More and more small businesses are coming to the same realization that larger organizations have come to-digital marketing works, daresay, even necessary. As more consumer dollars move online and consumers rely on the web as their go-to tool for finding businesses, paying bills, and buying things, small businesses are looking to see how digital media can work for them, according to AT&T’s 2013 Small Business Technology Poll.
In its annual national survey of 1,000 small businesses (i.e., those with two to 99 employees), AT&T found that two-thirds (66 percent) of small businesses planned to increase spending on online marketing with a preference for inexpensive solutions, particularly email and social media:
- 41 percent of small businesses polled are using email to market to customers. This is a 25 percent jump over the year before.
- To promote awareness of their business and connect with others in the industry, 36 percent said they use LinkedIn, a 16 percent increase from 2012.
- A whopping 85 percent of small businesses said they used smartphones in their operations.
Small businesses are learning that it doesn’t take much to boost business and foot traffic by using simple and cost-effective digital tools. The following is a shortlist of must-have digital marketing tactics to get your small business off the ground in today’s wired world:
Mobile website. It’s no surprise that Internet usage on mobile devices is ever-increasing. We take our smartphones and tablets everywhere we go: coffee shops, bed, and … the bathroom. Their diminutive size is probably their greatest strength-but also their greatest weakness. Looking at a website designed for a 20-inch monitor can be a pain on a 4-inch screen. Thank goodness for mobile-optimized websites. Today’s web technology can detect if your visitor is looking at your website on a mobile device and switch to your mobile website (provided that you created one), like a mobile sign-up page, which makes it much easier for your customers to enter their information and join your email list.
Mobile email. Just as people are surfing the web on their mobile phones, they’re also checking their email on the go. Not only that, the email open rate on mobile, which is growing strong at 43 percent, beats desktop’s 32 percent and webmail’s 25 percent. Small businesses can adjust to this shift in email viewing habits by optimizing their marketing emails for mobile screens. Most email marketing providers can help you easily do this when you send campaigns through their platforms. Check out this handy chart to see what average open and click-through rates are for your industry.
Mobile text. Boasting open rates of over 90 percent, mobile text offers businesses unparalleled access to customers. That’s because people trust their text-message inboxes to be clean and free of spam, thanks to strict industry regulations that punish offenders. To send an SMS or MMS message to your customers, they must opt in, explicitly stating that they wish to receive messages from you. With just the right balance of timing, message, and care (i.e., Don’t flood them with messages at 3 a.m. in the morning!), you can grow a highly engaged customer base.
Mobile coupons. Why pay full price? That’s the unwritten motto of shoppers everywhere. The problem is that coupons are made of paper, are usually small, and regularly get lost. Enter mobile coupons. Safely stored on your mobile phone as either a mobile-text message or email, there’s almost no way to lose it unless you manually delete it. Plus, because they can be sent and received at any time, businesses can practically boost traffic on demand. If weekday lunchtimes are slow for a restaurant, they can promote their lower lunch prices by blasting out a mobile coupon within minutes.
With just these four basic digital marketing tools, you can quickly see significant benefits to your business. Then, once you’ve gotten a handle on these tactics, you can move on to create an even more sophisticated and powerful marketing campaign at relatively low cost with today’s other exciting technologies, like QR codes, voting, and social media. Success is just a click away!