With the advancement of mobile technology in recent years, developers and marketers are really having to up their game to stay ahead of the curve. A one size fits all policy towards customer relations is no longer appropriate, especially for small businesses, and potential clients are expecting services which are personalized to them through the use of mobile technology, social media, and appropriate app usage. As a result of the vast quantities of data that organizations now have at their fingertips, customers are now targeted with more adverts than they ever have been, even ads which are tailored specifically to their interests and locations, and “banner blindness” is a term on the lips of many marketing specialists – that is, specifically when adverts are so prolific they lose their impact altogether. This leaves a huge space in marketing, and smaller companies now need to interact with potential customers on a far more individualized basis in order to set themselves apart from huge conglomerates who are using increasingly more elaborate and invasive marketing techniques. Is your small business making the most of the mobile technology to interact with potential customers on a far more personalized basis, creating a service which is both accessible and attractive?
Play the social media game
Without spending any serious money on marketing, a startup has the world and all its potential future customers at its fingertips with social media. A free Facebook business page which is well managed can reach thousands of people in your local area or specific field, and when you start to pay the prices for sponsored advertising, your reach is stretched even further. It is reported that 91% of American adults have a cell phone, and a majority of them are on social media, so advertising through those streams really is the way to go. Your Facebook page should be responsive, both to public posts and private messages, full of interesting content, and kept up to date. Facebook is doing a lot at the moment for its business pages, including the development of bots of private messaging, business marketplaces, and even sponsored video content.
Twitter is another platform which should be appropriately utilized by any company, big or small. Interacting frequently with other users within the sector helps to establish a reputation within the industry, and any new follower is a potential future customer, so keep your content inoffensive, directed, and engaging. If you’re in the process of building up a base of followers, try to keep a blog section on your website. Not only will this help your blog with its SEO, so it is ranked higher in search engine results, but it will also help to establish your company as an expert in the field. It gives you something to share frequently on your social media platforms, and if your content is good, you’ll soon start to see other users from within interested industries sharing your content too – free advertising! Keep your blog posts fairly short, between 500 and 1000 words, well written with correct grammar and spelling, but most of all, interesting. Try to look for unique angles by which you can approach topics, and keep the content engaging. A good, well-managed blog is one of the best ways to establish yourself and your company as trustworthy and expert.
Any company not playing the social media game in this day and age is missing out on huge swathes of free advertising, engagement with the public, and potential customers. It’s an absolute must.
Get yourself an app
Any customer interaction that can be done through a web page can be directed through a purpose-built app, which will streamline processes and allow for an efficient service. This also gives you more control over product placement, customer engagement, and helps to guarantee consumer loyalty and repeat service. This app could simply be a marketplace for a product or service, something which should utilize the latest online payment technologies such as Apple Pay, but it can be so much more. Using the app to interact with customers on a regular basis, and to encourage them to interact among themselves, almost like you might use social media, creates a strong community and repeat custom. Embedding a live stream SDK in the app allows you and your customers to demonstrate the use of a product or service, and strengthens the sense of community surrounding your company. It’s a great way to create a more personalized product for the customer, to humanize your business in their eyes, and therefore gain a reputation as trustworthy, something any startup should be aiming for.
Make sure your website it mobile friendly
If your company’s website is not mobile friendly, then it needs making so, fast. More than 50% of e-commerce is now done via mobile phone, as well as company research and shopping around. If these potential customers are unable to access a suitable version of your web page, chances are they’re not going to shop with you. That could be 50% of your target audience, if not more, that you’re accidentally alienating. Keeping your mobile web page straightforward, with all the useful information easily accessible, and which displays well on a small screen, increases the likelihood that a customer will return to your website – there’s nothing worse than trying to use a poorly formatted web page on a cell phone.
Mobile commerce guarantees income
As previously stated, over 50% of e-commerce is now done via a mobile phone or tablet, as opposed to a laptop or computer. If you’re selling a product, don’t limit it to real-life interactions and computer commerce – it’s time to embrace mobile shopping. Your website needs to be accessible and easy to understand, with an obvious separate page for online shopping. The web form needs to be self-explanatory, straightforward, and simple to use, and all cancellation and returns policies need to be clearly and openly listed. Closing off your company to mobile shoppers could be losing you serious money, so it’s important to get this right.
More companies are now taking advantage of Facebook Marketplace for mobile commerce. It helps to draw the connection between mobile social media users, and the e-commerce world, without any expensive advertising. It helps you to reach out to people in the local area easier than websites such as eBay and Craigslist, and allows interaction with your company page too. After a few teething problems, including baby hedgehogs and some more distasteful sales, it looks like Marketplace is here to stay, and it’s got a huge customer base to draw from, which is perfect for small startups.
Act with immediacy
We’ve become an impatient species. When we used to send letters by snail mail and wait for a fortnight for a reply, we’ve become used to almost immediate responses when we engage with anyone online now. Getting upset because a friend hasn’t replied to a message is one thing, but when a business takes its time to reply to Facebook inquiries and emails, it can start to lose customers – people want answers and fast. Facebook’s business pages now rate companies on the speed of their reply and advertise these speeds to potential customers, so it’s worth keeping your Facebook business page on your own smartphone to aid you in speedily replying to inquiries. If a customer can’t trust you to respond to queries with a sense of urgency, they’re going to find it more difficult to trust you in a business transaction too. Speed, cordiality, and usefulness of replies are all crucial when communicating with a customer.
Engaging with mobile phone technology is the future of marketing for owners of all businesses, big or small, so it’s best to get ahead of the game and start now.