Did you know that the average mobile app retention rate is approximately 20 per cent after 90 days?

That’s not great, but we all know customers are fickle. They’ll download an app for discounts and savings and never use it again. For a customer to be convinced to download, use and re-use an app, the app and/or the company behind the app needs to offer the user something that makes it worth their while in the long-term. That doesn’t mean bribery through free gifts, meals or experiences, but it does mean marketing it in a way that resonates with the targeted audience.

The key to marketing an app for continued use is data. For the here and now, let’s assume your business is a restaurant (though the learnings can be applied in other markets) with a mobile ordering app.

Data collected over a month or two can tell you exactly which meals and options on your menu are most popular and at what times. That, in turn, helps you created personalised marketing campaigns designed to push app usage and generate loyalty.

Here are some examples:

Deals of the day

Time-related deals have long been a popular tool for businesses and are usually very successful. Using data, that success can be pushed further.

With your knowledge of popular meal options and times, there are two paths to take.

The route you take depends on your sales objective. If you want to capitalise on the observed trend, you might aim to push a Two Curry Tuesday: buy two curries instead of one and get a free naan bread. Alternatively, you might prefer to encourage customers to increase their portion sizes on a day other than Friday.

If so, try offering a small future-facing discount: Go large on Wednesdays, claim extra-large on Fridays. Make these offers available exclusively through the app and you easily demonstrate the benefits of use.

Offers can keep users coming back to your app

Make the most of milestones

Data tells you everything you need to take advantage of the big milestones in the customer’s online ordering journey. Do you most want to attract new customers or drive the number of orders taken from existing ones?

Whichever it is, first check the data and see if your figures are close to reaching a round number. For instance, you might have had 478 orders in total; not far off 500. Use the figure to market your ordering portal on your public/social channels:

‘We’re approaching our 500th mobile order! We will be giving £25 credit to the customer that places the 500th order, so get clicking!’

You can even place a small budget behind a social post to extend the reach of the competition/offer. This will encourage existing customers to place orders while also attracting new audiences.

Personalisation

The data collected from an app might include specific information relating to individual customers. For instance, it could tell you when ‘Mick Smith’ first placed an order with you, how large his orders are on average and how many times he has placed an order across a set period of time. You can also tell if Mick goes to sleep.

In data terms, a sleeping customer is one that hasn’t placed an order for a known period. If the data tells you that Mick likes a medium pepperoni pizza and one-litre bottle of coke every two weeks and has done for the last six months, you have the chance to investigate if his orders stop.

Two months on from Mick’s last order, and with the knowledge of his favourite order under your belt, send him a marketing email or text with a personalised offer:

‘Mick, we haven’t seen you for ages, have you gone off pepperoni? Perhaps you’d like to take advantage of this special offer just for you? Order a medium pepperoni pizza this week and get your one-litre bottle of coke for free!’

Without data, you’d have never known Mick’s spending routine was broken, with it, you have a chance to win his loyalty back.

Knowing how to improve loyalty marketing through data is important; data provides a measure of how your customers think, feel and behave. If you want to know how well your customer base has taken to a new product, you just need to check the data.

If they haven’t picked up on it, you can decide whether to ditch it or put extra marketing emphasis behind it. And that’s the point. Data tells you about your business and helps you make informed business decisions with greater ease.

It’s good to use data to build a loyal following and to encourage app use, but it is equally important to continue engaging with customers once loyalty has been gained.

Reward loyalty

For some, the idea of rewarding a customer for their loyalty is now old-hat, but you’d be surprised how few take advantage of marketing to reward loyal customers.

Plan to send a series of loyalty-based marketing emails and make it clear from the subject line that there is a loyalty offer associated with the email. This will facilitate higher open-rates and encourage audiences to take action.

Make sure you mention app offers in email subject lines

When building app loyalty through marketing, remember to make the most of your data. It will keep your rewards relevant and help you segment your audiences so that you can offer them rewards and incentives that are interest.

If a person isn’t getting any benefit from an app, they’re not going to use it, if you want them to return to it, show them why they should.

Nick Hucker is CEO of Preoday.

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