This blog article featured by TextEdge touches on the important elements of a mobile coupon, including a call-to-action, incentive, loyalty and the match.
1). A CALL-TO-ACTION
For those that watched the video in an earlier blog, hopefully you caught the definition of a mobile coupon from Juniper Research Senior Analyst, David Snow.
The first important element of a mobile coupon, is simply a call to action (from a customer’s perspective).
Businesses are working to connect to their customers with Facebook postings, Twitter and for some text blasting. And if you posted, tweeted and blasted for your customers to come in between 5-9pm Thursday night for a super special. You would be correct in assuming that is a call to action, but if you sent it out on Monday and you think I’ll remember that by Thursday. You need to think again.
Facebook post – “Come to Bill’s Restaurant and Fun Shop tonight for the dinner special.” I like it, it’s a call to action. But wait, did I “Like” your page so that I’ll receive updates from you? And if I “Like” you and receive your feeds on my wall, when did you post it? If I’m not looking at my Facebook until later this evening, will other posts bury it by the time I log in to check? That’s right, logging in to Facebook every 5 minutes to make sure I stay up-to-date on your posts is not something I’m willing to invest my time and energy in. But if your post comes in at precisely the time that I’m checking my Facebook, I’ll love that deal and come on down!
The Tweeter – Excellent, you’ve tweeted about some really awesome seasonal clearance items, you’ve mentioned that you have limited quantity and I should get to your store to get in on the bargain. Another great call to action. But if I’m not following you on twitter, will I know? Nope. If I am following you on Twitter, with 1,000+ other folks and I don’t look at the message until 2 hours after you posted it, do I think that those items have already been picked through? You told all your followers about it, so it all must be gone now. If I were an optimist, and most of the time I am, I would run down there as soon as I could. What would I find and would I have wasted my time, gas and money for nothing?
Text Blasts and Email Blasts – Yes, instead of taking them on one at a time, I’m doing both. It’s a blast. (accentuate the period) I do like you, and you know it because I gave you my contact information. So you reach out to me and thousands of others like me, to tell us to come on in. That’s a call to action, maybe once a week or twice a month, because if you do it more than that you have now started spamming me and everyone else and we don’t like that. So I’ll come in when I have the time and money to do so. Maybe the next time I’m in the area, we’ll see.
My perfect call to action might be a text or email from you letting me know that for the next 3 hours you have discounted my favorite soaps. I don’t have to find you, follow you or search you out, you come to me when I can get to you.
So, now you know that your mobile coupon needs to have a call to action. So we can move on to Part 2 – the incentive.
Incentives can be anything from discounts, freebies and/or limited specials. You have to use these incentives to engage with me and bring me in. In today’s economy me and everyone else is trying to find discounts or specials more than ever before. Why? Because the price of a gallon of milk is almost the same price as a gallon of gas. And because of this, motivating me to part with my money is getting harder and harder.
If you want to engage with me and others like me, you have to make your incentives relevant. Does sending out one text blast message a week telling me the happy hour specials engage me? Maybe, if I’ve had a long day at work or if I remember you sent it. But, do this too many times and I will no longer engage in the mobile coupon conversation. I need to know that when I’m receiving a mobile coupon from you it is geared towards me and what I want. I need an incentive that makes me want to get off the couch. A blanket message that you send out to everyone on Facebook, Twitter, text or email doesn’t engage me, it just tells me you need business.
If you send me a relevant incentive and combine it with a call to action, you will get me and others to move.
My perfect combination would be a short-term deal, from a business I like, on my terms. I want to be able to tell you when to reach out to me. There’s nothing worse than getting a great incentive with a clear call to action at the wrong time.
Seriously, if some researcher in England said you have the ability to increase customer loyalty, would you do it? Do you believe in customer loyalty? Let me ask that a different way…do you have or are you planning to roll-out, a customer loyalty program? If you answered yes to this question…then we have something to talk about.
Loyalty is built on trust, good experiences and a feelings of importance, and not the stuffy importance, more of the – you know my name importance. So how do you build loyalty these days with customers searching for the next great discount? I was asked this question by a friend of mine who owns her own business. To me, this is a trick question. You see I don’t believe loyalty is built on discounts alone…I believe loyalty is built on trust, experience and a feeling of importance. When you “appreciate” me for being your customer and give me a discount on an item now and again, I’m thankful for that, but even more than that, did I receive great service from you?
If you first get me in the door with a discount, great! Even better, send me occasional discounts through your loyalty program. Then continue providing excellent service – including, knowing my name and build that relationship. That’s when you know, loyalty is not only possible but something you can grow, just like the guy from England says.
All of these sound like great things. I want all of them to happen, however I still see a gap. A place that I as the consumer may fall through the cracks. It’s been alluded to in all the earlier posts: what if I don’t see the Facebook post, what if I forgot about the tweet and what if I didn’t read the text message soon enough?
I have a busy life just like everyone else. I want the great call to action, so I know what I need to do and when and I want an incentive that shakes me up a little bit. Now what if I could get the call to action and the incentive only when I wanted it, on my terms. I want to get a deal that is about me and for me. Not a deal that has been broadcasted to thousands of other people – we don’t all like the same things or have the same schedules. What works for one person that likes you doesn’t work for all of us that do.
What would be great for me is the ability to have one place where I could choose businesses I like, choose the times and days I want to hear from them and on top of that how I want to hear from them. What would be even better, because I’m a busy person, is if I could change this as my life changes. I have the week off so I have much more free time to enjoy my local area. What if I could tell all these businesses that I’m available and if given an incentive from them, I would be happy to pay them a visit?
This is where the match comes in. I want you to match your incentives to me, my availability, my location and my likes.
All of this together in one package is great customer service. That great customer service and knowing my name will get me and others back in the door!
What does the future hold for digital couponing? This article takes a look at the growth of coupons in the past decade, touching on daily deal sites, mobile couponing and social sharing.
Couponing had seen unprecedented growth in the past decade due to a combination of factors — one of which was the economic recession in the U.S., combined with an increased consumer interest in mobile technology and devices.
Because of this, marketers began to heavily fund digital platforms. The coupon industry, specifically, saw record growth within the digital realm, and by 2010, SavingStar estimated that “49 million people used printable or digital coupons.”
The benefits digital interactions offer coupon companies are vast. For starters, online couponing allows for great promotion and wider distribution for brands. It also provides companies with better reach and the ability to track consumer preferences and patterns. Data from Leo J. Shapiro and Associates determined that the digital coupon consumer base was primarily comprised of young married couples with disposable income. Groupon has targeted this demographic, lending digital couponing a social reputation.
Daily deal couponing continues to be a popular tool among consumers and marketers, and many major companies have implemented their own version of the trend.
What Business Owners Need to Know About Daily Deal Couponing
Although intriguing for consumers, daily deal platforms like Groupon have not always been beneficial for business owners, who often see a spike in business but little customer retention.
A Rice University study found that 66% of the 150 businesses surveyed reported that Groupon promotions were profitable. However, more than 40% of the organizations said that they wouldn’t run a Groupon offer again.
Daily deal platforms have revealed the social nature of contemporary couponing. For example, Cornell University reported that many Groupon users see themselves as “marketing mavens,” and “on the front edge of market trends and price information.”
Additionally, users claimed in the survey that they would not have tried a restaurant or store without a coupon offer. Contemporary couponing has highly influenced social branding, greatly increasing the popularity of daily deals.
1. Social Leads to Social Sharing
The social, daily deal strategies made popular by sites such as Groupon and Living Social have certainly spawned many copycat initiatives within the digital couponing realm.
One such example is SocialTwist, a platform that states it “allows users to share in order to receive a better bargain.” Basically, consumers can turn a $1 coupon into a $4 coupon simply by sharing it with four other people.
This method will likely continue to increase in popularity in 2012 — we already saw evidence late November 2011, when Foursquare announced it would incorporate a new “social sharing” button on its site.
2. Getting Mobile-Ready
Given these newer strategies, companies are mobilizing their virtual and physical platforms to better reach and retain these social, mobile customers. Most companies are aware that their mobile presences have to be dynamic and user friendly. With roughly 91% of the population using mobile devices and 26.3% accessing the Internet, it is important to have a mobile site for on-the-go reading and utilization.
Additionally Google reported that 95% of smartphone users have searched for local information, proving that location-based, deal searching is vital to digital couponing.
The same study found 38% would use a mobile device to find a store location, 34% to compare prices, 28% to research deals and coupons, and 27% to find a product review.
3. Resolving Mobile Couponing’s Redemption Pitfalls
Mobile couponing, an obvious extension and result of digital distribution, has been popular despite its “mechanical” issues. With the rise of digital coupons, there was also a surge in consumers who used their mobile devices to reference coupons visually on their smartphones. Unprepared for this development, the redemption process, such as the scanning of digital coupons on mobile devices, has proven difficult until recently.
“Mobile coupon redemption has always struggled with ensuring a seamless experience at the point of sale,” says reporter Steve Smith. So, business giants like Walgreens are “retraining salespeople to handle the process and equipping stores with hardware that can recognize 2D codes on LCD displays.” This nationwide initiative was just launched and underwent testing during the 2011 holiday season.
Walgreens released an app for iOS, BlackBerry and Android, which includes a new coupons section that issues up two to three new exclusive weekly deals for customers using the mobile apps.
Rich Lesperance, head of digital marketing and merging media for Walgreens, told Media Post that “the program is the largest deployment of in-store mobile coupon scanning of which he is aware.”
Looking Ahead to the SoLoMo Strategy
In short, the “social-local-mobile” trend is the next cutting edge move for digital businesses, and a necessary consideration for coupon brands. SoLoMo gets specific when it comes to targeting your ideal market and allows your ideal consumer to find you. The combination is a win for both parties, as well as the logical next step for consumer activity based on current digital engagement.