How to Know Which Mobile Messaging Channel to Use in Any Situation
- Wes McDowell
- January 13, 2017
If you have an app, it may be one your most valuable connections with your customers. It’s a great beginning for your relationship, but getting someone to download your app is not enough. To be successful with mobile marketing, you need to engage with your users. You want them to be customers, to use your products or services or buy your merchandise.
Fortunately, you have many ways — think of them as channels — to connect with your mobile audience.
Let’s consider how you can make the most of your ability to communicate with customers, so they stay involved, and you have continued opportunity to strengthen your business relationship, by evaluating ways you can use mobile messaging.
First, think about the value mobile messaging brings. Your users are out there busy with their lives, and you want them to remember you. Perhaps you’re having a sale — you’ve lowered prices to try to move product quickly and the more people you can reach with that message, the better.
Or you have news you want to share — perhaps a new product or feature. You want to share this information and get your customers excited about it.
Do you want to reach users to ask them to rate your performance? Getting ratings (don’t we all hope for five stars?) lets us know how we’re doing and hopefully influences others, getting them to download the app or try a product or service. Mobile messaging is an excellent way to ask for ratings after your user has made a purchase or had other interaction via your app.
These are just three examples of many reasons you want to be in touch with your customers.
Within the mobile world, there are many ways you can reach customers with these and other messages.
Mobile messaging channels
If you have an app, there are at least four mobile messaging channels available to you. Let’s look at each of them and consider their pros and cons.
- Email – you have email addresses for your app users, and this communication channel remains an effective way to reach mobile customers.
- In-app Messaging (https://www.urbanairship.com/in-app-messaging-explained) — just as described, messages your users receive when they’re using your app. Depending on how your app is set up, they may be in a message center or pop up while your customer is using the app.
- Newsfeeds – if your app has a newsfeed feature, it provides you with a way to give your message a longer life than a pop-up message. Your users may get used to checking the newsfeed for your latest content, especially if it’s information they value.
- Push Notifications (https://www.urbanairship.com/push-notifications-explained) — when you send a push notification, it pops up as a message on your app user’s mobile device. We’ll talk more about how you can use them further on. Important to know: users don’t have to be in your app to receive push notifications.
Best uses, by situation
When sharing news, such as your new products or features, your best bet is email teamed up with in-app messaging. Here’s why:
- Undoubtedly you have email addresses for many people who downloaded your app but aren’t using it actively. You can craft an email to share your news as a hook to renew interest within this group.
- And you can share your message with active users with in-app messaging. However, there is a caveat: you don’t want to disrupt user experience with your app by loading people up with promotional messages. So consider testing your message on a small group of app users first. Study their click-through rates and be sure you’re sending out a message that your users will perceive as valuable to them in some way.
Promoting a Sale
When alerting shoppers of a flash sale, use push notification combined with your news feed. Here’s why:
- The very nature of a push notification is perfect for publicizing a sale or other offer that has a short life because they promote a sense of urgency. Something to consider, though, is the percentage of your users who have opted in for push notifications. We’ve found that may be as little as 40 percent. (http://andrewchen.co/why-people-are-turning-off-push/) Because of this, you will only reach a portion of your active users. It also means you want to be certain you’re pushing out a great offer that your users will perceive as valuable so they will keep this option open to you.
- Putting your offer in your news feed is an excellent companion to the push notification because it will be there for all of your users to discover. Even if they see it after your promotional offer has expired, they’ll get the idea that you put offers in the newsfeed, and that may build user interest in that feature of your app.
Requesting a user rating
When hitting up your users for a 5-star rating, in-app messaging and newsfeed are a great combination. Here’s why:
- The very fact that someone is using your app makes in-app messaging an effective way to reach your most active users. If they’ve made a purchase or used your service, follow-up with an in-app message is a very natural way to interact with them. You’re showing them that you care and want feedback about their experience.
- An alternative, though weaker, is to include requests for feedback in your newsfeed, with a link to a rating form.
In addition to choosing the right mobile messaging channels, it’s important to consider the timing of your message as well as opportunities to strengthen it by personalization.
Using mobile messaging can drive business — take the time to test both your messages and your methods so you can find exactly the right combination for your business. Record your data, fine-tune your efforts and you’ll continue to build brand-strengthening relationships through your app.
The beauty of having different mobile messaging channels available is that you can mix and match to achieve maximum reach by understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each of these channels and the place they have in your overall marketing effort.
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