Embedding mobile messaging as part of an inbound marketing strategy is still in its nascent stage. Many marketers are confused about what messaging actually is in mobile today and how they can deploy messages effectively. Part of the confusion is that there aren’t enough real-world, tactics-related studies to follow. The other part is that there isn’t enough guidance around the strategic requirements for deploying a winning campaign. Here are a few thoughts on how to add mobile messaging with a good degree of success.
- Consider the Purchase LifeCycle
Part of the objective with inbound marketing is to determine where your customers are in the purchase cycle. Messaging changes based on where your customers are in your sales life cycle, and although mobile plays an increasingly important role in inbound marketing, it’s going to be most useful at certain stages.
Let’s say you’ve got a holiday shopper who’s been researching a 4K TV and is preparing to venture out among the Black Friday crowds. Your brick-and-mortar shop has the model he is interested in and you can offer some great incentives today. But you don’t know when and how to get the message out as he leaves his home because you haven’t identified the shopper’s stage in the sales life cycle. How can you do that?
- Work with what you have
Inbound traffic to your mobile channel can be identified in a few different ways. Every browser has a user agent string. Device type, operating system and version, and language can all be determined by user agent string. Additionally, you have to consider time of day. This can be revealing of your users intentions. If it is the end of the day, what type of experience should you be providing? Is it best to go for a call to action or prompt the user for a reminder tomorrow morning? Your prospective customer could be researching what to go shopping for the next day.
- Ask for more information to make inbound experience better
We’re starting to see companies create value propositions around being logged in. These include pop-up screens that ask for “pre-permissions” to get access to your mobile device before actually asking for approval to log you in. This tactic is becoming popular because it builds trust while ultimately granting access to connect. From there, you’re able deliver predictive messages based on consumer behavior, and provide a delightful experience on the journey to purchasing.
Geolocation is an attribute of users that more companies are looking to obtain for increased personalization. Traditional IP lookups for mobile do not work on cell networks due to the inconsistency of traffic routing. To find out for yourself, try this link and see what comes up for you on your mobile device. Make sure your wifi is turned off. When I did this in Lehi, UT, my IP showed up as from Venice, CA as part of AT&T Mobility. Fortunately, HTML5 provides a Geolocation object that allows us to get the latitude and longitude of a user. There is work in reverse geocoding or resolving this data point to a finite geofenced region that can provide you meta-data on the user like what major DMA they are in or close to. To get to this point however, you do need to prompt the user to share their location with you. This is crossing a significant boundary with your user so proceed with caution. Make sure you have a clear value proposition for prompting the user for this information.
- Test, Test, Test
Just like email, mobile messaging should be tested. It may seem counterintuitive, but we’ve seen instances where brands have run email tests to determine the best frequency—once a week, three times a week, every day—and actually found that they could be emailing more often than most suspected. The same can be true with your mobile messaging, but you won’t know until you test out. Many marketers wonder where is the line with consumers when it comes to personalization. This is something you can and should test.
- Tie It All Together
You’ve got to find a way to tie your inbound marketing across all channels. Mobile’s an important channel, and you can capture different information in mobile than desktop, but make sure mobile experiences correspond with experiences you’re serving through other channels. If a consumer just booked a room at your hotel via her smartphone following a push notification, you don’t want your call center associate to ask her to reserve a room during a call. The experience should be seamless throughout and this requires the movement of users from an unknown state to a known state.
Mobile’s capacity to deliver inbound marketing wins is great. By evaluating the lifecycle of a purchase, using the data you have, and looking at how to prompt for further information, a marketer can expect to drive a more successful mobile experience for their customers. I hope these thoughts are helpful in getting your mobile marketing initiatives launched successfully.