ASK SCORE: How can I use mobile marketing to increase sales?

Consumers are busy and need to find information quickly and easily on the go. Mobile devices have made it easier for people to access information at their fingertips. In order to remain competitive, small businesses should have a mobile marketing strategy to reach new customers, generate new sales, and provide information effortlessly.

1. Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly

Consumers are easily frustrated when they access a website that is hard to read and not optimized for mobile devices. One way to make sure a website is accessible on a variety of devices is to use responsive design. Responsive web design is customized coding that ensures your website will automatically change its appearance based on the screen size of the visitor’s device. 

2. Develop a Mobile Application

A mobile application must be downloaded and installed on a mobile device. Mobile applications are available through vendor-specific devices such as Apple’s App Store or Android Market. Using a mobile application can allow more user customization for online shopping, gaming functionality, and the ability to provide complex complications such as online banking. A mobile application is harder to update and more expensive than a mobile website because it requires code updates for operating system platforms.

3. Use SMS to Communicate

Short Message Service (SMS) is a 160-character text message sent to customers using their mobile phone. Text messages are often used to share information on sales and discounts, creating a sense of urgency and prompting action. Businesses can build client lists by requesting customer phone numbers to send text messages in-store, through social media, or via websites. SMS texts have been proven to have eight times the response rate as email marketing. A successful text will identify the business and concisely state what you want the consumer to know or do. There should always be a way for consumers to opt out or stop receiving messages.

4. Improve Local Online Marketing

Customers are often on the go and will search for a place to eat or shop based on their location. Small businesses should submit their information to local online directories including GoogleBingYahoo Local, and YellowPages. Make sure to include a phone number, correct hours of operation, and the best category to describe your type of business. Add pictures of your business so customers will have an idea of what to expect. Encourage clients to provide reviews on Google or Yelp.

5. Social Media Advertising

Social media is a great tool for having conversations and engaging with existing and potentially new customers. Send news and updates to customers via their mobile devices, use a Facebook business page, or create Facebook advertisements. Facebook recently announced product ads, a solution designed to help businesses promote multiple products or their entire product catalog, across all the devices their customers use. Notify users about promotions or create a sponsored tweet using Twitter. Post pictures on Pinterest, a powerful visual virtual pinboard of things that interest your clients. For example Whole Foods developed a Pinterest board for gardening, DIY products, and recipes that may interest consumers. Using social media beyond regular posts can increase sales while letting customers know more about you and your business.

Answer by Rochelle Robinson for SCORE

Rochelle L. Robinson is a digital business strategist focused on helping small businesses develop a strong digital strategy, improve business development efforts, and implement innovative online marketing solutions. | Facebook | @ConsultRochelle More from Rochelle

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