Tag Archives: Foursquare

Go loyal. Five tips for building a loyalty campaign.

Loyalty

If you’re anything like me, you’re a loyalty whore.

If a brand or business I patronize has any kind of loyalty program, sign me up!

CVS, Duane Reade, Starbucks, Amtrak, US Airways, Starwood, Modell’s, Whole Foods, Children’s Place.

You name it, I’m registered.

And why the fuck not?

If I’m spending my hard earned dough buying your goods or services, why shouldn’t I be rewarded?

Sure, I’ve got to spend $1,000 in order to get $5 off my next $500 purchase, or fly a gazillion miles to upgrade to first class, but so what?

I’m being rewarded for my loyalty!

And loyalty equals retention equals repeat purchases and visits.

As happy as I am to find that a business I support has a loyalty program, I am equally dismayed when they don’t.

Really, why wouldn’t you want to incentivize patronage?

In this competitive day and age, when shoppers have so many choices of where they can spend their dollars, doesn’t it make sense to offer something your competitors don’t?

If you’ve thought about implementing a loyalty program, but don’t know where to start or think that it’s too expensive or difficult to manage, here are five simple tips to get your loyalty game popping!

1. Use an existing loyalty platform.

If you’re unsure of how to start a loyalty program, fear not. There are a number of really good off-the-shelf loyalty programs that you can use to get started. They don’t require any technical expertise, and in many instances, they’re free.

loyalblocks

One such program is LoyalBlocks. LoyalBlocks is a loyalty app for businesses. It’s fully customizable and allows merchants to offer promotions and specials to their customers, in exchange for frequent visits. With LoyalBlocks, you simply set up your ‘loyalty club,’ create your rewards, custom specials, punch card offers and in-store content, and you’re ready to go. There’s also a customer-facing app which your customers can download and start getting rewards.

shopkick

Shopkick is another app that rewards users for simply walking into different businesses. Partner stores and establishments benefit from the foot traffic and engagement. With Shopkick, users who visit partner businesses receive “kicks” or points, which can be accumulated and redeemed for rewards. Businesses who sign up for Shopkick receive beacons which can be discretely installed, and which track when users are in (or near) their stores. Shoppers can receive targeted offers and prompts, based on their location to drive sales.

Still a lil’ gun-shy and just want to test the waters? Then FourSquare may be perhaps the simplest way to get started. Currently, there are over 50 million people using Foursquare to find businesses. The simple act of having visitors check-in to your business via FourSquare and share that check-in with their networks, can prove an invaluable driver for your business. FourSquare’s online tools for merchants let businesses track visitors, create ads, special offers and deals.

2. Give something away!

retailmenot

One sure fire way to get people into your store is giving something away – discount on their next purchase, 2 for 1 special, coupon or gift-with-purchase – anything to make customers feel like they’re saving a buck. Apps like RetailMeNot have made it super easy for businesses or brands to give potential customers a reason to shop with them. RetailMeNot operates the world’s largest marketplace for digital offers, enabling consumers across the globe to find hundreds of thousands of digital offers from their favorite retailers and brands. App users can search through offers, which can be redeemed in store or online.

groupon

Similarly, platforms like Groupon or Living Social, which offer steeply discounted deals, are another way of giving customers (and potential customers) a means through which they can get down with your brand. By routinely publishing special offers, your customers will have a reason to check in on you often to make sure they’re not missing out!

3. Incentivize sharing.

If you’ve ever purchased a Groupon or a Living Social deal, you know that you can get your deal for free by inviting your friends to buy the same deal. If the deal is compelling enough, it’ll gives users a reason to share. Even if the person who shared the deal can’t get enough of their friends to buy it (and thereby earn their’s free), people love to announce the fact that they just copped a good deal to the world. By adding social sharing capabilities to your offers, you’re taking advantage of folks’ natural narcissistic inclination to share.

4. Make it social.

Much like the point above, we live in an increasingly connected world, where virtually everything we do is posted on social media. Folks share when they’re on their commute to work, when they’re eating out, when they’re at the gym, even when they’re doing nothing. People spend more time on social media than they do with their children. Make it easy for your users to share by building social sharing capabilities directly into your loyalty program. More importantly, give points for liking you on Facebook, tweeting about your experience or adding a hashtag to a picture and posting it on Instagram and engaging in that social behavior. Social is an increasingly important part of most people’s lives nowadays, so get in on the action!

5. Promote. Promote. Promote.

icon_promote

If you’ve got a marketing budget, think about taking out ads talking about your loyalty program. Set aside part of that budget on Google Ads that drive specifically to your loyalty landing pages or to landing pages where your loyalty program is featured prominently.  Don’t have a budget? Then tweet, post status updates on Facebook and hashtag the heck out of some flicks to drive awareness about your new program.

If a loyalty program falls in the forest and there is no one around, does it make a sound? There’s nothing worse than a loyalty program that no one knows about. So don’t let your loyalty program languish in obscurity. Talk about it!

Have some ideas on building a loyalty program, I’d love to hear about it. So feel free to comment below.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under apps, branding

It’s 2012 and you’re still not on mobile? For shame!

20120822-113600.jpg

Several years into the mobile revolution, and I still find myself grappling with the relatively few number of brands that have adopted mobile as a reality.

I can’t accept how many websites fail to have mobile equivalents.

Invariably nine out of ten sites I visit from my mobile phone, aren’t optimized for mobile.

Many brands that (I think) would naturally benefit from being on mobile – retail, restaurants, transportation, media – simply aren’t adopting mobile as a viable platform.

And (I think) to their detriment.

The explosive growth of apps like FourSquare and Instagram, highlight the fact that people are always on their phones and have them with them wherever they go.

I challenge you to walk down any street, anywhere, and find five people without a phone in their hand, up to their ear or on their person.

Mobile phones have become literal extensions of the human body keeping us inextricably connected to the world (wide web).

As such, it behooves brands to adopt a mentality (and methodology) that speaks to this interconnectedness.

Having been in the mobile space actively for the past six or seven years, I’ve witnessed mobile go from fringe to mainstream – globally.

But despite the widespread adoption of mobile devices, and the rapid advances in technology (which have made devices more powerful yet less expensive), brands are slow to get with the program.

And the results of this slow pace equal huge losses for businesses whose audiences are being turned off (and away) from sites that aren’t optimized for the third screen.

I have no greater peeve than when I try to navigate a full HTML website from my iPhone.

And while I CAN navigate a a full site from my phone by employing the swipe and pinch functions, I shouldn’t have to.

Especially if it means that pinching or swiping takes other critical sections of the page offscreen (compromising the overall utility of the site/page).

There are a few sites that I use regularly, that ‘get it’ and have really thought through the intended utility of their sites for their users.

These include Expedia, CBS, CVS, NJTransit, and Amazon.

There are others, that simply leave me scratching my head (NBC, Mohegan Sun, Gucci).

Not having a mobile presence (mobile site, mobile app, tablet-optimized site) gives your competitor a tremendous advantage in this increasingly competitive world.

Mobile transactions are increasingly factoring into the bottom lines of many businesses, and the failure to accommodate your users, in this way, could materially impact a company’s revenue stream.

So take my advice…

Mobilize or perish!

The choice is yours.

Leave a comment

Filed under digital advocacy, mobile, opinion, technology

Starters+Startups was….AWESOME! (and I’m not just saying that ’cause I moderated)

Last night was the Starters+Startups: The Future of SoLoMo & You session that I moderated, featuring the CEOs and founders of three startup companies, WeMakeCoolSh.it, Wyst.it and Taap.it.

Last week, I performed some due diligence on them, checking out their products and services.

I also posted profiles of their respective companies to my blog, in an effort to learn more about them before moderating the session.

What I didn’t learn from my research (but found out last night) was that these guys were quite cool (and not just Mark and Matt from WeMakeCoolSh.it).

After a brief introduction by Virginia Chu (one of the founders of ScenePR), the event got started, and I was able to see each of these guys in action.

The first presenters of the evening were Mark and Matt from WMCS.

From the profile pictures on ScenePR’s SoLoMo page (and the content on their site), I thought Mark and Matt were going to be uber eclectic and artsy.

And I was secretly waiting to see Mark’s massive beard in person.

Where's the beard?!!!!!

Alas, he had shaved.

But when I met them, they were very down to earth, and quite charming actually.

The WMCS duo talked about their L Train project, and how they developed a home-made pirate network on the L train line, which allowed commuters to interact over a network connection that worked on the train.

Their presentation was informative and paced, with Matt and Mark sharing in the narration of the inception, testing and deployment of their ‘Notwork’.

The L Train project demonstrated, that when people have the ability to interact over mobile, in a local environment, it actually sparks interactions that would not have occurred otherwise.

A few folks became so engrossed in talking to their neighbor, that they missed their stops!

One significant takeaway for me, was the debunking the myth that mobile engenders isolation.

WMCS’s presentation proved that given the proper encouragement, mobile actually creates interaction.

The second presentation was from Wyst.it.

When I looked at the profile picture of the Amerlinck Huertas and their devilish grins, I thought, “Uh-oh, these guys are trouble!”

Don't these cats look like trouble?

Their irreverent bios did noting to assuage this impression.

But in person, Yago, was quite different from what I had imiagined.

Once again, ‘cool’ aptly describes this passionate (and nattily dressed) entrepreneur.

Flying solo (Iker was meeting with investors back in Mexico), Yago walked us through how Wyst came to be, with an interesting and informative PowerPoint presentation.

He talked about what made Wyst different from other photo-sharing or check-in apps, and the value they placed on educating users on the proper way to use or interact with their app.

With branches in Mexico, Hong Kong, Paris and New York, Yago also stressed importance of locally sourced content which made their app rich with content.

The post-panel consensus was that Yago’s presentation had the most panache.

Our final presenter was Duy (pronounced do-ee) from Taap.it.

Check the vista behind this guy!

His profile picture on the ScenePR site showed Duy lounging with a lush forestal vista in the background, so my initial impression was that he was going to be mad mellow and chill.

True to form, Duy was laid back and approachable.

He exuded an easy relaxed air, in his bright orange Taap.it t-shirt.

He started his presentation talking about the multiple iterations of the Taap.it app that ended in the trash.

Taap.it evolved from the persistence of Duy and his team to contiue developing their app, until it met the market where the need and their offering matched.

I had to chuckle to myself a few times as he described the palpable frustration he felt, being turned away by store owners who had just been contacted by Groupon or FourSquare.

But to his credit, Taap.it has over 10,000 New York businesses posting content to the app, and that number is growing.

Although he presentation was (as times) difficult to understand (Duy has a wicked Vietnamese accent), his presentation was both engaging and compelling.

When it was all said and done, ScenePR pulled off a really great event.

Matt, Yago, Mark & Duy.

The ShowBiz Store & Cafe was an intimate spot, and the section of the cafe where the presentation was held was packed.

My informal poll of the audience (including a celebrity guest, Nneka) was positive, with all the presenters getting high marks.

A few members of the audience had attended the NASDAQ event that I had drummed (all in fun, mind you) yesterday, remarked that they would have liked to have seen more startups on yesterday’s panel, since invariably, this is where innovation starts.

Others were gassed about the applications and case studies of the presenters, and were already thinking about how to apply the strategies the presenters discussed.

A few (correctly) noted that many of the innovations being discussed were already in place in other countries, and that the US was late to the party (i.e. underground wi-fi networks).

But overall, folks were buzzing off the energy of the night, and it was all due, of course, to my wonderful moderation.

Had to plug me didn’t I?

Your moderator styling!

If you attended the event last night, please feel free to comment or share you photos or videos on ScenePR’s Facebook page.

And please stay tuned for future ScenePR events – you just might see your boy getting his moderating on once again!

PS. Yago, don’t forget you’re hosting me and the fam when I come to Mexico City!

1 Comment

Filed under apps, branding, digital advocacy, mobile

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. But it will be on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

I just finished reading The Revolution Will Not Be Televised by Joe Trippi on the Nook app on my iPad.

Great read for 21st century political consultants.

It was a self-imposed homework assignment, for the work that I’ve been doing with Vincent Morgan, the Democratic candidate for Congress I’ve been working with for the past two years.

If you haven’t read it (why would you?) it’s a good read.

It was especially informative for me because in it, Joe talks about the various online and social media strategies Howard Dean’s campaign employed to build it’s base, push Dean’s message and raise money.

To make a long story short, the Dean campaign was really responsible for the both the use and proliferation of the web and social media by political candidates.

Without Howard Dean, there would have been no Obama. Period.

What Howard Dean’s campaign did with the internet and social media, completely bucked traditional notions of what online communities meant, how to galvanize supporters and raise money.

Trippi’s title, an homage to Gil Scott-Heron’s poem and song of the same title, refers to the fact that TV is no longer the dominant medium, especially as it relates to the manner and methods of running a political campaign.

Gil clearly didn't know about iReporting back in the day!

Where campaigns used to pour millions of dollars for television spots, in an effort to frame the issues and influence voters, Trippi posits that online forums, blogs, social media and the web generally, will have greater impact in future races.

As I sit here, thinking about how to apply Trippi’s strategies to Vince’s campaign, I’m brimming with excitement.

Last year, when Vince ran against Rangel, we knew out the gate, that we were in for an uphill battle.

For one, Vince was a relative unknown. Rangel’s name carried all the weight in the world – even in the middle of his ethics controversy.

Vince had no political experience, save a stint working with Rangel several years prior.

The M4C team was pretty inexperienced. It was the first political campaign for most of us.

He hadn’t raised a lot of money, which effectively meant that media buys (and virtually anything else that cost money) were out of the question. Even with Rangel’s ethical issues, he was still sitting on a (relative) war-chest.

This year, it’s a different story.

For one, Vince is no longer an unknown. While he may not evoke the same level of name recognition as Rangel, he is regularly featured in both local and national press.

He’s a frequent political commentator on CNBC, having most recently offered is perspective after the GOP Iowa caucus.

Although Vince still has no formal political experience, his previous run gave him political credibility and experience running a political campaign.

Even though he’s never held formal office, he is being discussed as a viable Democratic candidate, in the same breath as, and alongside other established politicians.

Team Morgan is staffed with experience. From his PR agency, Dash PR, to his finance manager, to his interim campaign manager, the team he’s assembled know their respective charges, and are ready, willing and able to execute accordingly.

But the most important thing, is the impact that social media and online, are having on the strategies we’re developing.

Unlike Charles Rangel, and the rest of the other candidates running (or planning on running) in the next election, Vince is truly technologically savvy.

While other candidates have third parties blogging, tweeting, FourSquaring, updating their Facebook status and generally leaving social media to someone else, Vince is actively engaged in the management of his online personae.

He actively posts articles, videos and pictures he finds to his website, personal and political profiles, and responds to comments he receives.

If you haven't 'Liked" the page, do so now!

And he makes it a point to ‘check-in’ with FourSquare, when he visits any of the restaurants, barbershops, cafes, stores and venues in his daily travels, staying engaged virtually with his growing constituency.

More importantly, he knows how important it is to get the formula, of online and offline activities, right.

As Joe Trippi noted in his book, virtually every political campaign, candidate and politician, has a website, Facebook page, etc. They would be remiss, in the post-Obama era, not to.

But having an online presence, and utilizing it effectively, are two drastically different things.

Our goal, in 2012, is to master the use of online and social media tools and put Vince in office.

That means we’ve got to raise his profile, raise money, get people off their butts and into voting booths on election day.

I’m confident that we’re going to do just that.

But don’t take my word for it.

Check in on the campaign from time to time and see how we’re doing.

2 Comments

Filed under branding, opinion, social media, Uncategorized

Do you Hootsuite?

Since I’m on this extended social media rant, its only proper that I go in a little deeper and talk about the tricks of the trade that I use to get my social media on.

My introduction to social media started about five years ago, participating in online forums and beta testing groups for different applications.

Back in the day (five years ago was so last year) forums were the original online social networks.

Today, there are countless social media networks of varying popularity, size and utility.

As more and more brands start realizing the value of social networks to their overall brand presence, managing these various networks is a growing issue.

I belong to a Social Media Marketing group on Linkedin, which discusses social media issues regularly.

One of the longest running discussions is about which social media management tool group members use.

The responses run the gamut, as do the rationales justifying the use of this tool over that.

Many of the responses talk about Radian 6, and recently Sendible has crept into these discussions as well.

In fact, there is an abundance of social media management and monitoring tools to chose from (of varying degrees of utility, quality and price), but one has stolen my heart.

Its Hootsuite.

Do you Hootsuite?

For those of you in the know, Hootsuite was one of the earliest free (well used-to-be-free, but I’ll get to that later) social media management platforms available.

That’s how they got me – first in the space AND free.

Hootsuite promised me the world: unlimited social media profiles, analytics, simple and easy to use interface, desktop dashboard.

And I used it all.

I used to boast  (to anyone who would listen) that I managed 20 social media profiles effortlessly – and it was all because of Hootsuite.

For those of you who are asking, “WTF is Hootstuite?” shame on you.

But if you, like me, are in the know, you know WTF Hootsuite is: only the best-es social media management/monitoring tool in the free world (although, as I said earlier, it’s no longer free).

With Hootsuite, you can manage multiple Twitter accounts, Facebook profiles, Facebook pages, Linkedin, Ping.fm, WordPress, MySpace and Foursquare accounts.

Social networks? Hootsuite does that!

From the Hootsuite dashboard, you can simultaneously manage and monitor multiple streams.

You can manage and monitor multiple streams from the Hootsuite dash.

In addition to managing and monitoring multiple streams and profiles, you also have the capacity to generate comprehensive statistics using Google Analytics, Twitter and Facebook Insights.

Hootsuite does statistics too!

Mind you, I’ve only really been freaking Hootsuite in the past few weeks because they’re about to start charging me, and I need to know that I’m going to get the right bang for my buck.

They’ve got a free 30 day trial, to take it for a test drive and see if its really the tool for you.

So if you’re interested in using a fairly inexpensive social media management and monitoring tool that won’t break the bank (it’s only $5/month for unlimited profiles and $15 for additional team members), then Hootsuite may just be the right tool for you.

I Hootsuite.

Do you?

Note: Hootsuite does not pay me to endorse their product (although I wish they would!)

2 Comments

Filed under opinion, rant, social media

Social media is a fad. Really?

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a marketing professional tell me that social media is nothing more than a passing fancy, I’d have my coveted iPad by now.

It boggles my mind that anyone in their right mind can form their lips to say social media is a ‘fad’ when Facebook has over 500 million people using it, and is the largest social media network in the world.

When you add the over 75 million Twitter users, 50 million YouTube users, 40 million Flickr users, and countless tens of million users of the various and sundry other social media platforms out there, calling social media a ‘fad’ is just plain ridiculous.

You can imagine my shock to hear someone from Ogilvy say that they’ve never used Twitter.

I nearly smacked them!

How the f*ck are you getting paid all that dough..or rather, how are you getting your clients to pay all that dough, and you’ve never used Twitter?

How can you advise someone on the merits or pitfalls of using a particular social media platform, when you’re totally unfamiliar with that platform?

Of course, I’m being naive, and most likely an agency like Ogilvy has a cadre of Twitter-o-philes locked away in a basement, fed Twinkies and weed to Tweet like micro-blogging fiends.

So individual ignorance of social media aside, they’ve got their bases covered.

But that’s not the issue.

Any agency that’s so on the cutting egde or any marketing professional worth their spit, should be conversant in (or at least knowledgeable of) the social media tools that their clients can add to their marketing mix.

It’s not like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube just showed up on the scene.

Most of the major players have been around for at least five years.

So if a fad is fleeting, and without permanence, shouldn’t social media really be considered a trend, having withstood the test of time?

And if it’s a trend, shouldn’t it be something they stay up on?

Next thing you know, they’ll be advising their clients to use Fourspring (a current fad among teens) for a LBS-based promotion instead of Foursquare!

I’m just saying.

Nobody is paying me big bucks for my opinion.

And perhaps my panties are in a bunch because I’ve got more social media moxie than many of these so-called marketers I’ve been running into recently.

But I can’t help but be a little flummoxed by the ramifications of it all.

Translation: One of the large advertising agencies should hire me immediately for my brilliance or risk fanning the flames of my simmering ire.

7 Comments

Filed under opinion, rant, Smack talking