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Customer Loyalty With a Mobile Twist
By: Lauren Hobson

Customer Loyalty programs have been around for many years, but recently it seems they have been experiencing a bit of a resurgence. Popular programs such as the Staples Reward Program and those CVS “Extra Bucks” give members extra benefits just for doing their everyday shopping. But if you’re looking for an innovative, fresh marketing strategy for your business, you can make things simple for customers and less costly for you by implementing a customer loyalty program with a twist – a Text Message Loyalty Program!

Popular customer loyalty programs often feature frequent shopper cards or programs that reward advance purchases, repeat visits, or include free merchandise or special bonuses. Rewards are typically offered to members via snail-mail, email campaigns, or placed in traditional print advertisements or in-store coupons. However, using text messages to broadcast these offers has several unique advantages, such as:

1. It’s immediate – you can send out a text message, and recipients typically read it within 15 minutes

2. It’s convenient – people are already dependent on their cell phones, and usually have their phones with them and turned on

3. There’s no need for users to remember to bring along their coupons or loyalty cards

4. It’s paperless and can be less expensive than using email or snail-mail delivery methods

5. Almost all U.S. cell phones and plans can accept text messages, and text message usage has moved into the mainstream for most users (it’s not just for teenagers anymore!)

A Text Message Loyalty Program also requires permission from your customers to send text messages to their cell phones, so be sure your customers “opt-in” to the program. Ask them if they would like to join your Bonus VIP Club (or whatever loyalty program you come up with). Explain to them that by providing their cell phone number, they will receive occasional offers or coupons delivered right to their phone. Then, follow up with a text coupon offering them a great deal on something.

For instance, right before a customer’s birthday, you could send a text message that offers him or her 20% off any purchase on that day, or offer a free “birthday bonus” item to go along with their purchase.

You could also use text messages to remind customers of an upcoming event (“Don’t forget that tomorrow is our Holiday Open House from 5-7 pm”), or that time is running out on a limited-time offer (“Reserve your seat for our upcoming seminar before Nov. 15 – seating is limited”).

If your business could benefit from an immediate response, text messaging can give you an instant promotion channel that leads directly to your customers. One example I read about recently involved an ice cream shop that was empty of customers one rainy afternoon. As an experiment, they sent out a text message to their VIP Club offering $1 off any purchase for the rest of the afternoon. Apparently, the text message resulted in 45 customers showing up within the first hour of sending out the message!

Getting Started

Before you jump in and start a Text Message Loyalty Program for your small business, there are a few things you can do to help ensure the program is successful and runs smoothly. Here are some tips:

- Invite your customers to join your Text Message Loyalty Program by direct mail (by sending an invitation or a postcard), or through an email marketing campaign sent directly to their inbox. Also mention the new program in your newsletter, advertisements, and other marketing efforts as well.

- Regularly monitor program results by tracking the number of sales from registered program members, and by measuring campaign responses.

- Remember to offer the program to your new customers, and also periodically remind non-participating customers about the benefits of the program as well.

- Plan ahead – have several “ready made” text message offers available, and set the target dates for sending the offers to program members (once a month, once a quarter, etc.).

- Create loyalty rewards that match the products and services that are most popular with your customers.

A Text Message Loyalty Program is an innovative marketing technique that not only captures the attention of your customers, but also rewards them for doing business with you. It’s a new twist on the tried-and-true marketing tactic of customer loyalty programs, with many new possibilities for you to be creative and relevant in communicating with your customers. Customer loyalty programs have been around for such a long time for a reason, and that’s because they work really well. So take advantage of the technology, try something new, and watch the results as you reward your loyal customers – with a mobile twist.

Article Source: Articles Engine

Lauren Hobson, President of Five Sparrows, has more than 15 years of experience in small business technology writing, marketing, and web site design and development. Five Sparrows provides high-quality, professional website and marketing services to small businesses and non-profits at affordable prices. Please visit