May 9 2011
Celebrate National Small Business Week by Getting Your Mobile Game On!
By Priya Ramesh (@newpr)
Next week (May 16th-20th) is National Small Business Week. It is a time to celebrate and thank the enormous contributions that small businesses make to keep America running. I started my career in corporate communications and PR with a small technology startup that we took public so I know first-hand the challenges that a small business faces in terms of limited resources and mounting competition. I must admit, you got to be severe type-A with a penchant for success to be a star in the small business arena. Working in a small business environment takes a lot more CREATIVITY and INNOVATIVE THINKING to truly distinguish you from a thousand others. I find the stats below quite fascinating in terms of how much we rely on our small business community to succeed so you and I can enjoy a good lifestyle.
How important are small businesses to the U.S. economy?
In honor of all my friends (entrepreneurs, small business owners, marketers and PR pros working for small firms with limited budgets) who dared to start their own ventures, I would like to bring your attention to something that’s going to be very crucial for your success moving forward, MOBILE MARKETING. Don’t’ let these words scare you, instead just stay with me here for a few more minutes. Think about it, we are all becoming a generation of mobile addicts that simply can’t function without our cellphones. Thanks to the “smart” phone revolution, now we depend on our phones versus the desktop to “find” information. “Browsing” is passé. We are moving into the “find me now” marketing mode where it will be crucial for your customers to “find” you over their smartphones.
AdAge recently carried a story on how Americans are more and more becoming Mobile Shoppers titled, “Soon All Shoppers will be Mobile Shoppers.” Quoting William Rosen, the author of this article, “The entire digital marketing world is quickly converging on mobile — and for good reason. But that reason will ultimately have less to do with avian projectiles and porcine targets, and more to do with mobile’s growing impact on how and why people buy what they buy. That’s because the mobile phone is quickly becoming Americans’ favorite shopping partner.”
So how and where do you get started?
Mobile Website is First but Don’t Just Stop with That: I know a lot of my peers and mobile marketing pundits argue that mobile website isn’t enough but I emphasize, that’s a good start. First, let’s make sure your website is mobile-friendly and that you show up on the mobile search results. One out of three mobile searches is to find a local business. Chances are if your website is NOT mobile-friendly, I am going to the next one, your competitor. A mobile website is easy to build and doesn’t take much to quickly re-purpose key information from your current website (products/services, contact info, pricing, discount offers) and make it mobile-friendly.
Introduce QR Codes to Your Printed Collaterals: If you are spending a good chunk of your marketing dollars on print, make use of Quick Response (QR) Codes on that magazine ad. QR codes can redirect readers to your mobile website, a more engaging video or customer testimonial on your website or even offer a special discount on your products/services. Think of QR Codes as “engagement tools” that help your customers move beyond print to a more engaging venue. I like the example above of a wine retailer using QR Code combined with text messaging on a print ad.
Tread Cautiously with Mobile Apps: According to a recent Pew Internet Study, 82% of U.S. adults are now active cellphone users, 43% now have apps on their phones, and more than two-thirds of them use those apps regularly. In other words, 24% of the U.S. adult population actively uses apps, the study estimates. But the most popular apps continue to revolve around gaming and social networking. Mobile apps can easily range between $50k-$65K depending on its value prop so unless you are sure that your app has high frequency of engagement, I recommend stay away from launching mobile apps that your customer is not going to use on a daily/weekly basis.
Start thinking MOBILE and definitely get started on a strategy that builds your presence on the mobile web but maintain a realistic approach to your mobile marketing plan. I normally wouldn’t promote a client’s event on our blog but this upcoming Livestream on Small Business Mobile Marketing is a good one for you if you have questions around Mobile Marketing in general. CRT/tanaka client, Network Solutions is bringing a really solid panel of speakers who understand the challenges of small business marketing and will share more with you on how to get started with Mobile. You can register here for the FREE live panel on May 17th from 1:30-2:30Pm (EST) http://smbmobile.eventbrite.com/.
In celebration of National Small Business Week next week, I would like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Steve Jobs that applies to every single one of you entrepreneurs out there that followed your dream to “think different”:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Tell us more on how you plan to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to marketing your small business.