Choosing the Right Mobile Messaging Channel for Your E-Commerce App

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[Guest post by Wes McDowell]

Mobile messaging has become an important part of marketing strategies, allowing easy communication with audiences.

You probably already know that mobile is already huge, and expected to command a larger and larger share of people’s connectivity to the internet. How big? According to GSMA, an international organization representing mobile operators, more than 70 percent of the world’s population will subscribe to a mobile service by 2020.

If you sell products or services, you may already have a mobile app or be considering developing one in the future. Advantages of an app — in addition to improving the customer experience — include increasing brand loyalty and the ability to communicate directly with consumers.

With more and more people using smartphones and other digital devices to access the internet, it’s a no-brainer that your marketing strategy should include mobile messaging, but with as many options as we have available, which messaging channel is the best?

Messaging Channel Choices

Email is among your choices and can be very effective. Marketers have used email for decades, and it continues to be valuable for marketing because it works, and it’s very affordable. Even if you don’t have an app, email provides you with a mobile messaging channel that you can use in many ways. And if you later decide to develop an app, email can help you gain an audience for it.

For many businesses — especially those trying to reach millennials and Gen Xers — having a mobile app has become as important as having a website. And one of the advantages of having an app is that you expand your mobile messaging options to include push notifications, newsfeeds, and in-app messages.

Let’s look at the ways you might use mobile messaging in your marketing to consider the best channel choices.

Best Uses for Mobile Messaging

There are many reasons a marketer might choose to use mobile messaging to connect quickly with customers or prospects. These include publicizing a new product or feature, promoting a sale, or asking for ratings of products or services.

With each of these objectives, you may find that a combination of mobile messaging methods will achieve the best results.

Scenario 1: You Want to Publicize a New Product or Feature

publicize-new-products

Publicizing a new product or feature is an excellent way to get people’s attention, especially those who may not have been active with you recently. You will likely also put the information on your website, but what’s the best way to push the news out?

Best Option: Email

Apps are great, but if people aren’t using your app regularly, don’t to reach them through your app. Email is a great way to reach these people and hopefully renew their interest in your offerings. The email also gives you a greater opportunity to tell more about what’s new, including using photos and even video. And, of course, reminders to use your app or visit your website.

Second Best: In-App Message

To reach active users of your app, use an In-App message to broadcast information to a consumer using your app. Unlike with email, your copy will be limited, so remember to keep it compelling and include a call to action.

Scenario 2: You Want to Promote a Sale

promote-sale

If you’re having a sale or other short-term promotion, you want to get the word out quickly and reach the most people possible, linking them to the offering in your app or on your website.

Best Option: Push Notification

Unlike an In-App Message, your app users don’t have to have your app open to receive a push notification. With most apps, these show up as an “alert” type message on the home screen or may show in some other notification area of the user’s device. These work very well for sale promotion because they promote a sense of urgency. They also offer opportunities for personalization.

Second Best: Newsfeed

If your app has a newsfeed, you can use it to promote a sale. If you regularly use newsfeed for announcements, your users may be in the habit of checking it from time to time.

Scenario 3: You Want to Reconnect With Former Customers

reconnect-with-former-customers

Another way to use mobile messaging effectively in marketing is to reconnect with former customers. You undoubtedly have customers who have your app but haven’t been active in a while. Developing a campaign to rekindle their interest in your app or products can be worthwhile.

Best Option: Email

Just as you might promote a new product with email, you can use it to attempt to attract consumers back to your app. Perhaps you will want to offer a discount or other incentive. In this instance, keep the email short but compelling to get them interested in coming back to your app.

Second Best: Push Notification

Your app doesn’t have to be open for a consumer to receive a push notification (assuming they haven’t blocked them). Use this feature to offer a discount or other incentive to revitalize interaction with your app.

Scenario 4: You Want to Ask for a Rating

ratings

Ratings of your products or services are essential for providing the “social proof” that prospects are looking for when they visit your website.

Of course, it’s also important that you allow anyone who has had an unsatisfactory experience to communicate this to you, so you have a chance to review the transaction and see if something can be done to improve or make it up to the customer, so consider this when you promote ratings.

Best Option: In-App Message

If someone has just used your app to make a purchase, reservation or some other interaction, it’s the perfect time to ask them for a rating and an in-app message is a great way to do this.

Second Best: Newsfeed

Your newsfeed is also a place that you can publish a request for ratings. This way users will be reminded that you’re interested in their opinion and will have an easy way to leave their rating.

Wrapping Up

As with other marketing strategies, you may find that some “mix and match” of your mobile messaging channels is best.

Whether you’re trying to generate interest in a new product, promote a sale, reconnect with former customers, or get people to leave a rating, mobile messaging can help.

Develop your campaigns and experiment with the channels, keeping track of results until you know the combination that yields the greatest results for your business.

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