We know that customizing content works as a strategy to reach customers. And never is there a better opportunity to connect with your audience than during the holiday season.
We asked our VP of Professional Services, Amy Ferranti, to give us some insights into how brands can create custom experiences to enhance and support customer relationships.
First: The Why
Why are the holidays so important in terms of engaging your customers? As Ferranti says, it’s one of the key selling seasons for retail.
“There’s a lot of clutter in the market and consumers are hit with marketing messages hundreds of times a day,” she says.
Any unique experience you can leverage that will grab your audience’s attention is a tool you absolutely need. Mobile, she says, can provide more relevant, timely, and personalized experiences beyond what other channels can deliver.
Before you can immerse your brand in a custom mobile holiday experience, you’ll need a deep subscriber base. Ferranti recommends launching a mobile program with calls to action across all channels: email, in-store, online, social.
“Mobile is permission-based and therefore, we need to share the benefits of what being a mobile subscriber can deliver and also incentivize them to join. A good driver of increasing opt-ins is by leveraging a strong offer or sweepstakes to encourage people to sign up. Once they are in the program, providing ongoing communications that are adding value, rewarding shopping. or making your customer’s lives easier will keep them engaged.”
Now, let’s look at some tips for creating your successful mobile holiday campaign.
- Be Genuine
Trying to force your brand into a trendy program won’t come off as authentic, and you will risk turning off potential customers. Ferranti says:
“Consumers respond to those experiences that are unique or surprising and entertaining, but only if it is connects with that brand’s core messaging and values.”
If you have established goals for your mobile strategy, you can develop holiday campaigns that align with those goals.
- Don’t Shout
Certainly, it’s hard to be heard above the noise of your competitors, especially during the holidays when everyone is sending a “sale sale sale!” message. While, yes, you want to promote sales and offers, you’re better off having two-way conversations and delivering more engaging experiences through relevant, personalized messages.
Ferranti says people are looking for entertainment or to have their heartstrings pulled. Find ways to catch their attention that is different from what everyone else is doing.
Here’s an example of just that: Vibes created a gift guide for Polo, which allowed users to browse their collection through their mobile wallet. Rather than blatantly trying to sell products, this strategy engaged its audience, was useful, and also boosted revenues.
- Provide Value (and Make it Easy)
Everyone’s so busy during the holidays. While they’re supposed to be an enjoyable time of year, many consumers get overwhelmed with all the shopping, decorating, and prep they have to do.
Find a way to deliver value through an offer or experience that will alleviate the stress of the holidays. Maybe you send a link to a post on gift ideas via SMS. Or create a contest where they can, at the least, win $20 off a purchase.
Vibes worked with GAP Inc. on a fun and valuable mobile campaign: shoppers could play a game on their phones while waiting in line. Once they played, they could receive 10% off of their purchase.
The more valuable you can be during this crazy season, the more you’ll stay on consumers’ minds.
- Be Flexible in the Platform
The great thing about mobile marketing is the many mobile channels you can use to reach your audience. At Vibes, we’ve seen best results when our clients use a combination of SMS and mobile wallet campaigns.
Ferranti says, “Customers want options and flexibility to get content and offers where they want, when they want. Wallet continues to grow in adoption and better technology continues to make this an attractive option. However, SMS is ubiquitous across customers and sometimes quickly accessing it there may fit their need.”
While we are still several months away from the holiday shopping season, it’s never too early to get started.
“A good mobile program requires thoughtful planning to ensure you deliver on the right user experience and expectations — work with your mobile partner early on in late summer to avoid rushed development or less than ideal experience for your customers,” says Ferranti.