With the gift-giving season flying by, marketers have been racing to engage and convert holiday shoppers. So, how can you get the attention of busy shoppers? The key is to make it easy for on-the-go customers to engage with your brand.
For example, I want a new watch for Christmas. I've been browsing several websites, looking for the perfect model at a reasonable price point so I could steer my wife in the right direction. On Black Friday, when a smart retailer sent me an email offering great deals on items I had viewed online, I opened it up on my smartphone and immediately forwarded it to my wife, who was already out shopping. My fingers are crossed that the watch-sized box under our tree means she got the message.
Black Friday 2014 saw a 19.7 percent increase in emails opened on mobile devices versus the current average, and that number rose to 22.1 percent on Cyber Monday. Of course, even when customers aren't rushing from one sale to the next, they still rely on their smartphones to shop: In the third quarter of 2014, nearly 20 percent of online retail purchases in the United States were made via mobile devices. And using mobile touch points — such as personalized text messages and push notifications through mobile apps — can increase conversion rates by 8.5 percent.
Despite all this compelling evidence that mobile usage matters more than ever, most companies have only begun to scratch the surface of what mobile marketing can do for brand loyalty and net earnings. Here are some strategies to strengthen your marketing in 2015:
1) Engage with Ease
Remember that mobile users are reading on small screens. Opt for bite-sized content with links to longer product descriptions, and use responsive design techniques — fewer offers, along with larger call-to-action buttons, icons, images and fonts — to simplify the emails you send. Also, consider offering site visitors the option to log in or register via Facebook or Twitter rather than having to fill out multiple data fields on their smartphones.
2) Make Checkout a Breeze
Completing a long checkout process can be time-consuming and annoying, especially on a smartphone. Avoid this conversion barrier by simplifying your checkout process. Include an email message in your onboarding program that asks new customers to enable one-click checkout by adding their credit card information right away, or allow them to use an alternative payment option, such as PayPal.
3) Hook Them with Your App
In the United States, Android and iPhone users ages 18 and over spend 65 percent more time each month using apps than they did just two years ago. A mobile app creates new opportunities to engage your customers, but only if you can convince them to use it. Send a "download our mobile app" invitation as a "white space" email to all subscribers, and add it to your onboarding program for new customers. Link directly to the download page and specify technical requirements, such as compatible platforms, how much storage space it requires and information about push notifications. Many users refuse to allow push notifications, assuming you'll bombard their phones with messages. Use your email to explain push-notification benefits and how often you intend to send them.
4) Get Their Digits
Use email to increase your text-message subscribers. Since your email database is full of people who have already agreed to hear from you, they're more likely to sign up for mobile alerts than someone who is just visiting your site. Send a dedicated email that focuses on subscribing to your text messages, and include a simple call to action and perhaps an added incentive — for example, 10 percent off their next purchase when they sign up. As with promotional emails for your apps, be sure to spell out the advantages text-message subscribers will get and how often they should expect texts from you.
5) Plan for Misfires
Mobile users — particularly those on smartphones — often read messages while on the go, which means they're likely to get distracted or lose their wireless connection before they can take action. Ensure your content is memorable or valuable enough for users to come back to, but also plan for short attention spans by adding a "Remind me later" button that triggers a follow-up email within the next 24 hours. You can also send a soft, service-oriented reminder email to those who begin to take action but don't convert within a certain time frame.
For more on optimizing email and mobile marketing, download Silverpop's latest tip sheet, "10 Tips for Using Email to Drive Mobile Engagement — and Vice-Versa." And stay tuned for my next blog post, where I'll share my 2014 digital marketing lessons that can help 2015 be your best sales year ever!