According to an article on on mobile ecommerce, there are over 4 billion cell phones in use globally, and that means nearly 70 percent of the world’s population has access to a mobile phone. Take just a second to let that sink in.

These numbers suggest that mobile marketing strategies aren’t just for mega-corporations anymore. To be successful, small business owners should consider how mobile marketing strategies can help them.

While you won’t have the same mobile marketing budget as a Fortune 500 business, you still have several opportunities to take advantage of mobile technology. The benefits of a mobile campaign include the following:

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  • Building a loyal following
  • Establishing a community around your small business
  • Generating buzz for your company
  • Establishing two-way communication between your business and your customers
  • Delivering timely messages to customers
  • Increasing the chances that your message will go viral via social sharing
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    To get you started with a mobile marketing campaign for your small business, here are some activities that should be included on your checklist.

    Make your website and blog mobile-friendly.

    Business owners should try viewing their company website on a mobile device. It’s important to create a website or blog that’s easy to navigate from a mobile browser. If you’re not sure where to start, consult your web designer about possible fixes and solutions.

    For WordPress sites, there are a few solutions that are free and simple to install. If you’re a WordPress user, a search for mobile-friendly plug-ins will yield several options including WordPress Mobile Pack and WordPress Mobile Edition.

    Develop a mobile app.

    The purpose of mobile applications is to offer consumers something valuable while at the same time driving business sales. Whether you decide to offer a free app or paid app will depend on the development costs and demand for your application. While free apps don’t generate immediate revenue, they do help create buzz and build brand loyalty.

    Use location-based mobile tools to your advantage.

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    If you own a brick-and-mortar store, make sure people have the chance to “check-in” using existing apps like Foursquare and Facebook Places. In case the benefits aren’t immediately obvious, here are a few ways check-ins help small businesses:

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  • Every time someone checks in, they announce the existence of your business to their friends and followers across one or more social networks from Facebook to Foursquare.
  • Checking-in can mean positive buzz for your business. When users see their friends checking into your locations, it’s essentially an endorsement.
  • You can offer incentives for check-ins like, “Save 15% on your purchase with Foursquare check-in!”
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    Take credit and debit payments anywhere and anytime.

    Consumers are busy, and a large portion of retail decisions are made based on convenience. If you are set up to accept mobile payments, you are essentially saying, “I value your time, and I want to make buying easier for you.”

    As a small business owner you can process credit card payments using almost any smartphone. Getting started requires setting up an account with a mobile payment company. Shop around for one that suits your needs. If you’re not sure where to start, read this article on mobile and micropayments. Then, check out a few companies offering mobile payment services such as Square, GoPayment and Sage Mobile Payments.

    Experts have predicted that these mobile trends will spread rapidly in the coming months. As a business owner, your job is to know how to harness the power of mobile marketing to begin conversations with consumers, make shopping easier for your customers, and promote your brand.

    Image credit (mobile phone): stocker