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Do you remember when the cell phone came out?  Not being an early adopter by nature I laughed at the idea.  “I mean who really needs to talk on the phone and drive at the same time?” I thought it was crazy!!  Since then I’ve changed my mind and so has most of America. Cell phone use has grown exponentially.  It’s estimated that over 250 million people, or 93% of men and women in America own a cell phone.   And it’s predicted that the cell phone will be the world’s primary tool to connect to the Internet in less than 10 years!   With that in mind, it’s crazy not to be thinking of using the cell phone to market your business.  Here are some ideas that you can try:

1.       Text message marketing:

The beauty of text messages is that consumers voluntarily sign up!  Restaurants and retail stores can text special offers, coupons, or discounts.  Service-related businesses can send text-message appointment reminders.

The key to successful text message marketing is urgency. Expiration dates and offers need to be short lived.  Don’t send a coupon that expires in a day; send one that expires that day.    Text to win campaigns are popular.  So are text trivia contests.  Realtors or high end retailers can use text messages to deliver product details to customers who request it.  Some text messaging providers include:  BoomText., and HipCricket

2.         Get Recommended on Popular Apps:

The I-Phone store has over 65,000 applications to purchase and counting; and for good reason, people are buying them.  Last year over 1.5 billion apps were downloaded!  There’s an app for everything you can think of. And now, with the launch of the new Google Nexus One and the Motorola Droid phone, there’s even more opportunity for apps.  So how can you market your business with an app?  Well you can start the easy way, make sure your business is visible (and recommended) on the most popular apps for shopping, geolocation or reviews.

Here is an example:

Foursquare is a mobile phone application (game) available for both the I-Phone and the Android that says, “We’re all about helping you find new ways to explore the city.” Foursquare is a cross between a friend-finder, a social city-guide and a game that rewards you for doing interesting things. Members “check in” each time they visit a location and receive points based on how many times they’ve been there before or whether it’s the first check in of the day.    Members can also give tips about where they checked in and can become a “Mayor” of a certain location if they’ve been there more than anyone else.  Many restaurants will offer “mayor” specials such as a free cup of coffee or special discount to the latest “Mayor” of their venue.

Some others:,, Google Maps (Near Me Now), Google Local, Google Places Directory,

3.         Build Your Own App:

An app can be as simple or as complicated as you like. For example, GPShopper is an application created for Best Buy which connects avid gamers to Best Buy products and promotions. This application features Weekly Deals, search, customer reviews, product details, and a store locator.  I-Phone applications require approval from Apple first.  And you’ll need to hire a programmer, or a least be one, to get this done.  The benefit however, is that you can use an application to provide a valuable service to potential clients and put your business at the top of their mind.

4.         Mobile Phone Advertising:

Coupons. Instead of creating your own app, you could simply sign up for an application like My Coupons available at  Starting at $4.95 a month you can make your coupon available to thousands of users within a 20 mile radius of your location.   The benefit here is that the users have already opted in to receive the coupons, and your business will be in front of them, without you having to do the work!

Ads: Similar to online advertising, however, your ad appears on targeted applications.  You can pay by click or pay per call.  Highly customizable.  Google Mobile Advertising

5.         Your mobile website:

The number one place that people go to search for information is the Internet and I predict that Internet service will become the norm, not the exception, on all phones not to far ahead in the future.  With that in mind, your website needs to be small screen friendly.   Check with your web designer.  In some cases, this can be easily done by adding a plug-in to your current site.

Make sure that your website has all of the information that your customers are looking for.   For example, if you own a restaurant, list your menu, hours of operation, a map to get there, and specials.  Make your site very easy to read by including more photos and video and less text.

What are your favorite mobile apps for either I-Phone or Droid?  How else can you market your small business through cell phone technology?  I appreciate your comments!

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