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Monday, November 22, 2010

Ways To Build Loyalty Online

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hi all. This week I have another guest post from Clinton Bonner. He and I met up at BlogWell a couple of weeks ago and turned me onto a really cool idea with is on the forefront of online loyalty for blogs and other web-based programs. Clinton has a great writing style and was the first one to introduce me to this new concept of check-ins.  If you have experience in this area be sure to leave a comment. Guest Blog Post below, hope you love it!

Today's guest post is written by Clinton Bonner, VP of Consumer Engagement at EarnMOJO.

Beyond Those Silly Badges: Check-Ins Matter!

The concept of "check-ins" are literally popping up everywhere. In this post-Foursquare world, niche gamification applications are all the rage, focusing on improving engagement among target audiences. Folks are no longer only checking in to physical locations. Sure, sites like Shopkick helps you to score some instant discounts for physically checking-in to a store, but new concepts like MOJO allow readers to check-in to their favorite blogs and web-sites, and there's even Untappd which lets beer enthusiasts check-in to the bubbly beverage they are currently enjoying and share the experience with their social drinking buddies.This new concept is cropping up everywhere and marketers need to know about it.

When spaces like the check-in sphere get this white-hot and you're seeing start-ups literally spring up daily, one of two things usually happens, and actually often both. The masses begin to get tone deaf to something that had their full attention only months ago (the concept of checking-in) and savvy marketers who see beyond the first level of engagement (badges) get hyper-creative and find incredible new ways to leverage the blooming technology and deliver something truly valuable to the end users.

So how do we move beyond those silly badges and into a place where check-ins actually matter to all involved? Here's a few ideas:

* The actual check-in and initial badge rewarded is NOT the final frontier, in fact it's the engagement USS Enterprise about to leave the space dock. 

* Look for Check-In mechanisms that offer a unique marketing angle to the brands involved. Wouldn't a micro-brewer LOVE to place a sponsored badge inside Untappd's community of drinkers and deliver a specific discount that entices the masses to try their tasty concoction?

* Find Check-In apps that deliver a specific value back to you the user. Maybe it's an instant discount, perhaps it's the ability to accrue points towards a meaningful purchase, whatever the reward, with so many chances to check-in springing up, you bet there are ample opportunities to earn out there. Just find the right one that delivers specific value back to you. 

* From a pure marketing perspective, look for apps. that assuage the masses to engage the content in the exact fashion you hoped they would. So after they initially check-in, a secondary layer of engagement is unveiled driving the actions brands and site owners really want. Whether this means a Facebook Share or LIKE, a Tweet with specific #hashtag, or simply more comments on your blog. There are ways, via gamification, to attach incentives to a wide range of actions brands covet most.

If you think the only "value" to check-in applications is earning some piece of cyber-space-junk (aka a worthless badge) I would urge you to take a deeper look at this emerging space.

To experience web check-ins and learn a bit more about game-based marketing mechanics, please visit me at ... hey, you'll even earn a badge for dropping in.


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