Google Search On Apple iPad2 - mobile marketing for retailersThe increasing number of people using mobile handsets to search the net has influencing the way online companies are marketing their business. Whereas the internet was once billed as having global reach that could make you a fortune, developments driven by mobile use has reduced global reach to local focus.

Optimising your online store to target local customers, but in order to reap the benefits of the functionality you need to know how to push your site up the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).

The importance of going mobile

Search Engine Watch reported last summer that mobile users were using their handhelds to search the net more than they were using desktop computers or laptops. This may also be an indication of which times people are using their phones – outside work hours!

This is significant, as we will see later.

If your online store is not already geared towards mobile handsets, it should be. You will be missing out and losing ground on competitors if your website is not mobile friendly. First major issue to address is a responsive web design.

You should also be setting your online campaigns up to target local customers and mobile users. Google Adwords recently updated functions in its database so that companies running a pay-per-click campaign can include call only settings that prompt local mobile users to take action.

The third crucial issue is the time of day you launch ads. Remember you are competing against national and international companies that invade a local markets. You may not be able to out muscle them financially, but by being tactically cute, you can respond at the right times and engage with your audience.

You will need to be aggressive with your pricing to make your offers appealing of course, but it is your ability to respond quickly to inquiries that will bring customers through the door. Even better, make it possible to buy online and collect the same day.

The power of paid ads

Local search campaigns only work effectively if you invest in paid ads. You have to bid on keyword search terms in order for your ads to appear more frequently. Even without a large budget you can target local customers only by limiting your ad campaigns to your local area.

If you cut paid bidding, your brand can suffer from less visibility in search engines which ultimately has a knock-on effect with your SERP’s. This could be extremely critical to your online survival if you do not already have a strong rank.

You should also be engaging with followers in your social media accounts so that more of your content reaches a wider audience.

However, attracting traffic through social networks is better if the content you post to your followers is relevant to them, otherwise you jeopardise losing listed customers.

Personal ads

You also have a better chance of improving the success rate of your ROI if you send personal ads. In other words, relevant ads to customers who are most likely to purchase the product you are promoting.

This is actually a strategy many companies are failing to address. Consumers are willing to give companies personal information about their interests, age, family and social status, but companies are failing to assess the consumer data and use it in a way that benefits consumer and company.

It is the responsibility of the marketing department to draft accurate profile of each customer and determine which products they are most likely to buy rather than sending ads of every item you have in stock whenever you run a new ad campaign. Statistics show this is the quickest way to lose customers.

By sending customers notice of products and information that most interests them, not only will they stay loyal to your company, but you also increase the chances that they will respond to your promotion and call into your store.

Not only should you be thinking about the message you want to deliver, but also the people you want to send the message to. The ad should always be geared towards a mobile handset which means it has to be suitable for a smaller screen, thus attractive and easily digested.

Marketers also have to strike a fine balance between paid ads and earned SEO page ratings so that you do not overspend or waste money by bidding on the ineffective or expensive keywords and posting your ads at a time of day when nobody is watching.