Mobile Loyalty Apps vs. Text Message Marketing

I found myself in a restaurant recently where the cashier asked me to join their loyalty program. She said “You get points for every meal. You might as well, you are already paying for it and when you get to 50 points you get $5 off. All you need to do is enter your phone number in the tablet.” I thought sure, let me see how it works, so I punched in my mobile number.

But that wasn’t all I had to do. The cashier then told me to scan a QR code to download the app. I opened the scanner app (how many people still have this app?) and scanned the QR code. It took me to a sign up page asking me to confirm my number, create a password and download the app.

You Lost Me at the QR Code

At this point I was done with the program and no longer interested in signing up. Not even my marketing curiosity propelled me to take another step. I just wanted my food and to sit down with my family. This loyalty program required way too much effort and too many steps on my part just to get signed up. I bailed!

If you don’t make it dead easy and fast for a customer to sign up to your loyalty program, they won’t. And if they don’t sign up, there’s no loyalty program.

If you’re looking to integrate a loyalty app into your business keep reading…

Mobile apps are often considered an easy solution for loyalty programs, but they may not be as easy as you think. And they aren’t the right option for every business.

Here are the pros and cons and how mobile apps compare with text message marketing.

Mobile loyalty apps for business

Mobile Loyalty Apps

Loyalty apps are most often used by restaurants and retail stores. If your business doesn’t fall into one of these categories (and even if it does) you may wonder if a loyalty app is the right choice for you.

Here are some statistics that may convince you otherwise:

  • One out of five mobile apps is used only once. Many apps are deleted from a user’s phone after little use.
  • Customers are wary of downloading yet another app onto their prime smartphone real estate due to app fatigue.
  • Branded loyalty apps are expensive to implement. A branded mobile app can cost $20K or more to develop.
  • Non-branded or general loyalty apps come with a learning curve for you and your customers.

How Do Loyalty Apps Work?

To use a loyalty app, a customer has to show the app, show a card, enter information or provide a number when ordering. And signup often requires an in-store tablet or extra technology. Without these tools at point of sale, the app might not get enough subscribers and won’t be used frequently by your customers.

Also, loyalty apps usually send promotions through push notifications, not SMS text messages. Promotions are usually triggered by a customer’s activity or by achieving a reward level within the app. As a result, customers must have your loyalty app installed and use it often before they’ll see any messages for your brand. This seems like a lot of effort before the marketer can actually reach the customer.

Apps Need Dedicated Resources

General apps can add more work for your staff. Also, gaining new users is a serious challenge, especially if your customers don’t often visit your physical location. Onboarding will require dedicated resources as well, because your app is yet another program with hardware or software that must be learned. Be ready with technical support if your customers run into problems.

On the upside, these apps can provide detailed sales metrics, like what customers are ordering and when they last visited your store. However, your program needs to attract enough users for this data to be of use.

Remove Barriers with Text Message Marketing

One of the main benefits of using text message marketing is that every smartphone has text messaging integrated as a core feature. This means there’s no additional hardware or software for you or your customers to learn. Also, texting is easy and fast for customers who want to subscribe. They send a text and they’re in. A marketer can start sending offers immediately to subscribers. You won’t lose out on customer data either, as text message marketing programs can collect email addresses, names and more.

Easily Notify Your Customers About Promotions

Loyalty apps can be helpful in collecting data, but come with a learning curve and need extra time to implement. This can create some difficulties in your goal of building loyalty and sharing promotions. Text message marketing cuts this learning curve and eliminates the low participation rates that affect many apps.

With text messages you can send out promotions according to your schedule or on days you want to boost sales. You can also use any of your advertising or marketing efforts to promote your text messaging program. Just add the call to action to your ads, social media profiles and posts (“Text MOMARES to 65047,” for example).

To recap, text message marketing:

  • Is available on all mobile phones
  • Allows for fast and easy sign up
  • Doesn’t depend on extra hardware in store
  • Has a high participation rate compared to apps
  • Doesn’t depend on customers being in store to sign up
  • Is easily promoted in your marketing or advertising campaigns
  • Provides redemption rates between 5% and 12% for text offers

These are just a few of the differences between text message marketing and mobile loyalty apps. The benefits of text make it an easy win for most businesses. And it’s an easy-to-use solution that will guarantee high participation rates.

Apps are trendy right now, but the ease of use can’t compare to text messaging. And you can’t build loyalty program if customers don’t sign up.

If you’re ready start with your own mobile marketing campaign, contact us or call (305) 505-­5393 for help.

I’d love to hear what you think in a comment or email me at support@momares.com.

How Often Should You Text Your Customers?

How often to use text message marketing

Do you know how often your business should text? Determining the frequency of messaging for your SMS campaign can be a challenge for marketers. At Momares, we usually recommend sending texts once per week (twice a week at most). However, the frequency of messaging in your campaign may vary slightly, depending on your requirements. Here are some things to consider when you are trying to determine how often to text your marketing list.

How frequently will a customer act on your offer?

As you consider the frequency, think about how often your customer will be able to take advantage of the promotions you offer. How often do they buy your product or service? A restaurant, for example, might text more frequently than a travel agency. The customer may not actually need or be able to buy what you’re offering until a certain amount of time has passed.

Is your campaign timely and relevant?

Evaluate your campaign to improve the relevance of your messages with regard to time, location and the potential for engagement. If you’re planning an SMS campaign with the goal of building brand equity, it’s important to ensure your campaign engages users effectively.

Try to avoid interrupting users at a time that may not be situationally appropriate and consider whether users will respond negatively to frequent texts. If you think they might, it would best to send text messages less frequently.

Frequency doesn’t have to remain the same

Keep in mind that the frequency of messaging doesn’t have to remain the same. Review your analytics data or converted sales to determine when buyers are more or less likely to buy.

As a result, you can send messages more frequently during the months when you think customers are likely to buy and less frequently during slow months. Conversely, you can do the opposite and send more promotions during slow months to motivate customers to buy.

Balance is important in SMS campaigns

To have an effective SMS campaign, you have to strike a balance between texting often enough that users will remember they signed up for messages, but not so often they decide to unsubscribe from your marketing list. This is why we often suggest texting once a week.

Contact us for help with setting up your (SMS) text message marketing.

Why Text Message Marketing is a Smart Move Right Now

Every day, a growing number of your customers are interacting with you by mobile phone. They’re not just calling your business, but also visiting your website, speaking to you on social media and redeeming your offers… all on mobile.

Are you speaking to your customer on mobile?

It’s time to cater to your customer’s preference for mobile. And one great way to do that is with text message marketing. It happens to be a great time to start text messaging for various reasons. Here’s why…

Infographic, Why Text Message Marketing is a Smart Move Right Now

How To Find The Balance Between Owning or Renting Your Marketing Channels

how_to_rent_to_own_2
We say Rent to Won! Yes, won.

How much do you depend on others to reach your customers?

You may have heard…

  • Facebook is going to “balance” the content your fans see from your brand.
  • If your website is not mobile friendly, Google will not show it in mobile search results.
  • Comcast complains about Rob Lowe’s Direct TV ads, which then get pulled by the networks.
  • Twitter bans live broadcasting app Meerkat then launches its own app, Periscope, for live broadcasting.
  • NHL bans Twitter’s Periscope app from streaming live coverage inside arenas.
  • And the list goes on and on

What would happen if the platforms or networks you depend on to reach your customers block your access or start charging you for access?

The examples above show case after case of what happens when marketers depend too heavily on “channel partners” for access.

In an ever co-dependent digital marketing landscape, marketers need to secure control of their assets, channels, and customer information. This is all important to help drive marketing decisions.

Grab Every Opportunity to Capture Customer Information

At every opportunity, whether you buy ads or reach customers online, you should get customer information and permission to reach them via direct channels that are within your control. Channels like email or text messages, for example. You “rent to won” your customers.

I can’t predict the future, but companies get bought or sold and internet services close quickly. What happens when Facebook fans migrate to other platforms (remember My Space or Friendster) as we see happening with Generation Z? What happens when your hard-earned marketing channels shift or close on you? Or when paid advertising budgets get cut? How do you reach your customers then?

Owning Your Media Channels

For marketers, owning the media channel and having customer data are key to cutting risk and reducing your dependency on third parties. With your own channel, you will always have access to your customers, regardless of platform or trend.

Channels you can own:

  • Mail: you can always send out mail pieces if you collect their addresses
  • Email: you can always email them as long as you have their email address and permission
  • Telephone: you can call them if you have their phone number and permission
  • Text (SMS): you can always text them with their mobile number and permission

How to Build and Own Your Media Channel?

All you need to start building your own channel is a simple web form and a good reason for customers to complete it. A good reason like entering a sweepstakes, downloading a white paper, getting an instant coupon or free item, etc. Give your prospective customer’s a good reason to exchange their information and grant their permission and you will be building your own channel, winning over your customers and gaining control and access to them.

Paid and earned media are important, but the media channels you own are vital to your long term success. Use initiatives not only to advertise and reach out, but to also capture data and gain permission from prospects for your direct channels. Then you will always be able to reach them without depending on a third party.

I’d love to hear what you think in a comment or email us at support@momares.com

Is Your Marketing Smartwatch-Ready?

Marketing for the smartwatch screen

With Apple’s newest “it” product on the market, it’s a good time to look at how smartwatches and wearables might offer new marketing opportunities.

As marketers, we must be forward-thinking, right? Let’s first consider how smartwatches might affect consumer behavior.

  • Real time all the time?
    We already check our smartphones up to 150 times a day. How much more often will we check when we don’t need to dive into a pocket or purse? If you just angle the wrist and swipe, responses will be immediate and in real time.
  • If you think we have short attention spans now…
    Short messaging will reach a new max of tiny proportions. As Computer World said, it’s “all the news that’s fit to squish”… on a 38 or 42mm screen. The New York Times is creating one-sentence stories for smartwatches. Businesses going after this market will have to adapt as well.

With that in mind, here are a few smartwatch options we find exciting for marketers…

Wearable Ads

According to Bloomberg, wearable ads have begun and are tied to the wearer’s usage. If you have an app, you might allow a sponsored ad for a few seconds, as the Golfshot app did.  Your customized message can also be tied to a location, event or time. Deliver an ad after a person arrives at the airport, for example, or send an ad/coupon while they’re in a mall. The challenge is to be as unobtrusive as possible.

Text Message Alerts or Coupons

Text messages are read within minutes of arrival on a smartphone and that time will be even shorter on a smartwatch. This is great for us as our text messages will get immediate attention. Think of the applications for events, limited-time sales offers, flash sales, coupons and more. Text messages can cater to that immediacy and can also have more visual impact with images and links.

Customer Service Notifications & Perks on your Smartwatch

Book a room at a Starwood Hotel and you’ll get a confirmation with a keyless entry code on your smartwatch. You’ll only have to hold it up to the door pad to unlock your room. Lufthansa also offers an app to use the watch as a boarding pass.

You can also use it to charge purchases, find out when invoices are paid and get productivity reminders for team projects. As these examples show, the possibilities for business-related alerts and perks are nearly limitless.

Whether you use a smartwatch or not, it’s worth watching this trend for potential opportunities. The Apple Watch is sure to lift the wearables market as it did with smartphones and we’re eager to see what happens.

We’ll help you keep an eye on future trends and new uses in mobile marketing. Contact us for help with text message marketing.

(Apple Watch is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.)