Guide Your Customers With Local, Mobile Marketing

  •    Megan is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com’s platinum membership program helps small businesses grow on the web.

As I’ve watched small business and online marketers over the last several months and talked to them about their plans for this year two important movements become clear. In 2015, savvy marketers will:

  • Refuse to jump on every marketing bandwagon that pulls up to the curb, and
  • Examine/test all the different strategies available to boost mobile and local marketing.

I want to take a little more time with my second point, so I’m just going to summarize my first point.

For a long time, SEO was king of the hill. That was replaced by content marketing. Email marketing has also had its time in the spot light. Facebook ads have generated a lot of interest. And for some, automated CRM was greeted as the “end all” in online marketing.

In 2015, we will see these blended in new ways and businesses will shift their focus as they search for “sweet spots.” However, the value of all of these strategies will be recognized. By the way, old-timey strategies like direct mail will also get new attention.

While the power of some of these marketing strategies has been greatly exaggerated, data indicate that local marketing on mobile devices is truly a winning combination. This is especially true in retail. You could consider a strong local marketing campaign combined with the right mobile device apps/website as a personal shopper leading customers to your front door. And because of the success in this marketing realm, the tactics, strategies, hardware are quickly evolving. Here are some essentials you need to understand.

Local SEO

The cycle for everything in commerce goes like this: Something starts small. Everyone gets into the game and what was a niche, mushrooms into a phenomena. Finally, the market begins to consolidate the strongest players are left. The elements that contribute to local SEO are in the “mushroom” cycle, and this is certainly true with local citations. That’s why some businesses sign up for services for local citation management. By the way, your website needs to be super friendly to mobile devices.

Apps

If you can develop an app for your business and get it into the hands of your customers, you’re golden…as long as the app is useful enough not to get deleted in one of those screen decluttering purges we do every so often. If you can have location services and push notifications enabled, you’re really onto something very powerful. You know that those push messages almost always grab our eye immediately.

Text Message (SMS) Marketing

For many retail operations, if they can get as few as a dozen customers to sign up for text messages, it can be profitable. Again, we look at nearly every text message within a few minutes of receiving it. As with your own app, you need to give your customers value in exchange for their giving you permission to text them.

In-Store Promotions

Creative use of Quick Response (QR) codes in your place of business, especially retail establishments and restaurants, can boost immediate sales and also contribute to your greater social media marketing success. Being able to get added information, such as customer reviews, can significantly increase the probability of a sale.

Beacons

We’re seeing a lot of interest in beacon marketing and it’s being led by Apple’s iBeacon. Because most shopping is done indoors, there can be a problem with cellphone and GPS signals. Beacons can be an inexpensive solution to this problem. They communicate to mobile devices via Bluetooth to send messages such as flash sales. Today you can’t get any more local or mobile than this.

Although the day for New Year’s resolutions is gone, if you depend on local business, let me suggest one thing for your 2015 to-do list: Study up on local and mobile marketing as if your business life depends on it…because it probably does.

Image: Public domain