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The holidays are no longer a two-month affair. In 2013, shoppers took to the stores with gift lists in hand starting in early September, according to Time, and retailers were working their audiences with promotions before summer’s end. By the end of December, consumers spent some $46.5 billion during the season—up 10% from 2012. And so, getting your share of those holiday shopping budgets means planning earlier than ever.
Let’s look at how you can plan a mobile strategy that brings an increasingly advanced holiday crowd to your business this fall. Mid-summer is the time to begin planning your marketing strategy, one that will reach customers right as thoughts of Labor Day drift toward the start of school.
The Holiday Stakes: Email Marketing and the Mobile Consumer
One key approach to the early holiday shopper is to find them where they live—and where they spend their money—and that’s increasingly online. And it’s increasingly online via mobile devices and through an effective email marketing strategy.
Recent reports tell us that there’s a $294 billion world, out there, when it comes to ecommerce, and 29.5% of that happens on smartphones and tablets. Furthermore, purchases via mobile devices jumped 22%, in 2013, according to a new report from Campaigner.
But that doesn’t mean that every enterprise simply gets to press “send”. Reaching the online and mobile shopper takes having the right message in the first place—and then getting it out in a way that prompts consumers to click-through and buy, or show up in person for your excellent offer.
Email marketing is one way to go about that — 64% of decision-making mobile consumers read their email on a mobile device — so your holiday marketing campaign could reach them in just the right spot. But with that idea come some relevant cautions. To understand what those are, we turn to stats from the Campaigner study, showing what consumers said they want from brands that come to them with offers via their inbox.
- 45% of respondents said they open mobile marketing emails that feature both compelling text and graphics.
- Only 2% said they are motivated by graphics alone.
- 42% stick to what they know, reading promotional emails on their mobile devices primarily based on the familiarity of the sender’s name.
- 21% indicated that an awareness of an ongoing deal or price promotion is a primary driver to read promotional emails on their mobile device.
- 20% cited the email subject line as the main reason they decide to read marketing emails on their mobile device.
This paints a picture of the mobile consumer, ones who are receptive to marketing emails, as being a fairly sophisticated — and particular — audience. In these cases, enterprise leaders looking to effectively reach customers have to become marketers of the same kind — savvy enough to build an email campaign that hits the visual and storytelling marks, and also able to leverage the right audience in the right way to bring in conversions around their holiday push.
Getting Past ‘Open’: How Enterprise Can Build a Better Email Campaign
“Retailers have a significant opportunity to embrace the growing market for mobile shoppers this holiday season,” said EJ McGowan, general manager at Campaigner. But it’s an opportunity that comes with a catch.
“While consumers are more interactive with mobile content and purchasing, [some] marketers are still providing a lackluster mobile experience,” McGowan said. “Some consumers feel content is not personalized, underscoring the importance of relevant content to increase sales and effectively engage with consumers.”
To get you thinking about the relevant and personalized touches that customers desire, check out the following key ideas for crafting outreach:
5 summertime tips for building a better email campaign, this season and all year round:
- Build a campaign around environments. The 2014 survey found that 56% of participants read promotional emails while relaxing or watching TV, and 28% do so at work. The summer months are the perfect time to create and test various messages, subject lines, and mobile designs. Prepare to cultivate multiple environments and so increase your chances of reaching your customers in the perfect way, at the perfect moment.
- Implement responsive design. Marketers should take the summer to review their responsive-design strategy. Spend time with the analytics surrounding your previous mobile email campaigns. Where you see flagging open rates, freshly encourage mobile interaction by emphasizing those measurably important subject lines. Lean into the image-text combination that mobile customers say they prefer.
- Streamline content. Nearly 22% of survey respondents said that too much text, or hard-to-read text, irritates them most about reading marketing emails on mobile devices. Shorten and simplify your message.
- Conduct A/B split testing. Once you’ve crafted compelling subject lines and responsive, streamlined content, test these elements of your campaign. Create an A/B split-test on multiple subject lines and then watch in real time as variations go head-to-head.
- Focus on established and key customers. Keep a version of the 80/20 rule in mind. That is, don’t waste your time on — and/or alienate — the 80% of consumers who won’t drive revenue for your enterprise. Focus instead on the 20% of consumers who do spend time and money with your brand. And then , encourage a continued relationship with that segment by providing rewards, loyalty programs, and great deals for the holidays.
Creating a mobile email approach in the run-up to the holidays doesn’t have to include elements of the impersonal and bland. It doesn’t have to be ineffective because of common and easy-to-avoid mistakes. By working with the above five ideas in your planning, this summer, you’ll hit the digital ground running with an effective email marketing campaign.
And your holiday sales success story? It just might start this month.
Photo by AForestFrolic used under Creative Commons
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