Despite the growth in the mobile marketing industry, many small business are still uncertain when it comes to investing in a mobile marketing campaign

One of the major reasons for this is that they’re unsure about what it all is. There is a lot of confusion surrounding mobile marketing and what it is exactly. For those small businesses owners who are feeling a little overwhelmed, here’s mobile marketing for dummies.

Mobile is a platform not a channel

First off it’s important to address one important issue. Contrary to what many think, mobile marketing is not a marketing channel, it is its own platform.

Mobile encompasses dozens of different marketing channels. Each channel has it’s advantages and disadvantages. A successful mobile marketing campaign will typically include several of these different channels rather than just relying on one. Here’s a look at the top 3.

Responsive email design

When you think “email”, you think, “computers.” Well computers no longer have the monopoly when it comes to reading emails. In the mobile device age, most smartphone users (more than half of all US adults)  read their emails on their smartphone. You might be thinking “so what?” The truth is, it makes a big difference whether you’re email is being read on a 20 inch monitor screen or a 4 inch touch screen. The difference goes beyond the size of the screen. One uses a mouse, the other needs only the tap of a finger. You want responsive design so all your content is optimized according to the device being used to read it. Check out this extensive guide from Google Developers on how to make your content truly “responsive web design.”

Mobile website

Just as with email, the device being used to access your business’s website makes a huge difference. Customers behave differently when they’re on a computer as opposed to a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. For instance, a person on a desktop computer will typically have a lot more patience to click through a number of pages to find what they’re looking for. Smartphone users on the other hand are typically looking at a page for a very specific reason. They aren’t interested in browsing around.

They want an answer to a question and they want it that moment. For this reason, it’s important to have a mobile optimized website. It has been recommended by Google’s developers that pages should have under a one second load time, of which can be accomplished a multitude of ways. It’s not only smaller than it’s traditional counterpart, it’s simpler and easier to navigate. It’s designed with “less is more” as the guiding principle.

SMS marketing

Finally there is the oldest and greatest mobile marketing tool, the humble text message. Though limited to just 160 characters, a simple text can pack a powerful punch, especially when it’s done right. The key here is sending the right message at the right time to the right people. The right message means, a concise but powerful message. It’s to the point and gets people to take action. The right time is equally important. The last thing you want to do is wake up your customers too early in the morning.

Most people see texts moments after their sent, so send it at the moment you want them to see it, not two or three hours before. Finally, send it to the right people. That means people who’ve opted in to get your texts. Anything else is illegal and potentially costly to you.

These are just 3 of the channels available to you when designing your mobile marketing campaign. With these three at the center you can’t go wrong. Try experimenting with others as well to see which ones work best for your small business.