In Gabriel Shaoolian’s article on five effective mobile marketing techniques that can take your ecommerce brand to the next level and increase the amount of sales you generate.
Gabriel Shaoolian | Forbes | August 29, 2016
It should come as no surprise that a strong mobile presence is indispensable in today’s market. The average user spends most of their internet time on their smartphone as opposed to their desktop.
For all brands to make the most of their marketing budget, it’s essential to focus a significant portion of efforts on the mobile audience. This is especially important for companies in the ecommerce sector, where the user-experience should be as seamless as possible prior to the purchase.
Switching to a “mobile first” mentality has been a major component for many brand strategies. Without a cohesive mobile marketing approach, it’s difficult to engage and connect with many of your users online.
Ultimately, the ability to capture the interest of potential customers on mobile and then turn them into valuable repeat customers is critical to building a successful brand. This can only be made possible through a strategic and cohesive mobile marketing strategy. If you aren’t driving qualified mobile traffic to a mobile-ready website allowing you to move users further down the conversion funnel, you’re not going to generate many sales.
In today’s article, I’m going to share with you five effective mobile marketing methods that can take your ecommerce brand to the next level and increase the amount of sales you generate:
1. Responsive Website Design
Before sharing some specific tactics, it’s important to first discuss the importance of an ecommerce website that is optimized for mobile. This is the first and perhaps most critical component to an effective mobile marketing strategy. If you’re employing mobile marketing initiatives such as mobile-friendly email marketing and display ads (both of which I’ll delve into more deeply later on), it’s a waste of your budget to drive the traffic generated from those tactics to a site that offers a poor user-experience.
A website is your most important marketing and communication tool, as it connects you with your user. In a world so dominated by mobile devices, most brands cannot afford to miss the mark with a website that is NOT optimized for users on smartphones, tablets, or whatever their device of choice may be. If you’re an ecommerce brand, before you begin marketing to your mobile users and driving traffic to your website, you want to make sure that your website is prepared for their devices.
So, with that being said, what is the best way to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile?
Some brands quickly jump to a mobile app when it’s time to make “mobile decisions,” and rightfully so—some companies do indeed have a need for this type of mobile presence. However, it’s not always the most efficient choice for each and every brand, and ultimately should be developed once you already have a mobile-friendly website as well. 9 times out of 10, an app should not be created in place of a mobile-friendly site, but instead in addition to it. Apps can be costly endeavors, and to be successful they must offer some sort of value that the mobile site doesn’t, otherwise there is no real incentive for the user to download the app and use it on a regular basis.
With nearly each and every ecommerce brand I work with, I always suggest a site with a responsive design (and then an app can be considered further down the line). This sort of website design offers an optimal version of your website for each device that visitors use—from tablet, to smartphone, to desktop. The website automatically adjusts to fit the size of the screen that the potential customer is using, providing them with an exceptional onsite experience that is void of any rendering issues.
The above example shows the homepage on the Warby Parker website. As you can see, their responsive design offers a user-friendly experience to customers on mobile, desktop, or tablet. Button sizes are optimized for a touch screen device, messaging is concise, and forms that require text input are easy-to-use with a small keyboard.
Particularly with ecommerce brands, a responsive design is incredibly important. The size of a mobile screen is significantly smaller than that of a desktop, so the website should appear a bit differently. You want to ensure that customers do not face any issues with viewing product images, scrolling through pages, clicking on buttons, finding a certain product, or typing in billing information into form fields. Websites that aren’t responsive in their design typically contain flaws with these elements, which can act as a major deterrence in the mobile user completing the purchase. If you’re implementing marketing initiatives to drive mobile traffic, you want to make sure your website is ready to perform.
By bringing users to a platform that is tailored to the device they’re consuming content on, your mobile marketing strategy is likely to be much more effective, which brings us to the next initiative I’d like to highlight:
2. Display Advertisements
One of the most traditional and powerful ways to build brand awareness and reengage customers with retargeting is through display advertisements. Specific to mobile, there are plenty of opportunities to leverage this channel and make the results of your efforts as effective as possible.
Display networks through Google offer ad opportunities on mobile sites so that you can serve your ad on the sites that fit in with your target demographic. By keeping mobile usability in mind throughout the design and creative process, you can make sure that your ads are optimized for smaller screens—concise copy and clear imagery with “buttons” that are easy to click from a touchscreen phone. Geotargeting options allow you to specify certain zipcodes or general locations (as well as other demographics) that you would like to target, which could be especially critical for users on mobile devices, seeing as they’re likely to be on-the-go when they’re consuming content.
As always with Google, you can manage costs as you’d like depending on the objective of your campaign. For ecommerce brands, where the goal of this type of advertisement is likely to drive website traffic, the cost-per-click (CPC) model is ideal, since you only pay when someone visits your site from the ad.
The example below is a great representation of many of the best practices I’ve mentioned above. As you can see, AT&T serves targeted CNN readers with a mobile ad. The text is appropriately sized for the screen with concise messaging, and the call-to-action “Shop now” is optimized for someone’s thumb to easily click on.
Since we are talking about advertising with Google as an effective mobile marketing strategy, it’s important to note that the world of mobile ads through AdWords is gaining even more momentum as it was recently announced that device bid adjustments are beginning to launch. Previously, this was only available if you were trying to drive mobile app installs—not when you were advertising your website on mobile devices. As this begins to rollout this month, it will mean that you could allocate budget based on devices (smartphone, tablet, and desktop) for your campaigns and identify varying CPA (cost-per-acquisition) goals for each. With the growth of mobile so astronomical, for a lot of brands, focusing the majority of ad budget toward mobile users could be a very rewarding initiative.
To take geotargeting to a new level, other display tools offer even more refined hyper-local marketing options. Tools such as Mosaic, use GPS technology to hone in on a specific point on a map—anything from a certain street to a venue or store location. For ecommerce brands this opportunity holds a lot of potential for targeting shoppers of competitor stores. For example, if you sell athletic wear online, you could serve customers with an ad for your website while they’re shopping inside of a store that may offer similar products. By highlighting special deals or any other incentive in the ad, you could encourage the user to instead visit your ecommerce site for their respective needs.
3. Social Media Marketing
While social media marketing is always an important aspect of any digital marketing campaign, when speaking specifically about mobile marketing, its importance is heightened. The majority of social media users are on their mobile devices, and with platforms like Instagram or Snapchat, where full capabilities are only possible while on mobile, if you’re an ecommerce brand looking to reach your mobile audience, social media marketing is a must.
While there are a lot of options with which social platforms to advertise on, let’s consider Facebook and Instagram. Both of these platforms are excellent ways to drive traffic back to your website and an integral part of the marketing funnel. As you would with a display ad, on both platforms you can easily use geotargeting to serve your ads to those in a particular geographic area and reach mobile users while they’re on-the-go. Aside from location, other behavioral data can be used to segment who you’re advertising to—anything from interests to occupations, and you can choose to target only mobile devices.
On Facebook, the options with ad formats are extensive. Whether you’re reengaging customers with products that sparked initial interest, or using a general brand promotion ad, you can find an option that is aligned with the objectives of your campaign and place your ad accordingly. As always, you should keep in mind the device that users are on and make sure that the ads are optimized for their mobile screens. It’s important to also think about the unique attributes of the platform and how that will impact the ad format that you use. For example, if you are doing a video ad on Facebook, by default the videos play silently on auto-play, so oftentimes brands will keep all of the essential information in the beginning of the video, and use a static yet extremely descriptive image to present the video. This way, if users don’t hear the video, or choose to skim past it, they still can absorb the core messaging you’re trying to evoke.
For the remaining posts, read the whole article on Forbes.com.