Email is the most profitable marketing channel for e-commerce websites. Study after study of email marketing campaigns confirms its conversion power and profitability.
But there is a new variable in the email capture equation: Mobile.
Wolfgang Digital’s latest study reported that mobile now represents more than 50% of ecommerce sessions:
“2017 is the first year where our KPI study has found mobile laying claim to more sessions than desktop and tablet combined.”
Why is mobile a new variable?
Because UX and SEO rules are so different on this kind of device that traditional list-building techniques don’t work.
Let’s explain why, and how you can take up this challenge.
The Mobile Problem
Before diving into mobile lead generation techniques, it’s important to explain why email marketing is so important.
Email Marketing Superpowers
You may be wondering why email marketing really matters in the first place.
Because it works.
According to Campaign Monitor, every dollar spent in email marketing will bring $44 of revenue.
And they’re not the only ones to praise email marketing. The Data and Marketing Association has declared that “email provides the highest ROI for modern marketers.”
Woflgang Digital’s ecommerce report confirmed this trend, noting that “those who get more traffic from email enjoy a higher average order value.” They also noted that “email delivers three times as much revenue as Facebook on a last click basis.”
And with the development of email marketing solutions such as MailChimp, Klaviyo, and SmartRmail, email marketing has become increasingly accessible and smart.
Part 1: Mobile Lead Generation Challenges
By now, you should be convinced of the importance of email marketing for your ecommerce website. But, of course, to use email marketing effectively, you need email subscribers.
So, one of the first steps of an effective email strategy is to collect your visitors’ emails and their consent to receive emails.
That’s when things get a little bit complicated for mobile visitors.
Let’s see why.
Challenge 1: Touch Controls
Using fingers instead of a mouse and keyboard impacts your user experience.
First, it makes controls a little less precise. Call-to-actions that are easily clickable on a desktop device can be way harder to use when you’re on a mobile.
The typing experience is different, too. Mobile users tend to type slower than desktop users (source 1, source 2).
In other words, if it’s OK to ask for an email and a first name on desktop, on mobile it’s a whole different story. Your visitors may get frustrated and decide to skip your form.
Challenge 2: Smaller Screens
On average, mobile screens are almost four times smaller than desktop screens. This means that your large lead magnet will look totally broken on a mobile screen.
Challenge 3: SEO Rules
In January 2017, Google started penalizing “intrusive interstitials.”
The new rules made it impossible to display a full-screen mobile pop-up on landing. If you want to display a pop-up on the first page of the session, it has to take less than 30% of the user’s screen and leave your website’s background visible and accessible.
You’re still free to display whatever kind of pop-up you want on page 2.
Part 2: Four Proven Mobile Lead Generation Techniques
Does this mean you shouldn’t try to collect sign-ups on your mobile website? Certainly not.
Some list-building with proven results that won’t frustrate your visitors or penalize your website are available.
Let’s review four of them.
Technique 1: Mobile Forms
The first technique is the most accessible: Use a mobile-optimized email form.
In other words, use a form that can be filled-in easily on a mobile device and which won’t take too long to complete.
Here’s an illustration from DrMartens.com. As you can see, it’s a simple email field with a sizeable call-to-action. The placeholder (“Sign up for gigs and sales”) sets precise expectations for subscribers.
The best part about mobile forms? If your desktop form consists only of an email field, you can simply make it responsive and use the same form on mobile (remember to use large call-to-actions to make sure your users can actually tap them).
The downside of this technique is that these kinds of forms are not very visible.
As a result, they will most likely convert less than 1% of your visitors. Especially if you don’t incentivize the subscriptions.
Technique 2: Mobile-optimized pop-ups
Mobile pop-ups are quite easy to put in place as well.
The main difference between mobile pop-ups and their desktop equivalent is that they have to be displayed on the second page of the session to comply with Google guidelines on mobile interstitials. Their design must be adapted to touch controls as well: The rule of thumb (pun intended) is to make sure call-to-actions and forms are larger than 44 pixels square.
Wisepops customers’ mobile pop-ups generally convert between 1.5% and 5% of their visitors.
Technique 3: Bars
Bars are especially well adapted for collecting email addresses as soon as your users land on your website. Their format makes them “non intrusive” by Google’s standards, so it’s OK to display them on page 1.
You can display them at either the bottom or the top of the screen.
Their conversion rate is pretty similar to that of mobile-optimized pop-ups (between 1.5 and 5%).
Technique 4: Call-to-action pop-ups
Call-to-action pop-ups, as their name suggests, are triggered by a click on a call-to-action.
The call-to-action can be displayed anywhere on the screen. And if it’s not too big (i.e., if it doesn’t hide any important element of the page), you can make it appear on more than one page during a given session.
CTA pop-ups come with two main advantages:
- They’re 100% compliant with Google guidelines on intrusive interstitials
- They allow your visitors to choose if and when they want to click your call-to-action
This second point is a major difference from traditional email forms. It means you don’t have to guess/test the best timing to display your form; the user will display your form when she’s interested and more likely to convert.
Choosing the Best Strategy
We recently did an A/B/C test with a prominent shoe brand to determine what was the best strategy to collect emails on mobile.
We tested 3 different campaigns.
- In the first version, we displayed an email bar on landing. Conversion rate was about 2%.
- In the second, we displayed a mobile-optimized pop-up after one page. Conversion rate was about the same.
- In the last version, we used a call-to-action displayed on all pages except the checkout pages. The conversion rate was 2.95% (!!).
These results suggest that call-to-action pop-ups are the best technique.
But our experience in e-commerce suggests we should take these results with a pinch of salt. Each business is unique, so we recommend you test different techniques before making a decision.
And as always, make sure you respect traditional lead capture best practices:
- A strong incentive (coupon, contest, etc.)
- A striking headline
- An eye-catching design
There you have it. Four techniques that will help you build your list and generate more revenue from your mobile visitors. Any experience with mobile lead generation? Share your best tips in the comments!
Disclaimer: This is a guest post by Greg is Head of Growth at WisePops, a solution that allows marketers to manage their on-site marketing. The opinions and ideas expressed herein are author’s own, and in no way reflect Cloudways position.
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