Need a Mobile Marketing Strategy? Don't Go It Alone.

March 15, 2016 • 6 min read

These days, people are reaching for their smartphones when they need something. They want to make the right purchase, right away. The good news for local businesses is that, increasingly, people are happy to buy a product or service from nearby businesses they find through mobile marketing. 

According to a recent study, 78 percent of local mobile searches lead to offline purchases. The same study found that the top local search is for information about a specific business. But, the second most popular search is an eye-opener. People are searching to find any nearby business offering a desired product or service. And there are a lot of people doing those mobile searches.

There were 4.43 billion mobile phone users worldwide in 2015, and that number is forecasted to reach 4.61 billion this year. Mobile users are ready to buy and demanding more from businesses. What sorts of purchases are people making via mobile? Business Insider Intelligence research found that consumers are buying a surprising variety of things, with groceries topping the list. If you’re selling something, there’s a good chance a potential customer is searching to find it locally.


business intelligence mobile sales
courtesy of Business Insider Intelligence

In other words, local businesses have an amazing opportunity to capture new customers through mobile marketing. Now’s the time to get excited about the possibilities. While it is a fairly new tool in the local marketing landscape, mobile marketing is already being used by some small businesses to send relevant messages to consumers, whether that’s through push notifications or mobile ads. Consumers are taking advantage of mobile marketing to enter local competitions and grab coupons. These marketing tactics might explain the rise in the use of the term “near me” in Google Search.

So, is there room for your business in these spontaneous moments? Absolutely, but keep in mind you’re not the only one trying to reach the right audience through mobile marketing. You’re competing with other businesses in your area, especially if you’re operating a competitive business like a restaurant or hotel chain. These competitors are also looking to attract consumers through location-based ads, SMS, push notifications, and other strategies. You need a competitive edge. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to boost your mobile marketing strategy—or even initiate one: work together with the businesses in your area.If you’re familiar with the collaborative marketing approach, then you may already have leveraged the presence of businesses in your neighborhood to reach new audiences. You can use the same approach to leverage mobile marketing. Here are some concrete ways to get started.

  1. Ask Neighbors to Suggest Your Location via Mobile Ads

Growth in mobile ad spend is driven by the consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets. Desktop’s share of ad dollars will continue declining through 2019, while mobile’s share continues to grow. eMarketer predicts that mobile advertising will grow by 38 percent in 2016. The time could not be riper to start promoting your brand via mobile ads.

mobile marketing local search google
courtesy of SearchEngineLand

Find out which businesses in your community (with whom you don’t directly compete) are using mobile marketing to target nearby consumers. Get their feedback on how these ads are working and consider cross-promoting or collaborating with a business that’s doing it well. For instance, if you provide home cleaning services, you could ask a local real estate agent to suggest your business in some of their ads. In return, you could suggest your partner’s services in some of your own mobile ads, or offer an alternative, such as promoting their posts on your social media channels, if you have a significant following.Keep in mind that you can promote each other’s businesses on specific days, too. If you offer a discount on Thursdays, for example, your partner can suggest your location and discount via proximity-based mobile ads every Thursday.  

  1. Be a Part of Your Community’s SMS Marketing Campaign

According to an Experian report, “Millennials come of age: ConsumerSpeak Series,” texting is the second most widely-conducted activity on smartphones. This likely comes as no surprise—there’s a good chance you’re reading this on a mobile that you’ve already used today to text someone. It might surprise you to learn, however, that the popularity of texting crosses all generations, millennials, generation X, boomers, and even the silent generation. That means SMS marketing is a great way to reach a variety of audiences.

mobile marketing ad push notification coupon
courtesy of Ping Mobile

Contacting customers via SMS is also a cost-effective approach to mobile marketing. You can get in touch with businesses that are sending incentives to their customers via mobile text. These incentives could be anything, from free gifts to exclusive information. Customers who receive these SMS have usually signed up for text-based alerts. If you can create a partnership with a neighborhood business that has SMS subscribers seeking products or services in your area, you can piggyback on their campaign to promote your business. For example, a partner could suggest your location or a website-only deal of yours via SMS. In exchange, you might feature your partner in a local contest or event—there’s no reason both ends of the deal need to be mobile-based.

  1. Partner Up for Retargeted Mobile Campaigns

Retargeted mobile campaigns are those in which businesses reconnect with consumers. AdRoll discovered that 54 percent of marketers are retargeting on mobile platforms, reminding consumers about businesses by offering incentives that encourage people to take action. If you’re able to find a few neighbor businesses running retargeting campaigns, you can partner with them to join such campaigns. You might collaborate with another business to increase exposure for your brand or to invite consumers to an upcoming local event that you’ll be hosting.Since mobile ad retargeting is usually done on social media networks, you can work with your partner to leverage the segmentation features offered by Facebook, Twitter and similar platforms to reach the right audience.

facebook segmented ad
courtesy of Facebook

Segmentation allows businesses to customize ads and insert calls-to-action that resonate with their target audience. Remember, it’s better to co-create partnership campaigns so that you can retain some control over the messaging that goes out.

  1. Leverage Your Partner’s QR Code Space

Quick Response (QR) codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can be read by a mobile camera. These codes give you the opportunity to provide the instant information that most consumers expect. After mobile users scan the code, they are directed to a website where they can see store hours, promotional offers, product information, coupons, and even links to a company’s social media pages.QR code usage is highest among those aged 25 to 34, according to the Live Stats and Trends page at These codes are especially appealing to those interested in consumer electronics, so, if you’re a local business in specializing in those products, QR codes could turn out to be a gold mine. Do your own local, real-world search for businesses that are using QR code technology. These codes show up on store windows, t-shirts,

QR codes mobile marketing
courtesy of Divahound

newspapers, printed material, and many other places. After you find potential partners, see if you can get your own QR code placed in their ongoing campaign, in return for featuring your partner(s) in a marketing campaign of your own. 

Final Thoughts

Although mobile is still a relatively new marketing space for small businesses, many are already leveraging it to increase competitiveness and boost revenues. Consider entering into mutually beneficial agreements with neighborhood businesses to spruce up your mobile strategy easily and on the cheap. Mobile co-marketing allows you to attract more eyeballs at a cost that’s relatively low compared to what you’d spend trying to reach prospects directly, on your own.   


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