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Small businesses should take advantage of new ways to build leads

Date posted:  6/18/15 08:30:00 AM There are affordable ways for small businesses to target consumers via their smartphones.

Raising awareness for any venture can be a difficult process, and it can be especially problematic for small businesses that don't have the marketing manpower to keep up with larger corporations. In fact, Blake Irving, CEO of GoDaddy, said during a keynote address at BIA/Kelsey's Leading in Local conference that 85 percent of small businesses have fewer than five employees, according to Street Fight Daily.

But reaching new customers isn't just about manpower. It's also about having enough cash in an advertising budget to garner new eyes, which is something most small businesses can't come up with.

"Local mobile advertising has, thus far, really only been open to larger brands with big budgets," Andrew Waber, a spokesperson at online ad network Chitika, told Mobile Marketer, a leader in mobile marketing and commerce.

That's starting to change.

Hyperlocal mobile ads for small businesses
Elie Sakhat, proprietor of the family-owned El Basha Restaurant, is one of many small business owners finding success through one of the newest advertising mediums. Sakhat told Mobile Marketer that business is booming thanks to her investment in an application designed by Chitika called Cidewalk.

Cidewalk allows businesses to design their own mobile advertisement, which then appears across more than 10,000 popular mobile apps. The beauty of the application is that Sakhat's advertisement will be seen by consumers in a selected town or close proximity to her restaurant. Her ads can be viewed on mobile applications such as The Weather Channel and apps from the NFL and MLB. Even Angry Birds is part of Cidewalk, so small business owners can capitalize on all sorts of different demographics.

Sakhat said the pricing for using this advertising tool is also affordable, as promotions start at as little as $1 for 1,000 ad views.

Other applications for small businesses
Cidewalk isn't the only application making it easy for small businesses to find new leads. Applications such as Moasis and Adagogo are also surging in popularity, according to Street Fight.

Moasis allows small businesses to send mobile flyers to smartphone users in specific locations. Flyers are distributed [passive] on media channels such as Pandora and The Weather Channel, and businesses can change their flyer at anytime depending on where it is performing best. Monthly plans start for as little as $15 per month.

Similarly, Adagogo allows small businesses to select a radius of a specific address before sending out basic ad details to smartphone users. These ads are seen on mobile sporting or weather applications, with packages starting at $25 for 1,000 views.

Promotional success with applications
"I've been running five separate ad campaigns using Cidewalk for several weeks now, and I have really been amazed," Sakhat said. "For each, I picked the highest price point at 5,000 views for $5, and it was well worth it. I have had a bunch of customers come in during that period saying they saw my ad on their phone, which is the most you can hope for. Plus, I get stats showing the number of views and exactly where the ad was seen, which I really like."

With affordable options and hyperlocal advertisements, small businesses are finally getting into the mobile advertising domain, which is set to surpass desktop advertising atop the digital marketing food chain. Waber said Cidewalk is giving startups and small businesses a fair shake when it comes to finding new consumers.

For her part, Sakhat didn't just rely on Cidewalk to spur business. She also spent money on a more traditional advertisement: a billboard. But ask Sakhat which channel is providing the biggest boost, and she doesn't hesitate naming her mobile ads first.

"I believe I'm getting actually more business from Cidewalk than I'm getting out of that billboard, which was much more expensive," she said.