By now, the impetus to invest in mobile marketing strategies is abundantly obvious. Everywhere you go, people are on their smartphones, often forgoing conversation and interaction with others in their physical sphere to engage online. Smart businesses are leveraging this mobile phenomena in many ways, not the least of which is developing high-tech small business loyalty programs.
Use Mobile Marketing Apps and Ideas to Boost Your Business’s Loyalty Programs
Humans are extremely goal and reward oriented (he who knows how to hunt and gather eats, right?). This is just one of the psychological reasons why loyalty programs can be so effective, and why they are used by all of the biggest corporate players. Loyalty programs are a smart way to keep people coming back to you, rather than searching out your competitors. However, until recently, digital versions cost a pretty penny, making them difficult for smaller businesses to integrate.
Now, with the ease of apps and digital programming – your small business can use digital rewards and loyalty programs with the same finesse as the big guy. Plus, you’ll be able to use the resulting stats to learn what works – and what doesn’t – so you create rewards programs that are increasingly effective.
Here are tips and ideas for using mobile marketing to boost your company’s loyalty programs.
- Give them an inch…and they’ll complete the rest of the mile. Consider the punch card system: Buy 5 get 1 Free. Studies have been done to demonstrate that if you offer customers a Buy 6 Get One Free Card, with one box already punched, they are more likely to fill the card than if they get a completely empty Buy 5 Get 1 Free version – even though they’re buying the same amount of products/services. Humans like to be rewarded so if you reward a little on the front end, your consumers are more likely to finish consuming to the end so they can have their reward.
- Give them surprised rewards boosts along the way. You may want to throw in a few surprise boosts along the way. Scientists who study goal and rewards based systems have found the closer we are to attaining our goal, the harder we work to reach it. Thus, if you surprise your customers (especially those who have slowed down in their engagement) along the way with extra bonus points or rewards (even small ones), they are much more likely to increase their purchases or engagements with you to reach the final goal.
- Throw a dog a bone. Along the same line of rewards-based treats, try giving out real ones too. You can set up your system so that VIP and the most loyal customers can win “surprise” treats at the cash register or checkout page. Give them a free dessert, a 5% discount on that particular purchase or an instant gift card. Psychologists call these, “random intermittent reinforcements.” The person who “wins” is more likely to come in again in the hopes he’ll be rewarded. Onlookers are more likely to come in more often, and/or sign up for your rewards program, because they’ve seen the random intermittent reinforcement potential in action and hope they, too, will be rewarded soon.
- Reward them for coming in. Big retailers often reward their customers for simply walking in the door, regardless of whether they make a purchase or not. Apps like Shopkick can be used for that and are now available for smaller retailer. This is a great way to say, “Thank you for stopping by…,” and is more likely to generate future sales down the road.
- Use their favorite social media platforms. When customers sign up for a loyalty program, research shows that an overwhelming majority (90%!) want to receive communication from the from the retailers with whom they are “loyal” to. Your job, then, is to suss out the social media platforms your loyalty programmers use the most and continue the communication flow accordingly to achieve the most desirable results.
- Be creative to learn more. Don’t use one or two loyalty program ideas; use dozens. Think of a myriad of ways you can reward program members. Give points for this, take off dollars for that – then pay attention to which offers your participants respond to. You will learn more and more about each of your customers’ interests (i.e. what makes them tick), providing excellent fodder for your marketing team and CRM software to play with to achieve more personalized offers down the road.
- Reward customers’ social activities. Holy moly, this can be powerful. In addition to building your loyalty program, you are also improving your company’s social media prowess, which pays off in higher search engine rankings. It’s a win-win for everyone. Give points away for referrals, Facebook posts, mentions of your company in Tweets, Instagram posts, etc. All that activity and social media sharing is spreading the good word, and helping the web crawlers take notice as well.
Ditch the annoying keychain tags, time consuming phone number punch-ins at the checkout line and clear your customers’ wallets and purses of irritating rewards card clutter. Instead, position your business to take advantage of mobile marketing and apps-based loyalty programs and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results.
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Written by David Kaufer
David Kaufer is Founding Partner and Chief Dynamic Office in Kaufer DMC. He’s also a huge Oregon Ducks & Microbrew nut, Dad of awesome 9-year-old twin boys, husband, and big Sustainability and Autism advocate.