SMB Marketing Tips

173 posts categorized

June 11, 2014

Research Shows 80% of Mobile Searches Result in a Sale


Online directory Neustar Localeze recently published a study demonstrating the scale of consumer migration to mobile. The results show that 79% of smartphone owners and 81% of tablet owners use their devices to search for information about local businesses. Of those searches, around 80% resulted in a transaction between merchant and consumer, and 75% ended with the customer physically going to the brick and mortar store. 

However, only 50% of searchers were satisfied with what was available on mobile, indicating a need for businesses to better optimize their sites for mobile. This disconnect between user demand and experience offers exciting opportunities for canny mobile marketing strategists to secure greater ROIs by offering a truly mobile friendly platform through which to conduct business. 

According to Brian Wool, VP of content distribution at Neustar, consumers “want to see more information around products and services,” though he conceded that local search engines were beginning to use more specific data to improve search relevancy.

The key difference between desktop and mobile search is exactly what you’d think: screen size. Tablets and smartphones can only display so much information before the need for scrolling, so it’s crucially important that businesses prioritize the most sought-after content.

The localized content Wool alluded to is starting to make inroads into mobile marketing tactics, but it’s mostly the preserve of large corporations with the spending power to play around with new ideas. But it’s precisely these localized searches that small, regional businesses should be focusing on. It’s their best chance of competing with the big chain retailers who have the edge in terms of pricing and traditional marketing clout.

If small businesses can develop user-friendly, highly visible mobile sites, they will carve out niche markets that are just a local search away. Lots of quality content remains the best hope for improving online visibility. As Wool says, “the more you can share with the ecosystem, the better your listing is going to perform.”

The take home message for SMBs, then, is this: the majority of local searches do end in a conversion, so devising and investing in a mobile marketing campaign is a safe bet when it comes to growing that bottom line. 

June 10, 2014

How to Get More Leads with Mobile Marketing


Lead generation on the web may seem straightforward enough: businesses simply promote offers on their landing pages and through social media, email, etc., and a lead is generated every time a potential customer fills out the lead generation form. However, mobile visitors do not behave the same as those who surf the web on a desktop computer. Therefore, the online experience needs to be adjusted accordingly in order for mobile marketing to result in optimal lead generation.

Following is a list of mobile marketing optimization strategies for better lead generation:

Using Progressive Profiling Forms. Online forms must be short and easy to fill out, or mobile users won't bother with them. Instead of using long form fills, asking for a plethora of information, progressive profiling forms can be used. With progressive profiling forms, fields that were filled out the previous time by the same visitor can be replaced with new fields, thus making each form shorter and ultimately creating easier navigation and more return visits.

Making Calls-to-Action Simple. The CTA text must be action-oriented, short, readable, and clear. Avoid distracting images that are too visually heavy. The CTA must also be easy to click on a small screen. Think: large buttons!

Advertising Mobile-Friendly Specials. Promotions and discounts that may be redeemed through mobile devices, such as on-location promo codes, are a great way to appeal to mobile users. For example, as customers enter a store, geo-location technology can offer them a specific discount for texting a keyword to the company’s shortcode. The result? An increased sense of customer loyalty as well as a longer list of leads for future business. 

Optimizing Content for the Mobile Screen. People often look at their smartphones when they only have a few extra minutes to “kill.” For this reason, many users may not reach the bottom of an article. Therefore, content should be frontloaded with lead generation links. The content should also be easily digestible, and the purpose of the article should be clear from the start. The writing must be concise and include bold, short, “tweetable” headlines. It's a good idea to test out different types of material to see what mobile visitors are most likely to read, whether it's “how-to” articles or lists – and then create more of that type of content.

Enabling Measurable Action With Just a Few Clicks. People pick up their mobile phones with the intention of taking action, whether that means sending a text message, making a call, or opening an app. Making it easy for users to complete an action in as few clicks as possible greatly increases the chance of bringing them to the point of conversion. When potential customers may simply click on a phone number to place a call, for instance, instead of having to copy and paste it, the odds that they will complete that call are greater. Hence, offer clickable phone numbers and hyperlinks.

Creating a Text Message Campaign.  A mass texting campaign is an easy to get new leads to “opt in.” As mentioned above, for instance, when customers walk into a store and see a sign advertising an automatic discount just for sending a text message, that's a difficult deal to refuse. In exchange, the store may choose to alert the customer once a month about future sales, making him/her a return customer.

The fact that consumers may now access the web so quickly and often means that mobile marketing has a lot to offer when it comes to lead generation. Smart business owners and brand managers know they will create even more leads if they actually make the mobile experience enjoyable for potential customers. Doing so requires making small adjustments to an existing web presence, and those small adjustments can lead to a big payoff in the end.

June 09, 2014

Acquisitions: What They Mean for Your Mobile Marketing Strategy

Mobile platforms present companies with enormous opportunities to deliver the right marketing message to exactly the right person at the right time. However, many businesses' marketing strategies have not necessarily evolved to keep up with the pace of technology. Mobile technology, when fully harnessed, allows marketers to increase customer acquisitions and acquire useful consumer data in exchange for something the customer values. Companies today need not simply guess what potential customers want, bombarding them with advertisements and hoping people will stop what they're doing and listen. However, most marketing, even mobile marketing, continues to do just that. 

Utility Marketing Versus Interruption Tactics

The traditional customer acquisition strategy for most companies has been what is known as interruption marketing, which in essence means blasting out as much advertising as possible – through commercials, telemarketing, etc. – and hoping someone will pay attention. Unfortunately, because so relatively little is usually known about the message's audience, this strategy is ineffective. A good mobile app, by contrast, costs much less than producing even one television commercial and can deliver extremely relevant content to the exact consumers most likely to become loyal customers.

Proctor & Gamble's Iams Vet 24/7 app is an excellent example of this type of strategy, known as utility marketing. At a very low cost, the company has greatly increased its brand recognition by offering consumers something that makes their lives better: advice. Pet owners are delighted when a company gives them something they actually need – and for free. P&G, in return, is perfectly situated for customer acquisition because its app is on the home screens of devices that never leave consumers' sides.

Data Acquisition and Behavior/Intent Targeting

Another benefit of mobile marketing is that it gives companies enormous data acquisition capabilities. Consumer data obtained with permission may then be monetized through behavior/intent targeting. When a business offers consumers something that improves their lives, they are happy to share information with that company. Those businesses may then use that information, monetizing its leads in more intelligent ways. 

To understand the behavior/intent targeting that mobile data acquisition makes possible, one might compare Expedia's app, for instance, to TripIt's. Consumers may download Expedia on their mobile devices, but not much else happens afterward unless the user takes action. TripIt, on the other hand, offers consumers an itinerary-creation service, allowing them to access air, hotel, and car rental information together in one place on their smartphones.

Customers simply email all confirmations to TripIt, and the app arranges everything into one cohesive itinerary accessible via mobile device. The app even alerts travelers when an essential service such as a hotel reservation is missing from the itinerary. Instead of sending consumers an overwhelming list of options, the app detects hotel preferences from previous trips, along with information indicating which part of town might be most convenient, and prompts travelers to click to accept the suggested reservations.

This app essentially saves the traveler not only the headache of having nowhere to stay; it also spares her from wading through an enormous list of options when the app already has the information needed to target her probable intent, based on past behavior.

Companies may measure customer behavior through standard web or mobile app analytics solutions and then use that data to read consumer intent signals. Thus, in return for the value that utility marketing offers, companies are rewarded with increased customer acquisition, as well as the acquisition of valuable data that consumers readily share. The result is hyper-relevant, hyper-targeted marketing and ultimately increased sales.

June 06, 2014

Mobile Marketing Tactics: Beware of Peak Keyword


In the world of desktop and mobile marketing, few issues are as hotly debated as the ‘right’ number of keywords to put on a page. As content marketing has grown in popularity, and companies increase their investment in generating original material to expand their web presence, the importance of getting keyword volume and placement right has grown with it.

For desktop campaigns, there is no ‘right’ number. It varies according to a variety of factors, such as industry, search volumes, brand objectives – what works for one company will be completely inappropriate for another. Generally speaking, one main keyword and up to five variations will allow room for creating compelling content that isn’t stuffed full of terms, whilst targeting those all important SERPS.

Let’s say you run a footwear business, and your keyword research suggests you need a bunch of brand pages and some category pages covering things like sportswear, running shoes, hiking boots, dress shoes, light-weight etc. The first three of those keywords could easily be targeted within one category page relating to sport and fitness. It makes sense to target them on the same page, along with variations on each one, so you could easily end up having 25 keywords on the page without it looking weird. For highly competitive terms, you don’t want to spread them too thinly, so you’re better off dedicating individual pages to them.

As a rule of thumb, one or two keywords per page facilitates more natural-sounding content and a more relevant user experience – but you will have to create a much higher volume of content if you want to target multiple keywords. A good strategy in the long-run, but not necessarily in the budget range of a small company’s marketing purse. If you are planning to create at least a couple of pages per week, you might want to generate pages based on individual keywords, which over time will let you cover many longtail keywords.

Your mobile marketing campaign will have a different relationship to keywords. In the world of text marketing, keywords are associated with short codes, those five or six digit numbers used by businesses to communicate with customers. Clearly, with SMS messaging, the number of keywords to use is less of an issue (to find out more about short codes, click here).

Of course, your mobile marketing strategy also needs to take into account browser search terms pertinent to that channel, but ultimately users will end up viewing the same content as they would on a desktop browser. Which brings us full circle to the question, how many keywords should you target on a single page? Answer: it depends. 

June 05, 2014

Increase Sales with Mobile Marketing: Four Key Objectives


When growing a business from the ground up, the main emphasis is on continuous sales growth. Luckily for the modern entrepreneur, mobile marketing has made it easier and more affordable for startups to reach more potential customers. And with an open-and-read rate of more than 95% (within the first few minutes of receipt) SMS messaging is the king of all mobile marketing tactics.

One only need look back a few years to appreciate the monumental growth of mobile marketing as a key driver of leads and sales. Unsurprisingly, the key player here is the smartphone, as it allows both text messaging and data-rich content to be shared on a large scale. In 2010, there were around 60 million smartphones in the United States; by next year, that figure is expected to have trebled and by 2017, analysts forecast some 207 million smartphones will be in circulation. 

In the face of such compelling evidence, can you afford to ignore such a vast untapped marketplace? Probably not. The question is, how do you go about increasing revenues via mobile marketing? What’s the first step, and how do you build on early successes? To help, we’ve compiled a checklist of four key objectives you should achieve in order to make the most of mobile marketing:

Be Ready

Oft-ignored by hungry entrepreneurs eager to grow their fledgling business, market readiness is absolutely essential to the launch of your brand. You might have the most attractive website in your industry, but is it mobile responsive? If not, you risk turning people off before they’ve even had a chance to browse. Remember, more and more people are turning to mobile devices in order to shop, so don’t miss out. 

Have Clear Aims

What are the objectives of your mobile marketing campaign? Why are you doing it? Have you chosen a mobile marketing strategy that befits your company? The more thoroughly you plan, the easier and more fruitful things will be when you take action. 


These days, no marketing strategy is an island. You must integrate every strand of your campaign so it benefits the others. ‘Joined up’ marketing means complementing an SMS messaging campaign with a social media strategy, which in turn links to your main website. Offer discounts for people who sign up to your facebook page, and promise bargains for those who opt in to your SMS contact list. The more balls in the air, the more likely you are to score.

Offer Value

It seems obvious, but many entrepreneurs get caught up in the free-content whirlwind of creating a compelling online brand before discovering that there is very little real-world value to their service. Yes, offer freebies – but make sure it’s always something of real value to the consumer. This is how your build brand loyalty. Countless studies have demonstrated that mobile subscribers respond best to time-limited special offers and exclusives. Equally, don’t overwhelm your contacts with daily offers; as a rule of thumb, set a maximum limit of two messages per month. If nobody opts out, and it jives with your results, you can increase the frequency.

June 03, 2014

Mobile Marketing Tips for Brick and Mortar Retailers


As smartphone adoption approaches maximum market penetration, the concept of ‘mobility’ – and how best to reach consumers on the move - is now the number one concern of most businesses. A few short years ago, traditional brick and mortar retailers viewed mobile as an interesting, but minor, strand of their marketing mix. Now, it’s the lifeblood that fuels their wider marketing strategy. 

According to one recent study, local businesses should be the true beneficiaries of this mass migration to mobile. The research found 79% of smartphone owners and 81% of tablet owners used their device to find information on local businesses. Of those searches, some 80% resulted in a sale, and a staggering 75% of searches ultimately led the customer to head to the store. Not only that, but 50% of searchers were dissatisfied with what they could get via mobile (mostly due to poorly designed websites).

There is clearly a huge portion of shoppers who use mobile devices to browse goods before heading to a brick and mortar outlet to buy. Whether it’s because they don’t fully trust online transactions, or they just prefer dealing face to face with a person, this is a significant market. The question is, how can you best use mobile marketing tactics to tell people about your products or services, and attract them to visit your store? Read our top mobile marketing campaign tips to find out…

Tap-and-Collect Services

A winning marriage of online convenience and real-world customer service, tap-and-collect capabilities have been used to great effect by large retail stores who can’t change their business model, but can adapt to a changing consumer environment. It works like this: consumers browse the retailers’ website, put an item on hold, and head down to the store to pick it up and pay. According to eMarketer report, tap-and-collect is the second most important factor in any transaction (behind only the reassurance that items will be delivered on time).

Store Locator

The importance of a mobile-optimized store locator can’t be stressed enough. Some 70% of smartphone shoppers use store locaters to plan their day out, so you need to be sure your store is visible. Keep the links on the homepage, and if your site isn’t mobile optimized, make sure the link is big enough to click on a smartphone without zooming in.

Click to Call

Click to Call and Click to Map remove vital steps between you and the consumer. The easier you make it for them to get in touch, the less likely they are to look elsewhere. Remember, much of your target audience will be on the move as they look at your website – make it too fiddly to use and you’ll turn them off.

Competitive Conquestion

Location based advertising is expected to keep right on booming. A BIA/Kelsey report indicates that mobile ad revenue from location-based campaigns will reach 52% in 2018 (up from 40% last year). Part of that growth will be predicated on ‘competitive conquesting’, an aggressive marketing strategy that targets consumers who are in close proximity to rival firms. Geo-fencing technology is already being used widely by large retailers, and mobile marketing campaigns that used location-based methods saw an average 8% rise in CTRs compared with those that did not. For competitive conquesting, it’s closer to 12%.

In-store pick up and geo-targeting are both being welcomed with open arms by large sections of the consumer public. If you run retail premises and are concerned about the inexorable rise of online shopping, don’t be. Just update your strategy to include mobile marketing tactics, stay abreast of the latest statistics on shopping habits, and remember that although smartphones and remote purchasing are here to stay, they are not mutually exclusive with a successful brick and mortar set up, and when done right, will actually boost your foot traffic.

May 29, 2014

SEO Strategies to Avoid


Three letters represent the primary focus of any mobile marketing campaign, and have done for around a decade now. SEO. It’s come a long way since then, adapting to an increasingly complex array of strictures and barriers imposed by search engines in order to prevent people gaming the system, but the objective is the same: improve visibility for relevant industry keywords.

The fast pace of change in SEO best practices means that well-intentioned tips published a year ago may actually harm your rankings today. This is not a dilettantes game. To do it right, you need to stay on top of the latest effective strategies and, even more importantly, those tactics that have fallen afoul of Bot Logic. Smart mobile marketing tactics – or ‘white hat’ techniques – will be rewarded for creativity in the shape of increased clicks, impressions and conversions. The ‘black hat’ SEOs that still haunt our online world are fighting a losing battle. When was the last time you saw a link farm on page one for a popular keyword? I’m guessing some time around the turn of the decade.

Trouble is, the misinformed or naïve SEO strategist will be punished as fully as the cynical black hatter. Even if you adopt a mobile marketing strategy in good faith, if Google frowns upon it, you’re done for. It could set your business back months. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of ‘must-avoid’ SEO tactics so you know what not to do…


Reciprocal Links

There is much confusion surrounding the value of reciprocal links. Of course, links from friends, family and business associates are a natural part of entrepreneurship. This is where the ‘link as vote’ analogy is helpful. Think of your business as an election campaign. You can and should reach out to potential ‘voters’ and ask them to support your campaign for success. But if you receive an unsolicited email from someone you’ve never heard of, and they request a link exchange, accepting it would be like associating your ‘candidate’ with the wrong sort of voter. In most cases, such emails will come from sites weighed down by links already, and the greater the link:valuable content is, the lower the value of each additional link becomes. Chances are, if they’ve contacted you (usually via automated software) they stand to benefit from your link much more than you from theirs. Don’t be tempted by offers of dodgy links. Bide your time, and grow your backlinks in a more organic way, and Google will love you forever. 

Peak Keyword

Back in Web 1.0, you could happily stuff a page with keywords, safe in the knowledge that this unsophisticated metric was given credence by search engines. Those days are gone. Now, when Google bots crawl a page crammed with keywords, they will consign that page to the bottom of the results.

Link Overload

Placing relevant links in your article is a key part of creating useful content – but overdo it with extraneous links and you will be stung by the search engines.


Just as link building needs to be done slowly and with great care, commenting on others’ blogs as a way of boosting your online profile can be a positive organic approach. But as with all good SEO practices, you need a rich mixture of tactics to get real results. Even if you’re only leaving comments of value, blog commenting for the sole purpose of building links is nothing less than spam.

May 28, 2014

Mobile Tech Saving Small Businesses Billions

A compelling survey commissioned by AT & T claims small and medium sized businesses in the US have saved $67.5 billion a year by adopting mobile marketing tactics like SMS messaging and mobile coupons. Smartphone targeting has almost achieved full market penetration, with 94% of small businesses using them, up from 85% last year. Smartphones are saving companies 1.24 billion hours and $32.3 billion annually, according to the report.

Other mobile devices are having a similar impact on commerce. Tablets purportedly save $19.6 billion, and a staggering 754.2 million hours annually. Mobile apps have given back close to 600 man hours to small businesses, and saved them $15.6 billion per year.

Clearly, these figures spell fantastic news for budget-conscious startups. Entrepreneurs can now pump that surplus time and cash back into their business to increase productivity and improve customer engagement. Cost-cutting measures are welcomed by any business, of whatever size – but it’s the time saving possibilities that are relished most by survey respondents: 9 out of 10 small businesses who use mobile applications said the principal benefit was reducing man hours, and most of those estimate annual savings of up to $6000. 

Cathy Martine, AT & T’s president of enterprise business solutions said in an accompanying statement:

"In the current economy, mobile technologies are critical to enabling small businesses to save tremendous amounts of time and money by helping them do more with less. As a result, we're seeing more and more small business owners and employees turning to mobile technologies to not only keep them connected but to put them ahead of the curve." 

As a mobile marketing strategy, well-designed apps put brand recognition and awareness firmly in the hands of business owners, allowing them to offer a proprietary tool capable of boosting ROIs without absorbing the long-term costs usually associated with traditional marketing campaigns. The use of mobile apps has increased by 65% in the last two years alone. Some 77% are using multiple apps, and a significant 5% uses 20 or more apps, with GPS and mapping programs comprising the lion’s share.

One of the most striking benefits of mobile apps is the ‘open all hours’ appeal. According to the survey, the average number of days on which business is conducted via smartphone exceeds the average number of days the company is open for business. While small and medium sized businesses are open for an average of 5.7 days per week, close to half of all respondents with smartphones are making deals seven days a week.

The lessons are clear: if you are a small business and you still don’t have a mobile marketing strategy, now is the time to join the party. The results are proven to be fast and affordable, so get with mobile marketing now, and you will feel the benefit before the year is out. 

May 23, 2014

5 Mobile Marketing Don’ts


More and more small businesses are catching on to the manifold benefits of mobile marketing, and 84% of companies that adopt a mobile marketing strategy report an upsurge in sales.

With so many new players in the game, rookie mistakes are inevitable. If you want to avoid some of the more common errors made by mobile marketing newbies, read our top five fails so you know what not to do…

Blocking Mobile Traffic

This is surprisingly common. There’s some kind of screwy logic at play: businesses think that just because they don’t have a mobile version of their site, they should block mobile traffic altogether. Bad idea. Something is better than nothing, and smartphone users are getting increasingly nimble at navigating non-mobile sites on their devices, so don’t cut yourself off from a potentially huge audience.

Failing to Optimize for Mobile Search

That said, you really should be working towards having a fully optimized mobile version of your site, searchable on a mobile phone. Remember, people search very differently on a portable device than they do on a desktop. You can’t simply transfer the keywords you target on desktop browsers to mobile. People tend to search for brands and precise names and locations on mobile, because they’re on the move and have a specific destination in mind. Their searches are also more likely to be location-based. The addendum ‘near me’ is a common prompt in mobile browsers – use it to your advantage. Bear in mind too that long tail key terms like your industry + town/city are much cheaper and easier to rank for, so you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you fail to target them in favor of the big keywords.

Omitting Contact Information

It’s surprising how many people fail to put their address on the homepage. It needs to be easy to spot, and attached to an embedded Google maps link to help them find your store. Similarly, your phone number should be prominently featured and a clickable link. The fewer steps it takes consumers to contact you, the more likely they are to do so.

User Unfriendly Apps

Everyone’s chasing the glitzy prize of their very own app. Problem is, the market is now glutted with sup-par apps that don’t really help anyone. Contrary to our earlier assertion that ‘something is better than nothing’, ill-thought-through apps don’t count. An app download is a much bigger ask of consumers than a quick visit to your website. Unless you’re part of a major organization with the clout and budget to build a good app that works across multiple devices, skip it.

QR Codes

No. They seem attractive because they’re free, but they’ve been ruined by poor execution on the part of many, many businesses. Consumer faith in QR codes has plummeted, and they are now little more than odd relics of the late noughties cluttering up billboards and lampposts around the world. Unless you’ve got some compelling new twist on the concept, leave the QR codes in the past where they belong.



May 21, 2014

Using SMS Messaging to Field Complaints


Dealing with dissatisfied customers is probably the most important part of customer service. After all, theses are people whose business you have already won and upon whom you are basing future projections. Your growth depends on them. You have to get it right.

Until very recently, virtually all customer complaints – in whatever industry – were lodged via phone or mail. These days, many companies have live online agents to help you deal with problems, and the phone complaint lives on, but according to Pew Research, 31% of consumers prefer texting over talking. Another survey found that 75% of consumers would rather text with customer support agent than use social media. But why is SMS messaging so popular with consumers?

A text conversation neatly sidesteps the late 20th century bugbear of negotiating multiple menus and directives to enter personal data when trying to connect with the right person. Web sessions only last for a finite amount of time before timing out – then the whole process has to start again. With SMS, agents can switch seamlessly to a live call if necessary. Moreover, texting is seen as a more intimate method of communication, as it’s associated with conversations between friends and families. 

Text messaging also allows for a trail of communication with clear dates, times and numbers – useful when trying to resolve a particularly complicated dispute.

It’s not just commercial ventures that are latching on to the possibilities of a text-led user service. Local councils and community groups are fielding all sorts of enquiries from members of the public who prefer to communicate this way. In Charlotte, Michigan, local authorities have even opened a text service for citizens to report problems in the region.

So if you’re yet to join the text revolution, consider how much time and resources you could save by making SMS messaging your customers’ first port of call for service needs.