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Mobile Matters

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Boosting Your Digital Marketing Without Blowing Your Budget

by: | June 8, 2011

Here’s a question all small business owners should ponder: Are you operating on the same technological wavelength as your customers? Are you sure?

Chances are you may not be quite so tech-savvy as you think – if anything, the typical consumer is significantly outpacing the average SMB (small and medium businesses) as online and mobile services become an increasingly integral element of contemporary American life. Consider that Internet penetration in the U.S. now exceeds 77 percent, however, a recent survey conducted by Ad-ology Research reports that just 64 percent of SMBs have their own website, up from a shockingly low 53 percent in 2010. And try this on for size: Wireless penetration in the U.S. tops 93 percent, with smartphone users surpassing 61.5 million – however, Forrester Research reports that just a third of companies have had a mobile strategy in place for more than a year, and 45 percent are only now waking up to the mobile opportunity.

Here’s another question for small business owners to chew on: Are you operating on the same technological wavelength as your competitors? Are you ahead of the digital curve, or behind it? The months ahead will separate the leaders from the laggards. More than 36 percent of SMBs plan to dedicate increased resources to mobile advertising in 2011, up from 21 percent a year ago, Ad-ology reports. Regardless of platform, almost half of SMB owners will hike their overall ad spending this year, compared to 29 percent in 2010. And if you’re among the half of small businesses without the resources to boost your advertising budget in 2011, then exploring the mobile channel becomes even more imperative: providers of SMB-focused mobile marketing solutions (like Fanminder) offer unlimited plans starting as low as $25 a month – roughly as much as a week’s worth of Starbucks lattes. Any SMB can afford that level of investment, even if other digital marketing initiatives are priced out of reach.

Another alternative: Mobile e-mail marketing. The Ad-ology survey indicates that traditional websites and email remain SMBs’ preferred channels for digital marketing, but according to digital research firm comScore, 30 percent of U.S. wireless subscribers now access e-mail via mobile devices, up 36 percent over the previous year – the trend corresponds with a 6-percent year-over-year decline in conventional desktop-based e-mail access. Forward-thinking SMBs must begin crafting customer e-mails tailored for both desktop and mobile access – that means brief, to-the-point missives, with clear, concise calls to action. Make sure your logo and relevant information are above the fold. And while many smartphones (including the iPhone) render HTML correctly, most handsets still don’t – accommodate those customers by offering a text-only option, incorporating a link to this mobile-optimized version at the top of your message. Most of all, keep it simple.Marketing Zeus

Of course, it isn’t quite so simple as just that. Next week’s column will explore the larger complexities of effective mobile e-mail marketing. Stay tuned.

Posted in: B2B, Banner/Display, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Development, Mobile Matters

About the Writer:

Jason Ankeny is the executive editor of the FierceMobileContent and FierceDeveloper e-newsletters as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and the website All Music Guide. Additional credits include efforts for publications including Rolling Stone, Wax Poetics and No Depression, along with liner notes for a number of album releases. He lives in Chicago.

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