Mobile marketing is a must for local businesses – and for good reason. On average, 69% of the time people spend consuming media is spent on smartphones. 68% of people say they check their mobile phones within the first 15 minutes of their day. Mobile data usage has been doubling every year. And mobile advertising is going to increase 20x in the next 4 years!

These are all stunning statistics, but what does this all mean to a local business? Well, local searches are growing 50% faster than mobile searches – so, mobile is what everyone is talking about, but local has the biggest opportunity to capitalize on these trends.

The bottom line for local businesses is that mobile marketing is an excellent way to get new customers:

  1. Be found by your customers (and potential ones!) when they’re searching on mobile
  2. Drive new customers with mobile ads/offers more cost effectively
  3. Have a mobile-optimized website that gets customers to the right information quickly

By mastering these 3 essential elements of mobile marketing, local businesses can be more successful while spending less time managing marketing tools.

1. Make Sure Customers Can Find You. Are You on the Map?

People are constantly searching for local businesses on their mobile phones and much of it happens on Google – Almost 95% of mobile searches occur 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 very 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 a majority of searches now happening on mobile), there is tremendous value in optimizing for the map. Run a free directory report here. Find and optimize as many directories as you can. At Vivial, we get our clients optimized on over 100 different directories with a combined reach of hundreds of millions of consumers.

Of all the directories that you should get your business set up on, Google My Business is by far the most important. If you haven’t already – open a new browser window, type your business address into Google and claim it now. When you get down to optimizing it, be sure to include all the categories you want to be searched for, use keywords in your descriptions and add information to EVERY possible section. The more accurate information you have filled out, the more likely Google will be to factor your business into results for searches relevant to your keywords and location.

2. Target Your Most Likely Customers with Mobile Ads and Targeting

Most business owners have a pretty darn good idea 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 ads successfully requires a little more savvy and experience 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 been rapidly improving over the last few years on most of the major online platforms. That means the ability to target specific groups – and for small businesses who really know who their customers are, the likelihood of seeing their ads convert (someone clicking, calling, liking or showing up to your business) goes way up.

What I Should Do Next: Mobile ad campaigns can be quite complicated to set up and to manage (especially since they can be changed while they are running as real-time data is reviewed), but there are a few solutions that can help simplify things. Find a trusted partner to help and experiment with a small mobile ad budget to see if it works for you.

Set targets for your campaigns and make sure they can be measured. You could put out an offer or discount and track its performance all the way to the point where the user gives their email or other contact info. In many cases just looking at the number of clicks and ad gets is a great metric to go by – especially when viewed against how much money you spend – your cost per click (CPC). You could also make your goal to get more followers on social or subscribers to your email list.

Marketing partners like Vivial are well versed in marketing metrics. We look at everything from what we are seeing in the markets our clients operating in, what we want the goals of different ads to be and use that to determine what results we expect to drive in mobile marketing campaigns.

3. Mobile Optimize Your Website So Customers Can Get the Info They Need

First, all business need a website – 30% of consumers won’t even consider a business that doesn’t have a website. In the past year alone, websites in the United States have seen a 20% increase in mobile’s share of online sessions. Websites need to be optimized for mobile – because mobile is where we are headed.

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 form factor of the device) 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 do 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 be able 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: Build a mobile-optimized website! Make sure your mobile website focuses on key information that a consumer would want to know about your products or services. Make sure 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.

Strike a great balance between giving visitors just enough information (so as to not overwhelm and to make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for), but also be sure to include enough of the right information you need for Google to find your site relevant!

If this is starting to sound like a lot – don’t worry – websites are something that you can work with a marketing partner on too. Even if your website only needs to be one page, if it is optimized it will get the job done and contribute positively to your search rankings.