5 Ways Small Business Owners Can Mobilize Their Marketing

Today's consumers are more mobile-dependent than ever before. In fact, according to Pew Internet, 91 percent of American adults own a cell phone, 56 percent own a smartphone and 35 percent of Americans over the age of 16 own a tablet. Mobility has become an integral part of our culture with users checking email, shopping online, and visiting social media sites from their mobile devices. The momentum shows no signs of slowing down, making it all the more important for small businesses to target customers through mobile. Below are 5 tips for small business owners to mobilize their marketing strategies.

Big Ideas for the Small Screen. Consumers use mobile devices to research and look up businesses. It is critical to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile screens. Avoid the use of heavy graphics that slow down page loading times, or navigation that is difficult to use from a small screen. Ensure that your site is optimized for mobile with the use of a responsive design - a design that adapts to the device; dynamic serving or adaptive design - serves different content based on the visitor's user agent or with a separate mobile site.

Txt 2 Sell. Create a mobile opt-in program that allows users to sign up for daily or weekly specials via text message. Tap into the on-the-go urgency of mobile users by offering time or quantity limited specials, such as "only 5 left" or "available for 48 hours only." You can also use text in the same way as email marketing by previewing new products or services or giving a first look at special offers. Be judicious in how often you text and don't rely on text speak.

Avoid Goldilocks Syndrome. A campaign that is not tailored to fit mobile users can have your customers feeling like Goldilocks sitting in Papa Bear's seat. Create campaigns specifically for mobile users that are "just right." Use mobile apps and mobile coupons to drive users to your products and services. Have mobile specific landing pages that include a click to call feature to make it easy for users to take advantage of a call to action. Use Google Mobile Ads to get your ad in front of mobile and smartphone users.

Don't Go Off the Grid. Make sure that your mobile site is discoverable by customers who may be searching. Add your mobile (or mobile responsive) site to Google Places. Take advantage of the robust profile to include complete business information and photos. Ninety one percent of local searchers say they use Facebook to find local businesses online. Ensure that you can be found by trying "Facebook Nearby" on a mobile device. Make sure that your information is accurate and up to date including the map and directions. Be sure to keep your Facebook business page up to date as well.

Add Social to Your Mobile Strategy. Amplify your mobile strategy with the real-time value of social media. Accessing social media sites is the number one activity of mobile users. Engage mobile users on social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram and Vine with relevant content and images. Leverage location based services like Foursquare and Facebook to encourage check-ins to your locations.

For today's small business owner, mobile is no longer an optional strategy but critical to reach customers and prospects. Mobile device usage will continue to grow and small businesses must be prepared to compete on the small screen or get left behind.