The holiday season brings an abundance of advertising noise to consumers, and for retailers, it is difficult to stand out. The question is --- how do you distinguish yourself and convince consumers to shop with YOU, rather than competitors?

We live in the era of instant gratification. When a consumer wants something, they want it NOW, and if you don’t capture their interest right away, you’ve lost them. With mobile spending growing 44% in 2016 and looking to grow even more this holiday season, what better way to reach your customers than through mobile promotions. By leveraging a mobile strategy, retailers can better interact with consumers on an individual level, reaching out when relevant, providing a better experience, and ultimately generating a higher return on marketing efforts.

To help you make the most of your mobile presence throughout the shopping season, here’s a handy checklist that will help you to increase engagement even in the middle of holiday shopping madness.

Create Urgency with SMS:

As we quickly approach the holiday season, retailers are beginning to put the final touches on their themed campaigns. If SMS isn’t part of your marketing mix, then maybe you should think again. SMS is quickly becoming one of the best ways to reach and engage customers and you don’t want to miss out. However, there are some tips we encourage you to remember. While emails can go out daily – or even multiple times per day – SMS should be used sparingly. SMS should be saved for your best offers or discounts and should include a feeling of exclusivity as well as a sense of urgency.

The best Black Friday and Cyber Monday SMS promotions create a sense of urgency that motivate the customer to take advantage of the offer. Without some kind of deadline there isn’t any real incentive for them to click through.

Abercrombie and Fitch is a great example. With action words like, “Jump start, while supplies last, and ends tonight,” they are sure to grab the reader’s attention!

Get Personal with SMS:
The holidays are the perfect time to build an emotional bond with your customers. The positive feelings and gratitude are already at the forefront of the season and your marketing campaigns can piggyback on those emotions. An effective way to personalize SMS messages is through segmentation. Segmenting your customer list will allow you to customize your messages for each group of people, giving them relevant messages each time you send out a campaign. To get the most out of your SMS marketing, you can create specialized content for each group of customers tailored just for them based on demographic data or preferences.

Last holiday season, Starbucks launched a holiday themed SMS opt in promotion. Customers were encouraged to text the keyword JOY to 20757 in order to receive weekly holiday offers. After consumers texted in the keywords, they were sent back a message welcoming them to Starbucks’ holiday SMS promotion. By asking questions like, “What’s your favorite drink,” Starbucks was able to create custom messages for customers, creating a personal campaign.

Be Timely with Push Notifications:
While consumers are currently enjoying the peak of summer, the holiday season will sneak up soon enough. As retailers are starting to come up with strategies this time of year to stand out during the mad rush of shopping, the importance towards relevancy and timeliness continue to be emphasized to ensure a successful push notification strategy. Our advice is to find the optimal time to send. Time your push notifications to sync when your audience is thinking most about shopping, including all the special holiday shopping days as well as after the holidays. This is the time when there are incentives that encourage your audience to go back to the physical store or site for additional shopping. Sending push notifications at these times about upcoming specials can encourage them to spend more.

An example of an optimal time to send would be the second and third Thursdays before Thanksgiving, and the Sunday before Cyber Monday. According to a study by Urban Airship, these days are crucial for online retailers during the holidays. This is when shoppers start to engage in researching their wish lists and making last minute purchase decisions. Sending push notifications during or right before these days could be critical for increased conversions.

Take Advantage of Location:
Even when consumers are on the go, they expect to receive relevant messages that meet their specific needs, whether it’s on their phone, tablet, or wearable device. The good news is that technological advances are giving marketers the ability to effectively target their customers more accurately. Leading the charge in this innovation race is the ability to utilize geolocation for targeted mobile marketing efforts. There are many ways to take advantage of geo-location capability by providing specific deals and promotions when your customers are close to your store to influence their buying decisions. The use of geo-fencing -- and better yet beacons -- is great for targeting customers while they're in close proximity to a store or even inside it. Hitting them with a coupon or sale at just the right time, while they are in or near the store, can make the difference in terms of whether they make a purchase or not.

Right before the 2014 holiday season, Macy’s rolled out retail’s largest beacon installation at the time. As shoppers entered the store, they were reminded to open their Macy’s apps in order to receive notifications, promotions, deals, and discounts. The beacon-enabled campaign targeted mobile users in stores prior to Black Friday, prompting them to download the app and to keep an eye out for the game on the shopping holiday.

Mobile marketing is a great way to generate tailored messages to promote your holiday campaigns. Because cell phones have become the main hub for how consumers view the web, you should consider including mobile marketing as a strategy. We’ve made our list and checked it twice and we’d love to help you this holiday season. Questions? Let us know in the comments section.

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