Today marketers can effectively reach customers more than ever using mobile apps, social networks, text marketing, email and more. But with so many options, forming and executing the right mobile strategy is often easier said than done.
At Koupon Media we believe that mobile offers are the best way for a retailer or brand to engage customers on a mobile device. Don’t take our word for it — recent studies by Responsys and Toluna proved it, both finding that offers are the top reason a customer downloads a retailer or brand’s mobile app.
After years of working with top retailers and brands to deliver more than 250 million offers, we’ve developed the Koupon Offer Framework, a set of guidelines that help retailers successfully launch an offers program. We’ve organized the framework into 5 key areas — Reach, Recurrence, Quantity, Value, and Duration. In this article, we explore each of these areas to show how to get the most out of mobile offers.
While each area of the Offer Program Framework is important, Reach is probably the most crucial to success. There’s an old saying — if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Offers are the same way. If customers don’t know about them, they may as well not exist. We’ve proven that well-executed mobile offers can increase store traffic and boost product sales, but these benefits can’t be realized unless customers discover and engage with your offers.
That’s why its important to have a plan for how customers are going to find your offers. Before we go any further, let’s talk about the difference Distribution Channels and the Core Offer Experience. We define a channel as the place where a customer initially sees, receives, or interacts with an offer. Koupon recommends five distribution types — mobile app, web, SMS, email, and social. Each Channel takes a user to a Core Offer Experience in either a mobile app or mobile website.
See the diagram below — the four channel types to the right link a user to an offer experience in the web. The channel to the left, the app channel, takes the customer to an offer experience within the mobile app. You can learn more about the Core Offer Experience here.
We strongly recommend leveraging as many Channels as possible. Here are some ideas.Mobile App
Our clients see the most engagement from mobile app users, so we recommend that retailers have them. 80% of customers who visit an app powered by Koupon view offers, so we recommend making your offers the central focus of the app.
If you’re interested in exploring mobile app options, get in touch with our team. The Koupon SDK makes it easy to integrate mobile offers in any Android or iOS App and Koupon provides white label apps that can help retailers get started quickly.SMS
There are two ways to reach customers via SMS text — blast and text-in.Text Blasts
Text Blasts are periodic text messages sent to a large group of customers that promote one or many offers. The texts include a short link that directs a customer to an offer experience in their mobile web browser. Blasts require the retailer to have an existing list of phone numbers.
We recommend sending text blasts 2 or more times per month and to feature an offer in the text. Links in texts shouldn’t be limited to just one offer — we recommended linking your users to all of the currently active offers. We’ll talk more about that in the Quantity section.
Unlike Text Blasts, Text-In offers are initiated by the customer. You’ve probably seen text-in programs in other retailers. Our clients have found that Text-In offers are an effective way to engage customers. The good news is if you structure text experiences properly, you can use text-in offers to register customers for Text Blasts, providing an opportunity to re-engage them in the future.
We recommend promoting your offers on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Similar to SMS Text, it probably makes sense to draw customers in using your best offer as an example and then link them to all of the current active offers. Social posts have a short shelf life, so post often. We recommend posting each time you add new offers.
For fraud prevention and customer identification purposes, many retailers require customers to text themselves the offer after navigating to the Core Offer Experience from a social network.
Showcasing your offers on your website is a no-brainer. We recommend establishing an evergreen offer page on your site that allows customers to access the current offers. Similar to offers distributed to social networks, you’ll probably want customers to text themselves these offers particularly if they’re viewing offers on a desktop PC or Mac.
Koupon’s Offer Viewer tool is a great solution for this. Offer Viewer is a mobile responsive offer experience powered by Koupon on behalf of our retail customers. Using Offer Viewer, retailers can allow their customers to text or email themselves offers, or if needed it also supports the ability to print offers at home. We recommend focusing mainly on text, as it’s the easiest and most secure way to deliver offers to a customer.
Learn more about the Offer Viewer here. If you want something more customized, the Koupon API can always be used.
Marketing emails are a fantastic opportunity for driving traffic to offers in the web. We recommend including a advertisement or link in every marketing email that directs customers to the a web channel powered by Offer Viewer or the API. From there customers can text themselves offers or sign up for Weekly Offer text blasts.
Customers are creatures of habit, so we recommend adding new offers each week at the same time. In our experience, they will learn to expect the offer schedule and return frequently to see which offers are available. To keep customers engaged it’s best to add 2-3 new offers each week. Koupon has found the concept of “Weekly Offers” to be very effective way to brand and message the program. Retailers should provide a Weekly Offer destination, accessible across multiple channels, where its active offers can be viewed at any time.
Keep in mind, establishing Recurrence requires upfront planning and an official schedule for offers. Marketers should always plan the offer assortment weeks if not months in advance.
The worst case scenario is reaching a customer and then not having enough offers to show them. Be sure you maintain a proper number of active offers at a given time. Displaying multiple offers makes customers feel like they have choices and allows the retailer to feature products or promotions that might otherwise be missed.
We’ve found the magic number of active offers at a given time to be 3 — 5. Of course a retailer can also have too many active offers at a given time, causing confusion and frustration for customers. As a rule of thumb, a retailer shouldn’t show more than 10 offers particularly on a mobile device.
In order to maintain a steady number of available offers it’s important to plan ahead and form a schedule for offers well in advance of them being active. You will need to balance the number of offers with other elements such as value, duration and reach.
Offers should be worth something. Your customers know when they’re getting a good deal. Be sure to strike a balance between providing value to customers and meeting business objectives. In our research we’ve found that store-wide offers are the best performing offers, although most retailers aren’t in a position to give a fixed discount across the entire basket. If you’re discounting specific products — free giveaways or $ off have performed the best in our studies.
Results from Koupon Media’s recent Mobile Offers & C-Stores report. Offers were scored using the Koupon Offer Score, an algorithm that measures the performance of each offer campaign. To learn more, download the report here.
Marketers often ask us about how long to run an offer or campaign, something we refer to as Offer Duration. The duration of an offer can vary by time of year and the value of an offer. For example, an offer for a free product may only last a few days whereas a discount on a new product might be a multi-month campaign.
In general we find that campaigns lasting 1 — 2 weeks are the most successful. In a recent study we found there is much to gain by scheduling a campaign to last at least 5 days but that after about 10 days, the incremental number of new viewers begins to stagnate. In terms of engagement the Barcode Presented rate, or the percentage of viewers that click through to an offer’s barcode steadily declined with longer offers.
Scheduling offers to last 1 – 2 weeks also makes it easy to follow recommendations in the Recurrence and Quantity portions of the framework.