Mobile Marketing - A Guide for Small Business

What is Mobile Marketing?

It has never been so easy for businesses to keep in touch with their customers whenever and wherever they choose. Smart phones, for example, are increasingly common, with 52% of Australians owning one - a figure which is expected to rise by a further 10 million by 2015.

Mobile marketing taps into the ubiquitous nature of mobile phones to stay in touch with consumers wherever they go. It's a massive opportunity for advertisers and brands, who can reach their customers in more ways than ever before. Here are just a few examples:

Text message marketing- communicating brand messages, special offers or advertisements via SMS.

Multimedia messaging services - the ability to send pictures and video via MMS.

Mobile search marketing - targeted search results based on the user's location.

Mobile display advertising - the ability to display banner ads and rich media on a mobile phone.

Mobile video advertising - interactive videos and animations which can be displayed on a small screen.

Mobile applications - ranging from e-commerce to information services, mobile applications make executing a task via mobile phone simple.

Mobile bar codes - otherwise known as QR or 2D codes, mobile bar codes embedded in a magazine or display board can be scanned into a mobile phone to lead the user directly to specific, trackable online content.

How Mobile Marketing has increased.

Mobile bar codes (or QR codes) are already in use in 136 countries around the world and mobile web is expected to reach nearly 2 billion users by 2015. This is a growing industry that is already seeing results - already, one third of consumers shop online via mobile rather than on a computer or in person.

QR codes are an increasingly popular way of providing on-the-spot information about products, brands or promotions. In some countries, 50% of Smartphone users have an application capable of reading QR codes. It is this ability to provide immediate information that can encourage consumers to convert - by making it easy to make a purchase, find out about a promotion or sign up for an event.

The impacts for small and medium sized businesses

Many businesses are successfully using mobile marketing to launch, manage and assess their advertising campaigns. But is this new way of marketing limited to companies with a large team of expert marketers in-house, or can it be embraced by smaller businesses too?

For small businesses operating on a local level, mobile marketing can be great for securing business from customers in the local area, thanks to location-based searches.

How much does mobile marketing cost?

Compared to above-the-line advertising channels such as TV and radio, or print marketing in magazines and newspapers, mobile marketing is inexpensive. That's not to say that certain campaigns won't cost - building a mobile-ready website or developing an augmented reality application for example won't come cheap.

However, it's possible to set up an SMS or QR code campaign on a relatively small budget, and with marketing as flexible and multi-faceted as mobile marketing, there will always be options to suit lower budgets.

It's usually possible to run various mobile channels either as a fixed, regular cost or a pay-per-service, depending on the scope, timescale and size of your campaign.

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