In this two-part column, I reveal how to build a digital relationship with modern moms. In Part 1, I delved into “the hunt,” a practical look at how brands can use analytics to find their best customers. This week, I focus on how to best incentivize moms to stick with your brand and build lifetime value.
In "real life," the best way to start a conversation is either to ask people about themselves or to offer them something. Simple enough, but sometimes marketers forget these time-tested truths. Moms have high expectations of brands these days, and savvy moms don't easily give away money or their email addresses without getting something in return.
Incentives can come in various forms, from coupons and social gaming points to newsletters, recipes and sweepstakes. To be most effective, brands need to realize what moms want, and when and how to tell them about it.
Don't assume it's over for email. A study conducted by Q Interactive and Agency.com revealed that email remains the most popular online activity for women. The following are more findings from the study:
- 33 percent of respondents spend the majority of their online time "simply checking email";
- about 50 percent receive one to four brand newsletters, as 74 percent said they like "special deals, discount codes or coupons"; and
- 53 percent “trust a brand more when they receive a brand’s newsletter.”
Email remains a highly effective informational channel. While some brands over-email or provide too little value within their emails, brands who do it well earn trust and repeat business. Exclusive deals for subscribers — such as discounts, early sale notices, sweepstakes, etc. — add value and are worth the exchange of a private email address.
Multifaceted campaigns targeted to a brand's Facebook fans via email aren't necessarily a turnoff to moms these days. They figure if they don't catch the sale announcement on Facebook or Twitter, an email will be sent to their inbox as well.
Social media: where the moms are
Social networking activity continues to rise, and while email is still a powerful marketing tool, social media — when done well — can be a compelling two-way conversation that's beneficial to both moms and brands. What follows are statistics from a study of more than 2,000 female respondents conducted by Q Interactive and the Social Media World Forum:
- 54 percent of moms visit social networking sites "at least once per day”;
- 75 percent are "more active on social networking sites than last year”;
- brands capturing moms are engaging them with conversations, not one-way sales tactics; and
- women express a desire for relevancy and transparency with a high willingness to answer surveys for more custom communications.
Moms are players … and proudly so
Social networking sites have a niche where brands can befriend moms — and that’s in gaming. From Farmville to Mafia Wars, moms are grateful to brands who give them a little boost (with points to advance in their games or virtual currency to spend) via branded offers. A recent study from Q Interactive and the Engage! Conference and Expo revealed moms’ love for social media games. Here are some statistics from the study:
- A whopping 42 percent of moms consider themselves “gamers,” with 7 percent saying they're “obsessed" with games;
- 67 percent believe 1 hour to 5 hours per week of social media gaming is "socially acceptable";
- more than half (57 percent) earn/spend virtual currency daily; and
- 97 percent prefer to earn virtual currency through either winning more or accepting a branded offer versus paying for it with "real" money.
The social gaming/virtual currency space offers a unique opportunity to capture moms while they're doing something they love. To date, too few big brands have taken advantage of this opportunity to "capture" — or captivate, perhaps — their ideal customers with opportunities to earn virtual currency by doing things such as simply signing up for newsletters.
The lesson here for brands is that there's an emerging opportunity to capture moms while they're gaming. Offer them a hand, and they may find something of value about your brand!
Cyndi Elliott is a consumer marketing specialist at Q Interactive, a Chicago-based online marketing services provider for advertisers and publishers. Q Interactive's "Women's Channel" is a pioneer in starting online dialogues between leading brands and ideal women customers. Reach Cyndi at email@example.com.