Between email, social media, shopping and apps, today's customers are most likely to interact with your brand on their mobile devices. This shift in consumer behavior requires a few tweaks to your typical digital marketing strategy. Ensure your business offers customers a seamless experience by leveraging mobile-optimized strategies such as deep linking, email-to-app linking, location detection and single-column styling. Read on for guidance and great examples from the real world.
Optimizing email for mobile
A recent study by Return Path found that more than half of emails worldwide (55 percent) are opened in a mobile environment in 2017. Small businesses should offer mobile-optimized email content and features.
Videos should play within the email environment, not open into a pop-up or mobile webpage. If this is challenging to code, use a GIF instead. Mobile users like to see the video in the email, and this also ensures your customers are engaged with the surrounding content. Once they leave your email to view the video on a mobile page, they may not come back to your message.
Your email should link directly to the product page, which is known as deep linking. Your email can also deep-link right to your app's page in the app store. Not only do mobile users expect this function, but it also shortens the journey to purchase, making conversion more likely. Your customers will want to take action in a short period of time, as they are likely on the go while using their mobile device.
Your email can link to your mobile app instead of your website. Apps typically load faster than mobile web, improving the customer experience. Linking directly to your app can also help you provide a more personalized experience, as the app will confirm your customer's identity and preferences.
Your emails should be formatted in single columns and have large, easily clickable calls to action for a superior viewing experience on mobile. Ensure you are using a responsive design so content isn't cut off or missed.
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Optimizing your website for mobile
Your mobile website should have a single-column, responsive design with easy navigation menus. Videos and photos should be responsive and optimized for mobile viewing. Many brands offer simplified versions of their main websites, given the unique challenges of navigating a website on a phone.
Your mobile website should include store locations, ideally with geolocation features to automatically suggest the closest store, and store information such as contact details or departments available at that location. fulfillment features, like options to pick a product up in the store, to connect the digital and physical worlds.
Optimizing coupons and loyalty programs for mobile
Coupons can be saved to your brand's app for use in the store or later. Kohl's coupons are delivered via email and can then be saved to its app for in-store use. In fact, 82 percent of customers reported that saving digital coupons to their phone was more convenient than printing. Loyalty programs should connect to apps for easy in-store viewing, connecting digital or in-app purchases, and driving extra loyalty rewards for things like social sharing or coming to a store.
Heineken offered the festivalgoers of Outside Lands the ability to send their friends virtual beer passes through the Buddy Drinks mobile app. Each customer who visited the Heineken House booth at the festival could buy a mobile pass for a friend that could be redeemed for a free beer. The beer pass allowed passholders to skip the line at the Heineken House bar so they could get drinks quickly.
Tickets or passes you provide via email or your mobile website should be able to be saved to a mobile device or app such as Apple Wallet. Facebook allows businesses to run ads that offer coupons or discounts that can be saved to the Facebook app or mobile device.
Other ways to leverage mobile features
Small businesses can get creative with leveraging mobile phone capabilities to empower their marketing efforts. Here are a few examples:
Order an Uber. Cole Haan's app offers to call you an Uber with the store’s location already programmed in. This option makes it easy for customers to say "yes, I'll do this now."
Encourage social posting. From its emails and website, Oscar Mayer offers a coupon to customers who share a "taste-a-monial" on Facebook. There is a Facebook link button that takes a view straight to the Facebook app. With easy social media tracking, at the end of the month, everyone who posted to Facebook gets sent a coupon.
Have fun with photos. American Eagle Outfitters' app lets you take a picture, then uses visual search technology to suggest inventory. Its app also gives customers extra loyalty points when they show up in the store. Other apps, such as Wag, offer fun photo filters and social share capabilities to drive engagement and UGC.
Download the app, come to the store. Le Pain Quotidien offers customers a free toast if they download their app. The toast coupon appears in the app and drives customers to the nearest location. Getting a downloader to use the app after downloading increases the likelihood that they’ll use the app again
Drive engagement with your app. South by Southwest's app pulls data from Facebook to connect people going to the SXSW conference with their friends who are also going. This is a great way to pull in engaging social media content that your app users might not see in their own news feeds in the Facebook app.
Turn searches to store traffic. Aveda's mobile search ads offer store locations for those who are Googling on the go, with the nearest location autodetected.