App User Lifecycle

The Tipping Point: How simple push notifications can make a big difference

The concept of a tipping point is reasonably simple to understand. If you’ve ever stacked rocks, blocks or just about anything else, you instantly recognize that moment when your center of gravity has shifted, and your creation is about to fall over.

Unlike card castles, when you’re building a business you actually want to create a tipping point. You want the sum total of all the little things you’ve done to contribute to a tectonic plate shift, a noticeable movement that undeniably changes the trajectory of your business.

Take the example of how you go about generating business. When you start, most companies need to establish an “outbound” form of customer acquisition. That includes your sales guy (or gal) reaching out to prospects via email, phone, events, promotions and a host of other tactics. After a time, you realize that hiring more people doesn’t scale and you should create content, thought leadership and marketing materials to draw people to you (“inbound”). A business reaches a tipping point when its primary customer acquisition tactic shifts from outbound than inbound.

Because the world of mobile engagement is new, even a few simple push notifications can be your app’s tipping point.

There are dozens, and depending on your business, possibly hundreds of push notifications you could be sending. “Thank you,” “Figs on sale,” “Toys for your tot” and “Come see us again” are but of few of many messages most businesses could be conveying to improve their customer engagement.

But if I had to boil it down to three messages that might tip the scales, magically converting your browsers into buyers, it would be these:

Apathy Destroyer.

Nothing more frustrating than users slowly fading into the sunset. They need to be brought back into the fold with a reminder of why your app matters.  Try something like, “I haven’t seen you in awhile (“X”), you might be interested in Y” (X can be set to any amount of time (minutes / hours / days) and triggers a personalized push notification about something that matters to them, Y).

The Strong Opening series.

It’s (literally) impossible to make a second first impression. But in mobile, first impressions are made quickly and when done poorly can lead to instant user abandonment. Rather than leave it to chance, choreograph you users’ first 7-10 days with a series of thoughtful messages. Help them discover new parts of your app, remind them of key features or offer promotions. Make sure they hear from you early and reasonably often.

S’up Little Bro.

Sometimes an effectively targeted, highly personalized push notification requires going NSA via FB on you’re A$$. Yes, I’m talking about Facebook retargeting to re-acquire existing users (the NSA reference was just to pay off my Big Brother reference … which clearly wasn’t that good or else I wouldn’t be explaining it to you). All those folks that came once only never to return must be re-acquired. The cost to re-engage existing customers is 10x the cost to recruit new ones.

Arguably every stage of your customer journey features tipping points. The idea is to think about these key engagement moments and make the most of them. Well-timed and personalized push notifications can get you there.


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