Are Coupons the Key to Mobile Marketing?

Mobile commerce has exploded in recent years—and mobile coupons are responsible for much of this growth. In fact, mobile coupons are redeemed 10 times more than print coupons and the number of mobile coupon users is expected to reach 53.2 million by 2014. Combine that with the increase in mobile usage by consumers on the go, and it’s clear that mobile coupons are the perfect solution for growing your small business and attracting customers on the hunt for discounts through their mobile devices.

Mobile commerce has exploded in recent years—and mobile coupons are responsible for much of this growth. In fact, mobile coupons are redeemed 10 times more than print coupons and the number of mobile coupon users is expected to reach 53.2 million by 2014. Combine that with the increase in mobile usage by consumers on the go, and it’s clear that mobile coupons are the perfect solution for growing your small business and attracting customers on the hunt for discounts through their mobile devices.

The Mobile Marketing Opportunity Is Real
eMarketer estimates that nearly 20 million US adults will redeem a mobile coupon this year, including coupons or codes received via SMS, applications and mobile web browsers; quick response codes for redemption online or offline; and group buying coupons purchased via mobile. More than 70 percent of US adult digital coupon users will redeem a coupon or code on a mobile device for online or offline shopping in 2014.

The mobile coupon audience will post double-digit growth rates annually through 2016, driven by continued smartphone and tablet adoption and the proliferation of digital channels offering coupons easily accessed by mobile, such as mobile apps, daily deal and group buying sites, email, and social networks. eMarketer expects that by 2016, mobile coupon users will represent nearly 83 percent of all digital coupon users. This is huge!

The Revenue Opportunity
There are a number of different ways to engage consumers and drive revenue opportunities, including:

  • Coupons: Mobile coupon redemptions in the U.S. will exceed 53 million this year. The mobile coupon audience will post double-digit growth rates annually through 2016, driven by continued smartphone and tablet adoption. (Source: Business Insider 2014)
  • Geo-Targeting: Geo-targeting has boosted the success of SMS-delivered coupons, with retailers seeing high redemption rates from coupons sent to consumers close to their stores.
  • Loyalty Programs: Consumers expect to be rewarded for brand loyalty, particularly millennials. A 2014 poll by Bond Brand Loyalty indicates that 6 in 10 millennial respondents would switch from brands they buy and two-thirds would change when and where they shop, if it meant getting a better loyalty program.

Don’t Forget the Tablet
Year after year, tablets are becoming an increasingly important part of a brands mobile strategy. According to eMarketer, in 2014, 80.2 percent of mobile coupon users will use a tablet for redemption, compared with 75.4 percent who will do so on a smartphone. Tablets are frequently used for in-home digital purchases, which boost tablet coupon redemption.

Coupons, geo-targeting, and loyalty programs can be offered, tracked, and monetized with a mobile engagement platform. Additional revenue opportunities include banner ads, mobile video, rich media and SMS campaigns. But keep in mind that more friction points in the redemption process will greatly reduce the use of mobile based offers. So keep it simple for consumers to redeem your offers.

The data from Black Friday on-line shopping as well as coupon redemption data from Cyber Monday should tell an interesting story for retailers who have made a strong commitment to mobile couponing to drive commerce and increase total purchases by incentivizing their consumers.

Email Marketing to Acquire High Quality Facebook Fans

How much are Facebook fans worth? The answer depends on the quality of the relationship between fan and brand. There is a low entry threshold to become a fan—all it takes is a click or two. When Facebook is the only connection, financial support is unlikely. The best and most valuable Facebook fans are the ones who actively support your business or organization across channels. They are the ones that will respond to promotions and share real experiences with their friends.

How much are Facebook fans worth? The answer depends on the quality of the relationship between fan and brand. There is a low entry threshold to become a fan—all it takes is a click or two. When Facebook is the only connection, financial support is unlikely. The best and most valuable Facebook fans are the ones who actively support your business or organization across channels. They are the ones that will respond to promotions and share real experiences with their friends.

Encouraging people who subscribe to your emails to join your social networks is a best practice because it significantly improves the quality of your fan base. The process is more challenging than it used to be because Facebook eliminated the option for custom landing pages. It can still be done, but there are a few issues with the experience. The email from Belk Department Stores (the first picture in the media player at right) provides a good example.

There are several components that make this a good email for motivating people to cross channels. They are the same items that make all emails more successful at generating a response.

  • The email includes a specific call to action with a reward for connecting via Facebook.
  • There are multiple opportunities to click and connect via Facebook and other channels.
  • The primary promotion is the focus while secondary options are available.
  • The offer is time sensitive.
  • There are clickable links for shopping categories.
  • A web link is available if the email images aren’t available.
  • Unsubscribe, preferences, and privacy links offer control to the recipient.
  • Alternate text for images to encourage people to download images or visit webpage

Three days after sending this email, 16,708 new fans have joined Belk’s network and 34,465 coupons were claimed. How could this be if “liking” the brand is required to claim the coupon? Remember the issues mentioned earlier?

The ability to gate the coupon disappeared when Facebook eliminated custom landing pages. It is technically impossible to require someone to like the page before receiving the coupon. This means that the coupon is available to anyone who visits the page and explains why more coupons were claimed than fans acquired.

If an email increases fans and sales, it is successful even when the two aren’t codependent. The loss of the custom landing page requires good communication on how to access the coupon. Clicking the link in the email takes the recipient to Belk’s Facebook timeline. Scrolling down is required to see the offer. Obviously people are finding it because thousands have claimed the coupon. The unanswered question is how many more would have been claimed if the offer were more obvious?

What if the Belk Rewards tab was temporarily replaced with a 20 percent off offer so it appeared above the fold?

The functionality of the Belk coupon promotion is provided by Facebook. When someone clicks “Get Offer” an email is sent with the offer code. Whether you choose to use Facebook’s advertising products or do it yourself, here are some tips for making it successful:

  • Follow the best practices used in the example email.
  • Tell people how to claim to coupon in the email.
  • Put information about the promotion above the fold so people see it when they land on the page.
  • Include the expiration date on the Facebook post to increase the sense of urgency.
  • Test different strategies and measure everything.

Measuring the results for fan acquisition is a challenge because there is limited data available. Email metrics are much easier to acquire. If you have good benchmarks you can gather enough information to gain insight to the results from fans and Facebook activity.

There is a tendency in social media to acquire quantity over quality. When the focus is the number of fans instead of the relationship, the return is minimal. The best strategy is to encourage top customers to cross channels and join your networks. They will share your information with friends and family. This introduces your company to the people most likely to support your business.

Search Marketing Reaches for New Heights

It’s no secret the economy is forcing online retailers to change the tactics they use to acquire and retain customers. But this doesn’t mean they’re cutting back across the board. While they’re cutting spend in some areas, they’re spending more in other areas that bring positive ROI.

It’s no secret the economy is forcing online retailers to change the tactics they use to acquire and retain customers. But this doesn’t mean they’re cutting back across the board. While they’re cutting spend in some areas, they’re spending more in other areas that bring positive ROI.

This may be why more than 80 percent of the 24 percent of retailers, who indicated in a recent Forrester Research survey conducted for Shop.org that they’ll spend more than originally planned this year, said they planned to increase their search spend.

The results of the survey of 117 online retailers were compiled in Shop.org’s study, The State of Retailing Online 2009.

The study reminded me of a case study I heard about recently involving Cabela’s, the direct marketer and specialty retailer of outdoor sporting goods. The company used a paid search campaign designed to push traffic into retail stores during a Memorial Day sales event last year.

Cabela’s maintains a strong online and catalog presence in addition to a growing number of retail stores across the U.S. “To increase traffic at these brick-and-mortar locations,” says Derek Fortna, Internet marketing manager at Cabela’s, “we decided to promote our offline stores online.”

For the campaign, Cabela’s partner, Performics, built paid search campaigns for each store, focusing on keywords for Cabela’s brand, the Memorial Day event and the combination of both, such as “Cabela’s Holiday Event.”

Geotargeted strategies were used. The company developed ad copy offering in-store coupons. These appeared on search pages of people who were in a 200-mile radius during the holiday event, and could only be redeemed at those locations. Landing pages were also developed to guide consumers through the coupon retrieval process.

The results? Ten percent of all consumers who clicked on the ad retrieved coupons, and 40 percent of the coupons were redeemed at retail locations.

This is one of the best success stories I’ve heard involving geotargeting, retailing and online search, and certainly one worth going to school on.