What Makes a Great Mobile Coupon?

Mobile couponing is blowing up, but many ecommerce businesses still haven’t captured the tremendous value that mobile coupons can provide. With the right strategy, a mobile coupon can give your sales a much needed boost and increase customer loyalty. Consider these tips to become the master of mobile deals!

Specificity Matters

A mobile coupon is not just a mobile coupon. It is also a fantastic opportunity to highlight a specific product or group of products. While storewide sales have their place, consider featuring specific items in your coupon so you have the opportunity to add descriptive language and make them appealing. You’ll find that customers often respond better to this type of curated approach.

Choose the Right Image

An image is an incredibly important part of your coupon. While it always pays to have sexy product images, coupons benefit greatly from soem extra attention. If you are tying your coupon to a specific event, consider adding a themed image of your product, or an image that features your product in use. Images do a great job of telling a story, and creative images will let your customers imagine what it would be like to own your item.

Concise, Descriptive Copy

The text that accompanies your image is absolutely crucial, particularly considering that your customers will actually see it right on their home screen when you send your coupon through push notifications. You’ll need to strike a good balance here, because too little information focusing on hard facts will make you sound robotic, while too much information will sound flowery and will get cut off. One sentence of informative, descriptive text will make a huge difference where your coupon is concerned.

Correct Timing

Different audiences respond to coupons best at different times, so it pays to experiment and find the sweet spot for your customers. When starting out, try to put yourself in the mindset of your customer. Does your target market work 9-5 hours? Do they have an academic schedule? When do they normally buy from you website? This information will help you get a good idea of the peak time to send mobile coupons. You can hone from there.

Value For Them, Value For You

Mobile coupons can provide a great way to move products, but you’ll need to confirm two things overall: is the coupon valuable enough to be interesting to your customers? Does the coupon also serve to meet your goals? It’s pretty rare that businesses create a coupon simply to liquidate inventory. You want to make sure that the coupon creates value for you. Don’t send a coupon unless you have a clear goal in mind, and then measure against that goal. Whether you want to push a specific product at an intro rate or want to garner return customer loyalty, measure. It is the only way you’ll determine the true value of your mobile coupon.

These items all demonstrate the qualities of a great mobile coupon, but specifics can be useful as well. What have you found to be effective in your mobile coupon strategy? What mobile coupons have you personally responded to?

Three Types of Push Notification (That Immediately Benefit Your Online Store)

Push notifications are one of the most powerful tools in the mcommerce arsenal. They allow you to reach your customers directly, without relying on email or social channels. Usually the customers who have enabled push notifications for your app are well-placed to be highly responsive, meaning that each message will almost certainly receive direct interaction. The key if turning passive activity into sales.

These are three types of push notification that can get immediate benefit for your online store if used correctly:

 Product Announcement/Pre-Order

If you regularly release new products to your customers, you know that there is some inherent risk involved during the early stages. Will they be interested? Will they actually buy? It’s a bit of a gamble if you go in blind. Fortunately push notifications can alleviate these issues and make new releases more of a sure thing.

First, you can use messages to announce new products in advance, release details about those products, and build interest before the initial release. When the product is actually rolled out, your loyal fans will already be eager to buy! If you want to take it a step further, you can direct customers to a pre-order page from your message. This allows you to know exactly how many people will actually pay for a new product before it is even available.

Flash Sale

One of the most tried and true methods for moving inventory quickly in physical retail locations is through a flash sale (a sale of items normally lasting an extremely limited period of time or until the inventory runs out). Ecommerce sites traditionally have faced some challenges with this idea because of their reliance on passive communications such as email, which is often checked irregularly and by a small number of customers.

Push notifications make the concept of a flash sale a reality for ecommerce sites. It can be as simple as creating a “Flash Sale” category on your site and then sending a push notification letting customers know the game is on! Alternatively, you can get more complicated, such as having specific items go on flash sale regularly and then sending a new push message once one sale is done and the next begins. Push notifications give you the flexibility to reach out as often as you like and be more or less guaranteed views by a large number of your app users.

News Flash

The other two items in this article revolved around sales, because they are obviously the lifeblood of your online store. However, push notifications can also help in outreach efforts, particularly as regards important news or updates. The immediacy of push notifications allows you to get in front of your customers quickly so that they are kept up to date on relevant goings on for your store.

Push notifications are a powerful tool, and one of the best ways to use a mobile app in your marketing efforts. Let us know if you want any more tips on push notification marketing and more!

Five Tips To Maximize Mcommerce App Installs

Mcommerce App Growth

One of the greatest concerns of online store owners who want an mcommerce app revolves around how to quickly grow their install base. It is a valid concern, for as we’ve mentioned previously mobile apps serve best as a customer engagement channel rather than an awareness-generation tool. Therefore, you’ll need to make sure that you take the necessary steps to position your app for day one success!

1. App Store Optimization for Mcommerce Apps

App store optimization is a crucial step in assuring you get customer downloads, but it has its limitations as well. Mcommerce apps are almost always promoted by the online store owner, and so it is important that the store information aligns appropriately. Most importantly, this means choosing a name that matches with what your customers would expect to search for. If your store name is “Auto Parts Plus” it would be a good idea to name your app the same, vs. “Awesome Auto App” or something of the kind. App descriptions and keywords are also factored in to some degree, but if you build your app with Apptive we’ll optimize that for you!

2. Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?

One of the best ways to promote your mcommerce app is through direct download badges from the App Store and Google Play. Apptive provides you with these badges to make it easy to use them as soon as your app is live. They are most effective when placed on the home page of your website, but you should also include them wherever you have the ability to add HTML elements. Our customers have had great success including the badges as clickable elements within emails, for instance.

3. Awareness Channel Saturation

The most consistently effective means of driving regular app downloads are your awareness channels. Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. Often customers engage in heavy initial promotion of their app through these channels, then taper off. However, consistent (though not spammy) promotion will offer the greatest long-term results. Remember, an app is best used as a customer engagement tool. It only continues to grow in value over time as downloads increase.

4. Consistent Deals and/or Messages

Customers who create mcommerce apps with Apptive have the ability to include a “Deals” or “Messages” module within their app. In addition to serving as a repository for relevant messages and a collection of current deals, these modules allow you to send these messages and deals as push notifications. This means that they will appear directly on your customer’s phones as long as they have push notifications enabled. Obviously, they are a great way to increase sales, but they also keep the app fresh in the mind of your customers whenever they get a push notification. Just don’t abuse the tool, as it is very difficult to convince customers to turn on push notifications once they’ve turned them off!

5. Encourage Positive Reviews

Once you’ve directed people to your app download page, the final hurdle is validation. People are used to seeing reviews for apps to gauge their usefulness. You should encourage anyone who downloads your app to leave a review so that future customers can get proof that your app is truly a high-quality means of connecting with your store!

If you follow these steps then you can quickly create a large install-base of loyal customers that will continue to buy from and support your online store.

Let us know if you have any other tips for getting customer installs, we’re always interested to see how creative our customers are!

Three Freaky Mobile Mistakes You Must Avoid


It’s Halloween, and things are getting a little creepy.

This year, the scares are not all related to costumed trick-or-treaters or haunted houses. We’ll tell you about the three spookiest mistakes companies make in their mobile marketing that you should definitely avoid.


Wildly Inappropriate Ads

Let’s say your kid is playing a harmless game on your iPad. There is a stream of ads, but who cares, the game is free right? Plus it’s a children’s game. It’s not like there’s gonna be anything too bad.

Wait, is that an ad for e-cigarettes? In the kid’s game?

We wish we could say this didn’t happen. But it did, and recently. British American Tobacco ran an ad for their e-cigarette in a kids mobile game. Fortunately they responded quickly and pulled the ad, but the fact that the ad appeared at all was no bueno. While the company claims that they are unsure how the ad ran, the lesson here is to make sure that you are targeting your ads carefully to make sure they don’t appear in front of an inappropriate audience.


Spam That Won’t Die

Mobile spam is becoming a big deal. Customers who haven’t opted in to messaging programs, SMS-type services being the biggest offender are frustrated when they continuously receive annoying messages without the ability to opt out. In fact, people have gotten so frustrated that they have successfully filed and won lawsuits against companies that send them spam without an opt-in. Turns out, its pretty illegal.

That being said, while safer message systems like push notification allow for opt out, you should still avoid spamming customers all the time. After all, you want customers to have the ability to opt out. You don’t want them to feel the need to use it!


Horrible Value Props

So you’ve got a mobile app? Good for you.

Now answer this: what does it do for your customers?

If you have trouble answering, or if the “value” is of a pretty dubious nature, then you should probably reevaluate your strategy. Makeup brand Lancome recently came under fire from Forbes for introducing a mobile app that provided only token benefit for customers while serving as a thinly veiled advertising medium.

Failure to provide value to customers will make them feel betrayed, and can quickly result in your app being blacklisted and abandoned.

SMS Vs. Push Notifications


Cell phones have given digital marketers a direct link to their customers in the way that email and traditional advertising methods never could. When a customer can send a message, deal, etc. to a customer and have it show up directly on a smartphone home screen, visibility goes way up. Currently, there are two methods for a company to send a message to customer smartphones: SMS and push notifications. While these may appear relatively similar at surface level, they actually have significant differences that must be observed.

SMS messages have been around for quite some time, predating even the earliest smartphone platforms. In short, SMS messages are essentially text messages sent from a company or application to a user or customer. They behave for all intents and purposes as a text message from a customer perspective. However, they have more in common with email marketing than smart messaging technologies. The biggest problem with SMS really lies in perception and permissions.

While by law customers are required to opt-in to SMS messaging, it is not uncommon for lists of customers to be shared between companies or sold, precisely in the same manner as email lists. In addition to increasing the perception that SMS messages in general are spam, misuse of SMS have actually led to lawsuits, perhaps most significantly the recent spam lawsuit against Viacom which was settled out of court. Issues such as these are exacerbated by the fact that customers can not directly opt-out of SMS marketing. Again, like email marketing, they are forced to request to be taken off of the list, which in the case of negligent companies can turn into a hassle. Of course, this also requires more careful list management for companies who do make a point to adhere to the letter of the law.

Push notifications offer similar functionality from a customer perspective. Again, a company or application can send a message directly to a customer’s phone, and it will appear on their home screen. The difference is that push notifications are clearly sent from an app (the app icon will show up beside the notification when it is sent). In addition, customers have complete control on their end over which applications can send them push notifications at any given time. This is beneficial for both customers and companies. Customers can opt in or out of messaging at their leisure, while companies can be sure that any messages they send are received by customers who have already expressed a direct interest in their offering, increasing the value of those messages significantly.

Small Messages, Big Ideas


In one of our recent video blog posts Apptive co-founder Jason Jaynes discussed some push notification strategies. One of his main points was keeping the message concise so customers could receive a great amount of value from a small amount of data. It occurred to me that some people might struggle with the idea of creating incredibly dense messages. Any career writer will tell you that writing short, value-laden material is often much more challenging than writing lengthy or even technical documents. Therefore, I propose that often the most effective use of direct messages is as a supplement within a larger context of understanding, rather than as a standalone piece of material.

Context is, of course, everything when it comes to using a push notification as a “seed” message. However, the good news is that most all businesses already have excellent context in place. Remember, a mobile app is often best used to reach loyal customers who likely already have some idea of what you’re about. Therefore, they likely have a good idea of your other products, services or outreach channels that you can leverage to maximize the value of short messages.

For example, if you are a venue that commonly features bands from a specific genre, you can use a message to alert members of a specific upcoming group that caters to that genre’s specific fanbase. Since they already have a good idea of the genre and your location, you don’t have to explain the band’s background, the type of music they play, or even the specifics of your location. Just a short message triggers all of the knowledge that your customers have about your venue and the music they are interested in hearing.

That example is pretty direct, but there are lots of ways to send messages that don’t require extensive word-smithing to generate interest and thus profits and an excited mobile community for you.


How Should You Use Push Notifications?

Watch as Apptive Co-founder Jason Jaynes answers a customer question about best practices for push notifications.