Even a short year ago, it would have been impossible to predict the success of smart phones or the impact that they would have on our society. It is no longer unusual for a person to be completely dependent on their phone for email access, social networking, and even locating businesses. When savvy modern people want to find an ice cream shop or a barber, they turn to their phone. As you can imagine, this has huge implications for the way you run your small business.
First and most obviously, the smart phone revolution has changed the type of small business we are seeing in the technology field. A variety of phone apps provides relevant location services, encourages customers to try new products at stores they are entering, and offers special deals to customers who are near key advertisers. Some even provide time sensitive special deals for businesses near their current location, while will create a sense of urgency in a market that might otherwise pass them by. These small businesses are capitalizing on the fact that smart phones can track not just their owner’s shopping habits, but their owner’s precise location at that moment in time. Many local small businesses are contracting with these companies to offer special deals that build and solidify their customer base.
Second, the use of smart phones makes it all the more necessary to market your business in a way that reaches out to customers using this hip new medium. When even ten percent of your market is using a particular form of technology to get business information, it is important to begin dabbling in it yourself. Because technology such as this tends to grow exponentially (until it is replaced by a new technology, that is), you may miss out on a substantial amount of current and future sales by choosing to ignore it.
Third, small businesses should maintain their marketing through more traditional channels such as print ads, the internet, and telephone. This will prevent alienating the substantial portion of your customer base that has not yet become part of the smart phone revolution. While it may feel that you are being pulled in a variety of directions, a well rounded marketing plan is essential to success in the modern market.
Last, track your success using smart phone apps and other new technologies for marketing. If smart phones are bringing in a large percentage of new customers, put more of your energy into marketing through. If they seem promising but just aren’t bringing in results, consider using a new advertising company or otherwise changing your approach. If any type of marketing seems largely unsuccessful, then move on to marketing strategies that have been proven to work.
Keeping up with trends may feel silly and unnecessary, but it is an important part of small business success. As a savvy small business owner, you need to identify the venues your customers are using to find businesses like yours and then place yourself prominently on these venues. Constant change and innovation are the hallmarks that set small businesses apart from larger, more established ones, so don’t be afraid to try new ways of building your business.