Gated Offers: A Customer Acquisition Strategy That’s Tripling Conversions

Posted on Aug 27, 2018 · 5 min read

Digital marketers know it from their data: The online buyer-seller relationship is on the rocks. The causes are plain to see.

  1. Consumers are barraged with messages. They’re hounded by urgent tones, remarketing ads, notifications and emailers, and their social media icons light up with red alert buttons begging them to click. They can’t keep up with all the things they’ve searched for, saved or liked, and the growing automation of advertising and marketing means this cacophony will only increase.
  2. Universal discounting is eroding trust. Today’s consumers crave personalization. Broadcast discounts and offers disappear into the background of white noise, forcing brands into a discount treadmill that erodes margins and brand value. They expect brands to understand what they want, and to provide tailored user experiences.
  3. Customer acquisition costs are rising. Fighting for consumer attention through the duopoly platforms Google and Facebook requires more and more money. Ad spend is up while conversion rates are dropping.

In the attention economy, one-to-one engagement with buyers is the new mandate. Marketers have been adjusting their customer acquisition strategies for messaging and have been rewarded for it. Offers and discounts, however have been left in the dark ages of broadcast marketing — until now. Gated offers—protected, exclusive discounts and offers brands provide to highly targeted groups—are emerging as a powerful tool for creating more personalized promotions and increasing growth.

A university student studying. Gated offers are emerging as a powerful way to reach college students and other target segments.

How Gated Offers Boost Customer Acquisition

Many marketers find themselves on a discount treadmill. They interrupt users with generic discount offers that shoppers may not even want—and that can erode their company’s profit margins and brand value.

The new paradigm invites users to become customers by accepting exclusive offers available only to their group—teachers, seniors, military personnel, students or other market segments.

Brands like Urban Outfitters, T-Mobile, and Target are using such programs to improve sales, create brand loyalty, and get repeat business. New technology makes the process simple and efficient. Here’s how it works.

You define your offer and select the group you want to target. When prospects respond to your campaign, SheerID’s Digital Verification Platform instantly confirms their eligibility as a seamless part of the checkout process. After buyers provide a few points of personal, privacy-friendly information—data you can then use to nurture and retain them — the reward is applied to their purchase

A smiling teacher in her classroom. Eighty-eighty percent of teachers said they actively search for companies that offer a teacher discount.

This frictionless digital verification ensures that only eligible shoppers can redeem your offer. No more freeloading by unpaid users or sharing of discount codes. And it’s easy to implement. SheerID just announced a new release of its platform that gives marketers the freedom and autonomy to create DIY campaigns, from setting them up, to tracking and reporting on them. And the campaigns are very popular with the audiences you target.

Gated offers attract loyal customers. You choose a segment and create an offer. Buyers digitally verify their eligibility. Buyers enjoy your offer. You nurture them into long-term customers.

Why Gated Offers Are A Highly Effective Customer Acquisition Strategy

Gated offers are a powerful technique to target and protect promotions. Over two-thirds of Americans said gated offers are more important than traditional coupons that are available to everyone. And gated offers evoke incredibly positive feelings. Fifty-four percent of shoppers said gated offers make them feel rewarded, and 48% said gated offers make them feel excited.

Gated offers have such a profound effect because they tap into a deep sense of belonging. Offers available exclusively to members of a group appeal to their collective identity, which make them feel valued, boosts the speed and amount of their spending, and inspires greater loyalty to the brand.

Gated offers drive consumer behavior. 82% shop at a brand more often. 58% are more likely to purchase, 48% purchase sooner. 40% spend more.

The Solution for Gated Offers: SheerID’s New Digital Verification Platform

Our new release harnesses the power of gated offers by allowing marketers to target and instantly verify multiple new high-value segments. In addition to U.S. students (26 million buyers with $560 billion in spending power), teachers (3.4 million teachers with $2.2 billion in spending power), and the military (34 million buyers with $1 trillion in spending power), you can reach:

  • Seniors, a group that’s 109 million strong, controls 75 percent of the nation’s wealth and has $3.2 trillion in spending power.
  • International students in more than 100 countries, a population of 137 million.
  • Young adults (or any life stage).
  • Small business owners.
  • Employees (for employee and partner discounts).
  • First responders (police, firefighters, EMTs).
  • Professionals on your customer target list.

SheerID’s powerful new features were developed to make gated offer programs highly strategic and efficient. The platform update introduces Composer, a self-service tool that lets you create and manage a gated offer program, upload reward pools, and push your campaign live in minutes.

It also allows you to easily modify ongoing programs and white label campaigns, using your brand’s colors and fonts in the verification form. You can also layer gated discounts on top of other promotions, to accommodate big sale days.

A service member smiling. The military community has 34 million buyers with $1 trillion in spending power.

The dashboard provides granularity and data visualization for bottom-line metrics like conversion rate, sales, average order value, and the amount of discount abuse repelled. The system serves up the information you want quickly through customizable reports, as well as a customer search function that returns specific consumer verifications on request.

SheerID's Performance Dashboard provides metrics on all your gated offer programs.
SheerID’s new Performance Dashboard provides tremendous insight into your gated offer programs.

Admin and user controls make it simple to manage access to editing capabilities, programs and reports, providing visibility while keeping customer information secure.

How Gated Offers Improve Your Bottom Line

Cheating on discount offers and sharing passwords to gain access to special rates are rampant problems that siphon revenue. In our shopper study, we found that 59 million Americans have redeemed a gated offer when they knew they really didn’t qualify, most often through using a code or link forwarded to them by a friend.

Companies that create and protect gated offers for target segments eliminate this discount abuse. They also acquire more customers at lower cost. An ongoing campaign by a leading streaming music service earns a 98 percent conversion rate. And other companies using SheerID average a 3X increase in conversions.

SheerI’Ds ROI Impact Dashboard displays the revenue and other gains from your gated offer program.
SheerI’Ds ROI Impact Dashboard displays the revenue and other gains from your gated offer program.

Use Gated Offers To Revitalize Your Digital Marketing

SheerID’s Digital Verification Platform is part of a game-changing strategy for brands that want to recruit new shoppers more cost-effectively, boost repeat sales, and ensure that customers who subscribe to a service at a discount convert to full price when their eligibility expires.

Join companies like Comcast, Urban Outfitters, Amazon, and HBO Now who are leading on this new approach to the buyer-seller relationship.

Download The Definitive Guide to Gated Offers and see how SheerID’s five-point plan can help you acquire new, long-term customers.

Tony Coray by Tony Coray