One sports league embraced mobile marketing by developing an app that sends subscribers game status messages, late in the competition. For example, subscribers might get a message like, “Five minutes left in <team name vs. team name> with <team name> up only three points!” App subscribers can then watch the rest of the game on the app. This seems like a great idea to generate app usage, but, it’s not tailored to the specific user experiences. These messages are sent in blast form to everybody, with subscriber getting four or five notifications a night. To optimize for a better experience, the mobile marketing team should focus messaging around league team favorites as selected by app users.
When we talk about adding mobile messaging to your marketing mix, it’s not always about what steps to take, but more about the end game you’re focusing on when adding mobile messaging to your marketing mix. What is the behavior, action or end result that you want your messaging campaign to drive? More importantly, what is the experience you want to drive?
Once your mobile marketing strategy brings users to your app, you need to understand how you tailor the rest of the experience. What should your users be doing next? If you start with the end in mind, mobile messaging can help you get your users to your desired user experience. Here’s a list of 4 areas you should understand as you start to use mobile messaging in your marketing mix.
#1 Push Notifications Bring Them in
Push messaging should be used to bring people in via app download then give them reasons to get back into the app. Once there, you can drive more engagement with contextual experiences inside the app. In-app messaging is there to boost engagement. If you think in terms of filling the pipeline, push notifications can drive the top of the funnel. In-app messaging can keep them there with relevant, engaging content.
#2 In-App Messages Cross-Promote and Attract Subscriptions
You’ve gotten them to the table, now it’s time to eat. This is where you introduce in-app messaging to your users. This is the time when they’ve started to use your app and you can use messages to show them new features and enhance their usage of your app. Sometimes when you ask new downloaders to subscribe to too many messages too soon, they feel attacked. In-app messaging is a good place to gather subscriptions; after your users have developed a good taste for your app or services.
In-app messaging is also powerful because of its targeting capabilities, and can be a great moment to implement cross promotional strategy. Brands with multiple apps often use in-app messaging to drive traffic to other apps. For example, Disney World’s GPS-enabled My Experience app lets users plan their trip through the park during their visit. The company also recently released a shop app where visitors to easily find and purchase merchandise and have it shipped to their home without standing in line. Disney mobile marketers use in-app messaging to move their audience from the My Experience app to the shop app, enabling a seamless and a more delightful experience. In this case, in-app messaging is the right channel to increase engagement, instead of push notifications. This is where in-app, cross-promotions become part of a multidimensional mobile messaging approach.
#3 Real Time Messaging
In-app messaging gets users to take action while they’re in the app. Once you’ve led them past the initial download, you’ve got an opportunity to respond to their actions, especially premium actions. To be effective, most of the time you’re going to need to serve messaging based on actions occurring in real time. For example, app updates provide a great opportunity for real-time messaging. When an update is complete, you can send the user a message suggesting some new features to try. This supports a broader and deeper use of the app, which, in turn, provides more timely opportunities for in-app messaging.
#4 App Trials Lead to Premium Subscriptions
App trials are also a great way to generate premium subscriptions. Adobe, for example, offers a Lightroom Mobile trial. After the 30-day free trial, you’ll receive an in-app message encouraging you to sign up for the premium edition. We continue to expand the user experience by offering access to our other apps. We use in-app messaging to drive users between apps and into the full app. From there users will then move up to the Creative Cloud. If you’re in Photoshop Mix and use certain features that are akin to Lightroom features, a message pops up suggesting that you might prefer Lightroom because it can enable greater digital appeal of your image. Moving users from Lightroom to Photoshop Mix or vice versa can be a useful tactic because, when trial users are ready to buy, they tend to subscribe to the Adobe Creative Suite. Through messaging, users have been enabled to see the value across all the solutions.
Premium subscriptions can be the end result for an app-messaging initiative, but your initiative may be different. One other sports league that uses in-app messaging to increase premium subscriptions drove more than 150,000 incremental premium subscriptions. The initiative cost them almost nothing to develop and deploy. Users had already downloaded and used the basic version of the app, so upsell messaging was created based on in-app behaviors. This is where the beauty of using in-app messaging can really come to fruition and true value. You’ve got both user preferences and app usage to base premium messaging on.
Don’t build your mobile marketing strategy by deploying messaging in silos. Create an integrated mobile messaging strategy that leverages the relationship between consumers and your apps in multiple ways. Mobile messaging can improve the app experience and lead to better conversions, so plan wisely how you’re going to incorporate mobile messaging into your media mix.