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Mobile Messaging: Marketers' Secret Weapon This Holiday Season

Part I of this series helped you prepare for the holidays with tips on list growth, campaign analysis, data integration and partnering with store ops. When holiday sales are lagging behind forecast, you will want a super quick and easy way to pump them up. Take these additional steps now to get your secret weapon -- mobile messaging -- ready for action. 

Solidify Your Process

Be ready to save the day and rescue flagging sales at a moment’s notice. To do that, make sure every step in the process, from concept to approval to send, is established and well documented. Work out the kinks, make your flow chart, get buy-in and distribute it to all business units. 

Check In with Legal

The CTIA Rules were updated August 1. Make sure you have version 1.5.0 and, if not, get it here. The CTIA monitors SMS programs and can halt yours if they find violations. Imagine having to go to your Web team during the holiday season to request an update.  Make sure that your legal team has given you guidance regarding the July 10 TCPA ruling.

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Think Omnichannel

Where are you driving your customers with mobile messaging? Ideally, the answer is: anywhere they want to shop. Don't focus solely on eCommerce, because that's not where most of your customers buy. As the most recent IBM Holiday Readiness Report illustrates, smartphone shoppers convert far less often and spend less. While it's important to optimize your small screen commerce, provide both online and in-store coupon codes and incentives. 

Make it Sing And Dance

How can you stand out in the crowd this holiday season? When it comes to mobile, it's not difficult -- that is, innovative mobile messaging is rare. Add video, sound, animations and graphics to your post-open experience to engage your audience of one. Push and SMS programs can deliver great post-click experiences with HTML 5 pages and interstitials. A good example is the mystery offer.  We know from the superior results that people love this form of risk-free gambling. Offer a mobile experience to spin the wheel, “scratch off,” choose the box, etc.

If you want to include graphics in your text message, you need to upgrade to MMS. This requires carrier approval and can take 8-12 weeks, so start now. It's definitely worth the effort; marketers report huge lifts in engagement and ROI with MMS. 

Serve

Service is the new sell. How can you make shopping easier for your customers this holiday season? 

  • Notify them when their in-store pick-up is ready
  • Send a reminder when coupons are about to expire
  • Provide ratings, reviews and the “wisdom of the crowd” on demand to validate gift choices, which may be outside of the buyer's expertise

Reduce Friction                 

If you want shoppers to use your app, it better be easy to access. Take a cue from financial institutions: allow access to non-sensitive information without log-in, and allow users to set up fingerprint or PIN access rather than the typical user name and password, which are difficult to type accurately on a touchscreen.

Remember that the number one reason people opt-in for SMS and Push from retailers is to get coupons. We don't want to have to dig through mail and email or scan products in order to find the deals.  Make it easy for customers to get the best possible price with the least possible effort. Enable adding coupons to digital wallets or loyalty cards. Use iOS actions to make saving/reminding/adding to passbook easy. If your POS can't read phone screens, let the user show your app or text to get the deal.  While the process should be as frictionless as possible, the promotion should still be splashy. We don't appreciate what we do not perceive.

Do Not Offend

As I discussed in this article, you don't want to disturb sleeping customers. I have also seen big spikes in opt-outs for sends on holidays. Even if your message is non-promotional, customers do not want to hear from you during their Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas Eve toast. If they don/t know you are open or how to find your holiday hours, you've got other problems. Don't send digital messages on holidays!

The bar for great mobile messaging is pretty low. The effort required to improve it is as well. Follow these tips to raise the bar and realize ROI this holiday season.

1 comment about "Mobile Messaging: Marketers' Secret Weapon This Holiday Season".
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  1. Matthew Tumbleson from Brand Miami, August 25, 2015 at 2:37 p.m.

    Sure, brands get to communicate outwardly to customers by text, but when do customers get to communicate with brands/businesses by text? The whole point of text messaging is communication. Nobody likes to receive a pre-recorded message whether by phone or by text. Be sure when texting customers to utilize a service like Teckst to allow customers to reply to your messages and engage with you by texting!

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