By Colleen Malloy
Smartphones and tablets combined now account for 60 percent of all online traffic, according to a recent comScore report, and attracting and converting the on-the-go mobile consumer goes beyond just having a mobile site.
In “Pre-Season Website Review” in February 2015 OPE, I covered some mobile site optimization basics, which I’ll briefly recap, and then dive deeper into how to connect with the growing number of shoppers who use mobile devices as their go-to online browsing tools.
The mobile path to purchase
Mobile users shop with different intentions than desktop users. They are searching for products and services with an intention to buy, seeking out the closest dealer. Not only does this make sense anecdotally, there’s research to back up the fact that mobile buyers are generally closer to purchase than desktop users. Here are some eye-opening stats from Google Nielson Mobile Path to Purchase Study:
* Location matters: Searchers want the business they are looking for to be close to them. According to the study, 69 percent want you to be within 5 miles of their location when they search.
* Immediacy is key: 55 percent of mobile shoppers want to purchase within an hour, and 83 percent want to purchase the same day.
* Mobile influences purchases across channels: 93 percent of people who researched on their smart device went on to make a purchase online or in-store.
Mobile site optimization
To optimize your site for mobile, you have two options. The first is a responsive website that scales to fit the user’s screen, and the second is a dedicated mobile website. However you choose to optimize your site, it is key that you create a shopping experience that is enjoyable, easy and interactive.
Here are some things to consider about your site:
* What does your current website say to mobile visitors? Is it immediately enticing, depicting the products and deals that you offer in an organized format? Does it communicate your brand?
* Think of your mobile store in the same way you would think of your physical store. When customers walk into your store, are they able to clearly see the top products you offer? Can they easily navigate around the space? That same concept should apply to your mobile site. Give mobile customers and prospects a reason to “walk in” and make it convenient for them to not only browse, but also find what they’re looking for.
* Don’t forget to make it easy for your customers to find your physical location — these are shoppers looking to buy. A mobile site that allows customers to pull up a map or easily access point-by-point directions could mean the difference between choosing you over the competition.
* A lot of customers visiting your mobile site may also be looking for contact information. Is it easy to find that information at first glance? Are potential customers able to call you with the click of a button? Giving customers the opportunity to do so will increase your opportunity to engage with them, which is likely to result in traffic and sales in your brick-and-mortar store.
* Even if your desktop website platform includes this information, it’s not enough to capture the smartphone crowd. If smartphone customers have to squint and attempt to “zoom in” on their screen in an effort to find your contact information, then they’re likely not going to take the time to do so. This is why mobile-friendly sites are so important.
Mobile email optimization
Research by Knotice asserts that the number of emails opened on mobile devices reached 48 percent by the end of 2014. If you haven’t updated your email templates in a few years, chances are they may not be mobile friendly. Here are a few tips to ensure your emails are mobile friendly:
* Start by utilizing a responsive template. If you’re using a pre-designed template from your email marketing provider, be sure it’s responsive. Just like responsive websites, responsive email templates are designed to automatically fit the screen on which they’re being viewed. If you use a responsive template, you don’t have to worry about your email rendering incorrectly.
* Select your subject and from lines carefully. Unlike on desktop e-mail clients where programs may likely see a preview of your full email before they decide to hit the dreaded “delete” button, mobile viewers only see a small snippet of your subject text. For example, an iPhone displays about the first 30 or so characters of a subject line and the “from” label is actually displayed more prominently.
* Use call-to-action buttons instead of links. Buttons are easier for people to click on when interacting with a touch screen, avoiding the dreaded “fat-finger” effect.
Paid ad optimization
If you’re investing in pay-per-click advertising, you’ll also want to ensure your campaigns are optimized to boost mobile conversions. Here are three must-dos to connect with mobile browsers:
* Enable ad extensions. Ad extensions are a type of ad format showing extra information (“extending” from your text ads) about your business. Extension types include “call extensions,” which allow people to simply click a button to call your location, as well as “location extensions,” which allow people to find your location, add a map pin, and get navigational assistance.
* Use action-oriented keywords. Broad match keywords perform well in mobile, and adding action words to your keywords will help engage with shoppers who are actively seeking out your products.
* Incentivize mobile searchers. Research tells us that these mobile shoppers are on the go, and ready to buy. Entice them with offers and calls to action that spark urgency.
When you’re hosting a community event or an in-store promotion, how are you letting your customers know about it in advance? A great way to reach customers is directly through their mobile phones. With the click of a button, you can disperse your message straight to their handheld device through a clear and concise text message.
When you send a text message to your customers, they’re almost guaranteed to see it. Most people are alerted when text messages arrive in their inbox — and most mobile users read those text messages. In fact, research shows that between 95 and 98 percent of recipients read their text messages within minutes of the message being received.
Mobile coupons are also increasingly becoming an effective way to reach customers and draw them into your store. Research indicates customers are 10 times more likely to take advantage of text coupons than traditional print coupons. While text marketing can definitely work in your favor, it’s important to remember that not all text marketing efforts are created equal. Before you send a text to your customer base, ask yourself whether those customers would be excited to read it. Is your text list targeted at those who have already shown interest in your products through purchases or inquiries? Would they likely come in and take advantage of the in-store promotions? Make sure you’re providing them with information they’d likely want to receive; otherwise, you’ll overwhelm customers and cause them to unsubscribe from your text messaging list.
Of course, text marketing doesn’t work without having the mobile phone numbers of customers you’re attempting to reach. When you make a sale or help a customer with an inquiry, be sure to ask those prospects if they’d like to be notified of in-store promotions and coupons, and ask how they’d prefer to get them — text, email or both.
Measure your success
Once you have optimized your online channels to drive mobile shoppers to your website and your store, it’s time to analyze your success. Use Google Analytics to track your mobile traffic data. Once you’re logged into Analytics, navigate to Audience > Mobile > Overview. Select a long date range (e.g. years or months) to identify long-term trends or select the Week or Month view from the top right of the graph to minimize distracting daily fluctuations. Just like any online marketing effort, it is important to measure the success of your own mobile marketing strategy to ensure you connect with your customers wherever they are.
Colleen Malloy is the director of marketing at ARI Network Services. Prior to joining ARI in November 2013, Malloy served as the editor of Motorcycle and Powersports News. She is dedicated to the mission of helping dealers improve their operations through the implementation of ever-evolving best practices paired with ARI’s suite of an award-winning data-driven software tools and marketing services that help dealers “Sell More Stuff!” — online and in-store. ARI removes the complexity of selling and servicing new and used inventory, parts, garments and accessories for customers in the outdoor power equipment, powersports, marine, RV, automotive tire and wheel, and white goods industries. More than 22,000 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage ARI’s website (www.arinet.com) and eCatalog platforms to “Sell More Stuff!”