Man and woman using Windows Mobile devices at lunchWith small businesses increasingly embracing social media, the next challenge lies in mobile marketing.  Is it necessary? An evil?  Or maybe a necessary evil?

According to the recently published 5th wave of the Small Business Success Index (SBSI), most small business owners are aware of various mobile marketing activities, including sending text messages to customers about a promotion, listing the company on a location-based website, creating their own mobile website, placing ads on mobile websites, and creating their own apps for their business.   

The question lies in how to effectively use these various activities, or if they’re even worthwhile.

Most business owners consider mobile marketing to be “ahead of its time” (24 percent) for small business or “cutting edge” (36 percent).  Only 15 percent of small business owners believe that mobile marketing would be “extremely” or “very valuable” to their enterprise, and another 20 percent feel it would be “somewhat” valuable.

As a small business owner, I totally understand this.  If you have already invested in a gorgeous, user-friendly website that is generating leads, a blog, an active presence on social media, a newsletter, and an occasional eBook or white paper to share, why should you bother expanding your marketing efforts?

Because mobile is the future and therefore can be considered necessary (or a necessary evil).  Look at the popularity of smart phones.  They’re hardly even phones anymore!  We use them for texting, checking email, conducting research on the web, checking in at location-based websites, taking photos, updating our Facebook status, tweeting, and on and on.

A company with a mobile website has an edge over their competitors who do not.  Let’s say you are a mechanic and your garage’s website is not mobile-friendly. The garage 2 miles away has a mobile-friendly website.  If someone breaks down and needs to get their car fixed quickly, they’ll do a search on their phone while sitting in the car and waiting for the tow truck.  Guess which garage will get to rebuild the car’s transmission?

It comes as no surprise to learn that the most relevant mobile marketing activity is listing a business on a location-based website.  Almost half (48 percent) of owners consider this to be at least somewhat valuable to their business; 19 percent have already done this while 33 percent will have done so in two years if owners carry out their plans.

Additionally, savvy small business owners who were already using social media began using it in a mobile context.  Nearly half (47 percent) use social media to send text messages to customers, while the same number (47 percent) use their mobile devices to respond to other people’s comments on social media sites.

To go back to the question we posed at the beginning of this blog post, mobile marketing is not only necessary, it’s not really that hard to use, either.

The SBSI is based on a survey of small business owners that is conducted every 6 months.  It measures the competitiveness of small businesses compared to larger companies, and it is based on 6 criteria: capital access, marketing/innovation, workforce, customer service, computer technology, and compliance.

Image via Flickr (Creative Commons) by gailjadehamilton


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    • http://twitter.com/Alt2Att Alternative2Attorney

      I’ve recently started my business, and all of the technology is very confusing. I feel like I’m at a huge disadvantage when compared to larger companies in the same field. I just have to take it a step at a time and realize that I can’t be where they are overnight.

    • http://twitter.com/Alt2Att Alternative2Attorney

      I’ve just started my new business and am a bit overwhelmed by all of the technology. It’s frustrating that the larger companies I compete with have so much more to work with. I just have to take it as one step at a time, though.