This post is sponsored by Facebook.
In today's digital world, it is vital that merchants and small business owners wear many hats -- including that of marketer. And with the growing importance of mobile technology in consumers' lives, the ability to be a mobile marketer is particularly important.
So where does that leave time- and resource-strapped small businesses? Facebook's Product Marketing Director, Business Platform Emma Rodgers sat down to talk about why being a savvy mobile marketer is crucial to small business success, what tools are available to help business owners with their mobile marketing and where the evolution of mobile is headed:
Why is a thorough knowledge of today's mobile tools especially important for business owners?
I don't think anyone would be surprised that the consumer shift to mobile has already happened, with over 90% of the world's population owning a smartphone, according to eMarketer. And as a result, people's expectations for speed and convenience have never been higher. In fact, most people are already using their phones to interact with local businesses. They expect a direct line into a business so that they can quickly find out if they're open, ask about a size or place an order within minutes. With so many choices at their fingertips, customers are quick to move on if they don't feel that their needs are being met.
That's why it's incredibly important for small businesses to be where their customers are, which is increasingly on their phones (for three hours and 35 minutes a day to be exact, eMarketer reported). And just having a mobile-ready website isn't enough. Customers want to find new places to shop and eat, interact with businesses in real-time, browse new products and shop, all from their device. Today's local business owner needs to be equipped with simple and effective tools so that they can easily navigate the ever-evolving mobile landscape and meet their customers where they are.
What role does mobile play in marketing success for small businesses?
The customer's path to purchase is increasingly omnichannel. Meaning that customers may discover a store from their phone, visit the store in person, follow and interact with the business on Facebook and eventually decide to make a purchase from their phone. It's important for businesses to consider all of the touch points that played a role in a customer making a purchase, both offline and online across all devices.
And we're noticing that the customers are becoming increasingly interested in more human interactions with the businesses they support. We think that that's one of the many reasons why stories and stories ads have really taken off. They're mobile-first, quick and playful, full screen, authentic and real-time. And stories disappear after 24 hours so there's less pressure to be perfect. Messaging is another great example of how customers can forge meaningful connections with the businesses they love and get a glimpse into the person behind the business.
How do tools like Facebook Pages, Jobs, Events and Marketplace fit into this picture?
At Facebook, we equip small business owners with simple and effective mobile marketing solutions so that they can focus on what they do best: running their business. And with almost 1.5 billion people using Facebook every day, it's a really effective marketing channel for businesses of all sizes, and many of Facebook's tools are free.
Our tools help businesses achieve their objectives like building a brand, driving sales, nurturing customer relationships, and measuring their success. For example, businesses can easily create a mobile presence by creating a Facebook Page, build credibility through Recommendations, grow community with groups and Events and schedule appointments, answers questions and process sales through Messenger.
I'm also really excited about Marketplace, where people and businesses can discover, buy and sell items listed on Facebook within their local community. Many businesses are already seeing real success with Marketplace, like husband-and-wife-owned company Thread Wallets, for example. By advertising on Marketplace where people are already looking to shop, Thread Wallets sold more than 350 wallets over the course of their campaign.
Another pain point that many local businesses have is hiring qualified talent, with more than a third of small businesses unable to fill open jobs, according to a report from the NFIB Research Center. Now, Page admins can easily create a job post, track applications and communicate directly with applicants, all from their Facebook Page. Since launching Jobs in 2017, the new tool has already helped people find more than 1 million jobs on Facebook through businesses like Bella Bridal Boutique and Zeus Rescue.
How will today's mobile tools evolve from here, and how can small business owners ensure they're prepared for the evolution?
With the consumer shift to mobile, it’s increasingly important that businesses are building their product and marketing experiences mobile first. For example, we're seeing a massive shift to video content on mobile, with 75% of all mobile data traffic expected to be video by 2020, according to Cisco. Stories in particular allow people to watch multiple videos and photos quickly, and they match consumer behavior: people hold their phones vertically about 90% of the time, ScientiaMobile reported.
And we're finding that stories are helping businesses achieve their objectives. In a Facebook survey, we discovered that more than half of people said they're making more online purchases as a result of seeing stories. Thirty-eight percent of people said that after seeing a product or service in a story they talked to someone about it, and 34% said they went to a store to look for it. In order to be successful in the mobile evolution, it will be important for small business owners to build mobile-first creative experiences to help people discover, engage and purchase with fast-loading, visual first, seamless experiences.
More than anything, businesses can ensure they're prepared for the rapidly changing mobile landscape by simply understanding how their customers shop across channels and where they're spending their time. Oftentimes, businesses get caught up in the latest and greatest marketing channel, but if their audience isn't using it, they won't see the kind of success they were hoping for. Businesses can get a better understanding of mobile creative best practices here and a better understanding of their audiences through their Page Insights or by exploring industry-wide findings through Facebook IQ. There, businesses can see helpful insights like how many people use their phones in restaurants and where customers are most influenced to buy. Facebook Blueprint also has hundreds of courses for businesses to learn how to get the most out of our marketing tools.
Emma Rodgers has almost 20 years of marketing, strategy and product marketing experience and currently leads Local Business Product Marketing at Facebook. In this role, Emma leads a team of product marketers who partner with product management and engineering to empower small businesses to establish mobile presence, communicate with customers and drive measurable results. Emma joined Facebook in 2012 and has worked across a variety of monetization and strategy roles during her time at the company. Prior to Facebook, Emma was a consultant at McKinsey & Company, working with the world’s largest retailers as they embraced the digital world and consumer technology companies as they made the shift to mobile. Emma spent the early stage of her career in the Entertainment industry in brand management at Warner Bros. developing brand strategy for franchise properties such as Harry Potter and Superman. Emma received her MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and Bachelor’s Degree from UCLA.