When we talk with our clients about digital advertising, one of the strategies we promote is Value Extension. As we invest in programs such as display or search, there are opportunities to extend the value of these campaigns. Use of mobile and social media connections, with the permission of the users, are platforms to continue the dialogue with the consumer long after the initial contact.
Of course, there has to be value to the consumer. Why would someone text your short code, download your app, or Like your Facebook Page? It turns out, loyalty programs could be a significant driver to leverage current mobile / digital campaigns and extend their value.
The Oct 2010 Mobile Response Survey by HipCricket shows that 35% of consumers are interested in a loyalty program they can use with their phone, yet only 9% have found an opportunity to do so. Additionally, 60% were at least somewhat likely to redeem mobile coupons. There is an untapped opportunity for businesses to extend the value of their digital marketing programs; an opportunity that consumers are actually looking for.
Small budgets. No Apps. No Problem.
One of the issues for small businesses is resource; they believe they simply don’t have it. The truth is, there are options that can provide the consumers what they are looking for while being cost effective and accessible for the SMBs.
Start simple with an SMS program. SMS is a text messaging program whereby the consumer sends a specific, predefined text message to a number (also known as a short code). Based on the message, the system can be set up to send weekly deals, or monthly offer coupons or any number of locally target benefits to the consumer. You don’t need your own SMS system to do this. A good local marketing agency can set you up with their system, taking advantage of scale.
Also, keep in mind that Facebook is as much a mobile experience for users (50% use Facebook mobile) as it is a desktop. Creating your business Page on Facebook, and then adding a “Like” button to your site, display ads or landing pages can allow consumer to connect to you, and for you to promote to them. Setting up a Business Page can be done relatively quickly, though we recommend having a broader social media program in place. In addition to the Business Page, you should claim your business within Facebook Places to encourage repeat visits. Again, you don’t have to go it alone if you’re not familiar with it. A good local marketing agency can get you set up and help you manage your program.
So, how would a program like this look to a consumer? The beauty is in the simplicity. Within the display ad, on landing pages or on your site, you need to proved either, or both, the Facebook page icon (code provided courtesy of Facebook) and the SMS text and Short code. You may want to put these only on the last page of a forms submission so as not to detract from immediate conversion, but you should test this.
Of course, you also need to provide a reason, another call to action. Let the consumer know that these will be exclusive offers, or deals, just for those who participate in the SMS or Like your Facebook page.
In addition to SMS and Facebook Pages programs, you can build loyalty programs around location based check in services like Foursquare, Gowalla, or Facebook Places (mentioned above). With these services, users check into your location and they can earn badges and you can develop rewards and recognition around the frequency of the visits such as discounts or other offers. As the business owner you can set up the type of rewards for your business.
There are three key areas to hit:
1) Make your program visible. You have to promote it in other media, as well as at your business and other forms of advertising.
2) Make it relevant to the action you want to encourage. Repeat visits, bring a friend, minimum purchase size are distinct types of revenue drivers. But you may also want to encourage different behaviors such as purchasing during typically slow times of day or week, manage inventory, or create and promote contests. Be creative to make your program relevant to your customer and the behavior you want to see.
3) Be real and considerate. This sounds simple and perhaps obvious. But, there may be a temptation to overload your customers with offers and messages. The key here is to set the expectations for the customers when they join, and then stick to them. If you say “sign up for weekly specials”, don’t start sending daily promotions.
There are more things you can do with to extend the value of an existing (or new) online marketing program, but this can get you started in the right direction. We’ll hit on some more ways to leverage your media spend in future posts.