You’ve Expanded Your Mobile Marketing Budget… But What’s Your Plan?

Catch up, pull ahead, or fall behind. Those are your options, say marketing experts looking ahead to the anticipated growth of mobile marketing budgets this year for small and medium sized businesses.

Independent marketing strategist Terell Markes tells Mobile Marketing Watch that 2013 will be a watershed year for mobile marketing. And the latest industry research lends credence to that claim.

A new study by the Association of National Advertisers and MediaVest show that 85% of marketers have plans to increase their mobile marketing budgets. 96% of marketers surveyed presently use mobile or will incorporate it into their marketing this year.

But, according to Markes, simply increasing a budget for mobile is futile without a comprehensive plan for the expanded investment.

“A smart plan may be comprised of just a few leading tactics, the most common of which are mobile websites, search, apps, and display ads,” he says. “Will 2013 be the year when you focus primarily on one or a more balanced combination of all of the above?”

Gail Goodman, author of “Engagement Marketing: How Small Business Wins In a Socially Connected World” and CEO of Constant Contact, believes the simplest strategies and tactics still work best.

For starters, Goodman says, make your emails mobile friendly.

“Whereas delivering email marketing that can be read on mobile devices used to be optional for a business, now it’s essential,” she tells Entrepreneur. “Keep a message’s subject line short and place high up in the message your brand name, the offer, and the call to action” (learn more about mobile email usage stats here).

Embracing location based services is another excellent course of action.

“If you run a brick-and-mortar business or host an event,” Goodman advices, “encourage people to check in on location-based services like Foursquare… You will gain information about your regular customers and how often they visit you. It also lets your customers share information and tips about your business with others. A unique special offer can encourage these regulars to check in more often.”

Fittingly, Goodman thinks customers should even be encouraged to offer reviews on the run.

“Encourage customers to share their thoughts about their experience while they are still at our place of business,” she says. “Post a sign that says, “How’d we do? Let us know!” You can even direct customers to sites like Yelp, Where, Google Places, or TripAdvisor, where you would like them to offer reviews of your business. Make sure you post your company’s Twitter handle, so customers can include it in reviews and follow your business on Twitter for updates. Be sure you stay on top of any customer reviews posted about your company.”

So… do you have a sound mobile marketing plan in place for 2013? Whether you’re joining the mobile marketing fray this year or expanding your budget to market more aggressively using mobile, please share your thoughts, concerns, or anticipated tactics below.