Building Loyalty with Mobile Marketing

How to stand out from the competition and drive app retention

Loyalty is a constant focus for businesses. Now, in the age of mobile, customer loyalty is more important than ever. Optimising push notifications, in-app messaging, targeting, automation and AB testing all lead to increasing retention rates.

There are plenty of definitions of customer loyalty. They all point back to the same thing. Retention is when businesses use meaningful conversations to convert customers time and again. It is the backbone of successful apps.

Tackling Soaring Acquisition Costs

We’ve all heard the phrase: it’s more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. This rings especially true on mobile where acquisition costs can spiral up to €180 per player. This is the reason why loyalty schemes are so popular. Businesses see the value of retaining customers, whether it’s your local supermarket loyalty card or the coffee shop that gives you a free coffee after six purchases. Businesses are aware of the power of loyalty. Mobile businesses are no different.

With the advent and proliferation of mobile, savvy brands are choosing new techniques to retain mobile customers. Competition is fierce across every type of business with an app. But, where customer loyalty poses a huge challenge, getting it right is a huge opportunity.

The range and availability of mobile apps means operators need to go above-and-beyond to impress customers. Loyalty tactics need to be personalised and delivered on an individual basis. A broad loyalty programme is a blast-and-go response.

Individualisation At Scale

We are in the age of individualisation. Here are some of the ways you can stand out from the competition on mobile and drive app retention. Apps that use push notifications and in-app typically see far higher retention rates than those that do not. Here are some of the best ways to engage app users and encourage customer loyalty.

  • Getting first time experiences right
    If there’s a faster way to turn people off your app than a dodgy first-time experience, we’d love to hear it. A first app use after install is a critical moment. Your app must showcase its value or your users will go straight back to the App or Play Store for an alternative. Simplicity, intuitive design, and straightforward registration process, (if applicable) should be the focus here. Succinct onboarding flow helps to set expectations for what people can expect from your app.
  • Helpful notifications retain app users
    Push notifications and in-app are key to conversion and retaining customers on mobile. Sending informative or useful messages based on the user’s event or locale will encourage them back again and again. Healthcare apps cover this with useful reminders for medication or exercise prompts. Your prescription is due, call to Fun Local Pharmacy to pick it up!
  • Use location services to delight users
    Geofencing is something retail businesses and sports stadia do well. Customers love to feel that something is designed for them. A ping on arrival at a shop or sports stadium is a real-time marketing context done right. When customers are out shopping they often have one eye on their smartphone. It looks like you’re near Superstore. Pop in now to claim 20% off your purchase. Use the moment to get their attention with a sale or discount offer. The offer is an engaging mobile moment that will have them returning to your app regularly.
  • Reward active, loyal users with discounts and offers
    Use this leftover from traditional supermarket loyalty schemes to give your customers special offers or coupons. If your app has a wallet give some free credits. We’re glad you’re enjoying the app, have 10 free spins in your next session!
  • Take an individual approach
    Apps that converse with customers based on their behaviours enjoy higher engagement and retention rates. The Quartz News app is a great example of this. It takes the format of a text conversation with a bot that sends you topics. It’s an actual conversation between the app and its customers.
  • Use in-app for feedback
    Direct your customers to air their issues in your app. Positive reviews can be directed by a deep link to the App Store. While negative ones can be completed quickly for a better customer interaction. Users will appreciate a response and be happy that their issue is being dealt with.
  • App convenience drives loyalty
    Coffee giant Starbucks is getting it right with their mobile loyalty programme. It includes mobile payment integration, free birthday drinks that drive app user sentiment and ‘Stars’. These are earned as the customer purchases. The ‘Stars’ then translate into rewards like free whipped cream or selected syrups.
  • Keep it fun! 
    There is such a strong level of data available, you could in theory AB test all sorts of things: emojis, content, delivery style, deep links. This makes it more interesting for your CRM teams and for the customers. For example, we love the way Quartz is approaching app loyalty in its news app.

For all push or in-app notifications, keep them specific. The key to getting this right is to target the right users with the right context at the right time. Consider time zones, deep-linking, message content and session restrictions.

There isn’t a magic recipe book for ensuring customer loyalty 100%. Businesses need to analyse what works best for their app to sustain customer loyalty.

If you’ve read this and you’re curious about innovative mobile marketing solutions, go ahead and check out the Anyline OCR for Digital & Interactive Mobile Marketing.

This article was originally published on as a guest post by Cait Power from .
Cáit Power is Mobile CRM Team Lead for Element Wave, we make incredible technology that powers mobile marketing automation. Cáit’s background is in mobile marketing, journalism, and travel.

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