Mobile Advertising: 5 DIY Tips for Small Businesses

When it comes to digital advertising, small business owners (SMBs) must wade through a lot of industry jargon. Today, they have to make sense of words like SoLoMo, and tomorrow, they’ll be evaluating marketing options with terms such as InstaLikes.

The good news is that if SMBs can look beyond these buzzwords, there are a number of DIY digital advertising options that can help them get new customers and grow their businesses in the burgeoning mobile space. In fact, there are several self-serve ad platforms like Twitter that work with advertisers of all sizes. What’s common among these solutions is that they make it easy for SMBs to go mobile.

Going mobile makes sense now more than ever. According to a recent Borrell Associates Inc. survey, 48% of SMBs said they are “somewhat likely” or “very likely” to incorporate mobile into their advertising spending this year. Yet, navigating the self-service market can be tricky. Here are five tips on what to consider as you make that decision.

1. Go Local

Mobile advertising has opened up a unique opportunity for SMBs. It allows them to target by geo-location and reach people as they’re looking at what’s around them. Even better, advertisers can target customers by zip code, which is particularly useful considering that most purchases are made in the immediate vicinity of one’s home or office. So, when evaluating advertising options, small businesses should choose solutions that allow them to target customers by a location size that is most relevant to their business.

2. Think Beyond the Click

In the online world, Google AdWords has proven to be wildly successful for advertisers. Google launched AdWords so that businesses could pay only for clicks and also create, manage, and optimize campaigns themselves. While there’s no reason the mobile ad industry can’t have its own AdWords, it’s important to note that clicks don’t necessarily work in a mobile world.

A recent Harris Interactive survey proved nearly half of mobile users clicked on a mobile ad by mistake, meaning nearly half of mobile advertising dollars are wasted. In other words, when advertising on mobile, SMBs should be wary of solutions that charge on a cost-per-click basis.

3. Advertise in Mobile Apps

According to Flurry data published earlier this year, time spent on mobile apps is growing, with people spending more than an hour and half per day using them. Meanwhile, they’re spending less time on the mobile web. This data shows that people are becoming more and more engaged with apps. Couple that with a projection by IDC that more than 76.9 billion apps will be downloaded by 2014, and the message is simple: when thinking mobile advertising, think mobile apps.

4. Engage People with Relevant Deals

According to another Harris Interactive survey, almost two-thirds of mobile app users prefer mobile ads that contain coupons, deals, or newsletters over commercial and video ads. So SMBs should try performance-branding solutions that engage people with deals and coupons. For the most impact, ads should also include a strong call to action and stress exclusivity.

5. Integrate Across Various Online Platforms

People use mobile devices to interact with apps, read their emails, and engage with social media sites. This means SMBs should find one tool to engage people and follow-up with activities, such as email marketing, which can help drive in-store purchases, promote online sales, and increase their social footprint.