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Years ago, marketing a local business mostly involved the use of printed advertising methods, such as newspapers, Yellow pages, flyers, and direct mail. Mixed in with those strategies included TV ads and radio ads, which were more expensive – yet even less targeted than the others.

However, due to the invention of the internet and mobile smartphones, things have changed tremendously when it comes to the most effective ways to generate more local customers.

First, let’s discuss the Internet.

The worldwide web has allowed just about everyone to create free email accounts, which in a sense, doomed the post office and the concept of a paper communications all together.

Early online advertisers saw this as an easy way to market their products on a massive scale and began to send unfiltered spam mail to any account opened to receiving anonymous messages.

Spam mail failed because it never bothered to distinguish between those who were “interested” and those who were thinking “this product is totally useless to me.”

Behavioral marketing developed as a major advertising tool that was more cost-effective than targeting anonymous users. Whenever someone visited a website, a tracker came online and followed the user’s movement as they browsed.

Every subsequent time that same unique ISP visited the same website, assuming the tracker had not been deleted, any information gathered would tell advertisers which products would most likely appeal to that user and they would display in place of general ones.

The birth of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have generated some smart and tech savvy marketing campaigns that use unique algorithms for targeting consumers who are most likely to purchase a product or service.

For instance, various types of advertising software can match a male in his late teens with a coupon code for the next video game sensation; they can even match a woman who sets her Facebook status to “engaged” directly to a list of wedding dress designer ads.

This is pretty impressive compared to traditional methods that offer no form of targeting features and abilities at all.

In fact, if you’re an aggressive profit-oriented local business that progresses forward, instead of holding on to traditional advertising streams, you’re probably already expanding your brand through internet marketing.

While this is a good thing, it’s only the beginning. Simply creating a shiny new Facebook page or a sleek, professionally designed website only puts you on equal ground with most of your competitors.

If you really want to be the local trendsetter in your industry, you must use strategies that will truly put your company on the pedestal when it comes to using digital technology to generate new customers – as well as long-lasting, loyal, repeat customers.

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