Mobile marketing is a must for local businesses – and for a good reason. On average, 69% of people use the internet while they are on the go and average 215 minutes a day using mobile apps. Making it no surprise that mobile advertising spend is expected to surpass 240 billion USD by 2021.

While these are all stunning statistics, you may be wondering what this means for local businesses? Well, it’s fairly simple. If you don’t take advantage of mobile marketing, you are missing out on a huge opportunity for your business.

For example, 60% of Google Searches happen on mobile devices –2x more than it was just five years ago –  and 93% of consumers use internet resources to find local businesses making mobile marketing an excellent way to get new customers.

Not sure where to start? By mastering these three essential elements of mobile marketing, your local business can be more successful while spending less time managing marketing tools.

1.  Make Sure Customers Can Find You. Are You on Google Maps?

People are constantly searching for local businesses on their mobile phones, and as we mentioned earlier, much of it happens on Google.

The Challenge: Google maps rankings take into account both organic and paid efforts.

The Opportunity: Most local businesses haven’t done the optimization needed to win for their best keywords, which means you can quickly improve your rankings on Google and the other directories (before your competitors do!).

What You Can Do Now: Get moving now. With a growing number of searches happening locally (and most of them occurring on mobile), there is tremendous value in optimizing your online directories such as Google My Business.

Of all the directories out there, Google My Business is by far one of the most important. So if you haven’t already – open a new browser window, type your business address into Google, and claim it now.

When optimizing your listings, be sure to include all the categories you want to be searched for, incorporate keywords in your descriptions and add information to EVERY possible section. The more accurate information you have filled out, the more likely Google will factor your business into searches relevant to your keywords and location.

PRO TIP: Run our free GMB audit to see how your profile ranks.

2.  Get in Front of Your Ideal Customers with Mobile Ads

Most business owners have a pretty darn good idea of who their best customers are, where many of them come from and what most of them have in common.  For local businesses, the answer to where their customers come from is “nearby.” More than 90% of consumers make most of their purchases within 15 minutes of home or work.

The Challenge: Most local businesses haven’t had much experience running mobile ads or targeting specific consumer groups online. Running successful ads is a little more complex than other forms of digital marketing. Businesses that aren’t working with marketing partners can miss out on the opportunities that well-orchestrated ads provide.

The Opportunity: Targeting capabilities have changed significantly due to the Apple iOS  updates. However, there are still hundreds of ways you can narrow down your audience, allowing you to target specific groups. And small businesses who take advantage of ad targeting are likely to see their ad conversions (someone clicking, calling, liking, or showing up to your business) increase dramatically.

What I Should Do Next: Mobile ad campaigns can be quite complicated to set up and manage (especially since they should be monitored and adjusted while running to improve performance). Still, a few solutions can help simplify things.

Find a trusted partner to guide you and assist in experimenting with a small mobile ad budget to see what works best for you.

Set targets for your campaigns and make sure they can be measured. For example, you could promote an offer or discount and track its performance to the point where the user gives their email or other contact info.

Marketing partners like Vivial are well versed in marketing metrics. We utilize a wide breadth of data, such as trends in our clients’ industries and what has worked well for customers in comparable markets, to help our clients set realistic goals for their mobile marketing campaigns.

3.  Optimize Your Website for Mobile

First, all businesses need a website – 30% of consumers won’t even consider a company that doesn’t have a website. And 40% of them won’t engage with a website if it isn’t mobile-friendly.

The Challenge: If your website wasn’t built with mobile in mind, you either have to rebuild it with a “responsive design” (i.e., one website whose design responds to the device’s form factor) or create a separate mobile version you have to maintain.  If you have a Flash website (like many restaurants), it’s time to rebuild. New websites can be expensive and time-consuming, but it might be the right time. If you create a mobile website separately, make sure to map the desktop and mobile pages so that Google looks more favorably on your site when considering it in search results.

The Opportunity: Mobile traffic is officially dominating the web – and that isn’t forecast to change anytime soon (and it’s not ever expected to go back to desktop). Having a mobile website improves your local search engine optimization (SEO) for mobile searches and provides a better experience for customers looking to learn more about your business. A mobile website also gives your business a web-savvy and professional look. It’s refreshing to find the information you need without squinting or zooming, something we have to do when viewing a desktop-only website on a mobile device.

What I Should Do Next: Transition to a mobile-optimized website! Make sure it focuses on key information that a consumer would want to know about your products or services. Ensure there are always clear actions for visitors to take, like calling your business, getting directions, giving you their email address, following you on social media, or making a purchase.

When determining what content should be visible on your mobile site, it’s important to find a good balance between giving users just enough information and including enough of the right information Google needs to determine if your site is relevant. You also want to make sure not to overwhelm site visitors with too much content. Take out the fluff and make it quick and easy for them to find what they’re looking for.

If this is starting to sound like a lot, don’t worry. Consider enlisting the help of a marketing agency to transfer your current site or even build a new one quickly and efficiently. Not sure if your website is mobile-friendly? Reach out to one of our Digital Experts for a free consultation!