There are few certainties in life, and even fewer in the marketing industry. One of these certainties is mobile – mobile devices, mobile apps, mobile marketing. As the number of smartphone and tablet users across the world continues to grow, it will be impossible for direct marketers to ignore this emerging and constantly evolving medium.
There are thousands of mobile marketing “how to” and “trends” articles out there, but with this one I plan to take a comprehensive approach aimed at covering mobile marketing (specifically) for direct marketers and direct mail campaigns. Whether you are planning on promoting a mobile app with direct mail, or if you’re just looking for some tips on integrating mobile with your current direct mail strategy, this post is definitely for you.
Knowing your audience (OS and mobile vs non-mobile)
Every good direct marketer knows that a campaign is only as successful as the quality of the list. As with traditional direct marketing campaigns, the same is true with mobile marketing. Knowing when and how to use mobile in your campaigns is the first step. Certain audiences may not even be using smartphones – this is mainly the older crowds. Understanding you list also helps to identify whether to focus your mobile marketing messages on iOS, Android or both. For example, more affluent audiences tend to be predominantly iOS (iPhone/iPad) users. There’s no point of investing in both platforms if your users are mostly on one.
Also, mobile users may fit into various personas. Some of which include the news junkies, second screeners, social butterflies, and couponers. Knowing which group your audience predominantly fits into and personalizing the messaging and experience accordingly can have a hugely positive effect on your campaign conversion rates. If you’re having a tough time identifying which groups and personas your direct marketing list fits into, do a quick search on Google – there are services out there that can help you fill in the gaps!
Landing pages (mobile site, responsive or server-side mobile)
The next item to consider is the landing page that your direct mail marketing campaign drives visitors to. It’s extremely important that your websites, PURLs, landing pages and more are optimized for mobile users. While there are a few different ways to accomplish this, the main three are
- Mobile-specific sites and URLs (m.yourpage.com)
- Server-side mobile sites, that detect a visitors device and serve content appropriately
- Responsively designed pages that conform to various screen sizes
In my professional opinion, responsive sites are the way to go. They take a bit more time and money to develop initially, but they are far easier and less expensive to maintain. More importantly, you are guaranteeing that your design will work on any and every screen size, device, operating system and platform.
Regardless of how you optimize your site for mobile users, the important thing to remember is that you NEED to do it. There’s no better way to throw out your money than to run a mobile marketing campaign without a mobile-optimized landing page…period.
Direct mail pieces with deep linking (payments, downloads, maps, QR, NFC, etc.)
Integrating mobile into your direct pieces opens up the door for a lot of cool tricks and tactics. It is important to understand what can (and should) be done for each campaign audience or goal. For example, a fundraising campaign could have a QR code that, when scanned, allows your audience to donate with a simple tap of a button. If you’re a local business sending out direct mail pieces, you can have a shortened URL or QR code that opens up the Google/Apple Maps app and plots directions to your location, instantly. There are literally hundreds of uses and methods for deep linking into apps and creating a richer experience than a simple landing page. We’ll save all of that for another article, though!
A/B testing (calls to action, deep linking and landing pages)
We all know that you should be A/B testing your headlines, creative, layouts, etc. However, building upon the previous section dealing with deep links in your mail pieces, it’s important to remember to A/B test these mobile calls to action. Certain audiences and segments may respond more positively to QR codes and deep linking into apps, while others may convert more with traditional (but responsive) landing pages or PURLs. The only way to really know for sure is to test and measure. Remember to have a clear goal for each test and specific measurements to decide the winner. Also, don’t go too overboard with your testing…keep it to one or two specific elements per test.
Tracking across platforms/devices (desktop, laptop, mobile web and mobile apps)
There’s nothing new about tracking the results of your direct marketing campaigns in real-time. What is new, however, is being able to track users across mobile platforms and segments. Tracking shouldn’t stop at the campaign level – with tools like Mixpanel, direct marketers can segment and analyze campaign results across desktop, laptop, mobile web and even mobile apps. Despite understanding the fundamental need for these tracking tools, 9 out of 10 direct marketers I’ve met have failed to implement even the most basic cross-device and cross-platform tracking (in a useful way). One of my favorite tools for mobile marketing (and mobile apps, specifically) is Segment.io. This will allow you to embed tracking codes into your campaigns and applications once, and then update them in real-time. Tools like these are definitely a huge time-saver and way around resubmitting your applications to iTunes and Google Play.
So now that you’ve created your campaigns, optimized the calls to action for mobile, plus tested and tracked results, you need an easy way to report and analyze all of this data. All of the data in the world won’t do you any good unless you have an easy way to compile and digest it. That’s where reporting dashboards come into play.
The ideal solution would be to create an in-house reporting dashboard that uses APIs and web services to pull in data from all of the various tools and systems you use to create, send, measure, etc. your campaigns. However, not every mobile marketer or direct marketing company has the time or money to create something like this in-house. Luckily, there are tools like Geckoboard that provide similar functionality for a fraction of the cost. It’s a huge time saver…trust me.
Follow-up messaging to keep engagement high (SMS, push, survey, in-app, email, etc.)
OK –so if you’ve followed all of these suggestions your mobile marketing campaign was probably a huge success. Congratulations. Now comes the fun part. Direct marketing in the mobile and digital world doesn’t end with a single campaign…especially if your main goal was app downloads. Subsequent campaigns, both one-off and nurture campaigns, need to be mapped out to keep your audience engaged with your mobile offering. If you used a tracking or marketing platform in your mobile app (like Mixpanel, mentioned earlier) you now have the ability to market to your audience with SMS, push notifications, in-app messaging, in-app surveys and more. Attention spans are short in mobile marketing, and if you aren’t keeping your audience engaged, somebody else will. We’ll cover these mobile marketing strategies in more detail in an upcoming post.
Keeping up with the trends
It’s important to remember that mobile, like any other marketing discipline, is constantly changing. In order to keep your conversion rates and ROI high you need to be constantly learning and testing. What worked 12 months ago might not necessarily work today, and what works today might not even next week. Wearable tech like Google Glass, improving smart phone features (both hardware and software) and a growing amount of competition ensures that mobile marketing will continue to grow and evolve, and you definitely don’t want to get left behind! Read case-studies on blogs, attend conferences and network – that’s the only way to stay ahead of the game.
The benefits of mobile marketing
So now that we’ve covered the basics on how to do it, let’s cover why mobile marketing is critical. Two of the main benefits of effective mobile marketing are the increased amount of data that can be tracked and captured, as well as quicker (sometimes instant) conversions. In addition, greater levels of interactivity and engagement associated with mobile apps and marketing are also hard to ignore. Basically, if done correctly, the marriage of direct mail and mobile marketing can become pretty much every direct marketer’s wet dream…and we’ll leave it at that!
Do you have any other mobile marketing tips, suggestions or feedback? We’d love to hear them in the comment section below. So until next time…happy marketing!