Burger 21 bites into National Cheeseburger Day to promote loyalty app
Fast food chain Burger 21 is adding some sizzle to its new mobile application and loyalty platform ahead of National Cheeseburger Day by offering a sweepstakes on social media, as well as a mobile offer for a free cheeseburger, suggesting that national events are ideal for advertising new digital initiatives.
Burger 21 is rewarding fans for downloading its new app by offering anyone who registers a coupon for a complimentary Cheesy Burger. Additionally, the franchise is celebrating National Cheeseburger Day by giving customers the option of uploading a photo of themselves enjoying their free meal onto social media for a chance to win a year’s worth of free cheeseburgers.
“Mobile app success demands two active ingredients: consumer ‘reach’ and ‘frequency’ of use,” said Gary Schwartz, president and CEO of Impact Mobile, New York. “The first goal can be achieved through pure marketing brawn: free offers, free entries to win, free access.
“However, ‘frequency’ is more challenging,” he said. “IBeacons and other trigger tactics can drive awareness and reactivate the app; although, in most cases the app will languish in a folder or a deep screen on the phonetop.”
Driving app downloads
Many fast food chains are recognizing the value in offering consumers a complimentary menu item upon successful download of their new mobile apps. The no-purchase-necessary offers are attractive to fans, and are typically enough of an incentive to convince customers to relinquish some smartphone prime real estate to make room for another application.
Guests have until Sept. 18 to download the app and redeem their offer for a complimentary Cheesy Burger from Burger 21, which has locations in New Jersey, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Arizona.
Consumers will also receive a $5 reward for every seven visits they make to a location. Fast food marketers are in need of strong offers to persuade customers to download their apps as opposed to a competitor’s, especially as the space grows more competitive.
Providing in-app gamification to accompany loyalty platforms is another smart move for food and beverage marketers. Guests may play mobile games while waiting on line or taking a break during the workday, and later receive rewards points for completing a level, which may be redeemed for discounts or free menu items.
Once customers receive a free product, they will be more likely to continue participating in loyalty programs.
“National days make things like cheeseburgers and ice cream not only more timely, but also more fun,” said Djamel Agaoua, senior vice president at Cheetah Mobile, San Francisco. “A national day promotion is a great way to get people excited about your brand—who wouldn’t download an app in exchange for a free burger?
“What this brand needs to be thinking about is how are they going to engage with new app users once the coals have cooled after National Cheeseburger Day?” he said. “Offering free menu items needs to be part of a much larger mobile strategy that integrates offline and online experiences.
“It’s one thing to get a surge in app downloads, it’s another to have a strong mobile strategy to keep users engaged, coming in for more cheeseburgers and serving as brand advocates.”
Burger 21’s app is available for iOS and Android devices.
Burger 21 is also hosting a social media sweepstakes to ramp up sales of its Cheesy Burgers and retain app downloads. Consumers who receive a free burger are asked to snap a photo of themselves enjoying their meal in the restaurant and upload it to Instagram or Facebook via the #BCheesy hashtag.
A grand prize winner will be randomly selected on Sept. 19, and will receive a year’s worth of complimentary burgers.
The ease of completing the challenge will likely prompt many customers to partake in the sweepstakes, thereby disseminating organic ads for the burgers on their social media newsfeeds. Friends, family and other followers may spot the photo of a guest eating a Cheesy Burger and feel inspired to pick one up for a meal at some point.
Burger 21 is not the only burger marketer to leverage mobile offers and social media to bolster sales and awareness of menu items.
This past March, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s introduced the new Thickburger El Diablo via a $1-off coupon on the chains’ mobile-optimized sites and encouraged fans of spicy foods to post their experiences eating the burger with the #DiabloDare hashtag to win prizes, proving that mobile coupons reign supreme in driving sales of new products (see story).
Meanwhile, TGI Fridays fueled customers to share the casual dining chain’s burgers with friends by making a purchase in-store, entering the receipt code onto a mobile-optimized site and sharing an offer for a free burger across social media networks that could only be redeemed by the first recipient to claim it (see story).
However, Burger 21’s app reach could be hampered by the limited amount of bricks-and-mortar locations the chain currently boasts.
“With 17 Burger 21 restaurants presently open spread over seven states, it may be hard to drive relevancy and long-term adoption,” Impact Mobile’s Mr. Schwartz said.
Alex Samuely, editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York