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Hyper-local Super Bowl XLVII on goal line for small to midsize businesses

Ryan Golden is CEO of Moasis Global

By Ryan Golden

The football playoffs left a slew of disappointed fans in Boston and Atlanta, and ecstatic fans in San Francisco and Baltimore. But for small businesses with any sort of pigskin-and-gridiron association, there is precious little time for either crying or rejoicing. Their focus now must be on Super Bowl XLVII.

While national brands are clamoring for precious multimillion-dollar television spots during the big game, that is a pipedream for the rest of us. But what can be highly effective for smaller marketers, however, is hyper-local advertising.

Scoring a touchdown
Not surprisingly, advertisers in San Francisco, Baltimore and New Orleans will be hyping the big game. But around the country sports bars, chicken wing emporiums, sports gear shops, party supply stores and others will all be jumping onto the Super Bowl bandwagon.

Everyone wants to capitalize on game prep and game day spending that in the host city of New Orleans alone is projected to be about $434 million, according to a study by the University of New Orleans.

With more small to midsize businesses making inroads into hyper-local advertising, Super Bowl advertising for your local business is important.

We know small businesses are in the right mindset to try.

According to new research from Ad-ology, nearly a third of small businesses that spend more than $1,000 a year on advertising plan to spend more this year than they did last year.

In fact, 20.5 percent of small businesses plan to increase their ad spend on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and 30.5 percent of SMBs will use mobile advertising, applications or texting as part of their advertising, due in part to its ability to geo-target potential customers.

So with that in mind, here are five tips on how SMBs can take advantage of hyper-local during the Super Bowl and for the balance of 2013:

1. Embrace
It does not take a marketing genius to realize mobile is here to stay and is growing exponentially. But for SMBs, the challenge lies in harnessing that growth for their own gain. Here is some advice:

• Observe consumers in your store and how they interact with their mobile devices – which essentially are becoming mini-billboards.
• Talk to your customers about what kinds of offers would entice them to return to your store.
• Find out how they use their devices – or are willing to use their devices – while shopping.

It is simple: embrace mobile as an advertising medium or get left behind.

According to a Borrell survey of more than 1,300 SMBs – with additional details from Marketing Charts – that measured perceptions about mobile and social advertising, “Mobile marketing appears to becoming a mainstream activity among these SMBs: half said they were very (18 percent) or somewhat (31 percent) likely to incorporate mobile elements in their advertising and marketing efforts to reach potential customers in the next 12 months.”

It is key to remember that sitting on the sideline while your competition is embracing hyper-local marketing efforts will serve just one purpose: a potential loss of local market share.

2. Explore
Many SMBs have tried out different mobile tactics and others are still learning about the hyper-local mobile space.

The same Borrell survey said, “45 percent of small businesses plan to maintain their level of spending, while 27 percent of medium-sized businesses plan to increase their level of spending on mobile media in the next year, compared to just 4 percent who expect a decrease in mobile spend.”

Join the ranks of the explorers and see how hyper-local advertising can make a difference for your business during the Super Bowl or anytime. There are ways to test it out that are surprisingly affordable.

3. Emulate
Look at companies of any size that do mobile well. Put on your consumer hat and think about mobile ads and types of campaigns that interest you, then modify them for your business and try them out on potential customers at your local level. In doing so, emulate the Offensive Coordinator and adjust on the fly.

If you have got an idea for a great offer such as discounted wings during the big game, get it out quickly. Today’s technology allows for near-instant deployment of messages to mobile audiences.

Work with solutions that allow just that. Be the local leader in your area and stay ahead of the team. Your consumers already are immersed in the mobile media. Hesitating can translate into letting your competition recover the ball.

4. Evaluate
For the greatest chance of success in local mobile marketing, SMBs should develop test budgets and seek out hyper-local platforms that feature both low-risk and affordable entry points.

This approach allows for quick education about how local mobile advertising works, and can quickly show what works for your outlet and what does not. This gives the marketer the opportunity to adjust accordingly and garner better results with subsequent campaigns.

If you look at your options, you will find that some companies facilitating hyper-local marketing offer no-risk entry points so SMBs can test the waters without spending a dime. What better way to learn what works than to try it for free?

5. Educate
As the former proprietor of an SMB myself, I know firsthand how SMBs form their own communities and help each other discover and discuss new ways to improve their collective businesses.

When something works for one SMB, it is human nature to share it with others. Become that local mobile expert among your peers through your own exploration and embracing of hyper-local marketing. Provide insight and guidance on what you have tried and what worked.

THE BOTTOM LINE is this: SMBs deserve a simple, affordable and flexible means for participating in the mobile ecosystem.

National consumers no longer exist: there are just lots of local ones. It takes technology to provide insight to local taste and demographics to be relevant and make consumers happy.

Ryan Golden is CEO of location engine Moasis Global, San Francisco. Reach him at [email protected].