Customer Engagement Made Easy Using Mobile Apps

November 3, 2016 Ryan Wehmeyer

Customer engagement is becoming wildly important to marketers, maybe muscling out productivity as the top growth engine for businesses in the age of personalization.

Mobile apps and the mobile devices they ride do provide a unique way to engage with your customer. However, mobile is a different game with its own set of rules and violating those rules can lead to certain death: deletion of your app, and a rude ending to a budding mobile relationship.

We must avoid this fate. Mobile is a marketing channel that can be mastered and engaging your customer with the right message, at the right place, at the right time is how you win the game.

Below are five ways to engage customers across a mobile platform, wherever they may be.

MAKE A PLAN
Many mobile campaigns fail due to lack of planning. Start by defining exactly what you want to accomplish through your mobile marketing channel, and then set a goal for your mobile campaign.
Yes, mobile is the wild beast we’re all trying to tame but it’s still only one marketing channel. Companies that treat mobile as some sort of cosmic dust from another galaxy soon realize the hard way that basic marketing fundamentals still apply.

A good plan will bake mobile into your club’s overall marketing strategy with the same consistent branding and vision you roll up into social, email and print.

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER
Segmenting your customers enables you to personalize messages and make more profitable connections. Mass marketing is over, and buyers now expect a personal touch from companies courting their business.

Mine your database for member preferences, buying behavior, age, gender, family, and any other features that can help tailor a message to strategic segments of your club’s population.

The insights can be fascinating. You’ll find members who are addicted to MET-Rx bars, or your avocado burger. You’ll find members who can’t workout without a personal trainer, and families who log insane amounts of time together at the club on Saturday. At this level of granular detail, you can engage more effectively with targeted mobile offers, discounts and updates.

Next, as your mobile traffic grows, add more data points to your arsenal like type of mobile device, screen size, and whether a member is a heavy user of your mobile site but hasn’t downloaded your app. For those already using your app, what are they doing with it? Similar to web analytics, recognizing in-app patterns of behavior can help steer future mobile actions toward a specific high-value individual, or highlight what app features engage the most users.

EXPERIMENT WITH CONTENT
Content marketing is a proven and inexpensive method for increasing customer engagement in the web world, now it’s coming to mobile. It’s time to get your promotions, blogs, club news, and can’t-miss events out to your mobile users.

Content marketers are like scientists, always testing some new hypothesis and making real-time adjustments based on new data (user response).

Experimentation is critical in the mobile world because each user is different, and each of your locations may have a different customer base. That is, differences in user behavior and income levels, or device type and age range. These differences can yield dramatically different results. Unlike a traditional offline campaign, content marketing is agile and can be adapted to these differences.

What about delivery method? Both push notifications and in-app messaging have their place. Push notifications, however, can be intrusive and annoying so tread lightly and avoid the dreaded “push fatigue.” In-app messaging is more contextual and when done right feels like a natural part of the user experience. Your app messaging technique is directly linked to your actual content and should be, together, a reflection of your brand and target market.

INTERACT WITH SALES, TRAINERS AND INSTRUCTORS
So far we’ve only covered digital tricks, but your most powerful mobile engagement opportunity is hidden in plain sight: sales, trainers and instructors.

Apps designed for selling get your team up and moving to the same beat as your customer. The typical tour, pitch and close can now be compressed into one action, one very short sales cycle. With digital document signing and emailed contracts, a new membership can be transacted without ever sitting down.

As for the kings and queens of in-house connections, trainers and instructors stand to gain a lot from mobile apps. For example, your best trainers aren’t just fitness enthusiasts with charm, they are also savvy entrepreneurs running their own business of repeat customers and referrals. Give them the tools to maximize their return.

From scheduling to reservations, from commissions to series sales, an employee-facing app can immediately increase engagement because your trainer has more time to focus on the client.

MEASURE, OPTIMIZE, RINSE AND REPEAT
Mobile analytics are important. So pick your key metrics and start measuring.

With that said, the mobile landscape is ever-evolving and optimizing based on analytics requires constant innovation. It requires a relentless pursuit of the mobile signal – what really makes your mobile customers tick.

Again, getting closer to the truth of how and why your mobile users do what they do will help align your mobile goal with your overall marketing strategy using engagement as a measuring stick.

As a rule, mobile users have limited patience, phone space, and don’t suffer fools. So be nimble and respond to user habits with creative counterpunches. Try new things. Target user tastes with personalized content. Iterate, iterate, iterate. Engagement in the mobile world is a fluid process, and the winners find an edge in some of the most unlikely places.

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Club-based mobile apps are the hottest technology trend in health and fitness, according to a recent report...

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