Best Ways to Wine and Dine Customers on Mobile

Engaging and retaining mobile consumers requires understanding the human element of smartphones in our lives.
Customer Experience

Mobile phones have made it easier than ever to start a relationship. With apps such as Tinder, a simple "swipe right" can connect people in a matter of minutes. At the same time, mobile phones have made it almost too easy to end a relationship. In Malaysia, this concept is taken to an extreme by allowing people to legally divorce via text. Auto correct has never been so perilous.

Brands also want to get in on the action and develop relationships with customers, but engaging and retaining mobile consumers requires understanding the human element of smartphones in our lives. Here are three tips to approach mobile as a relationship with the end user and his or her phone, rather than a communication medium.

Be Relevant

To sustain and build relationships, value customers first and marketing messages second. One way to achieve this is by delivering personally relevant, interactive content.

A company I admire constantly asks for ideas, feedback, and customer interaction in a gamified forum with brief, fun activities. This interactive approach to mobile communication encourages higher levels of engagement. Blasting non-personalized posts, emails, texts, web visits, and other touchpoints is a thing of the past, especially as Big Data changes the game.

Also, make sure to regularly let your customers know they're valued and appreciated. Uber conveniently sends a text when one of its cars is arriving. It could go the extra mile and thank its customers for supporting the service by sending a simple thank-you text afterward.

Be Predictive

While less than one in five (19 percent) of brands personalized customers' Web experiences last year, nearly three in five (59 percent) expect to do so in 2014. Predictive analytics is a transformative way to deliver personally relevant content to customers. It can predict which customers will become most valuable after they sign up, who's likely to cancel a subscription or not return to your site, what customers will purchase and which customers will promote you on social networks (and on which social network for each customer), etc

Imagine discovering that people are significantly more likely to cancel their accounts if they prefer to call customer support rather than email, haven't opened your email newsletter in the last 60 days, and use the hashtag "#customerfail" on Twitter. Knowing these warning signs lets you respond at the right time and with the right message, per customer. What's more, your machine learning system can predict your best action for keeping the customer engaged and retained. Predictive analytics removes much of the guesswork and creates extremely successful marketing campaigns via any medium.

Be Genuine

Matt Shanahan of Scout Analytics is behind the 90/10 rule of adoption of customer success, which states that if a user doesn't become loyal within 90 days of provisioning there is only a 10 percent chance the individual ever will. The key to building a mobile database and fostering mobile relationships in those critical first three months requires genuine customer engagement that makes them feel special.

The best way to increase mobile opt-ins is by targeting customers and social media followers, via email, on-site, or in-product messages, newsletters, and social media accounts. Asking customers to text a keyword to a short code is quick and easy, but make sure your offer is worth opting in, especially for the general public, which is less familiar with your company and what you have to offer.

To attract high-value users, tie the offer to your product. For example, opting in to monthly text coupon codes appeals to people interested in your product, rather than offering an iPad giveaway that results in minimal brand recall.

Mobile is a powerful new marketing channel that offers brands the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with customers. Don't be clingy; be the best kind of significant other you can be.