Note: This is a guest post from Kristen Gramigna, Chief Marketing Officer of BluePay.
You may think that using mobile technology for your business is just for “the big guys” — but you’d be mistaken. Small and local businesses can benefit greatly by entering the mobile realm. Many of your current and potential customers are carrying a smartphone with them at all times. What better way to reach them than on a device they already depend on daily?
Here are a few ways you can move your business into the mobile market.
Make your website mobile-friendly
Make sure your website is easy to navigate on a mobile device. Last year, Google published a study that found 84 percent of smartphone shoppers use their phones while in the store. Many small businesses don’t realize that what looks great on a desktop or laptop screen does not provide the best experience on a smartphone. It’s annoying for people on the go to have to zoom in and out to see links or images on a website that is simply shrunk to fit a small screen. Create a new layout for the mobile interface that makes your location and hours easy to find. Also include a click-to-call button — people accessing your mobile site are probably out and about and won’t want to stop to jot down your number.
Accept mobile payments
It’s no longer news that the smartphone could be on its way to replacing cash and credit cards as a payment method. The more types of payment you accept, the more you widen your potential customer base. Make transactions easier by getting set up for mobile payments. You can use a smartphone or tablet to complete point-of-sale checkouts and eliminate the need for bulky cash registers and large counters. Find a credit card processing company that can provide you with customizable options for your business, and make sure you are compliant with Payment Card Industry security standards.
Take advantage of social networks
Word of mouth is a great way to gain a following, and with social media it’s easier than ever for your customers to make referrals. Have people check services such as Foursquare when they arrive at your business. Link your site with Twitter and Facebook so your followers can see your latest news or special promotions. If you’re a restaurant or retail store, sign up for Pinterest or Instagram and post appealing pictures of your products.
Consider text message marketing
An SMS (text message) marketing campaign can be an effective mobile strategy for small businesses. People almost always read their text messages, more so than their emails. Advertise that you offer mobile-only deals or promotions to get customers to opt in to receive text updates. When you write the messages, keep it simple and clear — you don’t room to write a lot, so include a link to your mobile website or your Facebook page where they can learn more about the promotion. This type of marketing puts you immediately into customers’ hands, whether they’re at home, at work or out shopping.
Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay (http://www.bluepay.com), offering mobile credit card processing services. She brings more than 15 years of experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management, and marketing to BluePay and also serves on its Board of Directors.