Increasing customer engagement is a huge part of creating loyal customers. It's well documented that it's much cheaper to keep the customers you have, and the only way you are going to do that is by creating a following of engaged customers.
How are you spending your marketing dollars to acquire new customers? Content marketing? PPC? SEO? There is no shortage of ways to acquire new customers.
But, what are you doing to engage those new customers once they start doing business with you?
Many of you will say "very little" or "nothing". You can spend as much money as you want to acquire new customers, but if you neglect to engage those customers once they start doing business with you then you are leaving money on the table.
How can you engage your existing customers? Use a mobile app.
A mobile app is not a great tool for every small business. Check out one of our past articles for a more in-depth look to help you determine if an app is right for your business: The Only Reason Your Small Business Shouldn't Create a Mobile App.
However, if an app is a good fit for your small business you will find it to be a fantastic tool for creating customer loyalty, customer engagement, and customer retention. Should you decide to create an app for your business, the first step to take is to make sure you work with a qualified mobile app provider.
A qualified app provider will be able to guide you through the app creation process, help you market your app and offer the ongoing support you need to ensure your app is successful.
Keep these 5 tips in mind as you go through the process. They will help ensure your app becomes the customer engagement tool you need and want it to be.
You MUST have current, up to date, dynamic and changing content in your app. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see small businesses make with their mobile apps and it's the quickest way to kill engagement with your app.
What kind of message are you communicating if a customer opens your app and finds old events and information inconsistent with your other communication channels? Whether you are intending to or not, you are telling your customer that your app is not all that important and they won't get valuable information by using it.
On the flip side, if they see the latest news, events, and promotions that offer value to them and show you care about them then they will continue using the app regularly.
This is an easy tip you must accomplish for your app to be successful...it simply requires a little discipline.
Push messaging is one of the huge benefits of having a mobile app for your small business.
If you are not familiar with push messaging take a few minutes to learn how valuable it can be - Push Messages 101: Everything You Need to Know About Using Push Messages to Grow Your Small Business.
Effective marketing always focuses on what's in it for the customer. How can you help them? How can you add value to them?
Push messaging gives you another communication channel outside of email marketing, social media and your website to quickly communicate valuable information to your clients.
Push messages have very high open rates and most push messaging platforms will allow you to segment your customers to ensure your messaging is relevant.
Sending valuable, relevant push messages to customers will be game-changing for your business and engage them in a new way.
Our society has become incredibly impatient. It is so easy to access the information we want quickly and easily that we've come to expect it...when this doesn't happen, most of us move onto something else.
This is why your app must operate efficiently and quickly. I don't think people expect your app to be perfect, but they do expect to be able to access the information they want in a timely manner.
Test your app frequently to make sure any bugs get fixed and that it is not operating slowly. Having an app people can depend on for the information they need when and where they want it will go a long way in engaging your customers over the long haul.
It's significantly more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer. Existing customers also spend more money than new ones. If you don't have a loyalty program for your business, you are missing out on additional revenue.
Did you know fifty-seven percent of consumers want to engage with their loyalty programs via mobile devices? Why not incorporate your loyalty program right into your mobile app?
Having your loyalty program in your mobile app adds an engaging feature to your app that will keep customers coming back for more. Starbuck's mobile app featuring ordering, mobile payments and loyalty was a huge success. Check out this ARTICLE for a more in depth look at their success and some of the takeaways you can apply to your business.
If you want customers to keep coming back to your mobile app, again and again, you need to have a compelling reason for them to return. Spoil your app customers with your best promotions and offer app only incentives to drive engagement in your app.
For example, there is a mexican grille I frequent and I have their app on my phone. I get information about upcoming events and deals that may be of interest to me. Once every couple weeks I also get notifications about "double loyalty point" days to boost my rewards. There are definitely times I will go there instead of another restaurant because of the benefits they offer me.
By incorporating these 5 tips into your mobile app strategy you will be head and shoulders above your competition and well on your way to ensuring your mobile app will become a strong tool for driving customer loyalty and customer engagement in your business.
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Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Mobile Marketing. At Rialto Mobile Marketing we help take the guesswork out of marketing for small businesses and make it simple. We're the bridge between where you are and where you want to be.