Each New Year brings a barrage of new and exciting trends destined to shake the foundation of digital marketing. This year, mobile surpassed desktop Internet use with people spending 54 percent of their digital time on mobile apps. Mobile is indeed everywhere, and brands are looking for new strategies that speak to the mobile audience while simultaneously enhancing customer experience and meeting business objectives.
Mobile messaging is emerging as an important marketing tool for reaching consumers directly in a “mobile first” economy. Luckily, there’s plenty to learn from those who are doing it right. Here’s a glimpse into what smart brands are doing with mobile messaging and a few key principles that can help drive business results.
Messaging Use Cases – Brands Who Are Doing It Well
Mobile messaging is proving valuable for brands looking for specific outcomes to use cases associated with mobile applications without having to engage a development team or roll out a new version of an app. In fact, from a marketing standpoint, many issues can be addressed simply by using analytics data as a guide. The following examples from a major insurance company and a national hotel chain highlight opportunities with mobile messaging and how innovative brands employ mobile messaging effectively.
Improving App Ratings
When we think about the opportunities with mobile messaging, one of the most obvious advantages for brands is the ability to improve certain aspects of the app experience. For example, one insurance company was concerned about a poor rating that one of its apps was generating at the app store. In talking through possible steps to resolve the problem, the conversation immediately turned to in-app messaging. How could they entice satisfied customers to leave a positive review?
They began by identifying the key activity within the app that the typical customer enjoys the most. They then used that information to target the precise moment – that point where the customer was overjoyed – to ask for a rating.
With this in mind, this insurance company rolled out a new feature that allowed users to pay their bill directly from the mobile app, eliminating time and energy logging into the website to manage an account. The idea was to give customers the chance to experience and enjoy the in-app payment feature and then ask for a review immediately after a successfully processed payment. Within a few days, they received over 40 positive reviews, increasing the app’s star rating from a 2 to a 4. The overall impact was fantastic – not only did the rating improve, but ranking within the app store also improved, resulting in increased downloads.
Resolving A Mobile Key Issue
An international hotel group was able to use mobile messaging to effectively address an issue guests were having with mobile hotel room keys not working properly. The hotel collected data on the number of failures as well as the room numbers where they occurred the most. Still, this didn’t address the specific problem of guests unable to get into their rooms.
The mobile key solution only worked with Bluetooth technology. The hotel realized that customer data could show whether the technology was turned on preceding a failed attempt to use the key. So, sending a message to guests informing them that the mobile key only worked with Bluetooth technology was extremely valuable. But then, going a step further, they could also provide information on how to turn the technology on using certain phones, enhancing customer experience in tremendous ways.
The hotel concluded that if it could detect a specific model phone, an iPhone 6 for example, it could illustrate how to hold the phone in front of the hotel door to engage the mobile app. Countless use cases were identified, from help turning on Bluetooth to describing how to hold various models of mobile phones for the best response – even contacting a help desk after multiple failed attempts.
For this company, in-app messaging offered a smart, practical way to enhance customer experience by sending a helpful personalized message. Ultimately, they realized it could avoid spending months in development creating customized detectors for each device when the entire process could be completed, literally, in one afternoon.
Key Principles for Mobile Messaging Success
Timing is everything. With mobile messaging, timing really is essential. For instance, if you’re looking to boost an app’s rating, identifying the exact moment when the customer is happiest using it is the key to asking for a positive review – and getting it. When is the right time? It could be every time the app launches, but it could also be every time a new version of the app addresses a problem an older version cannot. When users enter the “help” portion of an app, it can be assumed that there’s an issue that needs to be resolved. That’s a good time to reach out to let them know about a new version and how it may be better equipped to meet their needs.
Offer valuable information that enhances customer experience. Brands are starting to use mobile messaging to disseminate information that improves the overall experience. Alerting users to advanced functionality in an app or providing important “how-to” information can help users navigate an app easier. For example, as part of a new acquisition, the above mention hotel decided to offer free Wi-Fi to customers but were unsure how to go about communicating this new service. Since its mobile user base was most likely to use the app, the decision was made to send out a simple message: “Wi-fi is free, please enjoy.” It was a perfect example of how in-app messaging can inform a specific use case without having to engage multiple teams or take weeks to implement.
Glean insight that you may not see otherwise Some brands have used mobile messaging to identify and remedy missteps with the app design process. For example, one brand discovered issues with app functionality after raising awareness and watching use increase. In this case, messaging helped highlight the fact that functionality was buried in a menu and should be made more prominent.
Mobile consumer engagement is quickly becoming a defining feature of the “mobile first” economy. Brands looking to evolve need to embrace messaging as a preferred channel for reaching customers with information that can enhance the experience in real time.