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What Can Mobile Push Notifications Do for You?

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by: Darryl Bolduc (@darrylbolduc)
25 September 2015

With mobile engagement and sales on the rise, many marketers are eager to incorporate push notifications into their marketing efforts to see what push can do for them. But perhaps the more important question you should be asking yourself is, “What can mobile push notifications do for our customers?”

When harnessed correctly, push notifications can be a powerful tool, putting you front and center on a user’s personal device. But in your haste to implement this new exciting tactic, you want to make sure you’re not making the same mistake many marketers have made in the email channel – pushing content out without any context related to who the recipient is or what action he or she has taken. In fact, given the more intrusive nature of push notifications, relevance may be even more important here than with email.

Take a look around — your consumers have a mobile relationship with your brand. As such, they’d likely appreciate push notifications based on to the activities and behaviors they complete with a brand – perhaps more than yet another generic promotional email. My point is that brands and marketers have a fantastic opportunity to employ push notifications as part of their lifecycle marketing strategies.

Here’s why: As a brand you have something your customer carries around with them for countless hours per day. Recent studies have shown that Americans spend nearly 5 hours per day on their smartphones and 85 percent of that time in apps. This gives you so much more potential insight into when that customer is close to your influence (proximity), when they read your emails and for how long, and how they interact with your app.

If you’ve developed a reason for customers to interact with you regularly in an app, you have a direct line into Web-type analytics and can integrate data that used to be only available through lifecycle-type emails. If you think about it, the app behaviors available to be utilized by marketers are pretty much limitless:

  • You can thank users for researching a deal you just sent them.
  • You can tabulate the total deals they've taken advantage of and incent the next threshold.
  • You can include reorder reminders based on past purchases and duration since.
  • You can monitor time since last use and try to re-engage.

Does this sound like the lifecycle marketing strategy employed in the email world? Well, it is – and more! Does this complicate how we manage our email strategies? Of course. Does it enhance what we can do? Again, yes! Consider the possibilities:

  • You could use activity across channels to contribute to a scoring model and determine who your most engaged users are.
  • You could employ of combination of push reminders and email reminders to more effectively meet your goals.
  • You could leverage a mix of traditional mobile push messages and in-app rich push notifications to drive greater mobile engagement.
  • You could complement your loyalty program emails by sending private on-location, after-hours sales invitations via push to your best customers.

The bottom line is that if the mobile push messages you’re sending are relevant and directly actionable on the device on which a user is reading it on, take rates should be better than anything you've tried before. (If you have an awesome mobile commerce experience, this is also possible with email.)

So, let me leave you with these final thoughts:

  • If you aren't incorporating high-value Web activities in your sending and push strategies, start doing so.
  • If you’ve only thought of push as location- or proximity-based, think about it more as a part of your full strategy.
  • Know that mobile capabilities will constantly change, but you have some immediate tools at your disposal that you can take advantage of today.

Will you think about push marketing differently in the future? I hope so. If you’d like to learn more about our mobile capabilities and get more mobile marketing tips, please visit the IBM Marketing Cloud page and check out the resources below.

Related Resources:

1) Tip Sheet: “10 Tips for Getting Started with Mobile App Push Notifications

2) Blog: “To App or Not to App: 3 Tips for Making the Most Out of a Mobile App for Retail Omni-channel Marketing

3) Blog: “App + Email = Ecommerce Done Beautifully


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