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Do you know how to engage your audience through their mobile devices? The future of your business may largely depend on how effectively you can communicate with individuals through their tablets and smartphones.

Mobile Is Changing the Workplace

Today, more than ever, people have an intimate relationship with their mobile devices. Sixty-nine percent of people use their smartphones at work and the average person checks his or her phone 150 times per day. This includes your:

• Employees;

• Retailers;

• Distributors;

• Technicians; and

• Customers.

What do they use their smartphones for? Recent studies show that:

• 50 percent buy goods;

• 42 percent buy services;

• 70 percent do general informational searches;

• 57 percent search for product information;

• 63 percent use navigation or maps; and

• 46 percent search/use online vouchers.

In fact, in one compelling study, researchers found that 82 percent of smartphone users consult their phones while in a store deciding what to buy.

Work Is Now a State of Mind — Not a Place

The key takeaway here? Work is no longer a physical space — it’s a state of mind. In order to engage your audience today, it’s absolutely critical you engage with them through their mobile devices.

If you’re not engaging with your audience through mobile — whether it’s retailers, distributors, customers, employees or technicians — you’re missing out on opportunities to influence their decisions.

Get to Know Your Audience

But before you engage your audience through their mobile devices, you must learn more about them. The first step to an effective mobile engagement strategy is to build a solid user profile. You’ll want to know:

• Demographic data — Where they work, live, play.;

• Behavioral data — Page views, clicks, scans, and redemptions;

• Location data — Where they use their devices;

• Audience type — Customer, employee, retailer, distributor; and

• Transaction data — What they buy and when they buy it.

Four Mobile Engagement Strategies

To help you get started, here are four great mobile strategies that have worked successfully with our customers:

• Text Message Programs

Text-only messaging programs can be started quickly and are simple to execute. You can text your audience lots of different things, such as:

• Payment reminders;

• Special offers;

• Opt-ins; and

• Product promotions.

cfm Distributors, a Kansas City, Missouri-based, full-service HVACR distributor that distributes brands such as York, Coleman, Bohn, and Honeywell has run a highly successful text-messaging campaign to their technicians for more than three years. Their text content focuses on weekly product specials and is designed to drive brand awareness, build relationships, and create loyalty.

However, when choosing text messaging as a mobile engagement strategy, be aware of its limited ability to drive deeper engagement because it cannot connect your user directly to an app to make purchases.

• Push Message Programs

Push messages are a great way to nudge inactive users to visit your app, look at a new product, or see a special offer (even when they’re in your store). They can also draw users directly into your app with one click.

Keep in mind, however, that you will need to create a native app for this strategy to work, which can be time-intensive, if you don’t already have one. You will also need to get users to download the app to their smartphones or tablet devices.

• Rewards Programs

Rewards programs are amazing tools for creating strong brand loyalty and long-term relationships with your audience. The concept is simple — reward your users for buying products, visiting your store, or using your app (even if it’s just checking out new products or watching a how-to video). Give them points or gifts that keep them coming back for more.

For example, cfm Distributors loved their text-messaging program but wanted to increase sales and brand loyalty. So they created a mobile-rewards program for technicians that automatically issues e-gift cards for buying certain product quantities.

Now, technicians simply scan their sales orders, receive points for their purchases, and collect gift cards in their email to their favorite retail stores, movies, or restaurants. But you will need time and a dedicated staff to set up and execute the rewards program (or hire a mobile- service provider who can do it for you).

• Instant Ordering Programs

A newer technique for winning customer loyalty is to make ordering a one-click process. You can create an app that lets users reorder favorite products automatically when they open the app, or you can let customers repeat their last order (or favorite order) with a single finger tap as soon as the app opens.

You can also consider using a customizable subscription. Amazon.com’s new subscription service offers a discount for buying products on a monthly subscription that can easily be paused, stopped, or started as many times as you want — all through its app.

What Better Time Than Now?

The time to engage with your audience through their mobile device is now, before your competitors beat you to it. The sooner you start building that long-term relationship with your customers, retailers, or distributors, the better.

For example, think of how entrenched Amazon.com is with its mobile customers after years of customer loyalty to its website and mobile app.

If you don’t have the mobile expertise to create a solid mobile engagement strategy, outsource it immediately. Find a firm that can help you design the engagement strategy and the mobile technology to deliver it.

Remember, a good mobile-engagement strategy will take three to 18 months to develop, from concept to execution, so the time to start is now.

Publication date: 4/25/2016

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