Though their budgets may be limited, small business owners are pouring their time and money into social media and mobile marketing efforts.
To take advantage of the benefits of social and mobile marketing, small business owners are taking a number of steps to integrate those efforts into their marketing plans. A new eMarketer report based on research by Constant Contact found that more than 70 percent of small business owners use both social media and email marketing at their businesses. Forty-four percent of businesses also advertise through social platforms.
Business owners are also using mobile devices as tools in the operation of their businesses. Eighteen percent of business owners said they use smartphones or tablets as a point-of-sale system at their business. The same number of business owners also said they use mobile apps to manage workers at their business. [Read related article: Email Marketing: A Small Business Guide]
Additionally, more than one in three business owners said they are targeting customers with a mobile-optimized website. Those websites — which are designed to provide a better experience for customers using smartphones — include many important features, the eMarketer study found.
First and foremost, 70 percent of mobile-optimized websites are social media enabled, and more than 40 percent include either a menu or individual product postings to better inform customers. Other features of mobile-optimized websites include video integration, payment processing and location-based services. Businesses also add customer reviews and reservation booking in their optimized sites.
However, not all business owners are jumping at the opportunity to integrate social and mobile efforts into their business. More than half of the businesses surveyed said they have not adopted mobile marketing techniques because customers are not interested in mobile communication. Companies that have not implemented mobile payment options also said they have not done so due to a lack of customer interest.
"Just because small businesses’ customers are not giving voice to a demand for mobile technology doesn’t mean that it isn’t there," the eMarketer report said. "Smaller firms, especially, can be hurt by failing to cater to mobile users, whose searches are closely linked to a hunger for local information."