Why mobile marketing can be your SME’s best friend

Updated on 24 June 2016

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Why mobile marketing can be your SME's best friend

Most of us still tend to think of mobile marketing as the territory of large corporations.

When we read that Coca-Cola is the mobile marketer of the year and hear of top Google executives saying that mobile marketing is outstripping all predictions, one tends to believe that mobile marketing is the preserve of the very biggest.

This perception is reinforced because mobile marketing strategies can sound very confusing when brand managers start throwing around seemingly inaccessible acronyms from CPC (cost per click) to USSD (unstructured supplementary data) that sound like concepts only MegaCorp Plc could afford.

The perception that mobile marketing is blue chip domain is simply wrong. The customisable and personalised nature of the technology, combined with granular and highly-visual analysis tools that any small business owner can easily understand, means it is well-suited to small and medium-sized firms.

With the above in mind, let’s take a look at some mobile marketing tips specifically designed for SMEs keen on embarking on mobile campaigns. Perhaps these helpful hints can play some small part in the boosting small business sector that is often described as the engine of our economy.

1. Is your SME ready for mobile marketing?

The most basic starting advice we can offer is for the small business owner to properly assess whether the firm is, in fact, ready for mobile.

There’s no sense in driving consumers to your mobile brand if a properly-designed and all-encompassing mobile experience hasn’t been designed in partnership with a reputable strategic mobile marketing provider.

2. A mobile-friendly version of your website is key

Another thing the SME needs to do in terms of laying down essential mobile marketing groundwork is to build a mobile-friendly (or .mobi) version of its website. Proportionally, far greater numbers of South Africans access the web via smart phones and feature phones, as opposed to laptops and desktops. So you need a site that looks great on the small screen or risk frustrating potential customers and losing them in the process.

3. SMS-based mobile marketing must offer something personal and special

​SMEs need to ensure that they take full advantage of the advantages offered by text message-based mobile marketing. Text ads need to be properly-designed to achieve maximum bang-per-buck for cash-strapped small business. According to CIO.com, any text message sent to a mobile shopper must offer something worthy of the very personal interruption.

Research by mShopper.com shows that mobile subscribers respond best to specials that are limited-quantity (Only 10 left!) or limited-time (48 hours only!), as well as those that offer exclusive information (We’ve just launched a new product!). This is excellent advice worth bearing in mind by the small business owner.

Finally, possibly the best mobile marketing tactic for the SME is simply capturing cellphone numbers of potential customers. This, of course, has to be done in a responsible way so as not to eventually amount to spamming mobile users. We’ve seen examples of database-building that are as simple as a gym offering local residents the chance to win a free membership by texting a keyword to either a short code number or a salesperson’s own mobile number. By electing to give away its own product or service – as opposed to a random gift – the SME is attracting potential clients who value what it provides in the marketplace.

South African SMEs contribute almost two-thirds to the country’s total employment statistics, according to the Journal of the Global Accounting Alliance. Because mobile marketing enables the minimum of spending wastage, it means it is well-suited to the smaller start-up on a tight budget – and can thus play a positive role in our economy to boot.

About the author: Herman Cremer is the Chief Officer (South Africa) of InTarget Mobile Advertising.

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