How to make mobile marketing work for your e-commerce business

Woman looking at her smartphone

With a growing number of online shoppers wanting to use their mobile devices to buy, now is not the time to stick your head in the sand. Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening—according to Adobe’s 2016 Mobile Retail Report, “Smartphones are the primary drivers of growth, but retailers are struggling to get consumers to spend at levels similar to desktop.”

While it is easy to attribute the poor performance on mobile (16 percent conversion rate) compared with that on desktop (26 percent conversion rate) to the differing screen sizes, there’s a larger issue at play.

Mobile marketing cannot be approached the same way traditional forms of desktop marketing have been in the past. Popups do not work all that great on limited screen space. People are less inclined to scroll down long pages. Moreover, too many steps are enough to force even the most patient of users away from their device and onto desktop (or just away from your site altogether).

There is a tremendous opportunity here for online retailers to capitalize on. Mobile has created an entirely new platform through which businesses can reach their audience—but it is going to take some effort. If you are not sure where to start, consider this post your primer.

Here are 12 tips to help make mobile marketing work for your e-commerce business:

Tip 1: Review your analytics to see where your site’s visitors come from now. Note the percentage of visitors using smartphones to view your site and what percentage of those convert. Then, as you grow your mobile marketing initiatives, revisit those statistics to gauge your progress.

Tip 2: People are using different devices (and screen sizes) to visit your website, which means your site needs to be optimized for these variable conditions. Design your website with a mobile-first mentality. This means:

  • Important information up top
  • Responsive design
  • Big buttons
  • Less scrolling
  • Less images
  • More video
  • Less complicated navigation

Then create an expanded version of your site for desktop users.

Tip 3: Recognize that mobile may be a stronger asset to your business when used as a second screen. In other words, the mobile website experience can complement whatever your users do on the desktop version. Don’t feel like mobile needs to do everything if it’s got limitations.

Tip 4: If you have the funds and it makes sense for your e-commerce company’s offerings, invest in building a mobile app in addition to your responsive website. Mobile apps add value and convenience to the user experience.

Tip 5: Understand that mobile search is different from desktop. Paid ads take up prime real estate within search rankings, and many users never search past the first page of results. This means a mix of paid mobile ad campaigns and local SEO keyword optimization are the key to getting found.

Tip 6: When creating keywords for mobile ad campaigns, use shorter keywords. Mobile users tend to type less than on a desktop.

Tip 7: Think of mobile as your secret weapon to gaining local foot traffic (if you have a brick-and-mortar shop). Register your website with Google My Business, Yellow Pages, Yelp and more. Use location-specific keywords. You should also consider putting excess marketing funds toward mobile beacon technology.

Tip 8: Make your email marketing campaigns mobile-friendly.

Tip 9: If you are creating blog content for your website, make that mobile-friendly, too. (Brevity is best!)

Tip 10: Put video to work—especially live video that can be viewed from mobile-friendly social media apps.

Tip 11: If you have a physical storefront, include in-store Wi-Fi to increase shopper convenience. This way customers have the ability to easily check pricing, reviews, and more, just like they would if they were shopping online.

Tip 12: Consider hiring new team members that are fluent in mobile. You cannot be expected to do everything and know everything all on your own. Outsource that mobile app development, site maintenance, and customer support to people who understand it well.

Want to know how to make an impact on mobile? These tips are a good place to start, but they should not be the end of your mobile marketing work.

Going forward, spend time viewing your e-commerce site on your smartphone or tablet. Explore it as your consumers would. This will give you a good idea of what works and what doesn’t, and ultimately serve as a source of inspiration to help you upgrade the user’s experience and boost your bottom line.

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