It’s been quite some time since “Mobilegeddon,” when Google and other search engines forced businesses to take mobile users into account in a meaningful way. Given the very real consequences to your business, you’re undoubtedly already mobile-friendly as a result.
It may surprise you to discover that mobile-friendly marketing is no longer enough. Now your business needs to be mobile-centric.
The terms may not seem all that different at first glance, but that’s where the similarities end. In today’s post, we’ll take a look at why an approach that’s mobile-centric is vital to effective business marketing and how you can begin to position your business with mobile consumers in mind.
Friendly Versus CentricWhen it comes down to it, the difference between being mobile-friendly and being mobile-centric is that one is an SEO tactic and the other is a fundamental approach to operating online and strategizing digital marketing.
Your business website needs to be mobile-friendly. Google has defined certain criteria that must be met in order to maintain satisfactory rankings in mobile searches, and it’s something that can easily be tested on a page by page basis.
On the other hand, a mobile-centric approach to marketing will encompass much more than whether or not you have a responsive layout and thumb-friendly design; it extends to how you handle customers that have a mobile-heavy path to purchase or even a mobile-only sales cycle.
Why Mobile-Centric Is Front and CenterIn the modern market, you need to fight for customer attention across various touchpoints in a fragmented path to purchase. Google calls these “micro-moments,” and it all stems from how multiple devices in general and mobile devices, in particular, have caused consumer behavior to evolve.
You see, mobile phone consumption has increased 90% between 2013 and 2015, and even tablet consumption has grown by 64%. More than that, however, is how smartphone owners are using those devices. Namely, mobile makes up 51% of the time consumers spend with digital media.
Where this can be seen most clearly is search. As of 2015, more searches were happening on mobile devices than on computers, and 40% of people will actually turn only to their smartphone to conduct a search that meets immediate needs on an average day. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, attention to mobile is even more vital because of its power for local search: “near me” Google searches from a mobile device have grown 146% year over year to represent 88% of all searches of this type. In fact, 82% of smartphone users are going to turn to their device to help them make purchase decisions while they’re in store, offering hefty influence in that moment.
Quite simply, consumers have made mobile devices central to how they research, search, and shop. That means your business needs to have a mobile-centric strategy, otherwise, the odds are very high that you won’t be there and your competitors will. (Remember, mobile already represented nearly half of all digital ad spend, and that’s expected to reach more than 70%, or roughly $66 billion, by 2019.)
You need to be mobile across all digital touchpoints within your marketing funnel. For instance, when the customer is at the awareness stage, you need mobile content to position your brand with the answers to their questions. Develop mobile ads and take such options as geofencing into account in order to serve those ads at the right moment.
More than half of branded emails (54%) will be opened on a mobile device, so the email creative should be designed to display correctly on a mobile phone screen. Digital marketing must be developed with a mobile-first mindset.
Tips for Implementation
Move to Mobile-Centric Marketing Today!
In today’s business environment, online reviews play a critical role. People rely on reviews to help them choose among products and brands and to feel confident in their purchasing decisions. In fact, 63% of consumers say they are more likely to make a purchase from a website that has user reviews. For most buyers, an online review can be as important as a personal recommendation from a friend. For a business, managing online reviews and appropriately handling the negative ones is vital to gaining new customers and growing sales.
Online reviews can make or break a company. Statistics show that for more than 88% of online shoppers, online reviews are a part of their purchase decision process. Forty percent (40%) of consumers will form an opinion of a brand or product by reading just one to three reviews. Online reviews have become an important part of building trust with consumers, with 68% saying that positive reviews cause them to have more trust in a business. In addition, online reviews are an important way to drive traffic to your website. Forty-eight percent (48%) of consumers say they will visit a company’s website after reading online reviews.
Of course, no one wants negative reviews—and companies need to have a plan for dealing with them—but paradoxically, a few negative reviews can actually boost the credibility of your online reviews. 95% of consumers say they suspect that reviews are being censored or faked if they don’t see any negative reviews, and 68% say they trust reviews more when they see both positive and negative reviews.
That’s in no way to suggest that bad reviews are a good thing. For 67% of shoppers, reading as few as one to three bad reviews is enough to prevent them from making a purchase, and 86% of consumers hesitate to purchase from a brand with negative reviews.
The good news: 95% of unhappy customers will return to a business that acts quickly to resolve complaints.
Best Practices for Handling Negative Reviews
By properly managing online reviews, a company can mitigate the effects of negative reviews.
While it’s important to respond to negative reviews, it’s just as important, if not more so, to respond to positive reviews. If someone gives you a compliment in person, you always say “Thank you.” A positive online review is no different. Here’s why:
Another idea is to mention special offers, such as a loyalty card or other promotion. Just be careful that such offers aren’t subject to time limits since you can’t be sure exactly when a consumer may be reading the review.
Online reviews are a fact of life in the 21st-century business environment. Properly handling both negative and positive reviews is critical to the success of your business. This is important both in keeping current customers happy and providing prospective customers with confidence in doing business with you.
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Digital coupons in general and mobile coupons specifically have reached the point where businesses can’t really afford to continue a wait-and-see perspective. 36% of coupon users increased the use of paperless coupons so far this year and 32% of consumers prefer to receive offers via smartphone. Furthermore, discounts received on mobile devices influenced 67% of consumers’ decisions about where to shop.
What’s more, 72% of consumers look for coupons on their smartphone while inside a store. That percentage jumps to 90% for Millennials alone. Nearly 60% of consumers would have a more positive opinion of a retailer that started sending coupons and other offers that could be saved on their smartphones.
Of course, the uptick in use isn’t the only reason you should consider adopting a digital coupon strategy. It provides convenience, not only to the customer but to you as well. Digital coupons are easy to distribute and accept, and they’re much more affordable to create. It can be considered environmentally responsible because you aren’t printing a host of coupons. Digital coupons can help your business meet increasing customer expectations for cross-device digital engagement, and often fit snugly with your other digital marketing efforts.
For instance, both Android Pay and Apple Pay feature options for coupon redemption at POS. When managed correctly, especially in conjunction with an app, these coupons can also unlock insights about consumer spending and interests. That also means you’ll give yourself a competitive edge in the market and with new customers.
Beginning a Digital Coupon Campaign
If you decide to use digital and mobile coupons, remember to start by developing them the way you would develop any coupon offer.
Nearly a third of coupon users (31%) want a specific dollar amount off of their purchase. You still need to focus on the three key parts of a coupon as well:
You also need to be aware of the platforms your audience uses, or you’ll essentially waste your marketing efforts. For instance, UK mobile brand Orange (now EE) offered a two-for-one ticket coupon that was only valid on Wednesdays at local cinemas. Customers had to text a code word to an Orange promotional number in order to receive the coupon code. The brand issued 300, 000 coupons each week, effectively boosting ticket sales on a day that didn’t see much business without hurting high-sale days.
You should also learn about and adopt the processes and technologies recommended by standardization organizations, like GS1. This will help you utilize common, secure, and interworking platforms.
Following are a number of specific necessary elements to developing and managing your digital coupon campaign.
Crucial Coupon Campaign Elements
Create Targeted Campaigns
Targeting always makes consumer engagement more effective, so start with a specific goal, select a specific segment, and tailor your campaign offer and coupon creative specifically for your target audience.
Utilize psychological persuasion tactics (e.g., authority, liking, social proof) and leverage the concepts of scarcity and urgency to improve opt-in and redemption rates.
Coupon management platforms or apps can sometimes help you develop segments, but they can definitely help you design and distribute your campaign, including the creative. Valpak has more than proven its efficacy in targeting based on its direct mail coupons, and our SEO-optimized digital coupons are an equally powerful tool.
Distribute Coupon PromotionsUnlike the coupons you put in the newspaper, you need to promote your digital and mobile coupon offers. Fortunately, this opens up new opportunities for reaching customers in an extremely targeted way.
For instance, if a customer has abandoned their cart for a lengthy period of time, an email or text message reminding them of the cart and offering a discount on their next purchase can diminish churn. In fact, sharing coupons via email is itself lucrative: 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase in response to a promotional email.
Social media is also a strong platform on which to leverage discounts—just remember to follow social media best practices and don’t over promote on those channels. You should also take advantage of partner blogs, specialized landing pages that SEM advertising can direct to, and even website popups for customers whose digital cart reaches a certain dollar amount.
Manage Coupon Fraud
Coupon fraud is no small thing—it’s responsible for $600 million lost annually. Coupons that are utilized online or through mobile devices are just as much a part of fraudulent activity as coupons sent out in newspapers and direct mail.
Fortunately, there are methods you can use to limit fraudulent redemptions. Start by clearly defining date and time restrictions; the expiration window will limit the scope of fraudulent behavior while also enhancing the sense of scarcity. Similarly, dynamic visuals like countdown clocks can prevent most screenshot fraud while increasing the sense of urgency.
On a more technical level, unique URLs help prevent fraudulent discount sites from cannibalizing them while providing brands with the means to shut down access and single-use codes are only capable of working once. Above all, monitor reports regularly and analyze them for strange or non-organic behavior; you’ll be able to note multiples, inappropriate price deductions, and more for investigation.
Engage with Refer-a-Friend
Helping a friend save money is the type of altruism everyone can get behind, but it helps to remember that people are more likely to take advantage of an offer when it’s referred to them by a friend, as well. You can incentivize this by offering additional promotions to the customer making the recommendation if their friend takes advantage of the sale. Take advantage of every channel your customers utilize to maximize impact, especially email, social, and SMS.
Measure Campaign Performance
Like every other kind of marketing, monitoring the performance of your campaign is key. It ensures your targeting and distribution strategies are working and helps to identify fraud before it gets out of hand.
A coupon management system will help you leverage tactics that help you avoid fraud (e.g., unique codes) to track specific customer conversions and further customize what coupons and offers are sent to them.
Inasmuch as it can give a very personalized view, a coupon management system can also provide wide angle views that assist with geo-fenced segmentation, redemption rates, and average time to redemption.
Valpak provides a performance tracking dashboard that allows you to view clicks, calls, responses, and redemptions across each campaign you run with us, including direct mail campaigns.
Developing a digital coupon campaign and setting up the processes to accept mobile coupons doesn’t have to be intimidating. The tips we’ve outlined above should help you to leverage mobile coupons to your advantage and give you an edge over your competitors.
And of course, as a leader in digital coupon promotions and distributions, Valpak would be an excellent marketing partner for you. Let us help you develop your next campaign and take advantage of our performance dashboard to track success.
Go Digital with a Mobile Coupon Campaign Today
In a survey of small business owners conducted by Valpak Research Services with Thrive Analytics, it was discovered that a notable percentage of small business owners approached marketing their businesses in an imprecise and therefore, ineffective manner. Many small business owners rely on “gut feelings” to make marketing and advertising decisions and more aren’t particularly sure how to measure the return on their marketing investment. They never really know if their current marketing methods are working and worse, they don’t know how much more effectively they could market their business.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Check out our infographic, “Marketing on the Fly,” then download the full whitepaper for insights and tips on how you can effectively market your small business, analyze marketing results, and still have time for all of your other business activities.