5 Tips on Creating a Push Notifications

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Studies have proven that push notifications can be the ultimate user engagement tool. According to multiple sources, 98% of push notifications are read, as opposed to 15-25% for email-based campaigns.

Push notifications allow App Merchants to reach their customers outside of the in-store experience. If your messages are crafted correctly, it can create real value and promote an almost viral level of the sharing of your content.


2Frequency of your messages.

The first rule of push notification marketing – don’t overdo it. Especially if you’re sending push notifications for advertising or promotional purposes: less is usually more. Ask yourself: “Would I be annoyed by the volume of messages I’ve been receiving from this app?” If the answer is yes, or even maybe, you may want to consider spacing them out.

3Schedule your push notifications.

How would you like to be woken up in the middle of the night by a vibrating cell phone, flashy lights and a push message saying you have a $5 discount on your next purchase if you invite a friend? Knowing your target market allows you to send messages during reasonable hours when engagement is usually at its highest. Anything between 10 AM and 6 PM is recommended. Send anything outside the recommended period, and you risk missing the user’s attention or annoying them.

4Encourage engagement whenever you can.

A relevant message is great, but it’s even better to create a discussion or an interaction within the app which leads to sharing and other benefits. Using your in-app social network, you can drive users towards engagement. For example, start a photo-based contest, such as “post a picture of X” – or reward users for the best response to a posted question.

5Offer exclusive discounts or deals.

Who isn’t looking for a good deal? Use push notifications to send out ‘What’s new’ and ‘Today only’ deals. You might also think about using push notifications to inform users about discounts on products you offer, and you can create exclusive app only offers, which shows the value in joining.

6Event reminders and announcements.

Is the big game today? What time does the DJ start at the club tonight? Will there be a change in store hours over the holidays? Friendly reminders in form of push notifications take only moments to set up, but might save your users minutes or hours of ‘search time’. Minimize possible frustration caused by last minute changes and increase brand loyalty by making sure your users have all the latest information at hand.

By optimizing your messages to increase app open and conversion rates you’re not just improving app retention, but you’re also setting yourself up to increase customer lifetime value.

And if you haven’t used push notifications in your app yet, we challenge you to get one out in the coming week. Push notifications are free to use within the Mass Mobile Apps platform and it takes 30 seconds to send them to every one of your customers.  Today an Mobile Loyalty App is a necessity for any business looking to grow or maintain its customer base, and the Push notification is the most effective way to reach that base.

8 Reasons Why Loyalty Programs Are Imperative For Marketers

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by: Steve Olenski

Companies throughout the nation are now utilizing loyalty programs more often than ever before. These organizations understand the importance of retaining existing customers and choose to implement a system directed specifically at building customer loyalty.

What exactly is a loyalty program, then? While the specifics of each program may differ, the premise remains the same: a loyalty program is a marketing system instituted by a business that rewards purchasing behavior, thus increasing the customer’s urge to stay loyal to the company. A loyalty program may offer convenience, store credit, prizes, or any other benefit that would entice the loyalty of a customer.

Of course, like all other marketing efforts, a well-crafted loyalty program requires resources that may currently be allocated towards other endeavors. If you have not yet implemented a loyalty program in your marketing strategy, or are unsure about its efficacy, consider the following eight reasons why a loyalty program may be a worthwhile option for you.

1. It Has Been Proven to Boost Growth

Of course, each type of loyalty program may yield wildly different results, but as a marketer, you should never overlook the fact that loyalty programs have been tested time and time again, and have proven to be successful in numerous industries.

In fact, the “growth hacker” movement, a recent collection of marketing gurus and regular business owners whose sole aim is the growth of the company, began by using loyalty programs as their traditional model to expand a company. These individuals allocated all of their energy towards growing their business, and saw customer loyalty as one of the easiest ways to ensure this outcome.

2. Loyalty Programs Are Not As Expensive As You May Think

When some marketers think of loyalty programs, they begin to imagine a large portion of existing resources being funneled away into a program that may or may not see success.

In reality, however, pursuing new customers is the true cost burden; a February 2013 article in Forbes asserts that keeping an existing customer is 7 times less expensive than acquiring a new one. Thus, even the resources you utilize in a loyalty program will most likely pale in comparison to the expense of finding new buyers.

Furthermore, depending on the scope of your rewards program, the slight expenses you incur by instituting a loyalty rewards program may be overshadowed by the additional business generated as a result.

3. Boost Your Reputation

Loyalty programs serve a dual function: to incentivize new clients to stick around after purchasing your goods and services, and to ensure that existing loyal clients still feel as if they are valued by your operation.

Of course, by instituting a loyalty program, you not only improve customer appreciation of your business, but you also increase the chances that existing clients will share this joy with those close to them. The more a customer feels appreciated by a business, the more he or she is likely to support that company and recommend it to others. This, in turn, carries on in a word-of-mouth cyclical nature that continues to achieve growth for your business.

4. Increase Sales By Including Enticing Awards

Marketers and business owners enjoy loyalty programs because they have the ability to improve customer retention for a specific operation. Customers appreciate loyalty programs, however, because they often provide added incentives for making a purchase, with the rewards increasing linearly (or even exponentially) with more purchases, or depending on the size or scope of the item purchased.

Because of this, using a loyalty rewards program in your marketing strategy will help provide you with access to a bigger portion of your customers’ wallets.

This will only occur, though, if the rewards you offer are in tune with the wants and needs of the customers who frequent your business. It is important to point out that not all loyalty rewards programs are the same, and only one that is executed skillfully will have the desired effect.

Your rewards program could entice customers to purchase more at a given time, but only if the incentives you give out are worth it.

5.  It Provides Vital Market Research

According to Troy Ireland, CEO of the SEO agency Digital Current:

Understanding the purchasing behavior of a specific demographic is one of the most important sets of research data available to marketers. To develop a strategic plan to present your products in a way that produces the most optimal buying behavior, one needs to understand what the target audience avoids as much as what triggers them to spend their money.

By offering a loyalty rewards program, you are conducting a form of research that will provide you with similar information about your customers. Through trial and error, you will begin to see the sort of incentives that fuel the desire of your clients, and the rewards that don’t elicit the same results.

This allows you to hone in on specific rewards that are most appreciated. Using this information, you can also attach the most sought after rewards to specific products that you are most interested in sharing with your clients.

6. It Makes Customers Happy

Sure, the benefits you offer in your loyalty rewards program may not have any effect on the goods or services that you offer your customers each and every day. That being said, your initiative of providing additional rewards for your most loyal customers sets your business apart from other, non-participating companies.

By implementing a loyalty rewards program, you are sending a message to your current and future client base that you are interested in not only making money off of purchases, but also in a relationship with customers that is mutually beneficial. You sell goods and services, although you attach benefits solely for the benefit of the customer.

This act of goodwill will improve the overall outlook of your customers, which will ultimately have a positive impact on your business.

7. You Can Provide In-Store Or Digital Rewards (Or Both)

One of the most beneficial parts of loyalty rewards systems, for both the customers and the business owners, is that, depending on the tactics, the rewards can be applied to purchases made online, in person, or both. This provides you with the chance to offer a robust set of rewards for a broader array of clients.

If you have noticed that most of your sales are to those who shop on the Internet, enhance your online rewards system; conversely, if most of your business is conducted in person, an in-store program may be best suited for you.

Fortunately, according to Retail Expert Francesca Nicasio of VendHQ, “you have the option to take your pick, depending on the needs of your operation and the setup of your merchant processor.”

8. Once It Gets Started, It Stops Being Work

In reality, setting up a rewards system may take some real effort on your part. It requires initial research regarding the preferences of your customers, as well as the scheme that you would like to implement going forward.

That being said, once you have a rewards program set up, it effectively becomes a self-sustaining machine, due to its cyclical nature: the more a client purchases, the more rewards he or she receives, thus inspiring him or her to continue purchasing.

Continuously updating the rewards will keep your customers engaged, but the work it takes to perform this will be overshadowed by the growth your company experiences.

Why It Is Time For You To Set Up A Loyalty Program

It’s no secret anymore that loyalty programs are effective marketing tools. They increase growth, help retain customers, and improve your brand’s reputation. And if you haven’t yet weaved a loyalty program into your marketing strategy, you may be missing out on one of the best and easiest tools available for the success of your business.

5 Holiday Social Media Ideas That’ll Keep Your Registers Ringing

by Lisa Furgison
4 Holiday Social Media Ideas That'll Keep Your Registers Ringing

As business owners, you don’t have elves to help you prepare for the holidays, but you do have social media.

Social media is a powerful marketing tool during the holidays. A survey shows 50 percent of customers use social media to find deals, and others use it to research gift ideas and learn about a specific company, according to Statista.

To help businesses use social media to increase brand awareness and give sales a boost, here are four holiday ideas you can use on your social channels this season:

1. Create an Offer on Facebook

Savvy shoppers are always on the hunt for a great deal.

Ninety-four percent of holiday consumers say discounts impact their purchase decisions, according to Invesp, so why not give customers what they want? Give them a deal they can’t refuse on a platform they’re already familiar with.

Facebook allows brands to create Offers, which are basically coupons for your customers. You can create a coupon that’s redeemable in your store, so customers can present the coupon on their phone at the register, or enter a coupon code during checkout online.

The Offer is shared with your Facebook fans, but once a customer redeems it, it’s mentioned in the customer’s News feed, so it exposes even more people to your deal.

Customers can even save the deal for later, and will receive notifications from Facebook when the deal is about to expire.

Here’s an example of an Offer from Camping and Fishing Outlet:

4 Holiday Social Media Ideas That'll Keep Your Registers Ringing

The cost of a Facebook Offer depends on how many people you want it to reach. You’ll see budget options when you create the offer. Here are the instructions to create an Offer on Facebook, and here’s a list of frequently asked questions about Facebook Offers.

2. Host a holiday contest

Seven out of ten brands are using “gamification techniques,” which is the use of giveaways, games and contests to attract and retain customers, according to HubSpot.

Why are more businesses turning to contests and games? For starters, consumers love them, with 68 percent of adults older than 18 participating in online games.

Plus, it’s fairly simple to host a contest these days on social media.

Local businesses could encourage customers to take pictures of the holiday lights in their community. From decked-out homes to businesses lit up with a Santa’s Workshop display, customers can snap artsy photos and submit them on your Facebook page for a chance to enter an in-store gift card.

Or, have customers submit a short 100-word essay about how your product or service enhances their holiday. Select the best answer, announce the winner on Facebook and give the customer a rare coupon for 50% off one item.

If you don’t have the manpower to create and monitor a contest on social media, there are apps that can help. Try WooBox or Wishpond. (Note: Both WooBox and Wishpond charge a monthly fee for their services, but WooBox does have a few options available for free.)

3. Shoot and share a holiday video tip

Consider shooting a video that gives your customers a holiday tip, which just so happens to promote one of your products.

Videos are highly shareable, and Facebook fans seem to consume them at a high rate. Eight billion videos are viewed through Facebook each day, according to Social Media Today.

Need some video ideas? If you sell coffee and tea, create a video that shows customers how to brew your freshly ground beans for a large group. If you sell cosmetics, shoot a video that offers holiday makeup tips for people going to their company get-together. If you offer heating repair services, create a video that offers heat-related safety tips for the holidays, like how far to keep a tree from a fireplace.

Pit Barrel Cooker Co. shot and shared a video explaining how to cook the perfect holiday turkey. Here’s a look at the video from the company’s Facebook page, which received 254,000+ views:

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4. Create and share a holiday eCard

Small businesses often go the extra mile to create personal relationships with customers. During the holidays, it’s nice to reach out to your customers and thank them for their patronage.

You can send traditional holiday cards in the mail, or you can take a few minutes to create an ecard that you can share on your social channels.

You can use do-it-yourself websites to create animated cards that are highly shareable. If you want to create a traditional digital card, try a site like Punchbowl. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, try a site like JibJab. This site allows you to upload pictures of yourself and your employees, and puts your faces on dancing elves or a singing Santa dancing to Gangnam Style.

5. Use Your Mobile App for In App Only Promotions

Tis the Season for Giving, so use your Mobile App to promote App Only offers. This will increase customer engagement and drive more app downloads, as you make your App feel more like an Exclusive Club, where only members receive the perks!

Additionally why not update your Mobile Apps look to reflect the season.  With the Mass Mobile Apps platform, you can easily update the look & feel of your app which will can keep your message across all channels uniform.

How will you use social media to market your business or product during the holiday season? Share your plans in the comment section below.

Not all Loyalty Apps are Created Equal!

As a small business owner of a denim and sportswear store, I was looking for ways to increase my bottom line, and alternative ways to connect with my customers.  With the social media explosion, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and emails, promoting my business became a full time job.  That was great in the mid 2000’s, but as more and more people and businesses jumped on the bandwagon, I noticed these mediums becoming less effective. As a result after much research, I decided to implement a loyalty program, but discovered that all of the existing Loyalty platforms lacked the qualities and features I felt were relevant to me and most importantly to my customers.

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The existing Loyalty platforms, were not marketing my business but promoting theirs but against my better judgment I gave it a shot, and joined a popular program.  I quickly discovered that this was not specific to me nor did it promote my “Brand”.  It was cookie cutter at best!  Why did I have to fit my business model into their environment and promote their app and brand?  I also questioned why my business was added to a list of similar merchants, some of which were my competitors.

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This is when the Mass Mobile Apps Concept was born.  Out of a need to keep my customers engaged and loyal, and to drive traffic and increase Sales.  Mass Mobile Apps designs customized Loyalty Apps specific to any business promoting their brand and connecting customers in a meaningful way.

Why conform to someone else’s concept of a loyalty program, when you can develop your own!

4 Holiday Marketing Ideas Every Small Business Should Use

4 Joyful Holiday Marketing Ideas Every Small Business Should Use
Holiday shoppers are ready to dash through the aisles this season, spending an average of $935.58 on holiday gifts, food and decor. Retail sales are in good shape for the end of the year, with a predicted 3.6 percent increase from last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Are you ready to cash in on the holiday shopping craze? If so, you need to create a few holiday marketing campaigns to attract customers to your store. But, creating marketing campaigns takes time, and who has extra time during the holidays? You’re busy scheduling additional staff, ordering extra inventory and prepping your store.

To take the hassle out of the holidays, we’ve put together a list of four holiday marketing ideas that every business can and should use during the holidays.

1. Ask customers to submit holiday designs
Take a cue from Starbucks and get your customers involved in the design process. Starbucks asked its customers to draw holiday designs on their coffee cups, and submit pictures via Instagram. Starbucks selected a handful of winning designs and mass-produced the artwork on holiday cups this season. Here’s a winning design created by a nurse in Chicago:

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The campaign sparked 1200 submissions from 13 different countries, and engaged fans all over the world as the designs filled social media channels.

Your company can do something similar. For instance, you can ask customers to turn your everyday logo into a festive one. Have participants submit the photos online and select the best one. Then use the winning design on your website throughout the holidays.

You can promote the contest on your website, social channels and in store. Send out email and text about the contest too. You might consider giving the winner an additional prize, like a $100 in-store gift card, to sweeten the deal.

2. Create a ’12 Days of Christmas’ giveaway
Giveaways are a great way to introduce customers to a new product. Plus, everyone loves a freebie, especially during the holidays.

Use the inspiration of the beloved 12 Days of Christmas song to give away 12 items leading up to Christmas. HBO, for example, offered 12 episodes of its hottest shows for free during the holiday season.

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If you offer a service, consider giving customers 12 days free, or an upgrade for 12 days.

If you want to give away 12 products, one on each day, you could ask customers to participate in a trivia game on social game media. The first person to get the answer right wins the prize of the day.

Or, the 20th shopper that comes into your store gets the day’s giveaway; or the first customer that makes a donation at the register to a charity that your store supports wins the prize.

Be sure to advertise the giveaways on social media, email and text message. Let customers know what the prize is each day, and how they can win.

3. Provide gift inspiration via Email, Social or Mobile
The average person expects to receive 13 gifts for Christmas, according to Statista. That’s a lot of gifts to buy.

And how many times have you wandered aimlessly through the aisles looking for the perfect gift for Aunt Susie, only to come up empty handed? It happens to everyone. Why not suggest some of your products or services as the perfect gift?

If you have collected email addresses from your customers, create and email a gift guide that highlights a handful of cool gift ideas. You can break the guides into categories like “Gifts for Mom” or “Stocking Stuffers Under $10.” Or, maximize Pinterest and create special gift guide boards like the examples below. Share links on your social media channels in your emails, and your Mobile App.

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Here’s an example on Instagram:

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If you have access to cell phone numbers, consider texting customers a specific gift idea. Provide the idea, and an incentive to get customers to come to your store. Try a text like this, “Can’t find a gift for your mom? Get an extra 10% off [name of your product].”

4. Provide a last minute holiday deal
Holiday shoppers procrastinate. It’s a fact. Last year, as of December 15, the average shopper had only completed 53.5% of their shopping, according to the National Retail Federation.

Give your customers an incentive to shop at your store for their last minute holiday needs. Consider sending a promotion that offers a 15% store wide discount or a specific deal on a popular product.

If you operate an online store or ship products to your customers, remind customers about last minute shipping deadlines too.

Here’s a great holiday promotion from Birchbox that combines a holiday deal, which includes extra rewards points, with a shipping reminder. Consider trying a similar promotion. Send it to your customers via text, email or both.

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There you have it, four ideas that your business can use to get registers ringing during the holidays. Which ideas will you use? Or, do you have tried-and-true holiday marketing ideas of your own? If so, share your holiday marketing plans with us in the comment section below.

Increase Customer Spending: 6 Ways to Encourage Loyal Spenders

Customer spending incentives

For better or worse, I am somewhat of a regular at the local casino. I don’t have TOO many vices, and I’m always extremely responsible – I have a pre-set limit of how much I’ll allow myself to spend per visit and have only exceeded it on a handful of special occasions. Many people I know will spend much more on bar tabs or shopping sprees in a day than I will spend in two weeks at the casino, and none of them will have a chance at striking it rich…but that’s enough of me trying to justifying a bad habit of mine.

Anyway, I am sometimes chagrined at the fact that I don’t see a lot of comps or freebies thrown my way. I’m there fairly often, and I know most of the dealers by name – where’s my free meal every time I sit down?

Then I’ll see someone who comes in maybe three or four times a year, but will plunk down an obscene amount of money on the table – many times over what my limit would ever be – and receive free meals, discounts on rooms, and all sorts of goodies. And I’m reminded that although I come in more frequently, there are a ton of other gamers that spend more money than I do. THOSE are the customers worth wooing in the casino’s eyes. The same principle holds true for small business owners.

What small business owners can do to encourage customers to spend more each visit

While regular customers are undoubtedly a good sign for your business and are absolutely worth your time to cultivate, at the end of the day you’re running a business. You need money to keep your doors open, and the more money somebody spends at your place of business, the more valuable they are to your success. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions to consider in order to increase customer spending per visit.

1.    Build Loyalty

If you’re a fan of this blog (and c’mon, who isn’t?), you’ve no doubt heard us bang the drum on the importance of loyalty. That’s no coincidence – it truly is that critical, especially in today’s connected world of e-commerce where there are no shortage of other places your customers can go to buy what you’re selling. You can read other entries on how to gain loyal followers, but our focus with this entry is how to increase customer spending per visit.

Importance of Customer LoyaltyNot only are loyal customers more likely to spend more money at your business because they visit more often, but they are also going to serve as your best test market to unveil new goods, new premium packages or services, and even higher prices on current goods.

You have already earned their trust and loyalty – the hardest part of the battle is over and you are the victor who earns the spoils. Try out a new premium, high-priced item with your most loyal consumers and inform them that they are part of an elite member of people that gets first crack at it before anyone else does. Not only will this make them feel elite and a valued part of your business (which they are), you will also be able to see how successful this new product or service you’re about to debut is. Keep in mind though, that loyal customers are MUCH less sensitive to higher prices than infrequent or completely new customers.

2.    Package Your Goods

“Would you like fries with that?” is synonymous with package deals – burger purveyors from long ago realized the value of bundling their goods together, which is why you would be extremely hard pressed to find a fast food chain that didn’t offer some semblance of a value meal. Burger, fries and a drink may not be what you’re selling, but don’t overlook this tried-and-true mechanism of increasing customer spend amounts.

Increase Customer SpendSome packages just make sense, plain and simple. If your business is in the outdoor and hiking/backpacking trade, you probably sell your fair share of sleeping bags and tents. You also probably sell a decent amount of backpack water purifiers and hiking poles. Many of your customers are probably purchasing an item or two for a backpacking trip – why not combine them and offer a slight discount on both? If your customer buys a winter-rated sleeping bags, why not offer to throw in a set of hiking poles for 25% off? They may very well be in the market for the poles as well, and a small discount certainly won’t break your bank.

Another tactic to consider when it comes to bundling is to offer extreme discounts on items that you’re struggling to move off the shelf. If you have a plethora of mosquito netting that you just can’t seem to offload, try offering it for 75% off with any purchase over a certain dollar amount. You may not be making as much (or any) money off the netting, but at least you’re reducing your inventory and making shelf space for something that will (hopefully) sell better.

3.    Raise Prices

This is often seen as tremendously scary territory for small business owners – after all, consumers can be notoriously sensitive to increased prices and rightly so. But instead of viewing it as simply raising prices without cause, try and think about what kind of value and results you are providing to your customers, in addition to your goods and services. It can be wise to try and match your prices to be in line or under what your competition is offering, but don’t you feel your offerings are superior to theirs?

Try toeing the waters first with small increases – something as little as one to five percent on a basic or entry level item that is purchased often. Give it a few months or at least enough time to gather a large sampling pool. Compare this data to your previous, lower price and compare. Did people run for the hills in disgust at the increase in price? Odds are good they did not, but at least with measurable data you’ll be able to see if the increase was worth it or not. Experiment with different prices – as long as you give them enough time to find a foothold, you’ll find that the market will dictate the sweet spot in terms of pricing.

Valued loyal customersHappy and comfortable customers spend more, use that to your advantage

In addition to some of the more straightforward tactics mentioned above, there are a few seemingly non-sequiturs that are worth mentioning:

4.    Smells Good in Here

If you run a bakery, cologne shop, or potpourri emporium, you can skip right over this – but for other small business owners, do not overlook the importance of a fragrant physical storefront. Studies by marketing services company DMX and the Smell and Taste Research Foundation have both shown that customers are not only more likely to make purchases in a pleasant-smelling environment, but are also willing to spend more money for the same item. The most popular fragrances to open up the ol’ wallet? Coconuts, flowers, and tropical gardens.

5.    Let the Sunshine In

People tend to be happier in sunshine, and when people are in a better mood, they tend to spend more. A study conducted by the University of Alberta found strong empirical evidence that customers who shopped in an area with more natural light were more likely to make a purchase and spent more per visit – in some cases, as much as 56% more. Take advantage of sunny days and consider splurging on one-time upgrades such as skylights or additional windows.

Loyalty is critical6.    Chill Out

The expression “Don’t sweat it” is usually uttered to someone who is worried or stressed about something – that’s because when anxiety or apprehension sinks in, our heart rate tends to increase, which in turn increases or temperature, and thus causes the body to respond by perspiring to cool us down. Whether or not we realize it or not, when we’re warmer, we are perceivably less likely to make complex decisions (such as decide if something is a good deal or not) than we are when we’re cooler.

Translation? People spend less when they are hot, according to a study conducted by Virginia and Houston universities. When the hotter months roll around, don’t be a miser and try to skimp on the AC – your bigger utility bill may very well be offset by bigger purchases from your customers.

If each loyal customer buys just one more item than usual, it will add up

Not everyone that is a patron of your business will turn be a big spender – most just simply aren’t going to frequent your place of business often enough to even qualify, and many that do won’t have the budget or spending habits to fit the bill. Try not to think of the above ways to reel in “big fish” that will bring in half of your month’s revenue each time they stop by. Instead, think of them as ways to turn somebody who usually purchases three items for around $20 into someone who usually purchases four or five items for $25 or $30. It may not seem like much at the time, but it all adds up and more importantly, adds to your bottom line.