Does Mobile Marketing Produce Measurable ROI for Small Business?

mobile marketing roi

Mobile is the future of marketing, period. According to an ongoing Cisco initiative that looks into global IP traffic, more than half of all online traffic will come from non-PC devices in 2019. In the same year, mobile and wireless device traffic will likely exceed wired traffic. Currently, 1.91 billion people on earth have smartphones.

Every small business can earn a profitable return using mobile marketing tactics, but they may not be able to use every mobile tactic at first. Companies need the right mobile foundation to launch a productive mobile marketing campaign.

Preparing for Mobile Marketing

If your company has little online presence, you need to build your mobile presence before you start working on a mobile marketing campaign. Invest in making your website mobile-friendly or optimizing your existing mobile site. Most designers today use responsive web design to create a seamless website experience regardless of which device a visitor uses.

A good mobile site needs to be easy to navigate above all else. People interact with mobile websites differently than they do from a PC. Mobile websites should facilitate a user’s natural mobile interactions. For instance, clicking a social media share button should trigger a request for users to open a particular app or view the content on a webpage.

Mobile Inbound Marketing Tactics

As with a traditional marketing campaign, organic inbound mobile marketing can really enhance your ability to create measurable ROI. Make sure your company is listed in local mobile searches and in apps such as Google Maps and Apple Map. Yelp, Trip Advisor, Kayak, and other popular tools can improve your mobile presence. The best part is they typically only cost you a small time investment.

Start talking with your designer about possible forms to steer site visitors to a proprietary app, another relevant app such as Google Maps or OpenTable, or a text/email campaign. Simply making a user’s experience easy with brand listings can improve small-business mobile conversions without a costly campaign.

Expanding Your Mobile Marketing Strategy: Risk vs Reward

Companies are already moving a significant portion of their marketing efforts into the mobile arena. However, most of the buzz surrounding mobile marketing activities involve paid campaigns. Small businesses have to carefully weigh the benefits before investing in one of these higher-priced mobile marketing tactics:

  • Geofencing — Businesses that have an existing online relationship with mobile users can use this tactic with significant success. Geofencing allows companies to send a mobile user a message when he or she enters a certain geographic area. For example, a local clothes retailer could text a coupon to consumers who drive into that part of town.
  • Third-party app targeting — Businesses that have a proprietary app or sell products online may pursue personal message campaigns that target smartphone users engaged in certain behaviors. For example, phone sales surge around the holiday season. When new phone users register in the Android or Apple app stores, a company can use that information to send out a discount message. Other businesses partner with app owners to place in-app advertisements.
  • Proprietary app development — Some companies create apps that do not provide any real value to the consumer. They typically fall to the wayside in app stores without producing meaningful results. Proprietary apps can sell, promote, or offer a fun distraction, as long as they provide the target market with some kind of value.

When managed carefully, these paid tactics can work, but they may require more of an upfront investment and a higher level of risk.

The mobile experience allows companies to connect with consumers and enhance brand value. Your small business can capitalize on mobile marketing at any price range, and secure measurable mobile marketing ROI. Look at your company’s goals and your target market’s mobile behaviors to find the right approach.

Phone Photo via Shutterstock


Amie Marse Amie Marse is the founder of a small content generation firm based in Lexington, KY. She’s been a passionate freelance writer turned business owner for over 7 years. Her philosophy is that the essentials of content marketing do not change from the small business to the Fortune 500 level, and that creativity trumps budget every time.

3 Reactions
  1. You’ll never really know unless you measure it side by side with your online marketing efforts. You have to track where the leads are coming from so that you’ll know if your efforts are bearing any fruit.

    • Hi Aira, Although one’s online audience may differ from a mobile audience because the mobile audience may only look at content via mobile, I think you’re right in saying it’s important to consider both. Thanks!

  2. For small business, the most effective strategy is more centered around customer retention. This works by collecting customer phone numbers in exchange for incentives, such as reward and loyalty programs, then re-engaging them to keep them coming back for re-purchase or to keep them on the books on recurring subscriptions.

    There is “automated” messaging software that can be pre-configured to send messages upon events, times, actions, etc.