It has never been easier for companies to communicate with their customers. You have access to a great many channels, including emails, in-app messages, push notifications and personalized website messages.
But customer communication is a double-edged sword. Get it right, and you can surprise and delight your customers; get it wrong, and you can annoy them to the point where they switch to one of your competitors. For great mobile engagement, it’s essential to offer the right communications by building personalized app experiences.
Getting customer communications wrong
The bad news is that it’s very easy to make a mistake. Nobody likes being spammed or likes getting the impression that they are just a faceless entity in the eyes of the companies they buy from. It’s all too easy to make them feel that way.
There are three levels of poorly-targeted mobile engagement. Starting from the worst …
Bombarding your customers with non-stop messages is a bad idea at the best of times; doing it with blatant sales messages is about the worst possible thing you can do. There’s no better way to annoy people and lead them to uninstall your app and block your other forms of communication. It’s not unusual for victims of spam to vow never to buy from the company again.
Endless irrelevant messages
Even if you are not constantly trying to sell to customers, firing a constant stream of in-app messages to them is always going to be irritating unless they are relevant and personalized. Push notifications are often among the worst offenders, pushing multiple messages per day, few if any of them specifically targeted to specific users.
You’re not spamming, and you’re not flooding users with messages, but if your app notifications are not personalized in nature and tailored to individuals, they can still eventually lead people to uninstall the app.
Getting customer communications right
The good news is the tech industry offers mobile analytics and engagement platforms to help you avoid these mistakes and deliver optimized app engagement. What does this type of mobile marketing look like? We could consider there to be four levels of mobile engagement.
Less is more where communicating with customers is concerned. But on its own, sending fewer communications can feel like you may be missing out on mobile engagement opportunities. What if the very day you didn’t send a message was the one day the customer was actively looking for an opportunity to purchase? That’s where the second characteristic comes in.
Level two would be segmented – personalized messages delivered based on known user data like demographics and location. An 18-year-old female fashion intern from downtown LA would be sent a very different push notification to those received by a 66-year-old retired firefighter in Scranton, Pennsylvania. By definition, each user will receive far fewer messages if each is sent only to one specific segment. Many of today’s mobile analytics products will allow you to do this (to varying degrees).
One better than segmented is truly personalized mobile engagement campaigns, where communications reflect not just the known interests of the customer, but also their observed behavior. For example, which features do they use most in an app? What products have they favorited in a store catalog? This is the type of mobile engagement and analytics data that is offered by more sophisticated platforms.
But even a personalized message is of limited value if it’s delivered in the wrong place or at the wrong time. There’s no value in knowing that a customer has favorited three pairs of winter boots if she favorited them last month and bought them last week. This is why the very best platforms, like CleverTap, allow you to see that Jane Doe favorited the boots this morning and is at a shopping mall this afternoon. That would be the best time to send a special deal when buying three items of footwear.
Using the most appropriate channel for mobile engagement
Finally, the marketing channel used can make a big difference to both customer perceptions of a message, and its effectiveness.
Email is an excellent method of sending a non-urgent communication, especially letting people know about things in advance. While nobody likes to feel they’re being spammed, email is considered less intrusive than more immediate forms of communication like text messages and push notifications.
In-app messages are great for responding to real-time consumer behavior within the app. If John Doe has been using your travel app to check out flights to Miami, he’s probably going to be interested in any hotel and restaurant offers in the same city. An email he may not read until the next day isn’t ideal while an in-app message is perfect.
Push notifications are one of the most intrusive forms of communication and need to be reserved for messages that are both personalized and timely. That footwear offer to Jane Doe as she walks into the shopping mall is the perfect example.
These types of mobile engagement tactics can make your customers feel like the app is not merely helpful, but almost telepathic!