First Annual Fanminder Mobile Marketing Survey

First Annual Fanminder Mobile Marketing SurveyMobile marketing is here to stay.

Google, Apple, Facebook. The biggest names in consumer technology, along with an army of ad agencies, big brands and venture capital firms, are pouring billions of dollars into mobile marketing. Why?  Because every day there’s more evidence that mobile marketing widely outperforms traditional marketing. Even as investment in mobile marketing grows, overall, small businesses have not embraced mobile marketing.

So what’s holding small businesses back?

Results from the first annual Fanminder Small Business Mobile Marketing Survey provide some insight as to why. It’s not that small business owners lack awareness, as 81 percent say they have heard of mobile marketing.  But fully 70 percent of those haven’t tried it.  Why?  Some “mobile marketing myths” appear to be holding entrepreneurs back.

What are these myths, and what is the truth?

Of those aware of mobile marketing, but who haven’t tried it:

  • 44 percent think they “don’t have time to figure out a new technology.” This suggests that small business owners think mobile marketing will be “hard” to do—a time-consuming process and/or difficult to figure out. As small businesses discover simple-to-use solutions, this perception should decrease.
  • 30 percent think mobile marketing “sounds expensive.”It’s true that text message campaigns can cost $50 to $100 per campaign or per month. However, when the focus shifts from cost to results, the power of mobile marketing becomes clear.  The business results that small business owners experience with the unmatched response rates of mobile more than justify the cost. And some services start as low as $10 or $25 per month, so getting started with mobile marketing can be affordable for even the smallest businesses.
  • 30 percent simply “don’t know how to get started.” Answering this question requires knowledge of mobile marketing providers, different program options and the value of mobile marketing.  As this knowledge reaches small business owners, adoption of mobile marketing among small businesses will increase.

The survey also dispelled some commonly-held beliefs as myths:

  • Satisfaction with current marketing programs is not a barrier to trying mobile marketing. Less than 20 percent of respondents cited “my current marketing programs are working” as a reason for not trying mobile marketing.
  • Only 13 percent worry “my customers won’t like it.” Since owners know their customers, concerns about customer acceptance seem overblown.

What do small businesses say about mobile marketing benefits?

Small businesses of all sizes and types can benefit from mobile marketing. Appointment-based businesses, such as a hair salon, can send appointment reminders. Retailers can alert fans to new products or sales. And any business can communicate with its employees quickly and effectively.

The survey validates compelling benefits of mobile marketing programs to small businesses:

More than 50 percent of respondents were “very” or “extremely” interested in four out of the five benefits listed.

Letting customers send referrals to their friends came out on top, showing the social power of mobile marketing when customers can reach out to their contacts instantly, from anywhere. Right behind referrals were sending promotions (coupons, offers and specials) and sharing news and information.

Complete results for the five benefits in the survey are:

Benefit of Mobile Marketing Program % Very or Extremely Interested
Let your customers send referrals to their friends’ mobile phones 68 percent
Send coupons, offers and specials to customers’ mobile phone 65 percent
Instantly alert customers to news, events and other store info 65 percent
Answer customers’ questions on their mobile phones 53 percent
Communicate with your staff via their phones 32 percent

What mobile marketing programs are most interesting?

The survey listed six popular mobile marketing programs, asking respondents to rank their interest in them.

As with the mobile marketing benefits, all six mobile marketing programs presented in the survey generated high interest from respondents—the lowest-rated program was still very or extremely interesting to more than 40 percent of respondents.

Respondents were most interested in a mobile website—a business website optimized for mobile devices.  A recent study by the Pew Research Center in Washington showed that 40 percent of American adults use their cell phones to surf the Web, e-mail or use instant messaging,” so these business owners are definitely onto something!

Complete results for the six programs in the survey are:

Mobile Marketing Program % Very or Extremely Interested
Mobile website 69 percent
Text message reminders 53 percent
Birthday clubs 50 percent
Customer reviews 50 percent
Mobile coupons 50 percent
Frequent buyer card 44 percent


The Fanminder Small Business Mobile Marketing Survey shows that small businesses are starting to enter the world of mobile marketing, if slowly. Many of their concerns about mobile marketing are based on myths that can be dispelled with careful education by mobile marketing providers. Once their concerns are addressed, small business owners can be expected to take action on their strong interest in mobile marketing’s benefits and program options.


Paul Rosenfeld Paul is the CEO and Co-Founder of Fanminder, a subscription-based, marketing service that helps small businesses send text messages to their fans. Paul has spent 25 years leading teams and organizations to develop innovative services and software for small businesses.

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