Engagement

Digital loyalty program benefits

Customer Loyalty Going Digital

10 Benefits of  a Digital Customer Loyalty Program

Digital loyalty program benefits

We all have a punch card or two for a coffee place, a dry cleaner or a local sandwich shop safeguarded somewhere (i.e. lost) in a drawer at home. These loyalty cards have proven to be great for local businesses –that is, if your customer can find them! Loyalty programs are excellent at helping you get a better understanding of customer behavior and they provide an incentive to the customer for making continued purchases by offering some form of reward. Consumers carry around a variety of these loyalty cards – however, lugging around a wallet full of paper punch cards can be inconvenient (which is how they often end up in that drawer at home!).

Taking the Loyalty Punch Card Digital

Implementing a digital customer loyalty program for your business allows your customers to use their phone as a mobile loyalty card. They can store cards in a mobile wallet for example like Apple’s Passbook app, which digitally and conveniently houses these cards all in one place, or it can be integrated into a customized mobile application, such as the coffee giant Starbucks, has more than successfully done. Gone are the days we misplace or lose our favorite loyalty cards! In this digital age where 73% of smartphone users are interested in interacting with loyalty programs through their mobile device and over 90% are likely to download a loyalty program’s application, it is time for your business to modernize and upgrade to a digital card.

Why Rewarding Customer Loyalty is Important to Your Business

It costs a business about 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one. What’s more, a loyal customer has a greater lifetime value and spends 10 times more than a new customer. On average, current customers spend 67% more than new ones, so retaining them is crucial. Offering freebies, discounts, and/or other perks and rewards as incentives through loyalty programs is the way to keep them coming back.

Loyalty programs can garner a 12-44% increase in visits and revenue and they are easy to implement, very cost effective, and a tried-and-true reliable tactic in attracting new customers as well as keeping current customers coming back for more. Therefore it is necessary for companies to cultivate their customer base and reward those that give you the most business day in and day out.

The best way to grow your business is to implement a modern digital loyalty program that will allow your business to save money and allow you to better connect with your customers. In addition, your customer isn’t required to fill out an online enrollment form or carry around the cumbersome paper or plastic loyalty cards. Businesses can now reap the benefits of launching a digital loyalty program that makes use of smartphone technology to grow your business.

Digital loyalty program benefits10 Great Benefits to Implementing a Digital Loyalty Program

1. Helps you understand your customers’ behaviors and preferences. When you get to know your customer, you can create custom rewards and alerts, something you cannot do with generic “punch card” loyalty systems. Even advanced points-based loyalty systems are sold as a one-size-fits-all program but that lack of personalization falls short in an effort to speak directly to your customer.

2. Offers an opportunity for increased spending with repeat visits. The more visits a customer makes to your business to earn a stamp, freebie, discount or reward through your program, the more opportunity there is to upsell them.

3. Easy to download and share. The passbook-enabled digital loyalty card can be shared via text or email with friends and family to “team up” and get to their reward faster! Giving people even more incentive to come into your business repeatedly.

4. Provides benefits that a competitor may not offer. Plain and simple, offer something more cutting edge and convenient than your competition.

5. Reinforces preferred customer behavior. Maybe you want to boost traffic at particular times of the day, increase sales of a certain product or service or introduce something new, you can customize your program to nudge loyal customers to adopt this behavior and earn rewards.

6. Test promotional offers and new items. Not sure which incentive will work best or which product, service, menu item will pull best with your customers? Test it out. With a digital program, it doesn’t have to be one-size-fits-all. You can test a variety of promotions, even a variety of creative options, to see which works best for brand.

7. Send push notifications and alerts. Anyone with your loyalty program digital card or mobile app that gets within a certain geographical distance from your business will get a pop-up message on their smartphone notifying them they are nearby one of their favorite stores/places (great for last minute “flash” sales). You can also configure your digital loyalty card in conjunction with Bluetooth iBeacons to send push notifications in-store as well.

8. Digital loyalty programs are trackable and measurable!

• Track customers and their behavior from the activity of cards
• Track activity and effectiveness of different business locations
• Track different marketing messages/creative
• Track open rates, install rates, usage rates, deletions, shares, etc.
• Monitor advertising responses to gain insights
• Measure success of your program and make informed decisions about future campaigns

9. Drive customer engagement in ways other than purchases. Your customers’ activity can be linked to their social media accounts, like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. which means you can give customers a chance to earn incentives through sharing, liking, posting, reviewing and/or referring your business.

10. Digital loyalty programs are more secure. Going digital means your program is more scam-proof than traditional printed punch cards. Less revenue is lost when you can’t cheat the system.

Are you the type of business that should launch a digital loyalty program?

Digital loyalty programs that provide rewards via a mobile device are a convenient and fantastic marketing tool for any small business with local reach. Any brick-and-mortar establishment that relies on foot traffic, from coffee shops and cafes, to bars and restaurants, to salons and yoga and fitness studios, dry cleaners, car washes and more, would perfectly fit the bill and benefit from a program like this. Is it time to take your business digital?

iBeacon technology

Retailers and iBeacon Technology

Engage customers with the revolutionary iBeacon experience

iBeacon technology

Apple recently launched its new iBeacon technology, which tracks customers’ in-store movements in order to offer information such as sales announcements, product specifications, order status, price comparisons and more.

iBeacons or “proximity transmitters” are a new micro-location technology for mobile devices that use the Bluetooth Low Energy standard (BLE or Bluetooth Smart) to help these devices determine a user’s location without GPS or cell tower triangulation. In addition, iBeacons accomplish this rich data exchange with a high degree of accuracy and low battery power consumption. Apple’s brand of iBeacon support, which is built into iOS 7, uses BLE along with Wi-Fi and push notifications to deliver content.

iBeacon’s true potential is to revolutionize location services with its low power requirements and ability to precisely pinpoint users’ locations inside buildings. Mobile apps can then take advantage of this location data in a variety of ways, such as providing indoor mapping and navigation or customizing the app’s behavior based on a user’s proximity to a specific object.

Retailers looking for ways to enhance the shopping experience for customers need to explore Apple’s new iBeacon technology. With iBeacon’s ability to deliver targeted information and offers based on a customer’s location within your store, you are now given the opportunity to interact with your customers in a new, more engaging way.

retail customer using iBeacon technologyThis new technology could be the boost that the retail industry needs. With iBeacon, you have ability to provide your customers with relevant marketing and messaging as they browse and shop through your store, even before they come into your store! An example of proximity marketing would be this, let’s say you are a general retail or convenience store and you sell umbrellas and the forecast calls for rain today. You can send a message like: “Need an umbrella? We have umbrellas at half price today on aisle 2. It’s a good buy and stay dry!”

In addition, these features can be customized as well for each retail location, effectively making each location a one-of-a-kind operation. By using micro-locations within the store, customizable to each retail location, you can give the customer a multitude of engaging and unique experiences.

Furthermore, retailers should consider creating a customized mobile app (or updating your current app). Customers will find their visit to your store more convenient and interactive with a mobile app in hand, and at the same time, you can take advantage of this micro-location technology enabled by these iBeacons.

With the help of these iBeacon transmitters placed throughout your store, a customer’s activity can be tracked, thus allowing you to serve up relevant offers, price comparisons, product information and more based on the location or department the shopper is in. The current price of each in-store transmitter is approximately $40.

Both retail and non-retail organizations have embraced iBeacon technology. Apple has already installed iBeacons in all 254 of its U.S. retail stores; Macy’s department stores in New York and San Francisco have been experimenting with delivering users information about the products that they are browsing, ads for additional and potentially competing products, targeted deals and specials. The New York Mets have announced plans to use iBeacons to enhance fan involvement by creating a highly tailored digital experience at Citi Field, their home ballpark.

Here’s a sampling of some other uses for iBeacon currently being explored and implemented by various industries:

  1. Restaurants, sandwich and coffee shops, etc: Offer a virtual menu with specific details about each item: calorie counts, nutritional info, local farms where produce was grown, even suggest a wine pairing for each meal.
  2. Hotels and resorts: Provide a virtual concierge accessible from anywhere on the property, offer expedited check-in and check-out, deliver information on amenities, provide a local forecast and educate guests about points of interest around town.
  3. Museums (zoos, exhibitions, gallery shows): Provide basic information about what the visitor is seeing. iBeacons at each stopping point could offer additional information and content in a way that still allows visitors to take their own path and/or linger at a specific display. iBeacon content could be linked to websites, apps, discussion forums, and so on.
  4. Hospitals: Provide maps and navigation for patients and their families to navigate through the hospital, including guides of each floor showing the nearest elevators and entrances; broadcast information and guidance to patients or visitors such as guidelines when visiting a patient, visiting hours, expected wait times to be attended to.

Up to now, most activity surrounding iBeacon technology has been in the world of retail, where both big name retailers and small shops have recognized the iBeacon’s potential.

In-store navigation and dynamic pricing is just the beginning. The other area of great potential is in payments. While the problem of digital wallets using near-field communication (NFC) has proved tricky, it appears that Bluetooth technology is poised to finally bring mobile payments to the mainstream.

Whereas NFC technology works only with a small percentage of Android devices that actually have NFC chips installed in them and only in close proximity to sensors used for payments. iBeacon, on the other hand, can broadcast up to 200 feet which could allow for customers to simply leave their phones in their pockets and automatically pay as they walk out of the store.

How could this new technology be used to create a unique shopping experience for the customer and a profitable one for your business?

Begin by integrating iBeacon into your already successful sales process – specifically part of your direct mail and other marketing campaigns. The process is simple, straightforward, cost effective and potentially very profitable.

  1. In your next direct mail or other marketing campaign, include a QR code on the mail piece that links to a digital coupon for a special, targeted promotion. Customers simply scan the QR code to get the coupon stored onto his/her phone.
  2. Once the coupon is stored on their phone, a notification appears directly to the customer’s phone reminding them of the offer each time they drive by or are nearby your store.
  3. Retail locations can be sectioned off into any number of distinct sections – each with its own iBeacon transmitter and each transmitter serving up a unique message (or offer) within areas of that location.

The iBeacon experience will enhance the in-store experience for your customers and could lead to purchases that he/she may not have even considered before.

digital mobile coupon

The Digital Mobile Coupon

Digital Coupons: Audience and Redemption Growing Rapidly

digital mobile coupon

“People engaging in digital offers is predicted to reach ~51 million next year, and with 10% redemption rates (paper coupons are 1%), marketers are actively deploying digital offers as a way to monetize mobile as the mobile industry continues to explode,” said TJ Person, CEO of Koupon Media.

Numerous benefits exist with digital coupons and as a result they  are quickly gaining acceptance, resulting in rapid redemption rates. Here are some of the advantages to using digital coupons and benefits to both businesses and consumers:

digital mobile coupon shoppingBenefits and Advantages for Digital Mobile Coupon Usage

  • Research conducted in October 2013 by eMarketer indicates that more than half of US adult internet users (102.5 million people) will redeem a digital coupon, for either online or offline shopping this year.
  • That number is up 11% over last year and the number of people redeeming is expected to keep increasing with the primary area of growth being the new mobile coupon user.
  • Digital coupons are a great way to engage the new user because you can provide a direct link to your products or services via the coupon.
  • Digital coupons not only afford your business more visibility, but they can also help the conversions on your website and/or increase traffic to your store.

 

Mobile is Key

The digital coupon has been around for years, but didn’t really take off until mobile devices became more commonplace. Mobile plays a significant part in digital couponing.

– This year, more than 28% of people who own a mobile device have redeemed a coupon and according to eMarketer, it is expected that one-third of all smartphone users ages 18 and up (42.1 million people) will use a coupon acquired on a mobile device –via an app, mobile internet, mobile barcode or SMS.

– The US smartphone coupon user base is up 40.9% this year, following 60.6% growth in 2012.

– The digital coupon is no longer about the price-conscious consumer. The recent recession and rapid adoption of the smartphone, have helped push digital coupons to a more diverse and mainstream market.

– The number of people who redeem digital coupons is only expected to grow as consumers ditch their paper coupons for the convenience of digital.

Catalyst

What’s fueling this growth? There are several key factors involved:

– For one as aforementioned, the increase in new smartphone users. The number of people who use iPhones, iPads and Android devices continues to grow at a phenomenal rate and is not expected to slow down any time soon.

– Another growth driver is the increasing popularity of new mobile apps and local deals from sites like Amazon Local and Groupon that feature discounted gift certificates to use at participating businesses locally and nationally.

– Lastly, and probably most notable is the growth coming from the integration of couponing into social networks.

Nowadays, businesses are using Facebook, Twitter and other social network sites to help their coupon offers go viral, giving marketers excellent opportunities to promote their products and sell digital coupons offering benefits such as discounts or free trials. They can give away the coupons to increase engagement and ROI.

This exposure for the products or services that you offer gives you the opportunity to capture the attention of a large audience of potential customers. Often times, advertising fails simply because people do not take the trouble to actively see or read the advertisement. Offering digital coupons is a way of putting the offer directly into the customer’s hands, customized by their interests, while also achieving your business objectives. The integration of digital coupons is sure way to arouse interest with your target audience.

How It Works: Redeeming Digital Coupons

The process is convenient and eco-friendly! You don’t need to print a coupon out on your computer to bring into a store for redemption. Instead, digital coupons and offers can be redeemed right from your mobile device. An increasing number of consumers are using smartphones to access and redeem coupons both online and in person. They are finding deals through a variety of channels, which include mobile apps and mobile browsers, social networks, email, SMS, barcode scanning, and push notifications.

digital mobile coupon

The best digital coupon applications out there are Apple’s Passbook® (available on iOS operating system iOS 6 and up) and Android’s version of the same app called PassWallet. These apps come standard on all smartphones running on these operating systems, meaning the app is already pre-loaded on from the date of purchase. According to ABI Research, that is equivalent to being active in over a billion smartphones worldwide! These apps are unique as they allows users to store multiple items such as digital coupons, boarding passes, movie and event tickets, retail store cards, gift cards, loyalty cards and other forms of mobile payment. They are all categorized and easy to use. All you need to do is scan a barcode from your smartphone or tablet to check in for a flight, enter a movie, use a gift card, redeem a digital coupon, and more. It’s that simple.

Another very innovative feature, that uses location notifications, can be implemented to target a who has your business’ digital coupon or offer stored in his/her Passbook and is nearby your location. Basically, their smartphone will vibrate or sound to notify them, passing along a gentle reminder that “hey, you have a deal near you.” Similarly, when your boarding pass is loaded in Passbook, and a flight is getting nearer, you will get a reminder notification when it’s nearing the time to board your flight.

For those with mobile devices not running iOS or Android, there is a solution. There’s a new mobile marketing platform available that allows you to create and send Passbook passes to phones that do not support Passbook or PassWallet app. This platform immediately detects if the mobile operating system supports Passbook and modifies accordingly, prompting user to download to view the pass in an HTML version on the landing page. The only feature lacking from this HTML version is the ability to provide location notifications.

Digital coupons are convenient, discreet, enable positive customer experiences, and are eco-friendly! Make them a part of your mobile and digital marketing strategy to give your business more exposure and help capture the attention of an expanded group of potential customers.

Statistical Source: eMarketer, Oct. 2013

twitter social media

Easy Steps You Can Take To Add Twitter Followers

Tweet Your Way to Twitter Success in 140 Characters or Less

twitter social media

Twitter is one of the hottest marketing tools in the world. Everyone has an opportunity to voice their opinion, share news, make people laugh and inspire.  Twitter allows you to influence people’s lives, careers, and daily life events. In short, Twitter has become a publicity powerhouse.

It costs you nothing to market on Twitter.  It is absolutely free (unless you opt for paid advertising) and Twitter is viral.  People who care about what you say will re-tweet your comments and share them with others.  That’s why it is so important to build relationships.

Now, let’s talk about how your business can add more followers on Twitter:

  1. Educate: Give a good business tip that might help your followers.  Share with people what you do and how you can help them.  Educate your Twitter followers.  It’s all about helping them!
  2. Profile description: It is not a job application so make your social media profile light, easy, and enjoyable to read. Be yourself. People want to know who you are. Avoid silly avatars or excessive use of #hashtags if any at all.
  3. Speed counts: Reply to people right way if they’ve said something to you, especially if they are not yet a Follower.  Then follow them back.  Establish rapport as quickly as possible.  Give them something valuable to read or think about.
  4. Available tools: Use the search feature to find people and topics you want to discuss in your niche.  Bring offline clients online to follow you or motivate them to start their own Twitter profile.
  5. Be yourself.  Do not create new persona on Twitter. Be yourself and maintain your brand.  Twitter is part of your overall marketing strategy. Be consistent.
  6. Compliment freely: Praise people, compliment them. How do you feel when someone praises something that you’ve said or done? Everyone loves compliments – pay it forward.
  7. Questions:  People love questions. Ask and you’ll start a conversation. Questions create a dialog. Make sure when readers answer that you reply back to them. Courtesy is the best policy on Twitter.
  8. Be a good host: Invite friends and followers from other social networks. For example, invite friends from Facebook to follow you on Twitter. They love it and it is fun and simple.
  9. Retweet: Engage with a retweet, reply and/or “favorite” what others tweet if you like it and it makes sense to you. Try to find out what people do first before you retweet. Read their profile. It is a must if you want long term relationships.
  10. Keep control of your marketing: Make Twitter part of your overall marketing and content strategy. Send all traffic to your blog; Don’t give anything away for free without asking people to opt-in; Build solid relationships;  Tell followers about your book, your speaking engagements, offers and more.
  11. Links: Include your Twitter link and handle to your blogs, other social networks, press releases, articles and other publicity platforms.

The volume of followers on Twitter gives you leverage and more traffic, however, quality counts. That’s why it’s important to nurture relationships and, in doing so, build a loyal network.

Building a Successful Mobile Marketing Campaign

Want to communicate and engage your audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device? Try building a mobile marketing campaign. Any effective mobile marketing campaign should complement and be an extension of your overall marketing strategy. When planning your mobile marketing campaign, you’ll want to incorporate certain elements.

 

Convenience:  Make sure your website is easy for customers to access and browse on mobile devices. Your customers don’t want to pinch, zoom, and scroll all over your site.

  

Locally targeted:  More and more mobile searches have local intent. Virtually all new smart phones come with GPS.  This is very helpful, because customers’ phones can send their location information.

 

Integrated:  Your mobile campaign need to tie into your company’s overall marketing strategy. Inform customers about your promotion by putting everywhere you live: your website, newsletter, Facebook, etc. 

 

Time sensitive:  Mobile marketing lets you engage your customers as soon as something comes up.  For example, if you own a restaurant and it’s a slow Friday night, send a text message to your customers offering a special or discount.  Text messages have a 95% open rate, making them an especially powerful marketing tool.

 

Customer involvement:  Getting your customers involved will dramatically increase results. Try giveaways, polls and contests have all been used successfully to build customer lists.  Ask customers to text in their vote, or to enter a drawing for a chance to win an iPad, or to come up with the best caption for a photo.

 

Exclusive: To encourage people to opt-in to your offer, give them a good reason. Present them an exclusive offer. For example, “Text FREE to 1234567 for a free cup of coffee.”

 

Permission:  Successful mobile marketing campaigns ask for permission. They’re transparent.  They also tell users how they can be removed from the list.