Welcome Points Are Vital To Your Loyalty Program

So, you decided to start a loyalty program. Now what? After launch most new programs get caught up in the details. What I mean by this is that they try to do everything at once. They add every feature under the sun, research the sh*t out of what their points should be worth, and just get way too caught in the weeds. Instead you should start simple, and just get started!

The best way to first get started with a loyalty program is to set up basic earning (like 1 point for every dollar spent) and spending rules ($10 off for 1,000 points). This will set a good foundation for your program, and cover the most basic feature… rewarding purchases. Rewarding purchases is the backbone of every program, but there is one other key feature you should include.

If you want your program to succeed right from the get go, you need welcome points! Welcome points are my number one recommendation for almost every store. It allows you to create excitement, create commitment, and accelerate positive feelings. Let me explain further.

 

Why Your Loyalty Program Needs Welcome Points

Welcome points are an effective way to boost enrollment and participation at the same time. It is the first low hanging fruit you should aim to pick. It is easy add, and super effective!

Here are a few reasons you should be giving your members “welcome points” or otherwise know as rewarding for account creation.

1. Provides an Incentive

The most obvious advantage of giving welcome points is to create an incentive to join your program. There is a reason credit card companies offer you all those bonus miles, it is effective! I know you have at least considered one of those offers.

Credit cards usually offer welcome points

You can create that strong desire to join your program as well, with welcome points. Just be sure that you are making it worth their while. If your first reward costs 1,000 points, a welcome bonus of 50 points will not cut it. I usually recommend giving enough points to claim your lowest reward right away (more on that later).

welcome points focus on customer lifetime value

The tactic here is that you give customers value now, and recover that investment over the course of their life. This is known as customer lifetime value. By getting the customer enrolled and engaged in your loyalty program you will turn them into a repeat customer, which are up to 5x more profitable than first time shoppers!

2. Establishes Value

Welcome points not only incent a customer to join, they also increase the likelihood they will stick around. Have you ever noticed that when you start playing a new freemium game they always give you a starting balance of their currency, or that when you get a “buy 10 get one free” card it already has a stamp on it.

Mcdonalds-McCafe-Rewards-Free-Hot-Beverage

This is by design! People love to start things, but that doesn’t mean they will actually use it. That is why you are usually given a starting balance, it invests you into the game, tool, or program. When you already have currency in something you are more inclined to continue using it, I mean you are already on your way.

Welcome points use the same principle. A customer now has some of your currency in their account. If they choose not to come back they are forgoing that currency. As humans it is very difficult for us to walk away from money.

3. Makes Future Actions More Likely

When we are given something we are not only more likely to continue, but actively look to repay it. This is known as the reciprocity principle, which basically states that when something is done for us we feel obligated to repay the favour. It is almost fool proof!

 

This principle is more effective in loyalty if you just give welcome points to a customer without requiring them to sign up for it. You do not want the customer to feel as though they have traded their info for the points. You want them to feel like you have given them something that they should reciprocate. You can get them to reciprocate in profitable ways.

The obvious way they can repay you is with their loyalty, after all a repeat customer is worth way more to your business. There’s another way though. You can ask them to perform other actions to get points (once they have points and see value). You can get them to do things like share on social or refer their friends for points. This essentially turns your loyal customers into marketers as well!

Rewarding points for other profitable actions is easy to add to your program with ecommerce loyalty programs like the custom Apps created by Mass Mobile Apps.

4. Accelerates First Reward

“A member sees value in your program when they spend points, not when they earn them.”

welcome points provide positive attachment

What I mean here is that your loyalty program members like the rewards they get with their points not the points themselves. No one likes saving for retirement, but you like the lifestyle when you get there. The same is true with loyalty programs. That is why you want your members to claim a rewards as early as possible, and welcome points can help.

When you give welcome points, you are putting a loyalty member that much closer to that first reward. I usually recommend giving enough points for a small reward as a welcome reward. This ensures that the customer sees value and gets the emotional high of a reward right away. This makes them more likely to return on their own, but they also registered an email that you can market to them later with.

Welcome points is the best way to establish positive emotions in your customers and establishes a foundation on which you can build a meaningful relationship.

 

Welcome Points Are An Easy Win

I hope this post has illustrated just how effective welcome points can be! They not only are a fantastic motivator to encourage sign ups, they also get your members to actively participate. They are also easy to include in every Mass Mobile App developed.

About the author: Alex McEachern

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2015: The Year that Push Notifications Grew Up

Push notifications are largely viewed as a great mobile marketing tactic, albeit one with great questions about their use and best practices. But are they having a significant impact? We decided to take a look at the state of push messaging in 2015 to find out.

Over the course of the year, push messages continued to improve app user engagement and retention and companies increasingly took the path to personalization. This is largely due to the the shift away from broadcast marketing to an increased adoption of a segmented push strategy, which uses all the data a company has about a user to inform a smart marketing approach. While push messages showed improvement around respecting user data, a recent consumer survey we conducted revealed that 52% of app users are already finding push messages to be an “annoying distraction.”

As more marketers turn to push notifications to communicate with users, the bar continues to rise for them to be hyper relevant (to avoid going the way of email spam). The good news: our data shows that apps are rising to match these higher expectations, and the results of their efforts are improving engagement and retention.

 

Push Messages Continue to Influence User Engagement

One of the most effective uses of push messages is to encourage inactive users to re-engage with an app. When crafted as a friendly reminder or helpful tip, push notifications can better position an app in the minds of users.  The numbers are truly telling of just how effective push messages are in this pursuit for engagement. In 2015, users who enabled push notifications launched an app an average of 14.7 times per month, whereas users who did not only launched an app 5.4 times per month. In other words, users who opted in to push messages averaged 3x more app launches than those who opted out.

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This represents a 171% increase in app engagement. In 2014, the increase in engagement between users who opted in versus those who didn’t was 88%. Push messages serve an important role in an app’s user engagement, and there are no signs pointing to a decrease any time soon.

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Build Trust Before Asking For Permission

Before an app can reap all the engagement benefits push messages have to offer, it must get users to agree to receive them. This has shown to be more difficult over the past year, as the average opt in rate for push messages in 2015 was 49.8%, down from 52% in 2014.

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The decrease in push opt-ins may scare some, but it is not a reason to panic. Rather, this is an opportunity to find smarter ways to get users to agree to opt in. One place to start: build trust.

We’ve outlined before just how important it is to build trust with users before blasting them with push messages. One way to do so is to give a user time to explore the app before asking him/her to enable push messages. The chart below shows that the average push opt-in rate improved when users completed more sessions in an app. Users who complete between 1 and 3 sessions in an app have an average opt in rate of 35%. That rate doubles to 70% when users complete between 4 and 6 sessions in an app.

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It doesn’t take too long to establish trust with users, but try to not ask for permission to enable push messages as soon as the app is downloaded. In the beginning, users know very little about the app and therefore will not have a good idea as to what the push messages will be telling them, or the value that will be delivered.

 

Retention Continues to Thrive Thanks to Push Notifications

Push messages also help apps avoid one of their biggest fears: user churn. Utilizing push messages sets an app up to retain users both in the short and long terms. Push notifications remind users to continually return to an app, which helps keep it top of mind and strengthens relationships throughout the user life cycle.

 

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On average, 65% of users returned to an app in the 30 days after the app’s initial download, if they have push enabled. On the other hand, for users who did not have push enabled, only 19% of them returned the following month. By the third month, one third of users with push enabled were still using the app, compared to only 11% of users who do not receive push messages.

In 2015, retention for apps in which users enabled push increased throughout the first 3 months following download as compared to 2014; this suggests that app marketers used push messages more and the actual messages were more effective.

 

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Users Are Responding More to Push Messages

One metric app marketers use to measure the success of their push messages is the average click through rate. For 2015, the average for push messages was 10.2%, a two percentage point increase from 2014.

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Increasing click through rates supports the idea that push messages are becoming more relevant to users. But with every relevant push, the bar has risen for all push notifications to meet users’ needs. As a result, apps must continuously learn about their audiences in order to better serve them.

 

Push Messages Increasing in Numbers and Intelligence

As push messages continued to benefit apps in more ways than one, app publishers sent them more and more. The number of push messages increased 64.25% since the end of  Q1 2015, to an average of 51 push messages sent per app. These messages are sent to various audiences of the app, so users are not receiving all 51 push messages.

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The average number of push messages sent per app has steadily increased every quarter since the beginning of 2014. While that could be viewed as negative, our data actually shows that as the volume of messages has increased, marketers have also gotten smarter.  This can be seen below as segmented push messages have continued to increase while broadcast messages are starting to become a thing of the past.

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Since January, segmented push messages have increased from 53.51% to 65.73%, while broadcast messages have decreased from 46.49% to 34.27%. Marketers have taken notice that users are more likely to respond to a message with information that directly affects them, as compared to a message that was sent to all of the app’s users. This puts the pressure on apps to be doing everything they can to gain as much insight into their audiences as possible so that their marketers can better customize the messages.

 

Personalization Leads to Conversions

The importance of segmented versus broadcast messages can also be seen in view-through conversion rates (defined as users who view a push message and then convert).

For view-through conversion rates, 1% of users converted from broadcast messages, while 3% converted from segmented messages. In other words, users are 3x more likely to complete a conversion event if the message incorporates some kind of personalization.

 

 

A Marketer’s Job Is Never Done

Push messages have grown in effectiveness since last year, but there is always more that can be done. The onus is on us as marketers to make sure that push messages do not go the way of email and become spam. As app publishers send more push messages, capturing the attention of users will become increasingly difficult. Marketers will need to focus more on what is working over time by continuing to test different messages, shifting the focus from vanity metrics to those that signify actual ROI and always use audience insights as the root of the message.

With that in mind, we’ll be kicking off 2016 with more data that taps into the current state of consumers’ views on push and reveals the data-driven marketing best practices for segmentation, personalization and measuring performance, as well as some benchmark KPI’s based on vertical platform and the size of the app. Stay tuned!

Attracting Local Traffic to Your Store

Attracting local traffic to your store is a reoccurring task on your to-do list. You want a flood of new and existing customers roaming through your shop everyday. So, what’s the best way to encourage more locals to check out your place?

Aside from a customer loyalty program, the answer is a combination of digital and old-fashioned marketing tactics. Here are four ways (two online and two offline) to increase your local awareness and get your register ringing:

 

  1. Try Local Awareness Ads on Facebook

Facebook isn’t just for posting status updates, you can attract local customers through this social channel, too. Facebook has an advertising option called Local Awareness Ads. These ads target customers that are near your business.  You can create ads that have specific calls-to-action that connect with customers. Take a look at the example below. People that live or work near the market see this ad and can click on the call-to-action to get directions.

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Boba Guys, a bubble milk tea bar, had success with Facebook awareness ads. According to a case study on Facebook, the company’s ad reached up to 10 thousand people with each new customer acquisition costing just $1.

Get started with a Local Awareness Ad on Facebook’s Business site.

 

  1. Set up a business profile on Google My Business

Help your customers find your business by setting up a profile page on Google. When customers search for your business, here’s what they’ll see:

It’s a nice display for your business. In a glance, customers see your address, phone number and hours of operation. Customers can also click on pictures, read reviews and get directions right to your shop.

How successful is this at generating local traffic? According to Google, 4 out of 5 consumers conduct local searches on search engines. After searching, 32% of customers visited stores and made purchases, and another 19 percent made unplanned visits and made purchases.

Here’s the best part: it’s free. Check out or update your profile on Google My Business.

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  1. Host a sale with a community connection

Of course, business owners can’t rely solely on digital options to attract local shoppers.

Hosting a sale is a common way to draw customers, but to really entice local shoppers to come in, give your sale a community connection.

Is the local school headed to a championship football game? Are the local firefighters building a new station? If so, offer game-day promotions during playoff week. A cafe could temporarily rename one of its spicy sandwiches to Fire Burner and donate a portion of the sales to support the new station.

Aligning your business with a local cause provides several benefits. For starters, a recent study shows 41% of Americans say they have bought a product because it was associated with a cause. That same study shows 85% of consumers have a more positive image of a product or company when it supports a cause.

In other words, customers reward businesses that support the community.

 

  1. Plan product demo or sample event days

Don’t wait for your customers to come to you, go to them instead. Grab a calendar and call a team meeting. Plan to do at least two events that give customers the chance to see your product in action. Or, go one step further with a non-stop demo.

For example, teashop, Teavana, has a sample station permanently set up for customers to try its products. Cosmetic stores have artists on hand and offer consumers a free makeover to encourage customers to buy specific products. Cosmetic Promotions looked into the success of these on-going demos and found 35 percent of customers planned to buy products immediately, and 56 percent planned to return to buy products.

Of course, you can also take your demonstration digital. Create a video that showcases your product and upload it on your website. Need a little help? Check out this Forbes article that highlights eight of the best product demo videos and explains why each one is effective.

How do you attract local traffic? What works best for your business? Share your knowledge with the business community in the comment section below.

Capitalize on the Love of Mobile Apps

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A recent study conducted by Oracle found that over 85% of young people “Millennials” (ages 18-34) own a smart phone.  Marketers are rapidly moving in the direction of native mobile applications – or Mobile Apps.  In the process marketers, and business owners in general understand that it is not adds that engage young people, its apps!

This consumer segment cannot be discounted when looking to take advantage of growth opportunities.  That is where Mobile Apps come in,  if you are a small business owner, you can now obtain a completely custom mobile solution, that in the past has been dominated by big budget corporations.  There still exists today a misconception that apps are difficult to maintain, and expensive to produce, that is simply no longer true.  The study shows that this group of people are using their smart phones for a wide range of uses; everything from paying a bill, interacting on social media shopping, and watching video.  Another study conducted by Flurry Mobile Analytics, showed that 88% of time that people in general spend on their smart phones are spent in native mobile apps.

 

Top items millennials prefer to do or have in-app (by percentage):

74% – Purchase a product or service through a company’s app

65% – Flag issues or raise complaint/concerns that are submitted directly to the company

62% – Receive notice of upcoming deals/offers

60% – Advice on how to best use products/services received from the company

Always maintain your brands identity and continuity throughout all marketing channels.  Try to incorporate functionality that would be beneficial to your users, for example: a Realtor may want to include a mortgage calculator, a Salon a calendar to schedule appointments, a boutique a gallery, and everyone should include some form of loyalty  –  its cliché but if you build it they will come. Just give them a reason to keep coming back.

IOS 9: APPLE SHUTS DOWN THE MOBILE-WEB GRAVY TRAIN FORCING PUBLISHERS TO PRIORITIZE APP DEVELOPMENT

Apple’s support of adIOS_9_Logo-blocking technology in the upcoming release of iOS 9 puts the $70 billion global mobile ad market at risk, forcing publishers to rethink their mobile strategies.

Over the past few years, publishers have seen a large chunk of their revenues coming from ads served to users consuming content via the mobile browser. The main strategy concentrated on getting stories widely shared on popular social apps such as Facebook, which in turn drove users to mobile-optimized websites that served up ads.

However, Apple’s latest software update enables the use of content-blocking tools that will let users block ads in the Safari browser. Users who adopt the technology will be able to bypass banners, pop-ups, and pre-rolls, upending the mobile-web strategy that has allowed publishers to make money without charging end users.

With over 1 billion iOS devices out there – what does this mean for publishers?

Ad-Blocking on the Mobile-Web Drives Publishers To Promote Apps

One thing we know for sure is that publishers need to take the threat of ad-blocking on the mobile-web seriously. An August 2015 report from PageFair places the number of ad-blocking users at around 198 million worldwide and draws attention to the significant cost to publishers, estimating up to $22 billion worth of inventory was blocked in 2015.These figures are expected to rise dramatically over the next year when mobile users learn about the value of content-blockers beyond just stopping ads to include faster load time. For example, Crystal, one of the most hyped content-blocking apps, claims its users see pages load nearly 4 times faster with the app installed and use 53% less data.

So, are the days of enjoying free content on mobile gone for good? Not quite.

Apple is only allowing ad-blocking technology to work on the Safari browser, leaving publishers free to reap the benefits from the App Store. With this tactical move, apps will continue to work unhindered by the ad-blockers and, as a result, publishers will start aggressively pushing users to download their apps to bypass the ad-blockers.

Short-Term Pain (Reshuffling Focus) for Long-Term Gain (Better User Insight)

Although this shift requires new effort on the part of publishers, it will likely benefit their core business for the long term. Publishers will gain a much more granular view into their users, because of the richness of data that can be collected through apps. This insight will enable the creation of inventory that targets users based on the types of content they consume, the devices they use, their location, and demographic information – which could sell for a premium.

Balancing Ads with a Smooth App Experience

It is important to note that in an app environment, publishers will need to pay much closer attention to the balance between serving ads and creating a great user experience. App users are generally more valuable than the typical mobile-web visitor because of their expressed loyalty. A user downloads an app if they value the content and intend to consume it on a regular basis. The smartest publishers will work hard to embrace and retain their app users by constantly evaluating the impact that different types of ads have on consumption, social sharing, time spent in app, and user retention.

The Future for Publishers

Apple has once again flexed its muscles to shake up the mobile landscape. With this new policy in place, publishers will likely come out as winners. Publishers will create better experiences for their users through apps that are designed for iOS and create loyal audiences in the process. Furthermore, they stand to benefit from the granular data that can be collected via apps and the premium inventory to be created from it.

7 Stats That Show Mobile Marketing Is The New Leader

Andrew Gazdecki

Mobile marketing has been one of the most explosive technology waves since the internet was invented and shows no signs of slowing down. Mobile-commerce sales are booming and areforecasted to reach $100 billion in 2014. Businesses across a wide range of industries are implementing mobile strategies to grow their companies. Are you planning to join the mobile marketing world and jump on the app trend? There has never been a better time.

Below are some statistics to help you better understand the importance of mobile marketing today!

  1. Mobile is now the leader.
    According to predictions by Google, mobile searches (at 85.9 billion) will soon surpass desktop searches (84 billion) in 2015. Search ad spending grew, and desktop search ads only experienced small growth, supporting this prediction. By 2015, it is predicted that there will be 2 billion smart phone users globally. As of right now, 57% of the United States owns a smart phone. These numbers all add up to show ups that mobile and mobile devices are here to stay.
  2. Mobile is local.
    Currently, 40% of mobile searches are local, and 77% of them take place while the user is at home or at work. Mobile-on-the-go is crucial to everyone, and users are utilizing mobile in local areas, for local businesses.
  3. Mobile has fast conversions.
    81% of conversions from mobile search happen within five hours of the search. Searches are important because they lead to other actions like calls, visits to a business, and ultimately. Sales. Conversion is dependent upon you, the business owner, which means that you need to be available via mobile to snag those customers, and provide them with accessibility and great customer service/products.
  4. Mobile presents new opportunities to connect.
    What are the top five tasks that users need their smart phone for? Making phone calls at 83%, checking email at 74%, searches at 67%, taking pictures at 62%, and accessing social media at 57%. You can use each one of these tasks to help your marketing strategy. Tasks like email, social media, pictures of your products and services, and more, will all help you further your business.
  5. Mobile peak times are growing.
    Knowing when users are active is really smart. Most mobile searches take place during the time frame of 8pm to midnight, and mobile searches double during the holidays. Little facts like these can really help you base your advertising and marketing strategies around user habits, to make the most of your advertising dollars.
  6. Mobile usage growth applies to everyone.
    Mobile isn’t just for kids and teenagers anymore. As of right now, the 55-64 age group is the fastest growing demographic on Twitter, and for Facebook and Google+, the fastest growing demographic is 45-54. So what does that mean? You should find a way to tie your marketing strategy into those demographics, and adjust your social media and email presence to those groups.
  7. Mobile apps are preferred.
    85% of Mobile users are more comfortable with apps than mobile websites. iOS apps currently generate four times the revenue than Android apps do. When it comes to social media, Facebook is downloaded the most, followed by Google+, and Google Search. Using these statistics to help design your mobile strategy is really smart. When used in conjunction with the demographic information, you can customize your advertising and other strategies to bring in the most business.

These are just a few helpful mobile strategies and stats to help you along. Mobile marketing is here to stay and with these powerful stats we encourage every small business to get on board as soon as possible.

2015 Back to School Shopping Insights Every Small Business Owner Should Know

By: Colleen Corkery

2015 Back to School Insights

Are you ready for an influx of Facebook and Instagram pics from life’s next big event? The event that affects parents, kids, businesses, and social feeds everywhere? We’re talking about back to school. Just how big is the back to school shopping season? Here’s a pop quiz for kicks:

Back to school generates more revenue than:
A) Father’s Day
B) Mother’s Day
C) Valentine’s Day
D) All of the Above

If you chose D, you get an A+ for being a top-notch business student. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF)’s 2015 survey, back to school/college is expected to collectively result in more than $68 billion in revenue this year. That’s more than Father’s Day ($12.7B), Mother’s Day ($21.2B), or Valentine’s Day ($18.9B) combined, making back to school the second highest revenue generating “holiday” after the winter holidays ($616.1B) – Now that deserves a gold star.

What’s motivating people’s back to school spending habits? The NRF says 40.6% of people are shopping for sales more often, 45% of people decide where to shop based on the coupons they receive, and 26.5% of people plan to redeem coupons using their mobile phones. This is why sending mobile-friendly promotions via email or text message (sms) is key.

As a business owner, jumping on the back to school sales bandwagon today will earn you extra credit. While the traditional season starts after Labor Day, August 24th is the new trending school start date. In fact, some kids on the East Coast are already back in school now!

If you’ve already got your sales, offers, and promotions in the (brown) bag, keep spreading the word. NRF’s survey shows that 42.8% of people will shop three weeks to one month before school, and 30% of people don’t plan to shop for back to school until 1-2 weeks before school starts.

Researchers from Eyeview also found that found 66% of students and 74% of parents believe localized messaging is “the most impactful” part of a promotion. This gives local, small businesses an advantage.

What exactly are people spending their money on? The biggest contenders for households with children K-12 include clothing ($8.59B), electronics ($7.78B), shoes ($4.63B), and typical school supplies ($3.85B). Families with college students are spending more on electronics ($9.93B), clothing ($6.56B), dorm furnishings ($6B, up 31%), food ($5.65B), personal care items ($43.73B), gift cards ($2.28B), and more.

What if your business doesn’t sell traditional back to school items like backpacks, supplies, or clothing? Don’t let that discourage you. Appeal to the emotions and actions of a parent or new college student (others will gladly reap the benefits): Provide deals on anti-stress methods like spa and gym services, or outdoor activities. Own a salon? Everyone needs a new back to school picture or ID – Offer a deal on haircuts or color. Parents or college students may be driving back and forth from school soon – Offer deals on auto tuneups, car washes, etc. Who doesn’t appreciate a deal on lunch/snacks, or a fast meal after work/school when making dinner won’t cut it? The options are endless.

As a small business, the back to school shopping season has potential for placing you on the revenue generating honor roll. With that, here are even more insights to consider when planning or managing your back to school sales and marketing strategies:

Top 10 trends for back-to-school and college 2015