Monday, October 20, 2014
Loyalty schemes are a highly effective driver of sales, but small businesses often assume the set up costs are prohibitively expensive. If you use the right Business Telephone Service provider, they needn't be.
Such false assumptions are understandable when you consider what has traditionally gone into an effective loyalty scheme. First there’s the cost of offering the coupons, discounts, or other freebies essential to enticing consumers. An even bigger hit to the budget is the cost of advertising space on television and radio. Add to that the tens of thousands of pounds charged by ad agencies for creating a compelling campaign and a loyalty scheme could run into six figures. It’s not hard to see why the very notion of a brand loyalty program would seem out of bounds to the small business owner.
Text message marketing has changed all that. Sure, you still have to offer some kind of discount that will cost money in the short term. But the creative and outreach costs are minimal, and not even approaching the same ballpark as traditional, mass media loyalty programs. If you want to develop a low cost loyalty scheme with SMS, there are a few basic steps to take:
Grow Your Database
Building a contact list is both a requirement for and a function of any good mobile marketing campaign. The bigger your list gets, the more effective your campaign is, and the more effective your campaign is, the bigger your list gets. So even if it seems like a tough nut to crack at first, sticking with it will pay off exponentially in time. Begin with in-store ads targeted at existing customers. Ask walk-in custom to sign up for future SMS notifications with the promise of rewards – you’ll be surprised how big your database can get from walk-in traffic alone.
Be Wise With Your Ad Buys
That’s what we advise! Depending on your budget, you have to choose whether to go with a blind or premium network. A blind network is low cost, but gives you little choice in terms of where ads appear. Premium networks allow you to target ads at apps that are related to your brand. More expensive, but undoubtedly more effective.
Create a Compelling User Experience
If your loyalty scheme is going to offer decent returns, it has to generate enough conversions. To achieve a good ROI, the user experience must be stellar from the first ad click. Direct users to a compelling landing page or mobile app. If you don’t have the budget for this, you can offer a survey or quiz – anything that engages the consumer. Discounts for signing up are highly effective, and if you can offer free video content, or an interesting article, all the better. The key here is to provide an incentive for opting in, giving users the chance to sample your wares without investing too much of their time. It has to be a good deal for them. Provide that, and they will stick around for future communications.
Above all, start small. Try a number of different approaches to see what works, then focus your efforts on the most rewarding strategy. SMS messaging has the potential to work wonders for consumer loyalty, so don’t be afraid to dip your toe in the waters.