August 14, 2012

Are You Mobile Ready? Ways to Promote and Build Your Mobile Presence

by Anna Pfeiffer, Marketing Strategist at Bronto

IBM reported that mobile purchases will make up 20% off all online sales this holiday season! Is your business ready?? To answer that question, consider what you currently have in place for your mobile strategy. Are the basics covered?

This means having a fully functional, ecomm-enabled mobile website in place and that you’re sending mobile-friendly emails. If you don’t have these things in place, put on the breaks with next level strategies like app development and SMS. It’s important that your website be the first thing you focus on because while most mobile phones are web-enabled, Smartphones only make up 25% of the total. This means that if you focus on building an app first, for example, you’re building for that 25% instead of first focusing on the majority of mobile users!

Mobile Website

If you don’t have a mobile website that’s ecomm-enabled, make that your primary goal. If you jump on it now, you may be able to get it up and running by this holiday season. There are plenty of companies that can offer this service for you at a reasonable price and with a relatively quick timeline. In an ideal world, you’d have your mobile site in place and also be sending mobile-friendly emails. But if you don’t have a mobile site yet, still consider moving forward with optimizing your email for mobile. While you won’t be able to send users to a mobile-friendly web page, you will still make it easier for them to triage their inbox on the go and because your message is viewable, they are more likely to come back later on their desktop if necessary.

Okay, if you have the basics covered, then what? This is when you start to pursue some more sophisticated mobile tools, such as SMS, mobile apps, social integration and QR codes. The most important piece is making sure that you’re using all of these channels in a cohesive way so that each uplifts the other. You should be using each channel to make your customers aware of all the different ways they can connect with you and place an order. The goal is to be where the customer is, when they want you and in a manner that is convenient and helpful for them! So promote all of your programs across all channels.

Mobile Promotion

You should be marketing your mobile program on the desktop version of your website, via email, on signage (in-store or otherwise), in any other advertising efforts, via your staff, in call center recordings and on any corporate printed material. And then you want to connect your mobile channels by cross-promoting them as well. Use QR codes to prompt app downloads, try to collect SMS opt-in from within your app, notify SMS contacts about your app or mobile version of your site, allow people to text in to download your app, use QR codes to send customers to email sign-up forms that are optimized for mobile, promote each of your mobile programs on social channels. Check out Point, Shoot, Signup for ways to use QR codes. Now think about how to apply this to the holiday season. You want to replicate this type of cross-channel campaign in a way that is relevant to holiday shoppers.

The first thing to consider when determining your mobile holiday campaign is to consider timing above all else. You want it to be clear to your customers that you have a mobile presence (and to what extent) by the start of the season so this means beginning promotion prior to Black Friday. Make sure that your customers are getting the option to opt in to these campaigns or programs BEFORE the season starts. Then think about what would be helpful for your customers based on the timing of shopping in the season. You want to have a campaign for Black Friday/Cyber Monday shoppers, the standard shoppers in the regular season and then also a campaign aimed at last-minute shoppers.

So what do these particular groups of shoppers need from you and when? What would be truly valuable for them to hear from you during this time? Let’s break it down by shopper group.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday

Consider the two types of shoppers in this group. There are the early morning doorbusters and the folks who will wait until later in the day. Maybe you should have a campaign for each of these types of shoppers. Early birds may want an SMS alert for store openings early in the morning or the previous evening, whereas an alert to the casual, sleep-in shopper should be timed later. Perhaps you’ll give a special offer to both groups in the hopes that the better deals will draw them to you over other retailers first. You’d want to make the opt-in for these types of campaigns clear with keywords like EARLYBIRD, etc. For this, and all holiday campaigns, consider making these communications a separate opt-in from your “standard” programs. Promote these campaigns in the weeks leading up to Black Friday and get included on Black Friday websites and within Black Friday apps. Consider targeting the mobile or online shopper with a specific campaign as well by gearing it more toward avoiding the rush – make it clear that they can get all of the same great deals and promote your mobile-friendly website and/or app to this group of customers. You can also announce extensions on your sale too with a “last chance” spin. Black Friday/Cyber Monday is a great fit for mobile campaigns since time is of the essence and SMS, as well as push notifications within apps, are extremely timely.

Standard Shopping Season

At this point, you can focus less on the sense of urgency and more on how to be helpful for your customers during this holiday season. What would benefit them most? Firstly, you want them to be aware of special offers and must-have gifts for the season. Think about allowing customers to opt in to specific programs based on who they are shopping for. Create a mobile-friendly gift center where items are grouped by price and who they are shopping for. Try specific deals to these people on the categories that you know to be their shopping preferences. Allow opt-in for an SMS program that alerts customers on shipping deadlines. If you have a loyalty program, make sure there is a mobile holiday element. Provide bonus deals to multi-buyers, give coupons when they check into your store, give QR code coupons a try and consider a mobile reward stamp program. Your goal should be to help your customers keep track of who they have left to shop for and make it easy for them to find the right gift for those people. So maybe instead of pushing people to your standard mobile shopping app this season you instead promote a new “mini-app” that’s more about making your gift center easy to access on phones and tablets and allows the customer to track their shopping progress and keep tabs on what they have in mind for each person on their list. It’s all about making it easy on the customer!

Last Minute Shoppers

This is where the timeliness factor will again come into play and allow you to really harness the power of mobile. You wont have as much power to actively promote to these shoppers at this point, it will be more about making them aware of their options and helping them out. If you allowed customers to give holiday shopping preferences, maybe now you alert them about those left on their list that haven’t been bought for yet. If time is running out, perhaps you push a gift card or a social gift. Consider actively asking your SMS subscribers if they are done shopping yet. Based on their response, you’ll know how to speak to them moving forward. Push deals in the store where they can get their gifts in time. Make sure you feature last-minute options on the mobile version of your site, especially if you have specific items with less lead time that can still make it by the holidays. Try a section of your app that has last-minute gift ideas. Promote your mobile purchasing options to last-minute shoppers as a convenience – they can buy their gift on the go!

Did you promote your mobile presence last holiday season? What worked and what didn’t? Try some of the tactics mentioned above to utilize the mobile channel even more effectively this year! Are you already planning your strategy? Let us know what you’ll be doing via mobile this holiday season by commenting below.

Anna Pfeiffer
Marketing Strategist at Bronto

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Anna Pfeiffer, Marketing Strategist at Bronto

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