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Approximately 30% of American mobile phone users have a smart phone and adoption rates are increasing. According to comScore, a digital market intelligence company, it’s estimated that by the end of 2011, that number will have increased to 50%. This represents a huge opportunity to small business owners who have retail locations or who sell direct to the consumer.
Mobile phone users are enjoying the convenience and speed of being able to find whatever they want, whenever they want it, right in the palm of their hands.
With that in mind, mobile phone technology is poised to become the next big thing in retail marketing. Mobile marketing experts say that redemption rates of mobile coupons are 10 times higher than redemption rates of printed coupons. However, these statistics will vary based on type of business, and the reach of that particular coupon application in your business area.
There are several ways that you can take advantage of mobile phone marketing and coupons are a good way to start. Here are nine of the top mobile coupon applications that are available on most smart phones.
1. GeoQpons: One of my favorite mobile coupon apps to save money at both local and national businesses. I check it every time I go out. One time I saved 20% on my bill at TGI Fridays. Offers will be displayed to all subscribers within a 10 mile radius. Costs $29 per store location per month. Free for consumers.
2. Foursquare: This popular mobile check in app also allows businesses to post deals. One of the most popular smart phone applications, it appears that this app is also one of the most popular mobile coupon apps. I found many deals in my area. Free to use for both consumer and business.
3. Mobiqpons: This application says that it’s hyper local and displays your ad to any subscriber within a 40 mile radius. Costs .07 per click after the first 100 (free trial). Free for consumers. I plugged this app on my Droid and found several coupons from national companies like Staples and Home Depot, but not any from locally owned businesses.
4. The Coupons App: My least favorite app as a consumer. Coupons are not organized by category and not easy to find. You have to scroll through pages and pages of coupons to find something interesting. There are some local businesses on here. Amazon says this is the best selling shopping app on the Android app store. Your ad shows to subscribers within a 20 mile radius. Costs $149.95 every 90 days. Free version for consumers has limited functionality. $19.95 for consumers to unlock the app for full functionality.
5. Yowza/Where: Yowza is the mobile coupon application for IPhone and Where is the Android version. I like this one because it also shows local gas prices, news, and weather. It’s well organized and easy to navigate. I did not find many coupons in my area.
6. Google Mobile Coupons: Google launched mobile coupons in 2009, but from the looks of it, this application has yet to pick up steam. When I view Google Places on my smart phone, it’s easy to find businesses in my area, but if they are using the coupons function it is hard to tell. Unlike Foursquare, there is no yellow sign that says “Deal here” on the business listing. Also, there is no button or link on Google Places that would indicate there are any deals our coupons. If you can find it and figure out how to use it, it’s free.
7. Facebook Deals: Facebook deals launched several months ago, but whether it’s been a hit is too soon to tell. There are far fewer businesses and deals on Facebook than on Foursquare in my local area. And from what I see, it has been difficult for some users to figure out how to use Facebook deals. If you are a business owner it’s free to use. See my previous post on Facebook deals. As a side note, Facebook is going to be launching its own Groupon type deals feature. http://www.facebook.com/deals/business/
8. Yelp Special Offers: Yelp is one of the most widely used reviews websites in the nation, and with the additions of the special offers tab the website just got better. The application is free for smart phone users to download and there is an easy to find “Special Offers” tab. Contact Yelp, to confirm the cost of running an offer in your area.
9. Valpak Mobile Coupons: Valpak a leader in the direct mail marketing industry has launched a mobile coupon application. Coupons are hyper local and used mostly by independent local businesses more than chains. Good application if you’re a local pizza place who is already using the direct mail option. Price varies.
Wendy Kenney is the best selling author of How to Build Buzz for Your Biz, Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business, available on Amazon.com. She has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Newsday. For more information go to http://23Kazoos.com.