Digital marketing isn’t what it used to be. Mobile has broadened the spectrum and has given marketers new ways to communicate with their customers in a timely and relevant manner.
Take push notifications, for instance. According to “The State of Mobile Adoption” report by Message Systems, at least 80% of the more than 200 messaging decision-makers surveyed last year had adopted or planned to adopt push notifications this year—trailing behind IM chat (83%), mobile apps (86%), responsive design emails (89%), and SMS text (89%). And it’s not hard to see why. The “2014 Mobile Behavior Report” by Salesforce Marketing Cloud declares that 64% of the 470 consumers surveyed opt in to receive push notifications, and 80% of this group find them useful.
Troy Morris, director of strategic services for mobile marketing automation platform provider OtherLevels, says that push notifications offer many benefits that other forms of messaging—like email—can’t provide. Consumers’ inboxes are “overflowing” with messages, he says, and push notifications can be a more interruptive and immediate way to grab consumers’ attention in a contextually relevant way.
However, the mobile messaging mechanism still has its fair share of challenges. Based on client data, Morris says that about 50% of mobile users who initially download a brand’s app will opt out of mobile messaging in the first 72 hours.
That’s why Ramsey Masri, CEO of OtherLevels, says that marketers can’t solely rely on push to communicate with their customers.
“I think the misconceptions out there are that you can rely on push alone, and that’s not the case,” Masri says. “Many people turn push off. What happens then? You’re done.”
Ultimately, Masri says marketers need to have multiple messaging mechanisms—such as SMS, email, or pop-ups—so that they can reach customers through the channels that they prefer. In fact, Morris says marketers should use push notifications to connect to other channels and create a more holistic experience, such as by sending a push notification linked to an interstitial message.
“Anytime that you can use push notifications to link to a deeper message type that allows for a more meaningful connection with your consumer, you’re going to see a boost out of that,” he notes.
Here are four tidbits of advice to help marketers to this even better:
1. Tell an end-to-end story.
When linking push notifications to other messaging mechanisms, Morris advises marketers to keep the native experience in mind. For instance, he says that if a mobile gaming company has created a new feature, it can send a targeted message to people who may be interested in this addition and link to an interstitial ad to show off some bonus features. The important thing to keep in mind, he notes, is the connection between the content or the message, the target segment, and business’s desired outcome.
“Really you’re telling a story to your player or to your end user,” he explains. “So you need to make sure that you’re able to articulate that in a way that’s clear for them.”
To best determine this flow of information, Masri suggests focusing on three things: providing enough touchpoints, having the right platform in place to automate the process, and identifying the exact customer journey marketers want users to take. He also recommends conducting A/B testing to ensure that the journey customers are taking through these channels is actually effective, rather than annoying. For instance, are deployed push notifications driving revenue, or are people simply turning them off?
2. Focus on engaged consumers.
Pressures to produce more sales leads and revenue can cause marketers to “fish in the ocean,” Morris says—i.e. cast the widest net to capture as many potential new customers as possible. However, this tactic can be pretty costly, he notes, and usually falls on deaf ears. That’s why Morris recommends focusing attention and resources on consumers who have already opted in and are engaged. Once those consumers are satisfied, then marketers can move on to the opt-out crowd.
“Targeting a smaller but higher engaged group of consumers with data-driven integrated marketing strategies will support a more frequent and more meaningful customer engagement,” he says.
Take a look at the following chart released in July from OtherLevel’s. Referred to as the “Pyramid of Opportunity,” the graph advises marketers to focus their efforts on the top 20 to 25% of its customer base—a.k.a. it’s most active segment.
“The diagram from the infographic suggests that these customers are far more valuable as a potential revenue generators than three quarters of the rest of the consumers who are not yet engaged or opted in,” Morris says. “So essentially the Pyramid of Opportunity is a strategy for targeting those active users, but still coming back and focusing on first- and second-time visitors after you fully embrace those already-engaged customers.”
The best part? Morris says that this graph applies to all channels—promoting a more integrated thought process.
3. Give consumers choice.
The secret to getting customers to opt in to additional channels is to ensure that each channel provides value. And giving customer choices—say how frequently they receive communications or what kind of messages they receive (i.e. promotional versus brand news)—can strengthen this worth to shoppers.
“Those levels of granular control can go a long way in terms of giving a user who’s on the fence all of the reason in the world to say, “Yes, I trust you,” Morris says.
So while a customer may not be interested in receiving SMS promotions, he may be interested in an email newsletter. Let him choose.
4. Don’t be afraid of opt outs.
Of course, marketers can’t please everybody. People are going to opt out. But instead of dwelling on the inattentive customers you’ve lost, marketers should focus on the engaged customers that they have.
“You’re going to lose some people on the opt out no matter what you do,” Morris says. “Marketers need to be OK with that as long as they don’t run the risk of swimming upstream from those folks who are willing up front to engage.”