By AHP Staff
Is it possible to have a surefire way to reach your customers? What if you knew the messages you sent actually reached them and more importantly, engaged them? And what if that engagement deepened their loyalty to your business?
It may sound too good to be true, but it is possible! Many brands are proving that cell phones can be one of the most effective channels to reach and engage customers in highly personalized ways. When customers feel their unique preferences have been taken into consideration, they tend to feel more valued, which in turn deepens their loyalty.
With that in mind, how can you use technology effectively to engage customers and create unique experiences?
Think beyond the mass text messages
Using real time messages that match your customers’ immediate and personal needs is a way for your business to engage your customer in a more meaningful way. When sending out a mass text that does not target a specific need, your customer will disregard what you have sent them. When you personalize it, they are more likely to either respond, appreciate, or have a deepened loyalty to you. A simple follow up text saying something such as,"Thank you for stopping in today for your haircut and deep conditioning treatment. We appreciate your business and would love any feedback you would like to share. As a reminder we have an appointment booked for you on such and such date. Please text or call us if anything changes.” Having the specific service the customer received will personalize the message.
When done right, push notifications using the elements of a tactic called proximity engagement can make the customer feel understood and valued, which is powerful during a time when competition is high and attention and loyalty are continually declining.
Use cell phone communications to engage employees
Beyond promotional messages, push notifications can also be used to set the tone for the level of service they are going to receive the instant they step into your salon, spa, or barber shop. Welcome messages can be sent to their device the moment they arrive. Taking it a step further, push notifications can alert your staff about the client’s arrival. The notification can include specific notes about the client’s preferences to empower your staff to deliver a more personalized experience.
They’d know, for example, that the client recently had a baby and this is their only time for some R&R or the client just returned from a business trip and the stylist can use that as a conversation starter. Armed with that information gives a more tailored experience.
Customers don’t forget these experiences, and they often turn into your most vocal brand ambassadors when they share the experience with their friends or family.
Supercharge other marketing tactics
You’re likely marketing your business via other methods, such as social, email, direct mail, advertising and PR. This marketing mix is important, especially since, according to the “Marketing Rule of 7,” customers must see a message at least seven times before they are provoked to take action. Push notifications, however, provide a way to connect other marketing tactics and prompt customers and potential customers to act immediately.
Email, direct mail, and social typically reach customers at inopportune times. You have little control over when they get that flyer in the mail or when they choose to open your thoughtfully timed email. Proximity engagement accounts for a customer’s location and their preferences based on data you already know about them.
For example, say you sent a promotional email or direct mail piece to some of your top customers. Would it be enough to get them to make the journey to your salon or spa? What if, in addition to the email, you also sent a well-timed and personalized push notification to their mobile device when they were within a couple miles of your salon or spa during the time of day they typically come in, and it had been a few weeks since their last visit?
This is a prime example of proximity engagement. It also takes into account the principles of human behavior design, which follows the theory that a person is most likely to perform a behavior when their motivation and ability to do so are most closely aligned. It just takes the right prompt to make it happen. In this case, their motivation may be higher since it had been several weeks since their last visit. And their ability to take action is likely higher if they are within close proximity and it’s during a time when they typically visit. Using proximity engagement in tandem with other marketing efforts can significantly improve the results.
The key here, however, is personalization. For push notifications to be effective, incorporate the principles of proximity engagement:
- Avoid generic messages. Focus on providing value.
- Be personal. Consider the client's service or purchase history, preferences, time of day, and other known information.
- Create a win-win scenario. If you have open time slots on your schedule, you can send notifications to your clients who are within a specific radius of your business and who have been in for similar services in the past to let them know you have availability.
- Think beyond the marketing message. Push notifications don’t always have to be promotional. They can include welcome messages or even daily inspirations or self-care tips during stressful seasons.
The bottom line: Respect your client’s information and preferences and focus on delivering consistent value to them. This will go a long way towards creating a loyal client base that, in turn, will create long-term value for your business.