By: Vivian Pham, Director of Marketing & Client Services for Blue Calypso
As marketers, we all know we need to reach people where they already are; and these days it’s on their mobile phones. After all, more than 90% of consumers use their smartphones while shopping in retail stores1. This is why brands in every industry are trying to take advantage of mobile customer engagement to increase conversions, boost cross-sales and enhance loyalty. However, despite their efforts, many are struggling to get results. If you’re still trying to figure out how to capitalize on this incredible opportunity for brands to connect with customers via mobile, perhaps you can learn from these common mistakes.
Reason 1: Not Enough Awareness
Many times, a brand will spend copious amounts of time and money building and deploying a mobile campaign from the technology side, but then fail to consider the amount of awareness and promotion that should go with it. Companies need to understand that technology is not the only investment they should be prepared to make to successfully execute a mobile engagement strategy. Once the technology behind the mobile strategy has been set up (whether it be beacons, SMS marketing, or NFC), it’s crucial that brands also spend time thinking about how they will actually get customers to engage. Without proper awareness (i.e. not enough signage or message visibility), consumers can easily overlook your call to action resulting in very poor adoption or participation. Typically, when activations are low, I’ve found that this is almost always the reason why.
What to do Instead: Invest in Promoting your Mobile Programs
Plan from the beginning to make the proper investment in promoting your mobile programs. Use all the tools at your disposal to get your customers excited and motivate them to participate. Get creative and find ways to use your existing media channels such as email, social media, radio and TV to get the word out. The awareness piece of your mobile engagement strategy should be just as important as the technology behind it and not just an afterthought.
Reason 2: Lack of Incentive/Value for the Consumer
The second most common mistake I see is a lack of incentive for the consumer to take action. If you want your call-to-action to work, you must make it blatantly clear why the consumer should do whatever you are asking them to do. Why should they download your app or opt-in to your text program? Why should they engage with your brand? What’s in it for them?
If you are asking people to opt-in simply so you can continue to re-market to them, this probably won’t work. Nobody likes being bombarded with marketing without getting anything in return. If consumers do not get an immediate satisfaction from engaging with your brand via mobile, they just won’t do it.
What to do Instead: Give them a reason to take action
This is where knowing your audience will come in handy. When trying to decide on what kind of incentive to put in place, it’s important to consider who your customer is and what their relationship is to your brand.
For example, if you’re a sports team trying to get fans to opt-in to your SMS program, the incentive could be as simple as a free hot dog or the promise of game schedule change notifications or score updates after each game. These are your most loyal fans so it would make sense that they would be open to staying connected. Their love for the team is why they repeatedly attend the games and why they might be more willing to sign up to receive future messages from their favorite team.
On the other hand, if you are a luxury jewelry retailer inviting customers to opt-in to be entered to win a $25 gift certificate and receive future notifications on deals and promotions, you might see less activity. First, $25 probably wouldn’t mean much to someone who is able to afford shopping at a high-end jewelry store. Second, expensive jewelry isn’t something most people buy frequently. So why would they want to receive frequent messages from a jewelry store after they’ve already made their one big purchase for the year?
In any case, no matter who your customer is, a good rule of thumb when offering an incentive is to make sure it’s something exclusive and/or immediate. People love having access to things that others do not. It makes them feel important and if they are loyal customers, that’s exactly how they should feel. People also love immediate gratification. Generally speaking, most people want things now rather than later.
Reason 3: Poor Inconsistent Execution
Once a brand has initially rolled out their mobile engagement program, many fail to continue to nurture this new mobile relationship. Right out of the gates they may offer a promotion or two, but after a while I’ve seen brands miss valuable opportunities to keep their customers excited and simply let their mobile engagement efforts fizzle out. In my experience, many brands are not prepared to continuously promote their mobile programs through aggressive marketing techniques even after the point of engagement to see their hard work pay off.
What to do instead: Build off momentum and evolve
Make sure to build off any momentum you may have even if traction may seem slow. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. Realize that this is only just the beginning of what should/could be a much deeper connection with customers that will increase loyalty and revenue.
When customers download your app or initially opt in to your SMS program, although it may be tempting to go into auto-pilot mode, DON’T. Mobile engagement should not be a “set it and forget it” strategy. It’s imperative to make sure you are still putting forth the same amount effort and promotion to keep those users engaged with new and exclusive deals, contests or interesting content. As with any other marketing efforts, the key is to analyze results and optimize accordingly to continue to create additional opportunities to engage.
It’s becoming more and more evident that mobile is where brands can have the greatest impact on customer engagement and loyalty. Awareness, incentive and consistent re-marketing are 3 of the most crucial elements of any mobile engagement strategy. If marketers do these things right, the possibilities are endless.