Small Business Survey Reveals Marketing is Going Mobile

We’ve all heard social media marketing is the next big thing, but AT&T’s latest poll proves it. While word of mouth is still the top way small businesses market their products, modern technology is a growing marketing trend among small businesses.

Nearly 60 percent of small businesses reported to AT&T that they planned to spend more on online marketing than they did in 2011. Particularly notable is the growth in location-based marketing–where small businesses acknowledge that users are now using GPS to find locations “nearby.” This demonstrates the growing popularity of smartphones, which are gradually replacing personal computers as the internet-surfing tool of choice.

What does this mean for your small business? AT&T’s survey revealed an important trend that many of your competitors will likely take advantage of. We recently reported about location-based rating tools, like Taap.it and Yelp. These tools allow your customers to rate your service from a mobile device, which allows other customers to read those reviews from their mobile devices. By revealing these trends, AT&T’s survey will likely open up more small businesses to the importance of these marketing trends, increasing reliance on such things as location-based marketing.

Still, the AT&T survey revealed many small businesses are behind the trends, with 75% of SMBs reporting having a website but only 31% having a mobile-enabled website. This is a problem, since the results of yet ANOTHER study, this one conducted by Morgan Stanley, revealed that by 2015, mobile devices will rule the web-surfing habits of America.

The study, conducted by analysts based on current trends, found that by 2015, mobile devices will overtake desktop internet use. The study also found that Cloud-based software will only increase in popularity as users expect to have access to music, documents, and anything else electronic they own from anywhere.

This means to compete, your small business needs to take a look at how your customers are viewing your content. Younger buyers especially are searching for information via smartphone, likely while en route to your location. But how can your small business take advantage of this new trend, especially if you know very little about mobile marketing?

“In today’s market, small business owners need to maintain a competitive edge, and with a variety of low-cost resources available, small businesses can easily deploy complex marketing campaigns that span all media and audiences,” said Ebrahim Keshavarz, AT&T vice president of Small Business Product Management.  “That’s why we’ve created simple solutions like the AT&T Messaging Toolkit, which enables customized marketing programs that can be shared via multiple mediums at once, whether it be Facebook, SMS, email or more.”

AT&T’s Messaging Toolkit provides SMBs with the ability to easily send special offers and discounts to a large number of mobile users at once, creating an effective mobile marketing campaign without having to pay a marketing expert. Whether your marketing campaign focuses on social media, text messaging, e-mail, or a combination of all of the above, AT&T can help you.

The AT&T toolkit is one of many tools available for small businesses. With so much help available, there’s no need to feel daunted by new technology. But these recent survey results emphasize how important it is that business owners reframe their thinking to keep up with the changing business world…or risk being left behind.

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Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and young adult/middle grade novelist, who worked in information systems for more than a decade. Her first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, will be released by Simon and Schuster in spring 2014. She lives in Nashville with her husband.

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