You are a smart business owner. You were on Twitter back in 2008; you have a Facebook brand page; you offer check-in deals through Foursquare; you have considered advertising with Living Social and Groupon; and your reviews on Yelp and Google Places are stellar. Yup, you’ve dominated this whole digital marketing thing so far.
Then comes the curve-ball: Mobile. Everyone is checking their phone all the time… including you. And you want to get in front of those eyeballs, thumbswipes and Angry Birds. So what can you do to “Go Mobile” like a Boss?
Save your money (like a boss) and try these seven things to put in make your business Go Mobile and be the envy of the town:
1. Claim your Business and your Location.
With smart-phones, a consumer searching for a hardware store will automatically be shown the nearest hardware stores relative to the GPS-enabled device in the consumer’s hand. That means, you want to be sure your physical facility shows up (even if your office is just the location for people to call).
So what can you do to be “found”? It’s pretty simple really – just be sure that you visit each site such as Yelp, Bing, Yahoo Local, Google Places, Foursquare, and Facebook and “claim” your business and it’s location.
Mobile searches have grown 400 percent since 2010, according to Google. And when they find you on their phone – consumers visit (59%) or they call you (61%).
So, be sure you can be found. And that means make sure that website you initially launched back in 2000 is accessible by mobile phones or “mobile optimized.” How do you “Go Mobile”? Well, there are lots of new and reasonably priced tools to help make your site mobile-optimized. But before you plunk down any money, check out Google’s “GoMo” site that has a testing tool and resources to help businesses with their websites.
3. Make your coupons “mobile.”
Have you ever been in line at a store and seen a store clerk refuse to honor a coupon on someone’s mobile phone. Claiming “no, you need to print that before I can accept it” just sets the consumer off even more.
Don’t be that business. The days of “clipping coupons” has come and gone. Now most consumers would simple prefer to open an email or webpage with your coupon, flash it to you on their smart phone and get the discount. Make it clear that showing the coupon on your phone is sufficient and consumers will thank you for being “mobile-friendly” and you’ll avoid that awkward confrontation with your store clerks.
4. Monitor your reviews.
Did you know that 81% of consumers say they read reviews before making a purchase? And 51% of consumers say they use the Internet IN SHOPS before making a purchase. And if you have a bevy of negative reviews or poor feedback, that consumer may decide to shop, eat, drink or pay somewhere else.
The first step to keep tabs on your reviews is to set a Google Alert (alerts.google.com) for the name of your business. Watch for any reviews, postings or other news that you might need to address. And find out the review-focused sites people use regularly to review your business: Google Places, Yelp, and Angie’s List. For a more detailed tracking service, try Reputation.com for Business that monitors and provides real-time alerts for your business.
5. Talk to your customers.
Guess what? Consumers want to talk with and hear from brands they like. 43% of consumers “like” at least one brand on Facebook. 53% of individuals with a Twitter account recommend products or services in their tweets. And more and more consumers are using social media on the go.
Both Facebook and Twitter are free to setup and utilize – so schedule time daily to engage. Put links to your accounts on the web and in your facility (if you have a physical location). And talk to your customers: respond to questions or concerns, and consider offering deals for fans or followers. And the most important lesson: talk like a human not a brand. Consumers want to engage with a person (especially the person(s) behind the brand). Remember, as consumers are out and about, they are talking to you, about you and with you – so be a part of the conversation.
You can manage most of these conversations using the standard Facebook or Twitter platforms, but if you want something more advanced try Hootsuite which can help you manage your efforts, schedule messages or track conversations from a single interface.
6. Be Able to Take Money Wherever you Are.
Quick, how much cash do you have in your wallet? Enough to buy something over $100? Over $50? Over $20? People are becoming more reliant on credit cards for all of their transactions. So rather than force someone to run to the nearest ATM (and pay the enormous fee for withdrawing from a non-bank ATM), consider taking payment right on your mobile device.
It’s easier than you thought these days with services like Square, (squareup.com) or Intuit GoPayment (gopayment.com) providing a device that plugs into most smart phones to take a credit card on the spot. And new technologies are coming along to allow you to pay without needing any hardware at all.
7. Tried Text Messages?
According to the Pew Foundation, 73% of cell phone users, utilize the text messaging function on their phones. And 44% of Americans have opted into at least one text messaging marketing campaign. So, why not share deals, information and updates with your customers via text.
For a simple guide to get started with SMS Marketing, check out the Beginner’s Guide to SMS Marketing by Tatango.
This year, with more people expected to be using mobile than ever before, business owners must think about how they can interact with these potential customers. With a few simple actions and activities, any business can “go mobile” to create a positive environment for their customers, leads and partners.
Eric is the co-founder and COO of Zaarly. Zaarly is a real-time mobile marketplace that provides tools for small-businesses and consumers to transact right from their mobile devices. For more information or to sign-up for SMB mobile alerts, visit www.zaarly.com/business.