Earlier this year, Mary Meeker presented a look at the staggering growth (current and projected) of mobile in 2012 that set tech press and business media on fire. Everywhere today's marketer looks, people are talking about the growth of mobile, how it has changed human behavior, and its impact on today's consumer. These three elements have small and large marketers alike looking at new strategies to engage with customers on the one device they can't live without -- their mobile phones.
For most marketers, their target audiences tend to follow a traditional path from awareness to loyalist. But as mobile phone use rose, so did the empowered consumer who was willing to follow, unfollow, opt-in or opt-out, embrace, or delete you at a moment's notice. So how can marketers create excitement, build loyalty, and capture the attention of fickle fans? It is not easy, but it can be done!
Below are a few favorite tips and tricks for building loyal fans from the top of the funnel down.
The first step of the customer journey through the marketing funnel is raising awareness about a brand or product within core and secondary target audiences. On-site signage featuring a compelling offer to drive subscriptions combined with multimedia rich response messages (e.g., messages that utilize video, photos, and slideshows highlighting the brand's offer and products) are often the first step to raising awareness for mobile marketers.
Many retailers place signage in store windows and outside retail stores that feature a "quick to expire" coupon to encourage potential customers to step in, sign up, and shop immediately. For brand retailers, in-aisle differentiators include offering on-demand product videos to help customers make purchasing decisions and counteract "showrooming."
A key step for marketers, this is the phase in which the consumer is aware of a product or service and is considering purchase or joining a program. For mobile marketers, this stage often determines whether a customer is going to continue to engage with a brand or not. Mobile marketers must be creative in this phase of the engagement and provide compelling reasons for recipients to want to continue to learn more about the brand's products or services. Marketers should incorporate videos, images, and branded content to enhance the customer's brand or product consideration experience.
TV show mobile loyalty clubs do a great job of driving customers through the consideration phase by offering exclusive content in exchange for joining the mobile program. In this case, not only does the customer receive valuable show-related content such as exclusive clips, show-related photos, videos, audio clips, etc., but these mobile programs are also directly driving weekly show tune-ins.
Mobile messaging is a highly responsive medium. A crucial step for every marketer is designing and maximizing the engagement portion of the program. Whether it is growing opt-ins to the mobile database or encouraging immediate online and in-store sales with a time sensitive offer combined with a mobile coupon, engagement is about encouraging the consumer to take a desired action.
There are many ways brands can engage with customers. From quizzes to asking fans to share personal content and stories to asking questions for future customized outreach, the mobile platform is perfect for two-way engagement. Recently, Kohl's and Converse found success by encouraging Converse fans to send in photos of their favorite Converse shoe moments. The images tell the story of the owners and their love for Converse, building an image quilt for Converse that shows the wide use case for Converse shoes -- from first pair to last.
Mobile marketers ultimately strive for customer advocacy. A compelling offer or engagement program can be forwarded and shared with friends and family, even across channels. For example, a text message campaign with social media sharing options allows brand fans to share the received message offer across their social channels, thereby increasing awareness, participation, and viral impressions. Mobile marketers that empower audiences to become brand advocates will only increase their reach by participating in the world's largest network.
Empowering brand fans is easy. Today's MMS text message marketers are including a "share to social" option within text messages that empower recipients to become brand advocates when they share it across their social channels. With one click, a fan can share the message content. If that content features a compelling request to join the database, the viral impression count can begin.
One of the most important pieces of any marketing program is fan retention, which is critical for remarketing and additional sales. Through effective engagement -- including a compelling "reward" for actions taken -- a brand can maintain its customers for future retargeting efforts. Often these rewards feature exclusive content or customized content based on previously gathered data.
Building a loyal brand following requires keeping the customer first in the mobile planning processes. When fans join Vans mobile marketing programs, they are asked to determine what kind of content they would like to receive. By allowing fans to choose the type of content most relevant to them, fans are more likely to stay opted-in and to act upon Van's mobile program requests.
Today's mobile customers can be loyal but demand respect. By following the above guidelines, you will create a program that engages with valuable content and, in turn, an audience who will take action. To learn more about how to achieve ROI through MMS marketing, download Mogreet's free white paper here.
Serena Ehrlich is director of marketing for Mogreet.
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"Funnel metal isolated on a white background" image via Shutterstock.
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