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Mobile & Digital

2015 will be the Year of the Real-Time Small Business Mobile Marketer

With 2015 fast approaching, Constant Contact®, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTCT) shares predictions on what lies ahead for small businesses in the New Year. Mobile will be a dominating factor, as small businesses aggressively accelerate their mobile marketing and take advantage of an uber-local approach to better compete against national competitors.

“2015 will mark the year that mobile devices will become the marketing tool of choice for small businesses”

Small Business Wins the “Local” War

In a web-based world, businesses were battling to win the search war – a war that small businesses, with small budgets, would never win. In 2015, it’s about being found locally, and geo-targeting will make it possible for small businesses to win the local war. The merging of social and mobile channels is allowing small businesses to grow in new ways. Mobile technology continues to be creatively woven into social networking, such as photo geo-tagging on Instagram and Facebook®’s “Nearby Friends” feature. More than 70 percent of social activity is happening on a mobile device and the idea of “nearby” is embedded into every experience, making it possible for small businesses to capture the attention of consumers as they walk by their storefront.

Small Businesses as “Real-Time” Mobile Marketers

With social media channels such as Facebook limiting organic reach for businesses in favor of promoted posts, small businesses will continue to rely heavily on email, which is emerging as the one channel a small business can “own” – controlling the content, who it is sent to, and when it is sent. While many reported its impending death, email marketing continues to grow (in fact, Constant Contact recorded its largest email send day on Cyber Monday 2014, when it sent more than 365,000,000 emails). When coupled with the fact that more than half of all emails are read on a mobile device, it is easy to appreciate how well this longstanding marketing channel adapts to newer technologies.

“2015 will mark the year that mobile devices will become the marketing tool of choice for small businesses,” said Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact. “They will seamlessly create and track their email and social media campaigns right on their mobile devices, while simultaneously reaping the benefits of mobile search. As they see the benefits of creating campaigns ‘on-the-go,’ the level of marketing that time-starved small business owners conduct on their mobile devices will soar.”

Mobile marketing also provides more authentic reasons to engage with the consumer, which is where small businesses excel, and they will exploit this advantage in 2015 in the simplest of ways.

When an unexpected snowfall occurs, the local diner can use their smartphone to take a photo of their homemade beef stew and include it in an email inviting people to come in and enjoy a warm bite on a snowy day. A local commercial real estate agent can tweet a picture of a just-listed property on Main Street. Where small businesses can be spontaneous and post timely content on what’s going on right now, a national store is more removed from local happenings and often has to navigate an approvals process. With their ability to be nimble and develop authentic customer relationships, small businesses can achieve greater context with their mobile marketing – and context (delivering the right message, at the right time, to the right people) will rule the day.

Device Technology Cracks the Context Code

While mobile device screen sizes shrink (think smart watches and other wearables) user context will grow. Smartphone apps like Google Now™ (the Google equivalent of Siri®) will further advance local search with predictive search capabilities, sharing results with users by taking into account user location, previous searches, and social circles/reviews to deliver search results outside of a typical search listing. These advances, coupled with the proliferation of wearables, make local SEO all the more important for small businesses. They will need to have a mobile version of their website and ensure that their information is listed accurately across search engines, as well as ratings and review sites.

Small Businesses Hold Off on Mobile Payments

This is one area of the mobile arena where small businesses will take a “wait and see” approach in 2015. While there is a lot of buzz around the transformative potential of Apple Pay™ and Google Wallet™, the reality is that both need adoption by small businesses to be successful. Small businesses account for more than half of all U.S. sales and they are not typically early adopters of new technologies. Square, PayPal Here, Intuit Go Payment, and others have made it very easy for small businesses to take credit cards, so until customers start demanding the convenience and added security of mobile payment services, or the impact of the pending late 2015 mandate shifting the liability for fraudulent credit card purchases from the card issuer to the merchant is felt, small businesses will stick with the payments methods they currently have.

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