How mobile marketing can help your customers

As people depend on their smartphones more and more to access email and information, many small companies are concluding that it is time to use these new mobile tools to reach out to their busy customers and prospects.

First consider how you can help existing customers before worrying about generating new leads. Ask yourself, "How can I use a smartphone to make my customers' lives better and more convenient?" Here are a few ways you can do so.

Mobile directories

Upgrade your company's pages on directory and review sites such as Google Places, Bing Local, Yahoo Local, and White Pages.

This is where mobile searchers who already know you go to find the facts. Make sure they'll find your location, offerings, directions, and any special discounts or deals you want to offer.

Mobile version of your website

You can pay someone to develop a mobile version of your site or you can tap mobile landing page builders- a simple Google search will reveal a variety of mobile site designers.

The reason you need a mobile version in addition to your existing site? Try navigating your site on a smartphone and you'll see what a customer is up against. Most sites are too slow and too complex for the tiny screen.

Also, when people are visiting your site while traveling or shopping, their goals are quite different than when they are sitting at a desk looking at a computer. Detailed content and picture galleries are not a priority; hours of operation, products, menus, schedules, and contact information are.

For instance, clients of a consulting business will more likely prefer industry headlines and conference schedules when they are on the move.

And remember, speed matters. You can make certain pages on your site particularly easy to access when they are viewed with a mobile browser. 

Text Messaging

People use text on their phones more than they browse the Web. For instance, you can text information about a time-sensitive sale to build loyalty among your most frequent customers.

In-Store Promotions

Gadget-happy people like to use their smartphones whenever they can; so offer them special information via mobile as they are standing in your store or showroom. You can post a merchandise display with a simple URL.

When shoppers or clients go to that site, they'll get interesting, customised content about the item they are looking at. For example, a bike shop can offer in-store mobile users a variety of local routes where they can try out their new bikes.

After you master new ways to help your existing customers via mobile phones, you can take that knowledge and apply it to attracting new customers. You've learned what phone-happy people want and you know how to give it to them in a convenient way. In your next marketing pitch, you can welcome prospects to try your mobile services with confidence.

By Joan Voight of All Business

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