The Commoditization of Loyalty Programs

Make Sure Your Loyalty Program Stands out from the Sea of loyalty programs now available to consumers.
Make Sure Your Loyalty Program Stands Out!

Has your business added a loyalty program? If so, you are not alone. All types of businesses have added what is arguably the most cost effective form of marketing available for the smaller business. The problem now is, how do you differentiate yourself from your competition if everyone has a loyalty program?

Today, loyalty programs must be reimagined. Stop thinking that the purpose of your loyalty program is to make your customers loyal to you and start thinking of it the other way. A loyalty program is really all about making sure your customers know that your business is loyal to THEM. It’s a mindset change, but if you think about your loyalty program through this prism, you will see greater success.

All Loyalty Programs Are Not Created Equal

Many POS systems offer an add-on loyalty program. These programs are inexpensive and rely on the business owner to manage the loyalty program. These are typically transactionally-based, meaning they reward a customer once they are in the store and make a purchase that reaches that business’ spending milestone. Look for programs that engage customers when they are NOT in the store. THIS is how you keep your brand top-of-mind. Look for programs that allow redemptions right from their phone or through a kiosk. Look for a program that offers custom branded mobile coupons and offers methods for data collection because it is in the data that you find the gold.

According to retailtouchpoints.com, a majority of transactionally-based loyalty programs fail within the first two years.

Loyalty and the Power of Mobile

Consistent engagement using text marketing makes the difference between a successful loyalty program or one that fails.
It’s Not Just Rewarding Customers Based on Spend. It’s All About Consistent Engagement.

When you create a loyalty program that is based on the mobile platform, you will have the ability to not only reward those customers for their purchases, but because you have built a database of their mobile numbers and have obtained the required permission, you can now further engage with them, when they are NOT in your store, offering them reasons to come back in. The key to a successful loyalty program is to reward engagement, not just purchases.

Make Gratitude Your Attitude and your customers will reward you by participating in your loyalty program.

Make Gratitude Your Attitude

When you shift the way you think about your loyalty program and make it all about thanking your customers for their loyalty, you will start to treat those who have joined your mobile database differently than the rest of your customers. By treating this group as a special group, they will reward YOU in spades. When customers realize that they will be offered special discounts or special access not available to anyone else, they will line up to join your program. And once you have their number in your database, you can begin to nurture that relationship by making sure they realize how much you value their business.

57% Are Willing To Share Data With You To Get Personalized Offers and Discounts

Loyalty + Relevance will ensure success. Gather data and use it to personalize your offers. Text-based communication is naturally conversational, so get your customer’s first names so you can personalize your messages. Ask them what type of info they’d like to be kept in the loop on and then send them just what they have asked for. Do this and you will see minimal opt-outs.

Mobile High 5 works with small and medium sized businesses and regional chains to help them leverage a powerful loyalty + SMS text marketing to keep customers engaged and to keep brands top-of-mind. It’s not just our technology that makes us different; it’s the expertise behind the curtain and our ridiculously fast customer service.

Is Text Message Marketing Intrusive? How To Make Sure You Aren’t Annoying Your Customers

If I got a text message out of the blue from a business, I would DEFINITELY think it was intrusive. And annoying. It would color my opinion of that business because I didn’t ask for you to intrude on my personal phone.

It would also be illegal. I repeat. Illegal.

To Run An Effective Mobile Marketing Program, You Must Follow The Rules.

Text marketing, by law, is permission based. To run a legally compliant program, you MUST obtain explicit permission from your customer before you can communicate with them on their personal mobile phone. There are many DIY text message operators today that skirt this law, or don’t fully inform the people using their platform about all the rules they must follow in order to avoid trouble….the least of which will be annoying your customer. That is why I recommend you work with a full service partner such as Mobile High 5.

If you violate the law, there can be a fine of $500- $1500 PER text message sent. So if your database is 1,000 people (a reasonable database for a small business) that could be a HUGE fine. Plus, on top of the fine, the short code the message was sent on can be suspended and those costs upwards of $8,000 to provision.

Run Your Program With Transparency. With Honesty. Your Customers Will Repay You In Spades.

So as you can see, annoying your customer is NOT the biggest thing to worry about. That said, if you run your program correctly, text message marketing can make a HUGE impact on your bottom line. Think about it. The customers who have signed up to be on your mobile program, have given you explicit permission to send them advertising right to their personal phone. And everyone has only one phone today, right? These people are typically your best customers. Treat them well, send them juicy offers and announcements. They will repay you in spades.

Because your texts will come in on the same channel as personal messages, they will see readership of 98% within 3-5 minutes. All phones light up when a message comes in. Texts cannot be turned off like an app notification can and messaging is native to every smartphone. Text marketing programs bring extremely high ROI and just get better the longer you run them.

What questions do you have for me about Texting and compliance with the law? Post them in the comments and I’ll answer them in a future post.

What Exactly Is Text Message Marketing and Why Is It So Important?

What’s all this buzz about text message marketing or SMS advertising about anyway? Why should you be thinking about moving in this direction?

Most small businesses have been relying on a combination of social media and email marketing. Think about it. How many unread emails do you have right this minute? Me? I have 345, split across the three emails I own.

Now…how many unread text messages do you have? None to maybe a few.

That is typical of most people. The reality today is that email readership is dropping. Social media is waning. What is happening is we are all migrating to communication methods like messaging, snapchat, texting and the like because — it’s easier. Phones have become stitched to our sides; they are our primary way of navigating our lives. We check our smart phones repeatedly throughout the day.

Isn’t this where your advertising should be? Reply in the comments what your main concern is with communicating with your customers this way. Have you tried text message marketing?