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How to ensure customer engagement if you don’t see people?

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If you own a start-up or a small business, the pandemic is probably giving you a hard time maintaining customer engagement — understandably so.

It is hard enough to survive with all the bans on social gatherings, and with social distancing and lockdowns. People are not walking around, seeing billboards, and going into brick & mortar stores. So how the heck can you keep driving loyalty and engage with people?

We are seeing interesting shifts in behavior such as a steep increase in online streaming and mobile payments. People are also spending more time gaming, or listening to audiobooks. They are also spending more time — and money — online. Another big thing is the restriction on cookies started by Google’s recent announcement that it will no longer be supporting third-party cookies. We have seen a shift from the open web to mobile apps.

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That’s also an opportunity for you to engage with your customers today. You would need to meet people where they are, when, and how they want to engage. This means connecting with them on their mobile phones. Become digital, and mobile-first. Keep your customers thinking about you while all the others are trying to steal their attention away from you.

People have mobile wallets on their mobile phones — such as Apple Wallet or Google Pay — that are the service behind mobile payments. And beyond transactions, the mobile wallet allows people to use digital content from you. Such as coupons, customer cards, membership cards, event tickets, and loyalty cards, for example. People have them at their fingertips and can just tap and show to redeem, enter, or access their benefits. So what prevents your business from leveraging mobile wallets for driving loyalty and engaging with people?

Push Notifications And Digital Stamp Card

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Mobile wallets are a useful place for storing your digital loyalty cards. You might already be familiar with paper stamp cards that various small businesses use for keeping customers returning. But the paper stamp card is just very ineffective. You can’t really track their use. And people lose them soon or just don’t have them whenever they need them.

While waiting for re-opening, you can build a simple loyalty program around a digital stamp card that would live in a customer’s mobile wallet. We are not going out without our mobile phones. So people won’t be losing your digital stamp cards anymore and would have them always at their fingertips, right?

After asking your customers for a few basic information, personalized digital stamp cards can be quickly shared with them in multiple ways. People would then simply add them to their Apple Wallet and Google Pay without downloading another app. The digital stamp card can also be just anonymous, hence can be easily distributed by QR codes displayed in your coffee or sweet shop, restaurant, retail store, food truck or sandwich store, hair salon, barbershop, car or motorcycle garage, massage parlor, nail studio, or whatever you run. Upon every purchase, you would simply grant people digital stamps. A defined number of stamps would then entitle the customer to claim a reward.

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And that’s not all. The messaging feature of mobile apps — push notifications —  opens a new communication channel for you. It allows you for sending push notifications with your deals, reminders, and other important updates directly to the lock screen of your customers. Stories matter most in capturing people’s attention. Then, engaging people in dialogs would draw them more in. And don’t forget about visuals that keep people interested in your story. Your digital stamp cards are also offered on the lock screen of the mobile phone by the mobile wallet upon arriving at predefined places. This feature allows you for creating location-specific customer experiences. And people don’t have to look for anything. They would just tap and scan for the next stamp.

Ladislav Poledna inspires readers to “Become Digital” by publishing materials about digital marketing in his Prague Monitor column and aptly named blog. He has built a career around developing successful customer relationships for the past two decades. At present, Ladislav manages the Power Solutions division of the world’s leading producer of engines, batteries, and outdoor power equipment in Central and Eastern Europe and also oversees operations of the company’s regional office in Prague. Recently, he co-founded a B-to-B software service company making mobile marketing affordable and easy to use. Ladislav’s philanthropic contribution consists of a long-term relationship with a charity focused on funding dreams for people with muscular dystrophy.

Mobile phones are long becoming the main “screen” in peoples’ lives. Mobile marketing is no longer an innovation but a part of important decisions. Read articles on mobile marketing to get inspired on how to connect with people where they spend a lot of their time. Become Digital.

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