How Calls-to-Action Drive In Store Traffic

There are as many articles to develop a strong call-to-action as there are commentaries about plaids versus stripes. Yet, mobile marketers often face a unique challenge, that of bringing someone into the storefront. How can you make it worth someone’s while to come into the store and buy?

Let’s consider the most common scenarios mobile marketers face: Someone is searching locally while they shop or entertain themselves. Or your marketing program gets triggered when someone checks-in on their mobile app. Now you need to get them to visit your store.

This is different than traditional calls-to-action for general mobile commerce. Mobile commerce, while good, is a different outcome than getting people to come to your stores. Here are some formulas that work to drive that in-store traffic:

Build a mobile-only incentive: Make sure you describe the incentive clearly, giving the mobile reader a very distinct clear reason to come into your store now or during their trip. For example, you may create an incentive like “If you dine with us at our Mall of America location by 7:00 p.m., get 40% off your meal.”

Time matters: Notice the sense of urgency the cited time creates in this hypothetical call-to-action. It puts the emphasis on the mobile user’s particular shopping trip, and encourages them to come quickly. You may want to move away from specific times and use an ad that says “in the next three hours.” You can honor the ad anytime, and it allows you to avoid the complexity of recognizing specific time-bound contextual advertisements.

Get the location right: Another critical aspect of the hypothetical call-to-action is the location. Whether you are working with an app/media platform or Google, you can easily identify location based on check-in or search location. To build a strong compelling ad, make sure the customer knows which store to go to, and feature that location.

Great Examples

Let’s take a look at the mobile call-to-action at work with a few examples from national brands:

What makes the McRib sandwich special? It’s limited availability. So the McDonald’s mobile ad tells you the sandwich has returned for a short period, and then helps you find the nearest store selling it. Oh, the ad is creatively brilliant, too, with McRib sauce oozing on the screen.

Banana Republic used a mobile coupon of the day earlier this year to drive customers to their stores. The coupon was time bound and mobile only, creating a double winner. In addition, Banana Republic created a mulligan, allowing folks who could not make it to the store to capture a photograph or email the coupon to themselves so they could visit at a later date.

Showing how location matters, Saks Fifth Avenue built a mobile ad for the Weather Channel‘s mobile application. The app touted Saks as just around the corner, and sent interested parties to the company’s nearest stores. It noted that Saks was in NYC (or another Saks city), so customers new the ad was relevant to their proximity. The app also offered a discount for those who preferred to shop on their phone.

Victoria Secret took the mobile location ad a step further by advertising a specific clothing item. This ad ran on the Pandora iPhone app. When interested parties clicked through they were automatically notified of the nearest store, or they could purchase the item directly on their phone. This provided an alternate mobile commerce option for those who could not stop by the store.

In addition, all of the ads tend to feature great creative, well designed for the phone. But make no bones about it, this specific type of call-to-action drives people into the store.

What do you think a smart call-to-action includes?