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How to Amplify Your Mobile Marketing Message in a Crowded Holiday Shopping Season

December 09, 2015
Aaron Polmeer

By Sherice Jacob


If you’ve been putting off optimizing your website and messages for mobile because you want to wait and see if the results make it worth your while – it’s finally time to take action.

Thanksgiving and Black Friday were the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season and in those two days, online sales netted a whopping 4.5 billion, according to TechCrunch. But perhaps the most surprising finding from these two days…

…was that 1.5 billion of it came from mobile shopping.

So far this year, there has been a bigger push to shop online over Thanksgiving than in years past. Shopping from tablets seem to be decreasing as mobile phones become the device of choice but both devices had similar average cart order values – around $140.

With the push to shop online over Thanksgiving, mobile sales have surged in 2015

Even ComScore has predicted mobile’s ever-growing trajectory as being off-the-charts, as shown in these charts comparing the 2014 holiday shopping season and predicted numbers based on data gathered so far in 2015.

ComScore’s 2014 Mobile shopping forecast

2015-comscoreMobile’s unstoppable growth in 2015

With such an incredible trajectory of growth, you may be asking yourself, “How do I make sure my message gets noticed among all the hot sales, giant discounts and massive price-slashing notifications that my customers are already getting? Here are three surprisingly-underutilized but hugely successful tactics that will increase engagement even in the middle of holiday season shopping madness.

Leverage Intelligent In App Messaging

In app messaging, when used as part of a smart, targeted customer attraction and retention campaign, can have deep, far-reaching effects. Take Tinder for example. With this simple dating app, you swipe right if you’re interested in a date with someone, swipe left if not. If both people swipe right, an in-app message lets both parties know the other is interested, and from there they can chat and share images.

According to app marketing and analytics company Localytics, in app messaging is what separates the true high performers from their “me too” competitors.  Based on their research, apps that send in app messaging have a 2-3.5 time higher retention rate as well as a 27% higher open rate. With apps, the “conversion” that increases customer loyalty is how many times they launch the app on a month-to-month basis:


Users launch apps more often when they contain in-app messaging

What’s more, customer retention with apps is a huge indicator on how well that app will succeed overall. Those with in app messaging retain 61% of users after the first month, 50% after two months and 46% after three months. Apps without messaging only retain 13% of users after three months. That’s a significant difference.


User retention drops dramatically on apps without in-app messaging

The best time to show your in app message? As it turns out, the Localytics study covered this too, showing that in app messages that came up as a result of a trigger (like Tinder) fared better than those that came up after the app launched.

Don’t Forget About Text

Text messages are at the heart of mobile marketing – but only if you do them right.   Customers know what they want, and they want it instantly. They can tell the difference between a generic “canned” message and a truly personal message. One strategy that has truly been paying off is combining text message alerts with a discount code.

Cabela’s ran this very type of campaign with its subscribers, building what it called a “good foundation via text”. By giving users the option to sign up for text alerts, and get $10 off their order of $50 or more, they provide an instant incentive plus a “foot in the door” that doesn’t require reliance on an app the way that many mobile marketing initiatives can.

cabelasCabela’s text alert combined with a discount

As a result, Cabelas was able to grow its SMS subscription rate at a whopping 6% per week – an enviable number when you consider that text messaging is perhaps one of the closest ways to reach the customer and their way of telling their favorite brands “I want to hear from you.”

Other brands like Julep, used the combination incentive/text message alert to generate 5,000 new SMS subscribers in 24 hours, while Taco Bell gained 15,000 subscribers in the first five weeks of their campaign. With the holiday shopping season in full swing, customers are anxious to get deals, and won’t hesitate to subscribe to their favorite (or their recipient’s favorite) brands and services to see what’s in store.

Mobile Email – Does It Pay Off?

The real question when it comes to making sure your message gets noticed on mobile deals with email. Despite the surge in growth of mobile shopping, email is still a tried and true method to connect with the customer on a more personal level and get your relationship building efforts off to a roaring start.

A recent report by Yesmail showed that its shoppers are making 2015 the Year of the Smartphone. Revenues based on mobile email campaigns jumped nearly 10% compared to last year, while conversion rates were higher as well.

As customers become more accustomed to engaging with emails on their mobile devices, they in turn become more receptive to the idea of clicking an email and opening a page. In fact, year-over-year data from Yesmail shows that desktop rates fell as mobile click to open rates continued their steady climb. Who knows? Perhaps next holiday season will finally be the one where email opens on mobile trump desktop.cto-yesmail-071215

Fortunately there are a few best practices you can follow to make sure your mobile marketing message gets acted upon this holiday season. For one, you should know that mobile is not a one-way conversation.   Customers can (and will) text you to tell you what they want – how often you should email, what kind of deals they can get, or even notifications on events in their local areas.

What’s more, with advances in today’s CRM targeting, you can create mobile marketing profiles of each customer, enabling a truly personalized experience. No matter how you approach this, however, mobile email marketing shouldn’t be just another notch in your omni-channel belt. Keeping the customer experience consistent across every outlet – whether it’s social, mobile, email or any other number of avenues, can ensure a seamless holiday shopping experience from start to finish.

How is your business handling the holiday rush? Have you discovered new trends in mobile marketing or had unusually strong success from a new campaign? Tell us about it in the comments below!

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!

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