Blame a lack of strategy or insufficient resources, but marketers have struggled to master mobile marketing. Until 2013, that is. It was a banner year for mobile marketing as ad spend grew more than 100 percent, according to Mobile Marketing Watch, and mobile's reach extended to nearly every channel. From social media and email, to brick-and-mortar integrations such as in-store check-ins and mobile coupons, mobile made the leap from a separate silo to silo-buster in 2013.
Here are a 15 mobile marketing strategies that have really paid off:
1. Cash in on cross-channel promotion: Mobile offers a plethora of opportunities for marketers to organically grow their subscriber list via other customer interactions such as email, in-store and online checkout, and even social media. The average email click-through rate is 4.2 percent, but 19 percent for SMS, according to Visual.ly. To get more mobile subscribers, Express sent its email subscribers a coupon for opting in to the clothing retailer's SMS program.
2. Going paperless with QR codes: They've been around since the 1990s, but QR code use saw a 22 percent increase among consumers in 2013. From PayPal's mobile payment QR codes to coupons or ticket codes, retailers and ticket vendors alike are using QR codes to create easy, paperless customer experiences.
3. Integrate with social media: According to First Data, an online payment system provider, 81 percent of smartphone users check social media to read reviews before making a purchase. Marketers who have integrated their mobile program with customer reviews and social media sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are reaping the rewards. Amazon and Etsy are two examples.
4. Send time-sensitive service alerts and notifications: Timing is everything for mobile. Marketers who send notifications too early in the morning or during dinner will only annoy subscribers. Let customers set their own parameters for when and how they are contacted via SMS alerts or push notifications. Instagram, for example, allows users to customize the types of notifications they want to receive via push.
5. Create seasonal engagement programs: Seasonal programs keep consumers engaged with timely content. Take Starbuck’s holiday SMS program, which offered subscribers holiday specials, weekly offers and cheerful holiday messages.
6. Deliver coupons via SMS: Increasingly, marketers consider mobile as the most relevant engagement channel, which is no surprise since four out of five consumers now use their smartphones to shop.Marketers who want to raise awareness for special offers send coupons via SMS or push notifications.
7. Court moms: Wondering where to direct your mobile spend? Consider these statistics: eMarketer research found that, during 2013, "The number of US mothers using smartphones increased nearly 34%.” A separate eMarketer 2013 survey found that 52 percent of surveyed moms "liked receiving SMS/text messages from certain retailers", while 44 percent said they "like to receive emails from certain stores, and I usually check that email on my mobile device."
8. Make opting-out easy: Marketers can be apprehensive when it comes to showing customers how to opt-out of mobile notifications, but transparency is the best policy. Not giving customers an easy way out hurts loyalty and can lead to bad press.
9. Analyze customer data: Consumers view their mobile devices as more personal than their email or web browser, so be relevant and respectful. Use location, age, demographic and other information to segment subscribers and to send them relevant and timely content.
10. Offer value: Marketers, including Amazon and Modcloth, are using mobile to send customers alerts or transaction confirmations when wish list items go on sale. What's more, according to Visual.ly, 90 percent of consumers who have joined mobile loyalty programs feel they have gained value from them.
11. Raise awareness when timing is everything: The average user looks at their mobile phone up to 150 times a day, according to Visual.ly making mobile a vital channel to raise brand awareness. Online shopping site Rue La La deliver push notifications to subscribers every day at 11am to update them on the latest flash sales.
12. Tap into geo-location services: Best Buy and Subway use geo-location technology to deliver targeted messages, including time-specific offers, to consumers who have opted-in to the program. Google, meanwhile, found that almost half of women surveyed would share their location if offered a $5 store credit, while 83 percent would opt-in for a $25 credit.
13. Embrace Apple Passbook: Passbook provides an easy way for consumers to access coupons, tickets, gift cards and loyalty cards through their mobile device. The service is a great gateway to get customers started with mobile payments and coupons.
14. Mobile TV advertising: During the 2013 Super Bowl, Coca-Cola took advantage of the "second screen" and aired commercials that advertised directly to mobile users. One Coca-Cola commercial that encouraged mobile users to vote resulted in increased web traffic. But Coca-Cola wasn't the only company in on the act. According to research from the Mobile Marketing Association, 35 percent of Super Bowl viewers completed a follow-up action on their mobile device based on a Super Bowl commercial.
15. Mobilizing sales associates: Apple is well-known for arming its Apple Store sales reps with iPads to look up products and to conduct transactions. Nordstrom also mobilizes salespeople, allowing them to ask permission to send follow-up emails, which can significantly contribute to a retailer's bottom line.
A lot has changed since 2014. The mobile internet is now the most used digital platform. What does this mean for modern marketers? It means that a sophisticated mobile data management platform (DMP) is essential to your success. Download The CMO's Guide to Mobile Marketing to optimize your mobile marketing tactics.