Are You Reaching the Smartphone Army?

mobile payments are going mainstream with Google wallet and othersLocal businesses take note.

A recent study showed 92% of Americans have a cell phone. I suspect it’s closer to 98%.

What’s fascinating in terms of your profits is mobile users now spend 33% of their media time on their smart phones and only 25% of their media time watching television.

This means they prefer this “always on media” of their mobile phones over having to be at home watching TV.

This is just further evidence your local business must be mobile optimized and have a mobile app.

As I’ve reported before “Flurry found that the average user now spends 9% more time using mobile apps than the Internet.”

And it’s a staggering 91% surge for time spent in mobile apps in 2011. This growth trend is only going to continue.

Mobile search

So mobile search is important. Because mobile web browsing and search especially for local businesses is going to increase.

Mobile apps

Mobile apps clearly must be a part of your small business marketing strategy because of these numbers. This is where your customers are and prefer to be.

Mobile payments

Smartphone users are warming to the idea of paying on their mobile phone.

There’s a proliferation of mobile payment solutions with some being one click simple and easy-to-use. Their ease-of-use will only grow.

What exactly does this mean?

Users will simply be able to scan their smart phone over the register at their favorite stores very soon. In Japan people already swipe their smart phones in the subway to pay their subway toll.

Here’s more from business to community:

1. Discounts and promotions can apply automatically.

With the touch of a button or swipe of a finger, mobile e-consumers can purchase anything, from anywhere, at anytime. The global marketplace is literally in the palm of their hands (or, at least, in their pockets). What marketing potential does this provide?

For starters, you can lure customers with discounts and promotions that apply automatically. Last fall, Google Wallet helped guide people to two dollar smoothies. Other companies are jumping onto the bandwagon, with retailers like American Eagle, Office Max, and Toys ‘R’ Us offering discounts to shoppers using the Google Wallet app.

Who knows? Purchases motivated by mobile payment discounts may become the 21st century version of the impulse buy. My prediction is that businesses will begin to partner with credit card companies to offer mobile discounts See Chase’s email below for an example of some personalized offers already in effect:

The possibilities are dizzying. Use your imagination or your small business marketing agency to do location-based promotions and coupons for immediate effect.

Where do you see the mobile payment world going?

If you’re hesitant to embrace this technology what’s your main concern?

Put your quick blurbs in the comments because I vow to read and respond to you. This lively conversation could garner many small business owners huge profit increases.

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Mobile Marketing Action Tracking Leads to Higher Profits

mobile marketing -- you must capture the action's mobile device users take within your mobile marketing campaignsConsumers are using their smartphones more than ever for everything from finding directions, to finding hot nearby restaurants while they’re driving, to comparison-shopping once they’re already inside the store.

In this economy everyone wants to save money and if they can get it cheaper online you can bet your bottom dollar they will.

So you’ve got to be competitive with the online superstores and retailers.

Popular apps that people use are Yelp and YPMobile. Yelp is the local review site where your business must have a listing and positive reviews.

Yellow Pages was smart to make a mobile app because nobody reads the big bulky Yellow Pages phonebook anymore. And their website isn’t very useful either. So their mobile app is their last, best hope.

Mobile friendly content

This means displaying big buttons. Having twitter like text where you get right to the point in as few words as possible is also extremely important when displaying content on mobile devices.

Track mobile ad responses

Where did they click? Did they use your click to call feature? Did they click on your map?

Knowing these things will help you better allocate your mobile ad spend.

Tip: calls generated from mobile ads are the highest response mechanisms right now. So make getting phone calls a high priority in your mobile advertising campaigns.

Mobile app Vs mobile browser users

Mobile browser users present more of a challenge because they’re normally less loyal having just found you from a search ad. So you must have more irresistible offers to get them to engage with you.

Get their contact e-mail or cell phone number so you can re-engage.

Alternatively, tell them about the benefits of downloading your mobile app which is probably the best solution of all.

Full story on marketing land:

Call measurement is valuable for measuring response based on mobile ad type, geographic region, distribution partner, etc. This is especially important for service-based businesses that involve booking appointments or placing inquiries. However, don’t forget to widen the net to track volume of clicks on maps/driving directions, hours of operation, coupons, and other relevant actionable items, as these types of information could be meaningful for other kinds of businesses like gas stations or coffee shops, where someone may go straight to the location rather than placing a call.

All response types should be categorized — e.g., smartphone vs. tablet, mobile browser vs. mobile app, display vs. search ad, geographic region and specific distribution partner — to determine whether ad spend and ad copy are generating intended results.

Segment Mobile Browser Vs. App Users

Taking the mobile browser vs. mobile app user comparison a step further, it’s important to consider that each of these audiences behaves differently. For the mobile browser user crowd, take the time to assess particular click patterns within mobile search ads and whether their engagement resulted in a call or other purchase-related actions. Also track the ad pages where users tend to end their visit and assess whether users are navigating through the ad content as effectively as possible.

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Rating Mobile Marketing Agencies

With the shift to mobile marketing happening more each day it’s important as a small business owner to stay ahead of this trend.

By getting out in front of the mobile marketing tidal wave you position your business to be #1 in your category.

Otherwise one of your competitors will take this exalted spot leaving only the scraps for you and the rest of the businesses in the market. This is not an indictment merely a statement of fact from research done by the authors of The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. (You can easily find this book on Amazon)

The agencies which rated at the top of the mobile marketing heap, at least in the United States, are:

- SapientNitro
- AKQA
- Ogilvy
- TribalDDB
- Razorfish

Here’s more from the story on mobile marketer:

The research company evaluated the agencies based on 37 criteria. The report details Forrester’s findings about how each agency measures up and plots where they stand in relation to each other, to help interactive marketers select the right partner for their mobile marketing efforts.

“Much has been written about the rapid pace of consumer adoption of the mobile Internet,” Forrester says in the report. “In fact, Forrester forecasts that the number of mobile Internet users will grow at an average of 9 percent year over year for the next five years.

“In response to this growth, nearly half of the interactive marketers we surveyed told us they planned to increase their mobile marketing budgets in 201,” the report says.

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QR Code Marketing Tips for Local Businesses

QR Codes are already massively popular overseas in Europe and Japan as well as other countries. They are gaining steam in mobile marketing campaign popularity here in the US.

I recommend you include them on the front of your receipt at the bottom as well as on the back of your receipts prominently displayed. Make it easier for customers who buy from you to see and scan your barcode.

This opens a wonderfully limitless world of possibilities for you. You could direct them to an upsell.

You could direct them to the sales page for them joining your VIP mobile text list. Or for joining your e-mail list.

Or you could direct them to a page selling them on the benefits of downloading your mobile app. Mobile apps are the wave of the future and going to be a main communication channel for businesses going forward.

Smart phone users are consuming their favorite and featured content through mobile apps from their preferred providers.

Obviously, your barcode must direct to a mobile friendly page on your website. If the displays sucks on a smart phone size screen you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

Also, keep it very simple with smart phones. You’re not asking them for 10 different fields of information.

The 2 things I recommend you stick with when using QR codes (or any mobile marketing campaign) to direct them to a mobile friendly landing page are:

1. mobile phone number — incentivize them to join your VIP mobile text list

2. e-mail list — incentivize them to enter their e-mail joining your e-mail customer list.

Don’t get cute with these or they’ll abandon it. It’s all about context and relevancy with mobile as I’ve written about here.

Make it simple and easy for them so they’ll take the action you desire from them.

Also, keep in mind it has to be usable. How useful is having a QR code on a billboard where people are driving by at 65 mph?

So you can have your QR codes prominently displayed in your store location and any printed materials where people actually have the ability to scan them with their smartphone.

Just ask yourself, “would it be practical and easy for me to scan this QR code using my smartphone?”

When the answer to this question is “yes” that’s probably a good place for you to have your QR code printed on. Other than that don’t do it.

There are some horror stories about this as you can read in this excerpt below:

Here’s an example of why I hate them: The other night I picked up a pizza at a local restaurant. There was a QR code on the box, and when I scanned it with my iPhone, it opened a web page that gave me “the opportunity” to join the restaurant’s e-mail list. There were two problems with that. First, the page gave me no incentive to hand over my personal information, other than a vague reference to possible “specials.” (Really? I thought. What’s in it for me?) Second, the page had about 10 minuscule fields to complete (my e-mail, full name, address, etc.). Have you ever tried to fill out a form like that on an iPhone? Even if I had wanted to give them my information, they made it difficult. Why make your customer work so hard?

You may have seen other silly efforts. Recently, a code I scanned on an in-store poster linked to the homepage of (doh!) a non-mobile-friendly site. Bad placement abounds, too: Have you noticed QR codes on billboards or the backs of shampoo bottles? Unless you pull over on the expressway or shower with your device, this is far from optimal.

Use common sense with QR codes and you’ll have good results.

Remember context and relevancy in all your mobile marketing campaign efforts. And always, always, always use thumb friendly landing pages when doing any mobile advertising campaigns.

Are you using mobile marketing or QR codes yet in your business?

Leave me any comments or questions below and I promise to read and respond to them.

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Use Augmented Reality in Your Small Business?

Small business Augmented reality technology is not something from Star Wars or the Star Trek universe. It’s here today.

There’s lots of experiments going on over in Europe. And the technology is surely being researched here in the US as well.

Basically, it’s about being more contextually relevant to mobile users. The technology is certainly going to remain in mobile devices though not the ones you’re thinking of.

Developers are currently working on glasses you’ll wear. No word yet whether they’ll be sunglass style or reading glass style.

They’ll use this mobile augmented reality technology to send you relevant messages as you’re passing stores and out and about in your daily life.

It’ll base this on data you’ve already given about products purchased and interests you have.

It’ll use this data to hopefully bring relevant new information to your attention.

The cool thing is that if you don’t have to go seek it out. It brings stuff you’re interested to you automatically. This has very cool possibilities.

I won’t go into the full technology here but you can read the story at business review:


PUSH AND PULL AUGMENTED REALITY

A common misconception is that augmented reality is simply technology which allows users to hold their smartphone or tablet up to something and it produces an image on screen. In fact, as we have seen from the example above, it’s about so much more than that; simply put, it is augmenting the space within which the user is currently in; animating, illustrating and enhancing their reality.

Pull augmented reality is where we are today – the user needs to seek the technology themselves to discover information, however as demonstrated above augmented reality could be much smarter than this. Imagine leaving work and walking to the underground when suddenly you get a notification stating that the train you always get on has been delayed, but not to worry, your favourite coffee shop is just around the corner, there is a deal on your favourite drink and actually your good friend has also been delayed and is in the area. That level of information is called push augmented reality; its augmenting the street scene you are in right now with unsolicited information which is of genuine benefit to you. As Blakeslee confirms, “If my interests and location are known and I am provided with information which is useful to me at that given moment, then that is valuable to me. This is where push augmented reality will come into its own; when it’s personalised.”

They are even developing some eyeglasses which would be contact lens size. Imagine walking into a party or any in person event and seeing lots of new people. It’s likely you’ve met some of these people.

But wait, “What’s that person’s name again?”

The lenses could tell you.

That person would think you remembered their name not knowing the augmented reality technology did so for you. This can be very powerful when building relationships and rapport with people.

So it’s uses aren’t just confined to advertising and marketing purposes.

What do you think about this new technology? Leave your comments below because I pledge to read and respond to them.

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Holes in Your Marketing? Creative Small Business Twists

Other small businesses routinely miss so many opportunities to bring in more revenue and profits. You’re in the “get money” stage so why not take full advantage?

In almost every small business I look at there are holes in their marketing funnel. And with any business there is always room for improvement.

So here are a few ideas which stand out for me:

1. Instant strategic e-mails – e-mail visitors who abandon your shopping cart or website before taking the action you want them to take.

This is a simple idea which gives them another chance when they’re hottest about your business and brand to take that specified action. You can even tweak it so that if they didn’t like your previous offer you present a slightly different offer or maybe ask them to share your content on Facebook or twitter.

Though it’s simple so many businesses aren’t doing it. This gaping hole in their marketing means an opportunity for you.

2. Text marketing

I’ve covered this a couple different times because it’s that important. It’s happening right now and it’s the wave of the future.

I’ve read 97% of all texts are opened with in one hour. You must have this communication channel with your customers open.

3. Competition spying

Spy on what your competition is doing. Even go so far as to purchase their product and go through their entire marketing funnel so you can see all of their communications.

What are they missing?

Going through this process will cost you some money to invest in their products and also cost you some time investment. But what it can reveal about how you can model what they’re doing to improve your own marketing process is priceless.

Maybe even more priceless is you can see where the holes are in their marketing funnel and capitalize massively on those in your own small business.

4. Hosting a local meet up

I’ve mentioned meetup.com a few times because it’s that powerful. It’s the world’s leading site for organizing local in-person events.

Being the host will allow you to meet people you probably never would have met otherwise. Just do it because your business will grow because of it.

Here’s the full 8 creative ideas from entrepreneur:

6. Referral rewards. This one’s an oldie but goodie that’s still around because it works. Let customers know you’ll pay them $100 if they send you a customer, and turn your customers into your marketing team on the cheap.

7. Simplify. Remember that too many marketing messages confuse customers, especially as you spread them across various social-media channels. Try to pare down to three choices in all aspects of your marketing, from how many fonts you use to how many times you follow up.

8. Make it musical. Does your company have a theme song? A musical jingle you could share? Use tools such as Spotify to share a musical message with prospects.

What 1 specific thing did you test out which worked fantastically well? What 1 specific thing failed miserably?

I pledge to read and respond to your comments below.

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Just How Powerful Is the “Mobile Army”?

If you’ve dabbled with mobile websites or done a mobile app you’re ahead of the game compared to other small business owners. It’s likely you’ll trounce your other local business competitors in your market.

This forward thinking has only given you a temporary advantage though.

Now you’ve got to capitalize further and put so much distance between you and your competitors chasing you there’s simply no way they can catch up. So we get into the next frontier which is mobile pay per click.

Other than local apps mobile search is surging in popularity and growth. As smartphones continue to penetrate more of the marketplace mobile search is only going to become that much more important.

And it’s estimated well over half of all mobile searches are done for local shops and local area products. This could be a boon for your small business if you capitalize.

Here’s the key take away from the article and this is a statistic straight from Google… 70% of all searches done on mobile devices result in someone taking action/buying within 1 hour. Only 30% of all searches done on desktops or laptops result in someone taking action within 1 hour.

The other concept we talked about with mobile is context. Keep this in mind when you’re thinking up key words a customer will type into their smart phone or iPad tablet when they’re on the go.

As this Google stat shows they’re looking to take immediate action so they don’t want any fluff or filler. You can get away with just giving them the facts and no back story.

You can employ Minimal emotional triggers and still be successful because of the mobile context.

The other thing you’ll want to do is make sure you drop them on a mobile optimized specific Landing page for each ad.

Remember context and relevancy are the 2 most important things and mobile users have the least tolerance for things which aren’t specific to them.

Here’s an excerpt from the article on Mashable:

Here are some tips to get a head start on what works and what doesn’t work in mobile paid search.

1. Focus on Your Product, Not Your Company
# A common mistake many people make when writing their first paid search ad is focusing on their company instead of the product. In paid search, people aren’t buying your company – they’re buying your product (preferably at some sort of discount). For example, Valentine’s Day Specials would be a product-focused ad. Peachtree Road Florist is a company-focused ad, which is not as effective.

2. Provide Benefits in the Body Copy
# Your ad should help people understand why your product or service is exactly what they’re looking for. Focus on the benefits of purchasing your specific product or service, not on a generic, fluffy description.

3. Include a Call-to-Action
# Research shows that ads perform better when there’s a specific call-to-action in the copy. Be sure to have a sense of urgency – you’ll receive better results if you give people a deadline.

4. Develop a Mobile Landing Page, Not Your Homepage

How is mobile affecting your business? Is mobile just a hoax ahead of its time for your business?

Leave your comments below because I promise to respond to you.

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