April 29th, 2019
What are you waiting for? It is not wise to hold back something your customers find valuable when you can offer it. It’s a double blow if your customers find out your competitors do provide that value.
Listen to them. 87% of shoppers reported that they want brands to have loyalty programs. 64% of brands (including your competitors) reported a loyalty membership increase within the past year!
To top that off, 54% would consider opening their pocketbooks even wider and doing more business with a company just to receive loyalty rewards.
No wonder why loyalty programs are great at increasing customer retention. Get up! Don’t sit still. Now is the perfect time to start with mobile loyalty, as it is the most effective mobile marketing strategy you can implement. (Download our FREE mobile marketing guide here!)
Mobile loyalty creates the Endowed Progress Effect, which makes loyalty programs and mobile work so well together.
What is the Endowed Progress Effect? Andrew Gazdecki describes it as a psychological happening that occurs when people are working towards a goal or objective.
Because you are investing in mobile loyalty cards instead of the traditional paper or plastic loyalty campaigns, customers can better see their progress. In effect, that improves the commitment they have to continue doing business with you, in order to earn those coveted loyalty reward points.
Mobile Loyalty: A Mobile Marketing Strategy Preferred By 80% of Customers
Table of Contents
- Mobile Loyalty: A Mobile Marketing Strategy Preferred By 80% of Customers
- Benefits of Implementing Mobile Loyalty Programs
- Mobile App Loyalty Programs Best Practices
- 6 Ways of Promoting Mobile Loyalty Programs for Small a Business
- A Look at Mobile Loyalty Rewards Software and Providers
Businesses all around the globe are embracing mobile marketing. They have come to see that customers use mobile devices to find them in the first place!
The most effective mobile marketing strategy is mobile loyalty. After all, customer loyalty is what keeps the doors open.
But for soo long, customer loyalty rewards programs could only be afforded by large brands. That is until software companies began utilizing mobile devices as a way to run reward campaigns. With that, let's dive into the meat of our reading.
Benefits of Implementing Mobile Loyalty Programs
#1) Your customers will enjoy an easy onboarding process and simple to use program
If you yourself have joined loyalty programs you know the number of cards you need can quickly add up. You may have anywhere from 2 to 4 loyalty cards (which is average), or even more on you at one time.
This makes mobile loyalty a tremendous benefit for the customer. They no longer have to worry about carrying so many cards on them, nor do they have to wait for the cashier to punch or stamp their card. Michael Brownie points out that in supermarkets, shoppers who experience a lack of fast checkouts are motivated to shop elsewhere.
I would gather that the same is said for other industries as well. When you think about it, a simple shopping trip can mean looking for coupons, clipping the coupons, presenting the coupons, ensuring that the proper savings are applied, and looking for the proper payment method.
That's a lot. And for the customer that's behind the customer with the coupons, waiting could make them frustrated enough to leave!
With a mobile loyalty app, you simplify the customer's experience while making the wallets and purses of customers a lot lighter and less messy when they are just visiting your business. You would be doing yourself a favor, as 73% of smartphone users are interested in saving loyalty cards on their mobile phones.
Here are a few mobile loyalty app onboarding tips:
- Ensure the first app screen the customer lands on is warm, inviting, and visually appealing
- Avoid sales pitches, and focus on detailing your benefits on the second screen the customers arrive at
- Continue on the next screen to show your benefits and ask for opt-in information.
#2) Customer engagement will reach higher levels compared to other marketing initiatives
Would you like to surprise your customers from time to time? Mobile loyalty card apps (select software) allow you to send instant rewards in real time.
Furthering your customer engagement efforts is the ability to reward customers who share your messages on social media. This allows you to take advantage of the trust factor customers have when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing promoted by their family and friends.
How many consumers stated that purchasing decisions were influenced by input from family and friends? It was 60%.
Mobile loyalty apps will vastly keep your brand in front of your customers, using a homepage icon that visually sets a reminder that you are in business. The incentives you use through your mobile app provides a reason for customers to return to your business.
Higher engagement rates are also possible because it's less likely that a customer will leave their cell phone at the house, whereas cards can easily be left behind. This engagement is key as 66% of businesses according to Sara Spaventa that did not have a mobile app saw a decrease in customer loyalty.
Here are 3 tips on delivering the best experience on mobile:
- Take a special interest in new subscribers by making a great first impression
- Create mobile moments that have meaning post-purchase
- Ensure you have a way to do audience segmentation to personalize the experience
#3) You can win customers over with personalized communication
Nothing more but your logo and possibly your website address can be read on those paper and plastic loyalty cards or keychain tags that most loyalty programs offer. But with mobile loyalty, you can do more.
You can send targeted...excuse me, highly-targeted messages that are personalized to your customers. 53% of consumers say personalization of loyalty communications is the most important feature of a mobile-enabled loyalty program.
You can, for example, have special offers aimed to trigger when certain events arrive, like your customer's date of birth or their one-hundredth day being a loyalty member.
When customers might be in your area but not thinking about stopping at your business, push notifications could give them a change in plans, encouraging them to stop in to check out the latest offer that was sent to them when they arrived somewhere close to your location.
This personalization is a huge want for customers. By using the data you receive, you are able to segment your customers, which allows you to deliver relevant offers through highly-targeted campaigns.
Here are some quick tips:
- Target your customers based on behavior by studying their interactions and pinpointing their intent
- Deliver tailor-made campaigns that use the customer's name, mentions their favorite products based on purchase behavior, and where they purchase from local if you have multiple locations
- Constantly add to and update the user profiles to create a deep understanding of them
One tool that can help with mobile personalization of those in your mobile loyalty club is LeanPlum.
#4 You will never miss a sale from a customer with location-based marketing
Wouldn't it be nice if a customer knew of a special deal while they were close in proximity to your business?
With location-based marketing, you are able to send your offers at the right time to maximize your chances of making a sale. But not just any offers, highly targeted offers.
Location-based marketing uses GPS or cell tower signals, and geofences which causes a trigger within the app which sends out the push notification. With location-based marketing you will enjoy the following three benefits:
- An increase in customer conversions
- An increase in customer engagement
- A reduction in marketing spend from attracting new customers
(Click here to read industry-specific examples of businesses using location-based-marketing.)
#5) You will draw them in like a magnet would, with appealing visuals
Take a look at one of your loyalty cards. Does it say visually to you, “Visit me now”? Most likely not. If it's a paper punch card you probably have nothing more than a couple holes punched in with a little fancy design, but it looks the same all day, every day.
Mobile loyalty apps can give your customers that “visit me now” temptation through videos, content, and pictures of products services, and dare I say it... mouth-watering food.
Once you've targeted your customers properly, sending them relevant deals by adding visuals can really boost engagement rates, sales, and referrals.
Picture the following. A shoe store that sells women's shoes, will save their best deals right before a new season and provide a video of an employee modeling in the shoes.
A restaurant will display a picture of a juicy burger and fries with a soft drink right around the time when most people or either preparing for a lunch break at work or just getting off for the evening.
Of course, these visuals accompanied by a call-to-action is what entices the customer to visit you now!
#6) You will collect data that will make your business successful
Does those paper punch cards allow you to collect data? Can you analyze customer shopping behavior? Without being able to do either of these things there is no way to know whether your program has reached its peak as far as success is concerned.
With every purchase there is no way to know what demographics like certain items, what preferences certain customers prefer over others, thus hindering you from making decisions that will impact your bottom-line in a positive way.
Mobile-based loyalty programs allow you to communicate with customers as long as you are using the data you receive to personalized the communication.
Here are three steps that will help you get started in your path of loving the data you receive:
- Only ask for the information you need to make informed decisions
- Present the data in an understandable way so it can be put to use
- Making sure the data you receive is measurable
#7) You will reduce your marketing cost significantly
Connecting with your customers is easier with mobile apps as you can get your messages seen without any extra expenses on your part. This is due to mobile apps having built-in text message marketing and email integrations.
Add in social rewards and instant mobile deals, and you can reduce the number of flyers, newspaper adverts, printed coupon campaigns, and T.V ads you run. Mobile loyalty social rewards is a sure fire way to attract new customers through social media advocacy campaigns.
You know the stat: It is 5x’s to 25x’s cheaper to keep a customer than it is to acquire a new one. But that's mainly when using old school marketing methods.
Mobile loyalty leverages word-of-mouth marketing which is absolutely free and converts better than other marketing methods.
#8) Your brand visibility will blow up
How can mobile apps increase the visibility of your brand?
Well, imagine if a customer was to place the icon of your app with your logo right next to Facebook's app icon. Depending on how often they check Facebook they will often see your brand every time they check their phone. What a win!
But honestly, just having an app does not mean customers will use it. Here are 5 common mistakes when creating a branded mobile app.
- The app fails to solve at least one problem your core customers have
- The app lacks in features and functions that would help drive awareness and loyalty
- No one can understand how to properly use the app
- The app is just present. It has nothing to do with the business
- Nothing changes about the app after day 1
So these are the mistakes when creating a mobile app. Look at them closely. None of those problems exist when you create a mobile loyalty app.
Does a mobile loyalty app solve a least one problem a customer may have?
Yes, it does. Lost cards, fat wallets, leaving cards at home, digging through already cluttered purses, searching and clipping coupons are just a few of the problems a mobile loyalty app eliminates.
Do mobile loyalty apps lack features or functions?
No, they don't! Mobile loyalty apps can be custom branded with your logo, have email and text message marketing integrations, provides social media advocacy, and allows for deals to be sent instantly.
Will your customers understand how to use the app?
Yes! Most of the time all they will need to do is scan a QR code to receive their rewards. Other times they are just searching and looking for your latest deals. The app requires no long-term training for the customer.
Making sure the app is relevant to your business and changes are made is solely on you as the business owner. But this is simple.
Offer rewards that you normally would sale or that is closely relevant to your business if you don't sell it.
Changing up your rewards does not have to come as often as you change your regular promotions, but play to what the data tells you will drive the most success. This could be seasonal, or time-sensitive, like “first-of-the-month-sales” for example.
#9) You can sit back and enjoy repeat business from customers
The right product, the added value, at the right time, with savings attached, is the perfect recipe to have customers returning to your business time and time again. That's needed, as 87% of customers shop around, while only 13% is a loyalist.
Your mobile app will prove effective at keeping your message ahead and in the forefront of all the other messages your customers will see throughout the day on TV, billboards, flyers, social media, or even tuning in and listening to the radio.
With so many messages bombarding the customer, it's easy to forget where and when special deals might be held. With the mobile app, they can quickly check to see what you're offering which gives you a leg up on your competition.
That is a convenience for the customer, and also a huge factor in driving customer loyalty. It is stated that 57% of customers want to engage with mobile loyalty programs. That's why the programs are successful at driving repeated sales.
One overlooked feature with mobile apps is push notifications, and how they will keep customers coming back to your business. Push notifications have a higher engagement rate than emails, as they are delivered straight to the user's screen.
Here are some ways businesses use push notifications:
- To connect with customers whose purchase frequency has declined past normal
- To deliver targeted links to content that a customer has shown past interest in
- To send flash sales promotions to customers who have taken advantage of that in previous promotions
The upside to push notifications when they provide value is that customers crave and love receiving such a personal touch, something missed by many businesses.
Mobile App Loyalty Programs Best Practices
So now that we have explored the benefits of having a mobile loyalty app, let us go into some best practices so your campaign will succeed.
Tip #1 - Get creative with your rewards
It is a must that your rewards program offers value to your customers, showing that you care about them more than just making a sale. Therefore you should aim to be creative with your rewards.
There is nothing wrong with the traditional “buy 9 get the 10th one free” model, but is that all your mobile loyalty program will offer?
You could step outside the box, and reward them for sharing your messages on social media. That doesn't cost any money from the customer. It also allows them to receive awards while feeling apart of your brand...as if they have a voice.
Tip #2 - Look towards the future
If you haven't convinced yourself to do mobile marketing, then, of course, you have not embraced mobile loyalty. However, this is a mistake.
Right now you might feel you are doing good without mobile loyalty. If this is the case then you are ignoring Centennial's (Generation Z).
While it is okay to devise a marketing strategy based on Millennials, preparing for Centennials is just as critical.
Centennials have not experienced what it is like to live without having the internet. Thus, you can be assured that Centennials will heavily depend on mobile devices for just about everything they do.
Not taking Centennials into consideration, mobile apps already account for 89% of mobile media time vs 11% for websites! The future will be with mobile applications and its huge user database.
Tip #3 - Keep it simple
Do not overlook the importance of mobile customer loyalty registration and engagement. If a customer signs up for the program using a mobile device, then that is pretty much the way they would like to engage in the program as well.
Which brings us to... the time of which they do sign up.
Signing up for the program should be an easy task for the customers. You should only ask for the information you need at the time of signup to get them enrolled. All other information can be added later through surveys, or outreach campaigns.
Right off the bat, your customers will need a simple understanding of the benefits you are offering to give them when they join the program. Don’t oversell and over promise them at this point.
If you have a lot of customers signing up for your loyalty program, but not participating in it, use the data to see where changes to your onboarding process may be needed.
Simple redemption of rewards is necessary also if you want to avoid a high churn rate. To do this, make acquiring punches and points easier.
What are the rules for your program? What regulations have you put in place? Is there a long list of terms and conditions they must abide by? How many products or services are excluded from rewards redemption?
All of these factors can frustrate a customer long after they have joined and are ready to redeem rewards.
Tip #4 - Give rewards the customers want
Choosing the correct rewards does not mean handing the customer a blank piece of paper and deciding on popularity on what to offer. You will, however, need to know your customer. Jim Marous provides this chart on ways to determine customer needs.
Determining your customers buying preferences and purchase behavior requires you to study your customer's interactions on your mobile app.
That data is used so you can offer products that are relevant at a time that is most convenient for your customers. This is how you increase conversions and boost customer loyalty with your mobile app.
Having irrelevant awards will derail the efforts of your campaign, as they come with negative effects. By having awards the customer would want, you are creating "open-app-habits".
What is that?
Think about Facebook again. Most people press the app icon without thinking. Maybe they just got off a phone call. Before they set their cell phone down, or power off the screen, they then click on the Facebook app icon out of habit, just to see if the first feed presented is something of interest.
You can get customers to have that same habit with your business by consistently offering something new and of value, making the app something they would want to check often.
Tip #5 - Create a short journey to awards
Crossing the finish line to redeem rewards should not take forever from your truly loyal customers. These are the ones who are frequently visiting your business and making purchases.
If it will take them too long to redeem a reward, you will find a lot of your customers leaving the program.
If the purchases they make to accumulate points outweigh the value of the rewards monetary wise, then you need to rethink the reward strategy that is in place. So ask yourself, “Are the benefits I'm offering worth the effort and time they must put in to see value?"
Tip #6 - Personalization matters
Gathering data, and analyzing that data allows you to personalize your messages, and the rewards you offer, making them specific and tailored to different groups of people.
During the onboarding process, you can gather valuable insights about your customer. Are they male or female for instance?
This way you can avoid sending a reward for a free pair of high heel shoes to your male customers. Grant it, some may value that reward if they had a mate, but you would be better off offering a free pair of basketball shoes, as that would be the better reward.
Tip #7 - Track your customer's progress through analytics
How are your customers engaging with your program?
Paying close attention to the analytics that you receive through your mobile loyalty program software can give you tips and ideas on how you can better the program in the future.
You could also get ahead and diagnose issues with the program looking at where churn happens in the analytics, and eliminating its cause and helping you to reduce wasted marketing spend on initiatives there are not properly set up from the beginning.
Be sure you are doing more than just looking at your analytics. Act on the data you receive.
Tip #8 - Promote your program
Last but not least you would want to promote your mobile loyalty app program. Let us dive into this best practice in the next section :)
6 Ways of Promoting Mobile Loyalty Programs for Small a Business
There is an issue when it comes to mobile loyalty programs. That issue is, many customers are unaware that a business may offer one.
And if they do know a business has a loyalty program, and the business indeed offers it on a mobile app, 50% of program member don’t know about the mobile app being a compliment to their loyalty program.
When taking this into context, the issue is with you, not the customer. Let us avoid that issue.
To do so, take advantage of the many mobile marketing channels at your disposal by embracing an omnichannel approach towards customer acquisition and the engagement they have afterward. Here are the ways you will need to promote your mobile loyalty program.
1) Place a link to your app on the homepage of the website
First-time visitors to your website will scan your home page. This is an opportunity to entice them to seek further interest in your business by adding a link to your mobile loyalty app from your websites home page.
To do this correctly, make sure your offer has a clear call-to-action and start by placing it above the fold. You can test this position later using an application like Hotjar (forever FREE plan available) to see whether placing it elsewhere will lead to more clicks.
2) Advertise your mobile app online and across social media
You can also use targeted advertising platforms like Facebook, or Instagram to capture the attention of those who might be interested in your products or services.
To do this correctly make sure your ad copy does not blend in with all the other advertisements a customer will see. Place a call-to-action boldly, and tell them the value you’re providing in return for them signing up.
It is important to be everywhere your customers are across mobile. It is why big brands follow you around the web, as they have invested in omnichannel retargeting.
3) Mention your loyalty program in emails you send out
When promoting your program through email, segregate your list of customers who already have your mobile loyalty app registered versus those who don't.
When sending out emails to those who don't have your loyalty program, near the bottom footer is a nice place to have a call-to-action for them to sign!.
4) Invite customers to join your mobile loyalty app through text messages
If customers have already opted-in for text message marketing, you are in the driver's seat for collecting users for your mobile loyalty app as well.
With every text sent, include a call to action that encourages them to sign up to your loyalty program to receive exclusive offers and deals. At the bottom of every message is where you want to place the link that drives them straight to the app so they can sign up.
I would advise against sending messages that only ask people to participate in your loyalty program. With text message marketing you must ensure that everything you send provides value or you risk them opting out of your SMS program altogether.
It is worth noting that 57% of consumers will unsubscribe if they feel you are sending too many message updates.
5) Use in-store QR codes that direct them to your apps registration page
Having QR codes at the register, or around the store where customers can sign up for your program is effective as the customer only needs to scan the code with their cell phone.
QR codes placed on flyers or posters around the store allow you to visibly capture the customer's attention with the value that you are going to provide for them. To make this work, place store QR codes in high traffic areas around your business and make the call to action stand out.
6) Have your staff increase the excitement around your loyalty campaigns
Your staff will have a big impact on the number of customers who sign up for your mobile loyalty program.
Train your staff to be highly excited and engaged when it comes to asking if customers are already members and if not, giving the proper information to them so they can sign up. The information will be strictly tied to the value the customer will receive.
Make a list of the three biggest benefits a customer will receive and have your staff pass those along to customers who have yet to sign up. If they show excitement about the program, success will go a long way.
A Look at Mobile Loyalty Rewards Software and Providers
What ideas come to mind when we look at how bigger brands do mobile loyalty? What features from loyalty rewards software offer the best chance of success for small business? I'll go over that next as well as point you to 3 providers you should check out today!
Examples of Top Mobile App Rewards Programs
Starbucks is a brand doing a great job with their mobile loyalty program. How did Starbucks grow its mobile loyalty program into such a successful campaign that's recognized everywhere?
By listening to the customers and analyzing the data.
First, start it out as a simple mobile loyalty program that mimicked what those paper punch cards do. This allowed customers many awards to be won through punches.
They next added a way to provide convenience through the app. Starbucks can be busy, so instead of having customers wait in line to order and pay they also implemented “order-and-pay” onto their mobile loyalty technology.
Third, they switched from visit based rewards to a purchase based reward system to eliminate customers who were so-called “gaming” the system by ringing up items separately so to look as if they were making frequent visits.
Walgreens provides another example of a brand doing mobile loyalty the right way.
They provide uniqueness by combining the rewards program with an app in which payments can also be made. They also don't limit earning points just based on how much money customers spend.
Exercising, routine blood pressure or glucose testing, eliminating nicotine smoking, and other lifestyle choices are what Walgreens offers as an incentive to continue returning to them, and it’s impactful!
Mobile Loyalty Program Features Suitable For Small Businesses
Does it seem like when your searching for loyalty solutions, the features are only suited for large chains? Small businesses have smaller budgets than the brands we mentioned above.
Thanks to mobile loyalty apps, the features you need to drive success are perfect for businesses like yours. Through the software you choose it should offer these ready-made features:
A Mobile friendly platform
At this stage of the game, everything you do needs to be mobile friendly. But when it comes to your app, this is a no brainer. Customers will feel disappointed and will less likely to engage with your business if they have a bad mobile experience. CTownSaver allows for you to add your logo and favicon, creating a custom icon that uploads to your customer's mobile phone home screen.
A Mobile Punch Card
Paper punch cards are out. Digital punch cards are the way to go, and should not be limited in the number of punches you offer.
Thanks to mobile loyalty card apps, small businesses are seeing an increase in customer engagement, retention and loyalty, revenue, and profits.
Social media is a huge driver in mobile marketing as a whole. Making sure your loyalty app allows for engagements across Twitter, for example, is huge.
Doing so can help in getting your messages spread to a wider audience in a viral way.
Text Message Marketing
A mobile loyalty campaign without text message marketing is like going ice skating on tennis shoes. Success will not be possible.
Text messages have such an alarming high engagement rate, you can't help but to want to send a mini post about flash sales, new events, and special rewards on specific occasions.
Mobile Loyalty and Rewards Platform Providers
There are a lot of ads and choices you see when you do a search for loyalty program software providers. But which ones offer mobile loyalty? Which ones are best for running restaurant loyalty programs? Retail? Our shortlist below can handle any industry of any size and offer mobile rewards as well.
CTownsaver offers a simple, yet powerful mobile loyalty software solution. Mobile punch cards, social media advocacy campaigns, text message marketing, and custom brand designs are just a few features you can expect from CTownSaver.
No installation, no IT support cost, and simple integrations with your current POS scanner system( if you choose so) is also available.
Codebroker offers you the ability to expand your current loyalty program software to include mobile loyalty. They offer easy enrollment into your mobile rewards programs by allowing the customers to use their preferred mobile channel.
Through what Codebroker calls the “Mobile Loyalty Experience Engine”, your campaigns work in conjunction with your CRM and analytics software systems. Although integrations and IT support may be needed, Codebroker claims that it'll be very little in terms of investment or IT support cost.
AIRSHIP (Formally known as Urban Airship)
Airship offers what they like to call a “Loyal + Our Customer Engagement Platform.” Like Codebroker, they allow customers to connect with the program through any channel.
They also allow you to send personalized messages, and you can use location and event triggers to send smarter messages to your customer. You will have access to user-level data and connect it with other business systems you employ.
When 87% of shoppers reported that they want brands to have loyalty programs, you should act immediately! Mobile loyalty is the most effective mobile marketing strategy of all the campaigns you could implement to drive new sales, repeat purchases, and increase profits.
Customers will embrace :
- A simple onboarding process
- A modern way to engage with your business
- Personalization in messages they receive
- Offers sent to them at the right time
- Visuals used to heighten the excitement of products and services
Written by Kevin Johnson
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