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Loyalty Programmes – Apps vs SMS Messaging

First thing to point out is this. If you don’t make it really easy and quick for a customer to sign up to your loyalty program, they won’t. It’s as simple as that. And if they don’t sign up, there’s no loyalty program.

Apps are often considered an easy solution for loyalty programs, but they may not be as straight forward as you think and they aren’t the right option for every business.

So what are the pros and cons and how do apps compare with SMS text message marketing?

Loyalty apps are in the main used by restaurants, retailers and the leisure industry. If your business doesn’t fall into one of these categories (it possibly does) you may question if a loyalty app is the right choice for you.

Here are some statistics that may convince you otherwise:

  • One out of five apps is used only once. Many apps are deleted from a user’s phone after little use.
  • Customers are wary of downloading yet another app onto their smartphone due to app fatigue.
  • Branded loyalty apps are expensive to implement. A branded app can cost £10K or more to develop.
  • Non-branded or general loyalty apps come with a learning curve for you and your customers.

How Do Loyalty Apps Work?

First and foremost, you need the co-operation and willingness of the customer to go to your website or an app store and download it. Easier said than done. To use your app, a customer has to open it, enter some information or provide a number or code when ordering. So having made your investment, there’s a leap of faith in hoping the app will get enough subscribers and that it will be used frequently by your customers.

Loyalty apps send promotions through push notifications, not SMS text messages. Promotions are usually triggered by a customer’s activity or by achieving a reward level within the app. As a result, customers must have your loyalty app installed and use it often before they’ll see any messages for your brand. They must also have notifications switched on for this to happen too. There’s a lot hinged on good will and collaboration before any marketer can actually reach the customer.

Apps Need Customer Support and Staff Training

General apps can add more work for your staff and gaining new users is a challenge, especially if your customers don’t often visit your actual location. Take up will require dedicated resources as well, because your app is yet another program with hardware or software that must be learnt and understood. So that means you may have to offer technical support if your customers run into problems.

On the upside, apps can provide detailed sales reports, such as what customers are ordering and when they last visited you. However, your need to attract enough users for this data to be of use.

Text Message Marketing – Obstacle Free

One of the main benefits of using text message marketing is that every mobile phone, new or old has text messaging built in as a core feature. This means there’s no additional hardware or software for you or your customers to learn and become familiar with. Also, texting is easy and fast for customers who want to subscribe. They can send a short code keyword text or tap their number into your onsite tablet or kiosk and they’re with you. They’ve subscribed. Opted in. Now you can start sending offers immediately to subscribers. Don’t forget these are people who want to hear from you.

It’s worth noting that SMS messages are read on average within 5 seconds of being received.

Easily Contact Your Customers About Promotions

Loyalty apps can certainly be helpful in collecting data, but come with a learning curve and need extra time to implement. This can create some difficulties and delays in your goal of building loyalty and sharing promotions. Text message marketing cuts this learning curve and eliminates the low participation rates that affect many apps.

With text messages you can send out promotions according to your schedule or on days you want to boost sales or announce last minute availability. You can also use any of your advertising or marketing efforts to promote your text messaging program. Just add the call to action to your ads, social media profiles and posts for example “Text OFFER to 60163,”

To recap, text message marketing:

  • Is available on all mobile phones
  • Allows for fast and easy sign up
  • Doesn’t depend on extra hardware in store
  • Has a high participation rate compared to apps
  • Doesn’t depend on customers being on site to sign up
  • Is easily promoted in your marketing or advertising campaigns
  • Has a very high open rate

These are just a few of the differences between text message marketing and loyalty apps. The benefits of text make it an easy win for most businesses. And it’s an easy-to-use solution that will guarantee high participation rates. SMS messages are read within minutes of receiving them and have an open rate of over 95%.

Apps are vogue right now, but the ease of use can’t compare to text messaging. And you can’t build loyalty program if customers don’t sign up and participate in one.

Text My Deal can offer an easy to use platform to collect mobile numbers and communicate with customers through SMS Text Marketing. Text TMD to 60163 and add your first name to learn more. Or call us on 0330 122 2876 or visit our website. www.textmydeal.co.uk


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