Millions of consumers nationwide now use their smartphones for all kinds of things beyond texting and interacting on social media, and in this way, it might be possible for small business owners to increase their companies' reach in their local communities.
When it comes to mobile devices, consumers are now using them to search for all sorts of local options when it comes to things they may want to buy or do, and in this way, small businesses in particular may be able to get an edge in their marketplace, according to a report from USA Today. Data from the Mobile Marketing Association shows that the amount of money spent on just ads specifically targeted for mobile devices rose 69 percent last year to a total of $6.7 billion. That number is expected to balloon again this year to $10.46 billion.
"Local merchants have a better opportunity on mobile, in part because they can craft it to fit their business," Greg Stuart, the chief executive officer for the MMA, told the newspaper. "Most consumers only go about half a mile for dry cleaners."
This new trend in mobile advertising may be particularly important because consumers who search for local businesses on their home computers may find a large lack of specificity to their areas, with results showing potentially hundreds of businesses, all of which are in their general areas, before they find the ones that are actually closest to them, the report said. By having more localized results, and advertisements for specific areas to draw them in, consumers and small businesses alike may benefit from this new technology.
Specific ways to take advantage of these trends
There are also important things that small businesses need to keep in mind when tailoring these mobile ads, the report said. For instance, they should do all they can to improve their own websites, as well as profiles that may exist on third-party destinations. For instance, a spokesman for the business rating site Yelp told the newspaper that users tend to look at the pages for companies that have photos on them than if they are left blank. This may be important with regard to mobile because nearly half of all people who visit to the site are using its smartphone or tablet app to do so.
Further, consumers tend to be turned off by "busy" ads that have a lot of text or graphics, meaning that simpler is often better in these instances, the report said. Many of the most successful ads also bring up an option that allows consumers to call the businesses right away when they are clicked, and for this reason it might be wise for businesses to go to the expense of installing a second phone line that is mobile-only, as a means of determining just how effective their online adds have been.
When concentrating on mobile ads, it's also important to keep in mind that consumers love to use social media platforms on their smartphones, and as such, it might be wise to be heavily involved in Facebook, Twitter, or the check-in service Foursquare, the report said. Offering unique deals or discounts through these platforms may be another way in which small businesses can boost business using mobile, sometimes without the cost of advertising.
Owners trying to increase their reach in their communities and expand may also want to evaluate their costs for small business insurance policies that are necessary to running their companies. Coverage including general liability insurance may become more expensive in the event that businesses become bigger.