has in spades: a fanatic, loyal customer base, and an app store that rules the roost.

That’s not to say HTC doesn’t have potential. For every hardcore Apple fanboy, there’s an open-source devotee who wouldn’t go near an iPhone if their house was burning down. And they’re precisely the same people who care more about design than market ubiquity. In that context, HTC has a place in the hearts of the anti-Apple brigade who don’t want to slum it with a Samsung device.

Whether there are enough of those people out there remains to be seen. In marketing terms, probably not. Few mobile marketing tactics include a pressing urge to reach out to HTC users – and their SMS messaging glitches are documented across the web. But for individual users with a taste for good design, and an antipathy towards good marketing, the HTC One could be the answer.

March 21, 2014

In-Store Browsing the In-Thing in UK

Depositphotos_39366021_xs

A growing number of British consumers are adopting the practice sometimes known as showrooming: comparing online prices with real-world prices while browsing in stores, and buying the cheapest version of a particular product (hint: it’s never from the bricks and mortar store).

A report published in February by OnePoll looked at a range of consumer behaviors involving smartphones during the last quarter of 2013. The results showed that using smartphones to conduct research is the new normal. Seven out of ten respondents had used their mobile device to investigate potential purchases and compare prices. Over a third used mobile price comparison sites, and 17% had visited the mobile sites of individual retailers.

Retail apps are also growing in popularity, with users accessing them from multiple locations. Around 42% of respondents used retail apps at home, and a quarter did so at work or on their way to work.

But the most compelling results relate to the use of smartphones in physical stores. Some 55% of people admitted to ‘showrooming’ during shopping trips. Out of those, more than half said they compared prices online using their mobile device, and just under half used them to gather more information on products. Around 41% used their phones to take pictures of potential purchases. Despite all the browsing activity, only 17% of smartphone owners admitted to showrooming itself.

The research threw up some interesting data relevant to mobile marketing campaigns. More than two thirds of respondents said they would be more likely to revisit a store if it sent bespoke promotions to their smartphone.

Mobile browsing-to-buy remains less common than direct mobile shopping. Only 17% of people using their smartphone to conduct research also bought with the device, and just over one in ten people who browsed in-store went on to buy from the same retailer.

For anyone devising a mobile marketing strategy in the UK, the implications are clear: if you can reach people who are already in a physical store that pertains to your business, you have a good chance of converting them into customers. Bricks and mortar-only retailers have their own mobile marketing tactics – such as apps and SMS coupons – but, short of deliberately operating from a location with no wi-fi or network coverage, there’s little they can do to stem the tide of online activity conducted from their premises.

These behaviors are now endemic – not just across the ocean, but here in the US too. Smartphone adoption rates are soaring, and the fear for offline businesses is that consumers will one day come to their store to browse online and find it closed.

March 14, 2014

Weekend CTRs Significantly Higher

Depositphotos_35938553_xs

Recent research comparing click-through rates (CTRs)  found mobile device users much less likely to click on ads during the week as opposed to the weekend. Findings published on AppFlood claims click-through rates are 30% higher on weekends after analyzing some 300 millionmobile ad impressions in the United States between August and September 2013.

Click volume is reportedly the same on Saturdays and Sundays, beginning around 8am and continuing at a steady rate until about 6pm. Weekday clicks go up once the workday is over, or around 6pm. Click rates on weekdays tend to decrease throughout the evening, but pick back up around 11pm, indicating people are looking at their mobile device screens before bedtime. Differences in mobile and desktop/laptop usage were also evident, with mobile use remaining fairly steady throughout the week and weekend, particularly around 7pm to 9pm on weekdays. Desktop/laptop use is less frequent on weekends, and after 5pm, or commute time, on weekdays.

So why the dip in CTR on weekends with laptops/desktops, but not mobile devices? A possible explanation is people use their laptops all day at work, and can’t even think of going near one on weekends. This eschewing of laptops doesn’t necessarily translate to smartphones, as people generally have their phones on them at all times and use them to look up any number of things, from show times to restaurant directions to answers to common questions. A mobile phone is usually on and ready to use at all times, whereas people have to sit down and turn on a laptop or desktop, which can seem arduous when trying to enjoy the weekend.

An effective mobile marketing strategy is one that researches and utilizes underlying motivators that cause people to click on an ad, read a blog or follow a link. Marketing strategists can therefore use CTR patterns to create engaging campaigns that cater to specific audiences. For example, do people appear to click on a travel company’s vacation ads on Saturdays during the day? Create mobile marketing solutions that cater to such prospective clients. What about those who click on local attraction ads when browsing for fun weekend ideas on a Thursday or Friday night? No matter what the product or service, a mobile marketing strategy must pinpoint its target audience and how best to cater to it.

If you’re a mobile marketing strategist looking to maximize campaign output, review your company’s CTR numbers and create solutions that target your audience at certain times on specific days. Understanding when and why your audience is most active is one of the cornerstones of a successful mobile marketing strategy! Good luck!

 

 

March 10, 2014

iOS vs. Android Users: Who Should Mobile Marketers Target?

Depositphotos_8140186_xs

There’s nothing mobile marketers love more than a good scrap about the best operating system. Ever since the first generation Androids and iPhones emerged in 2007, their relative merits have been hotly disputed; you can usually tell which side of the debate a person will be on by the phone in their hand.

Of course, there is no easy answer to the ‘which is best?’ question. So much is subjective, and some Android (or iOS!) devotees will never be persuaded to change their personal preference, no matter how compelling the arguments for doing so are. Broadly speaking, iOS generates more revenue, but Android has a greater market share. Neither of these truths are going to help you create the right mobile marketing strategy.

The very fact that this debate has raged continuously since the smartphone boom took hold is indicative of the complexity of both operating systems. Deciding which device your mobile marketing strategy should focus on requires careful consideration of a whole range of metrics. Let’s take a close look at some of the factors at play:

US Performance

comScore report revealed 133.7 million people in the United States owned a smartphone during the first quarter of 2013. Android was ranked as the top smartphone platform, with 51.7% market share next to Apple’s 38.9%.

Similar results were gleaned from a Kantar Worldpanel Comtech report, which showed Android beating the iPhone by a 9% margin. It’s important to note, however, that the cut and thrust of the smartphone market means these figures are bouncing around on a daily basis.

Plus, device ownership is far from the full story when it comes to iOS vs. Android. Whilst the latter enjoys a greater number of customers, the former generates more money from online commerce. A Black Friday report conducted by IBM showed iOS users spent an average of $127.92 per order, compared to $105.20 spent by Android users. Android users accounted for 11% of ecommerce traffic, next to iPhone and iPad users’ 28.2%. These facts are of more relevance to your mobile marketing strategy than pure ownership.

Worldwide Performance

Phones supporting Android sell significantly better than iPhones in global markets. During the fourth quarter of 2012, Android had a 70% share, compared with 21% for iOS. If your business is global, you should adjust your mobile marketing strategy accordingly as such a marked difference in ownership levels undoubtedly supersedes the greater online spending conducted on Apple’s devices (which remains true internationally).

Tablets

Mobile marketing solutions targeting tablets should always differ from those targeting smartphones, because people use them in different ways. Apple’s iPad outperforms Android tablets and, again, ecommerce revenues are greater for the former.

Apps

According to data collected by Canalys, just over 50% of all app downloads in the first quarter of 2013 were for Android, with iOS taking the lion’s share (40%) of the remainder. What this means for your mobile marketing strategy depends on the type of business you run, so study your market closely. Find out which apps your customers regularly use and, if building your own app, create one for both operating systems.

Web Use

Apple rules the roost in terms of web use, with a 60.1 % share (according to NetMarketShare). Android lags with 24.9%, which, considering there are more Android devices out there, corroborates the evidence for iOS users being significantly more active online.

Overall, it’s important not to draw too many conclusions from the wealth of data on which device performs the best. When devising mobile marketing tactics, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. We’re talking Apples and oranges (or rather, Apples and Androids) – so come up with a separate mobile marketing strategy for each, especially if your business has a global reach.

 

March 05, 2014

5 Best Practices for Retaining Your Opt-In SMS Marketing List

Depositphotos_11677339_xs

Okay, so you amassed a substantial SMS marketing list, but what about retaining said list? After all, creating a list is one thing, but keeping it is something else! Check out five of the best practices for retaining your opt-in marketing list and use them to create effective SMS marketing campaigns:

 

1. Positive Disruption

It seems everyone is on their phones these days, and while getting bombarded with advertisements is never fun, receiving exclusive offers, coupons and discounts through text is! Ensure you’re sending customers discounts they can only receive through their phones as opposed to email or snail mail. Most people will be delighted to receive a coupon for 10% off their next vehicle oil change or an alert regarding “big sale” dates and times.

 

2. Market Research

As with most things, it’s important to do a little research before creating a text message campaign. Decrease your opt-out rate significantly by learning what your customers want to hear and receive, which will certainly help you create a much more effective SMS marketing strategy. Learn what’s worked in the past and what hasn’t, what customers are really looking for from a business like yours, and any other helpful information you and your team can use.

 

3. Time Zone and Timing

Successful SMS marketing campaigns pay attention to timing...and time zones! Besides researching the best times of day to send SMS alerts, remain aware of customer time zones. Sending messages at 6am on a Sunday or 12pm on a Tuesday night is not going to help you retain your SMS marketing list, no matter how great the promotion or discount. Customers will appreciate time zone awareness, which will bolster your relationship with them and even help expand your brand via positive client reviews.

 

4. Ease of Mobile Experience

Always, always, always send customers easy-to-digest text messages that don’t require a lot of time and or external device use. For example, very few people are going to be interested in coupons they have to print, especially if they don’t have easy access to a printer! Create an effective text messaging campaign by sending customers deals and discounts with barcodes for easy scanning at the register or ones that otherwise don’t require a lot of work.

 

5. Monitor Opt-Out Rate

Finally, successful SMS marketing campaigns and strategies include monitoring customer opt-out rate. Look at what worked and piqued customer interest, as well as what didn’t work and resulted in opt-outs. This is an essential part of crafting your next text message campaign, so don’t forget to keep a weather eye on those rates! 

Keep these tips in mind and see if your next SMS marketing campaign isn’t light years ahead of your last one! Good luck, and stay creative!

 

March 01, 2014

How to Use Mobile Directories to Optimize for Local Search

Depositphotos_30382519_xs

If you’re a local business relatively new to the world of mobile marketing, you will still be discovering new ways of leveraging consumer attention away from competitors. Perhaps you’ve just got a handle on your social media campaign, or you’ve optimized your website for common search terms, but you’re unsure where to turn next.

Equally as important – though oft-ignored – are online business directories. Each one acts as a conduit through which potential customers can access your service, so the more directories you add yourself to, the bigger your reach. You don’t need any particular technical expertise to get listed, just some time and effort, so adding yourself to as many business directories as possible should be a priority of your mobile marketing strategy.

As usual, the big players like Google, Yahoo and Yelp are a sensible place to start. Take a look at these fifty directories and add your business to as many as possible. But don’t limit yourself to the most commonly used directories – it’s a huge playing field populated by major brands, all packing a serious financial punch. Augment these listings with more localized directories by searching for ‘business directories Florida’ (or wherever you are situated). The smaller your operation is, the more specific you should be in terms of location; there is no point advertising your services to people all over your state if you can only serve customers within your county.

As easy as it is to achieve, getting listings in multiple directories can be time consuming, and not a little tedious. To speed up the process of filling out the same information on multiple forms, use Firefox’s neat add-on tool – it also helps you maintain consistency across all listings. Be sure to include a map of your store location in every directory that allows it. Don’t try to create your own personalized map – you can’t do better than Google Maps, which has the advantage of contextualizing your street address in a map of, you know, the world. Users are far likelier to engage with an embedded Google Maps image which they can click through to obtain directions.

Remember, 52% of all local searches are being done on mobile devices. If you haven’t climbed on board with a comprehensive mobile marketing strategy, you may have no idea how much business you are losing out on. Yes, SEO and social media are vital to your online presence, but directories are one of the most useful, easy-to-implement mobile marketing solutions around. Take a day out of running your local business to set up as many listings as possible – it’ll be worth it.

February 27, 2014

4 Reasons Coupons are an Effective Mobile Marketing Tactic

Depositphotos_9528498_xs

According to a recent study conducted by ABI Research, 52% of consumers would definitely use mobile coupons for obtaining discounts at local stores. This evidence tallies with the rapid upsurge in smartphone adoption, as consumers become increasingly reliant on mobile devices to help them with every area of their lives.

As smartphone penetration deepens, mobile coupons and other mobile marketing tactics move to the forefront of any well-planned marketing strategy. Some analysts estimate mobile coupons are redeemed ten times as often as traditional paper coupons.

So why are mobile marketing coupons proving so popular with the general public? The answer to that is largely self-evident: paper coupons have been a mainstay of commercial promotion since Coca Cola pioneered their use in the 19th Century – why wouldn’t consumers want all the benefits of a paper coupon stored on their smartphone?

Search guru Gerald Murphy has expanded this idea on his blog, identifying four key reasons why mobile marketing coupons are infinitely preferable to their old paper counterparts:

  1. Convenience. Clearly, mobile coupons serve the convenience of consumers far better than paper coupons, which require consumers to fiddle about with a pair of scissors, diligently chasing those broken lines around 90 degree angles before pocketing the fragile voucher and trundling down to the store. Seriously – who can be bothered? From a marketer’s perspective, digital coupons are much likelier to be redeemed.
  2. Locality. With the emergence of geo-targeting, smartphone owners can be reached only when a coupon is of use to them. They enter a pre-determined zone within a short distance of the store and are immediately hit with an irresistible 50% off coupon. And when you cut out that hit-and-miss bombardment of special offers, focusing only on customer preference, they are much more likely to engage.
  3. Relevancy. Mobile marketing solutions are becoming increasingly sophisticated in terms of identifying personal preferences. Again, this reduces unwanted, spammy offers that are simply tuned out. When consumers are predisposed to ignore ads, they are prone to throwing the baby out with the bathwater, skimming past offers that might actually be of use to them. Coupons geared towards personal preference are now de rigeur for canny businesses with an eye on effective mobile marketing solutions.
  4. Timeliness. Unlike flicking through a magazine for cut-out vouchers, mobile coupons can be timed to reach their audience at a moment when they are most likely to respond and redeem the offer. For customers on the move, it might mean the moment they have entered the locale of a particular store, but it can work just as well for those sitting at home – issue a special offer on pizzas, say, just before lunchtime, and you can capture people in the throes of midday hunger pangs. But timeliness also refers to an awareness of when not to send text and email coupons. The art of maximizing redemption rates for mobile marketing coupons requires a measured, staggered approach.

 

February 20, 2014

Mobile Marketing Tactics for Precision Geo-Targeting

Depositphotos_6898014_xs

Location-based marketing, also known as geo-targeting, is becoming one of the most useful weapons in the retail marketing arsenal. The technology allows businesses to contact customers as they enter a certain geographical radius.

As mobile marketing tactics go, geo-targeting is highly successful, with consumers 30-300% more likely to click a geo-targeted ad compared to an untargeted one. This success rate has not been lost on the big brands, 58% of which employed geo-location strategies during the first quarter of 2013 – more than double the 27% of the previous year.

Consumers like geo-targeting because it only gives them in-store offers at times they can actually use them. Businesses are getting ever-more sophisticated in the way they use the technology; many are starting to use micro location-based mobile marketing strategies, whereby customers download an app in-store and receive personalized offers once they enter the store.

So what about the stragglers? If it’s one of the most effective mobile marketing solutions, why aren’t all companies using geo-targeting? Despite the obvious benefits, the complexity of using the technology effectively – and ethically – is beyond the ken of many businesses, especially those who lack the financial clout for high-end tech support. Matching a person’s location to a relevant communication is achieved in a number of ways, and not all of them will be feasible. Let’s take a quick look at the main methodologies used for geo-targeting, and the implications thereof:

  • IP targeting identifies a user’s location based solely on their IP address. This is attractive to marketers as it presents no privacy or legal issues, since it does not require users to opt-in. The individual is not targeted, just the ISP infrastructure within which they are present online.
  • Location-as-a-service solutions (LaaS) are cloud based, using locations according to mobile phone towers. LaaS does require the user to opt in.
  • WiFi triangulation locates mobile devices using the MAC address and nearby wireless hotspots. Not the most accurate or instant form of geo-targeting, it’s unlikely to be taken up as a mobile marketing tactic.
  • User supplied location is information gathered from opted-in users.
  • Cookies are already familiar to most desktop internet users. They don’t necessarily provide accurate information on mobile users, as a cookie may be recorded in one place before the user moves on to another location. Cookies are also frequently deleted by users.
  • Location-based proximity networks are extremely accurate as they generally operate in store and can locate users within 200-900 feet of the point of purchase. This method is favored by big department stores and malls, but they rely on users who have opted in – something which many shoppers refuse to do.
  • GPS is the most accurate of all, providing location information within a few feet of the device. Again, it relies on users opting in to the service.

The usefulness of these mobile marketing tactics depend entirely on the objective of the business, the type of message, the target audience and the required level of engagement. The efficacy of these metrics in terms of user engagement comes down to creative mobile marketing solutions. What’s not in doubt is the potential of geo-targeting as a B2C and B2B mobile marketing strategy – just make sure you use the right method in the right way.

 

February 17, 2014

7 Reasons to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users

Depositphotos_9539373_xs
 

As mobile usage continues to grow apace, the need to optimize your website for smartphones is essential. Mobile marketing is no longer a single feather – it’s becoming the entire cap. If you have yet to create a mobile website, take a look at some compelling reasons to get started:

  1. Nearly 50% of daily Facebook users are mobile-only. Mobile ads account for around half of the company’s total advertising revenue. With such a large audience at your disposal, these facts alone mean that delaying mobile optimization is hurting your business. With 31% of smartphone users claiming in a recent Pew survey that mobile is their primary access point to the web, your mobile website must offer the same functionality as your desktop site.
  2. Mobile traffic makes up nearly 10% of global web traffic. There’s only one direction that figure is headed in future, and some analysts have predicted that by the end of 2014 more people will use mobile phones than PCs to browse the web.
  3. By next year, U.S. mobile sales are forecast to reach $31 billion. Similar stories are playing out all over the developed world. To describe mobile as a global growth market would be a massive understatement. Any business that fails to provide a comprehensive mobile-friendly version of their site will lose millions of potential customers.
  4. 50% of internet surfers are using smartphones. Making content mobile-friendly is the only way to reach them. That means providing the best possible user experience on a small screen. Even Google recommends using responsive web design. In some regards, start-ups are in the best position here, as they can build their entire brand around mobile optimization, right from the get go. Established companies need to go back to their existing online presence and question whether a mobile audience will get the message.
  5. Only 21% of all websites are currently mobile-friendly. Despite half the population using a mobile device for their web activity, only a fifth of all sites have been rendered with mobile devices in mind. According to one piece of research, mobile optimized websites reported a conversion rate three times that of non-optimized sites. The implication is clear: users who don’t see what they need on one site will quickly move onto a competitor who answers that need. Mobile optimization is absolutely essential for driving business.
  6. Mobile commerce accounts for 23% of online sales. Again, this figure is predicted to grow in the future, as more and more people conduct their activities from a smartphone. Businesses who can carve out their market share as early adopters of mobile optimization will have safely developed brand loyalty by the time the rest of the world catches up.
  7. 49% of smartphone owners have made at least one purchase on their device in the past six months. Even people who are not regularly using their phones for shopping have dipped their toe in – and these are all potential customers, looking for a good user experience. Make sure you are providing it.

 

February 16, 2014

5 Mobile Marketing Tips for Start-ups

 

Anybody who has started their own business understands the problems inherent in such a major undertaking. A paucity of resources – be they personnel or economic – can hobble even the brightest start-up. On the plus side, such restrictions can promote creative thinking and lead to untapped sources of business.

One of the most important aspects of a business plan is an effective mobile marketing strategy. Compared with traditional advertising channels like television, mobile marketing campaigns needn’t be prohibitively expensive. They just need blue-skly thinking, flexibility, and a lot of hard work. If you are in the early stages of building your business, try adopting the following mobile marketing tactics…

1. Text Smart. Despite being, by nature, always on the move, the mobile audience is captive in the sense that their phone is always about their person. By offering people the opportunity to opt in to receiving messages via SMS, you can provide the distraction they need while waiting in line or sitting alone in an airport lounge. Update user on promotions, offer them coupons – anything to make them engage with your brand. But be sure to offer something worthwhile or you risk annoying them (and prompting them to opt out). Research from mShopper.com indicates that mobile subscribers respond best to time-limited offers, so try capping the availability of a promotion at 24 hours.

2. Ground-up Optimization. Successful mobile marketing campaigns are created from the ground up, rather than operating as a hastily-assembled addendum to existing desktop campaigns. Take full advantage of the medium by incorporating functions that can only be performed using smartphones: QR codes, geo-location, augmented reality, apps. They all add to the interaction experience.

3. Trend Watch. Keeping an eye on the latest trends in mobile habits is the best way to remain relevant in a constantly-changing market. In 2012, only 17.5% of internet traffic emanated came[BC1]  from mobile devices. By the end of 2013, that number had grown to 28%. Such a staggering increase would have spelled disaster for any company who took their eye off the ball, so stay on top of the latest developments in the world of mobile.

4. Responsive Design. If you have been paying attention to mobile trends, you will have heard a lot of chatter about responsive design, which describes the automatic adjustment of the layout and content of a website according to what kind of device is visiting it. It’s a critical part of mobile marketing, as it allows all users to have a great experience, regardless of whether they are using a tablet, smartphone or desktop. Talk to your web designers about developing responsive design for your site – it could ultimately replace the current model of entirely separate designs being implemented on each type of device.

5. Test Smart. Successful mobile marketing campaigns will test their ideas thoroughly before submitting them to the world at large. It might mean using a different color palette for mobile displays, or modifying a headline so it reads better on a tablet. The scientific method must be rigorously followed, so isolate one variable at a time during the testing process. Even small tweaks can have a major impact.