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Don't Be a Scrooge This Holiday Season, Have a Mobile Presence

  |  December 9, 2011   |  Comments

Three mobile marketing must-haves for the holidays.

Are you denying your business the seasonal joy of new sales because you refuse to go mobile? Find yourself walking around with a Grinch-like grimace rather than a merry smile because your competitors are experiencing newfound business? After all, shoppers spent 26 percent more on Black Friday this year than last, while mobile drove 14.3 percent of online traffic and 9.8 percent of sales. And my company's network data shows that local searches for shopping-related keywords are up over 30 percent in the months leading into the holiday season.

It's time to get into the holiday spirit. With mobile devices increasing holiday transactions, retailers can no longer question whether a mobile marketing strategy is necessary. Mobile is now, and it's not too late to take advantage of its opportunities. Here is an easy-to-implement checklist of marketing must-haves for the holiday season.

If you want to take advantage of increased mobile traffic and sales, check this list…and maybe check it twice.

Holiday Must-Have No. 1: A Mobile-Optimized Site or Landing Page

Eighty percent of consumers immediately quit mobile shopping due to bad experiences with retailers' poorly operating mobile sites. A mobile-optimized site is crucial to your presence, so, if you haven't done so already, check out what your site experience is like on mobile. Simply access your site on your own phone, or use one of the free mobile-emulator tools online, such as the one offered by MobileMoxie that allows you to look at your site per different types of handsets.

Using a tool like this, spend some time navigating through your site, and ask yourself:

  • Does it provide an easy way to find information that busy, local holiday shoppers need on the go?
  • Can they quickly find your address and contact information?
  • Do you provide click-to-call functionality, mapping accessibility, and driving directions to make visiting your store as simple as one click?
  • What about product pages; how many clicks does it take to arrive at such information?

If you become frustrated by the amount of navigating, zooming, and clicking, then think about your customers. I encourage you to explore the many quick, effective solutions that can help you get mobile friendly now. If looking to create a mobile landing page, then consider Google's free tool. In a matter of minutes, you can have a mobile-ready landing page.

If you're seeking a more comprehensive offering to take advantage of the millions of mobile shoppers who are not looking for specific businesses but are searching via keywords this holiday season, look into a marketing partner that can provide you with a mobile site and landing page. Also, consider if your partner of choice has the ability to enhance your mobile presence with targeted mobile advertising. Localized mobile ad networks as well as local media companies such as AT&T offer such services.

Holiday Must-Have No. 2: Auto-Detection

For a mobile site to be most effective, your desktop site should be coded to "auto-detect" when a mobile user tries to access it, and then render the proper mobile version versus just showing your traditional desktop site.

Don't have a webmaster or someone who can quickly make such changes for you? Not to worry. You can still reach mobile consumers this holiday season through the use of locally targeted search and display ads.

In fact, those ads are highly effective, as they allow you to leapfrog your competition and secure the top-one or -two spots on consumers' mobile screens. Even more, mobile ads allow you to provide the URL of the page you want your clicking consumers to visit. And voila! Instant mobile presence.

Holiday Must-Have No. 3: Mobile-Local Call to Action

The holidays, particularly Black Friday, are a clinic in how local sales are still the lifeblood of most businesses. But to keep that blood flowing through their proverbial veins, businesses must adapt to how mobile is transforming everyday activities like visiting stores.

Research has shown that a majority of mobile users actually take offline action, including store visits, within a day of their initial searches. By offering a mobile-specific promotion or discount in your ads or on your site (or both), you significantly increase your chances that consumers will notice you.

And because secondary-action rates in mobile are among the highest in the industry, you'll also improve the likelihood that your offers will be acted upon, which will help you secure those in-store transactions. Moreover, mobile promotions can be tracked, so you can gauge your campaign's performance: how your mobile site and/or ads correlate into in-store traffic.

Conclusion

Mobile was a major contributor to retailing success on Black Friday, and there's no reason to think it won't be the same for the rest of the holiday season. As a result, it's not too late to improve your mobile presence, even if just slightly, to reach holiday shoppers this year.

In fact, last-minute shoppers probably still haven't begun their purchase considerations, and they'll be in stores as late as December 24. Using the holiday must-haves above, you can target and reach them, and I think you'll find that mobile will become vital to your holiday-marketing strategy for the foreseeable future. Happy holidays!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Craig Hagopian

Craig Hagopian is responsible for driving xAd's sales, advertising partnerships, and marketing operations within the local-mobile marketplace. He possesses more than 20 years of experience in sales and consumer-marketing leadership for hardware and service-based companies in the PC, wireless, and broadband-Internet sectors.

Hagopian previously served as chief marketing officer at Axesstel - a CDMA-terminal manufacturing company - where he oversaw sales, marketing, and new-product development, as well as investor and media activities that included securing $7 million in funding and transitioning Axesstel to a public company. While there, Hagopian also improved the company's earnings by 70 percent through wireless-carrier account acquisitions.

Prior to Axesstel, Hagopian held management positions at AIR2LAN, a regional provider of broadband-Internet services. Even earlier, he served wireless-data-messaging entity SkyTel Communications as general manager, vice president, and senior director, developing consumer strategies and building partnerships with major retailers and telecommunication providers. Finally, at Epson America, Hagopian served as manager of market planning and product management, a position that enabled him to author the market-entry plan for a $150-million, multimedia product line.

Applying his veteran leadership in the local-mobile and search spaces, Hagopian is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Southern California and a master's degree from Duke University - both in business administration. He currently lives in San Diego with his wife and two children.

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