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Mobile marketing: an essential lever to activate your customers

Mobile has revolutionized the way we consume, communicate, and entertain ourselves. Today, it represents more than half of internet traffic. For brands, it's a unique opportunity to build a closer and more personalized relationship with their customers.

The smartphone is much more than a simple communication channel. It's a daily companion that follows us everywhere, at every moment. An impressive (and perhaps frightening) statistic: on average, we spend nearly 5 hours per day on our smartphones. Under these conditions, how can you interact with your audience in a contextualized and relevant way while ignoring mobile?

But where do you start? How do you implement an effective mobile marketing strategy? What are the most effective levers to activate your mobile audience?

Mobile marketing encompasses a wide variety of techniques and channels, from SMS to social networks to mobile applications.

In this article, we offer you an overview of mobile marketing best practices.

The objective: to help you build a high-performance mobile strategy to boost customer engagement and conversion.

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What is mobile marketing?

Mobile marketing refers to the art and manner of deploying a marketing strategy on mobile devices.

Why invest in mobile marketing today? The answer is obvious and you probably already know it: mobile has become one of the most used channels by consumers, if not THE channel par excellence.

The numbers speak for themselves:

These figures show that mobile has become an essential point of contact between brands and their customers. Hence the importance of defining a mobile marketing strategy adapted to the specificities of smartphones and mobile usage.

What exactly are we talking about when we mention mobile marketing? In reality, several things. Mobile marketing is protean, covering a wide variety of tools and formats: SMS marketing, push notifications, mobile applications, wallets… We will detail and illustrate the potential of each of these levers in this article.

SMS Marketing: reach your customers with a direct and effective channel

Let's start our overview of mobile marketing levers with a classic: SMS. Far from being outdated, SMS continues to prove its formidable effectiveness in reaching consumers.

The proven effectiveness of SMS marketing

The impact of SMS is immediate: on average, 85% of recipients consult an SMS within five minutes of receiving it (Source: Textline).

But SMS also appeals for its ability to engage consumers and generate ROI. As proof, promotional coupons distributed by SMS have a usage rate 10 times higher than traditional coupons (Source: Luisa Zhou).

Companies have understood this well: about 47% of them, across all sectors, use SMS marketing. It must be said that consumers themselves are demanding it: 91% say they are interested in receiving SMS from brands.

Multiple use cases, from acquisition to reactivation

Concretely, how can you leverage SMS in your mobile strategy? The possibilities are numerous:

  • Promotional campaigns to boost sales.

  • Welcome messages as part of an onboarding journey.

  • Transactional notifications to keep customers informed of the progress of their order.

  • Requests for reviews after a purchase to enrich product reviews.

  • Targeted reminders to reactivate "dormant" customers.

The golden rules of a successful SMS campaign

Here are some best practices to optimize the performance of your SMS Marketing campaigns:

  • Take care of your contact base and finely segment it to target the right messages.

  • Personalize your SMS, without drowning your customer in personalization fields…

  • Include links to facilitate action (website, landing page…).

  • Think of your SMS strategy in complementarity with other mobile channels. The challenge is to integrate SMS into an overall mobile marketing strategy, alongside other levers such as mobile applications or push notifications.

In short, SMS is a simple and effective lever to engage in conversation with your customers on mobile. Provided you respect the right frequency and best practices to avoid falling into spam!

To find out more, read our article "How to effectively integrate SMS into your omnichannel marketing mix".

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RCS: the new generation of mobile messaging

After SMS, make way for the new generation of mobile messaging: RCS (Rich Communication Services). This protocol promises to revolutionize the conversational experience on mobile. But what lies behind these three letters?

The best of SMS and instant messaging

RCS can be seen as an SMS on steroids. It combines the best of text messages and messaging apps like WhatsApp or Messenger:

  • Messages that can contain up to 8000 characters (compared to 160 for an SMS).

  • Enriched media: images, videos, GIFs…

  • Advanced interactions: buttons, quick replies, carousels…

  • Real-time indicators: read receipts, typing indicators…

The icing on the cake: unlike messaging apps, RCS does not require installation. It is directly integrated into the smartphone's native messaging application (provided the operator supports it).

A high-potential lever for brands

For companies, RCS opens up many possibilities:

  • Interactive and immersive promotional campaigns.

  • Dematerialized loyalty programs.

  • Transactional chatbots.

  • Conversational customer service.

Another key asset: RCS benefits from all the advantages of SMS in terms of deliverability, opening, and engagement, making it a powerful lever in a mobile marketing strategy.

The first results are already telling. For example, during Picard's 2023 Christmas campaign, the reading rate of RCS messages reached 70%, with a click-through rate of 18%, 2.4 times higher than that of traditional SMS (Source: Sinch).

Challenges to overcome to democratize RCS

Despite its potential, RCS has not yet taken off. Why? First, because it depends on the goodwill of operators. However, RCS support remains uneven on a global scale. Secondly, because RCS is not yet supported by all smartphones, especially iPhones.

But things are moving. Google, which now equips more than 500 million Android devices worldwide, is strongly pushing for RCS adoption. This bodes well for the future of this protocol which, without a doubt, will shake up the codes of conversational marketing in the years to come.

To go further, discover our article "RCS or the future of mobile marketing?".

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WhatsApp: engage in conversation with your customers

Another heavyweight in conversational marketing on mobile: WhatsApp. With more than 2 billion active users worldwide, the famous messaging application has become an essential channel for interacting with customers.

WhatsApp Business: the pro version of WhatsApp

To attract companies, WhatsApp launched a version of its app dedicated to professionals: WhatsApp Business. This version includes features designed to optimize customer relationship management:

  • A business profile to present your activity.

  • Automated messages to gain efficiency.

  • Labels and categories to organize and segment your contacts.

  • Statistics to track performance.

Various possibilities to activate your customers

Concretely, how can you integrate WhatsApp into your mobile marketing strategy? There is no shortage of use cases.

You can use WhatsApp to offer your customers a responsive and personalized customer service, by answering your users' questions in real time.

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It is also an effective channel for sending transactional notifications, such as order confirmations or invoices. WhatsApp can also be used to broadcast targeted promotional campaigns, to send exclusive offers to your best customers for example.

The golden rules to take advantage of WhatsApp

Here are some golden rules and best practices to exploit the full potential of WhatsApp:

  • WhatsApp is based on opt-in: your customers must authorize you to contact them on this channel.

  • Favor a conversational and non-intrusive approach: WhatsApp should remain a space for exchange, not a unidirectional promotional channel.

  • Take advantage of the richness of formats (images, videos, documents…) to create immersive experiences.

  • Be responsive: users expect a near-immediate response on this type of channel.

Push notifications: reactivate and retain your mobile users

After SMS, RCS, WhatsApp, how can we not talk about push notifications? These messages that appear directly on your users' smartphone screens are experiencing growing popularity.

With an average open rate exceeding 16%, push notifications largely outperform other channels in terms of engagement and 70% of users find notifications useful.

Various scenarios, from onboarding to retention

Push notifications are an essential lever in mobile marketing, especially for brands with a mobile application. How can you integrate push into your mobile marketing strategy? Again, the possibilities are multiple.

For example, you can use push notifications to:

  • Welcome and guide your new users during their first use of the app, by reminding them of key features.

  • Inform your customers in real time about the progress of their order or the change in status of their reservation.

  • Promote your products and special offers to "dormant" users to encourage them to return to your app.

  • Re-engage your customers after an abandoned cart, by reminding them of the items they left behind.

The golden rules for high-performance push

To avoid the pitfall of being "spammy", here are some best practices to keep in mind (and apply!):

  • Prioritize personalization and context: notifications should bring added value to the user.

  • Finely segment to send the right messages at the right time.

  • Optimize the content and format of your push (text, media, links…).

  • Test and adjust your sending frequency to find the right rhythm.

If you're interested in this topic, we discuss push notifications in more detail in these complementary articles:

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Mobile wallet: simplify your customers' experience and engagement

The mobile wallet is another valuable tool to enrich your smartphone marketing strategy. It fits perfectly into a mobile marketing approach aimed at streamlining the customer journey on mobile devices.

The wallet (or "electronic wallet") allows you to store your payment methods, loyalty cards, coupons, and event tickets in a dematerialized way.

The wallet to streamline the customer journey

On the user side, the wallet considerably simplifies the in-store experience. No more need to take out your credit card or search for your paper coupon: a simple scan from the mobile app is enough. It's the promise of a smoother and faster customer journey.

But the wallet also benefits brands. By offering your customers to directly save their cards in their wallet, you remove friction at the time of purchase. Result: an increased conversion rate and a higher average basket.

Concrete use cases for your business

The use cases of the mobile wallet depend on your industry.

In retail, for example, the wallet allows you to dematerialize your loyalty program to simplify the in-store experience. It's also a lever to boost your sales through couponing, which consists of offering your customers targeted offers directly in their wallet.

Another example in the tourism and transportation sector: the wallet facilitates the storage of boarding passes or electronic tickets, as airlines or amusement parks do.

The key is to think about the irritants in your customers' journey and see how the wallet can remove them, while enriching the user experience. It's up to you to determine the most relevant use cases for your business!

To go further, discover how the Mobile Wallet transforms the omnichannel customer experience.

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Key takeaways

Throughout this article, we have explored the different facets of mobile marketing. From SMS to push notifications, wallets, and messaging apps, the possibilities are endless for interacting with customers on smartphones.

But a successful mobile strategy is not limited to collecting channels. The challenge is to create a seamless and consistent cross-channel experience, which puts the customer at the heart of the system. This is the whole point of a well-thought-out mobile marketing strategy.

This implies knowing your personas well, finely segmenting your audiences, personalizing and contextualizing each interaction, and thinking omnichannel / cross-channel.

Mobile is a rich and complex ecosystem, constantly evolving with technological innovations and new uses. To stay in the race, it is essential to constantly monitor current trends, test new formats, and analyze and optimize your strategy.

Remember that the smartphone is the most intimate and personal device there is. Each notification, each message is an invitation to enter your customers' lives. It's up to you to make good use of it, with relevance and parsimony, to build a lasting relationship of trust with your mobile audience.

You have all the cards in hand to set up memorable mobile experiences that will activate and retain your customers on mobile devices. It's your turn to play!

About the author

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Isabelle Henry

Head of Inbound and Growth

Always on the lookout for new skills and always ready to launch new marketing projects at Actito, I rely on my personal experiences but also on everything that is happening in the digital world to continue to learn, educate and share with you through inspiring content. My little extras? Video editing and photography!

Want to find out more about mobile marketing with Actito?