With the first full week of fall now behind us, holiday marketing season will kick into high gear. With many consumers -- especially Millenials -- using mobile devices more and more, mobile marketing should play a greater role this holiday shopping season than it has before.
Jess Stevens, CMO of omni-channel marketing solutions company SmartFocus, says advertisers need to think mobile when putting together their holiday campaign strategies.
“According to the Pew Research Center, nearly two-thirds of Americans have smartphones, and for a growing number, their mobile device is the primary entry point to the web," Stevens told Marketing Dive. "That’s why it’s crucial to optimize marketing promotions like email campaigns for mobile devices."
Optimize the mobile experience
Optimizing the mobile experience means ensuring your mobile website loads quickly. Stevens explained, “Users expect lightning-fast load times, and their patience is shorter now than in past years. If you don’t deliver, customers will move on to another site that loads more quickly to avoid delays.”
She added that email campaigns should be tied to browsing behavior, and personalization – particularly taking advantage of data points specific to mobile devices – is an effective way to engage your audience.
"Today’s consumers expect personalization, so make sure you always include local store information in email campaigns that are designed to attract recipients to brick-and-mortar locations. The best strategy for mobile customers is to use GPS information to locate the nearest store. For emails that are opened on a desktop, use the IP address and past purchase data to identify the customer’s local store," Stevens said.
Another aspect of optimizing the mobile experience is the importance of quickly grabbing your mobile audiences’ attention and also making it easy to complete a purchase. “The bad news is that you have only a few seconds to capture the customer’s attention,” Stevens said. “But the good news is that if you optimize the visual presentation by placing calls to action strategically, you can improve your chance of making a sale exponentially.”
One way to accomplish this is ensuring your email is easily scannable on mobile devices with a clear call-to-action.
It’s also a good idea to check how the emails look across a variety of smartphones and tablets," she added. "An email that renders beautifully on an iPad might not display as well on an Android smartphone, or vice-versa.”
Review what worked -- or didn't work -- last year
“Planning is a core part of a successful mobile marketing strategy, but nothing can take the place of real-world experience,” Stevens advised. “Take a look at how your company performed during last year’s holiday season and apply lessons learned to this year’s marketing strategy. Look at what worked in 2014, identifying buyer behavior and response rates to specific promotions for insights that can drive sales in the upcoming holiday season. Also evaluate campaigns that weren’t as effective as you’d hoped last year and pinpoint the source of the shortfalls.”
She also said it’s important to target showroomers who are checking out products in brick-and-mortar stores and webroomers who are doing product research online but might make a purchase from a different vendor.
Stevens said, “By using omnichannel techniques such as beacons to broadcast mobile content in the store, price transparency, offering free shipping on and offline and targeting each group via in-store specials and online promotions, you can pick up sales from both showroomers and webroomers.”
Start early and don't dally
By starting early and using a longer campaign timeframe, marketers are able to include many types of shoppers through different promotions such as wish lists, sneak peeks and consumer-generated content to drive sales.
“Some people wrap up their holiday shopping before the trick-or-treat items are off store shelves while others complete their holiday buying in a flurry of activity at the last minute,” Stevens explained. “You don’t want to leave any potential revenue on the table, so serve both groups by launching your mobile marketing strategy for the holidays as early as you can. ... The quicker you get started, the sooner you can start ringing in holiday sales.”