5 Ways To Optimize Your Mobile Marketing Platform… Before You Start Using One

Get a head start on mobile marketing success with these key preparations

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Dear reader: This blog post is vintage Appboy. We invite you to enjoy the wisdom of our former selves—and then for more information, check out our new Cross-Channel Engagement Difference Report.

As mobile entrenches itself in the world economy, reshaping industries, altering customer expectations, and contributing $3 trillion to global GDP, savvy brands are working to use this powerful technology to build stronger customer relationships and position themselves for long-term success. For many of those companies, that means investing in a mobile marketing automation platform to better reach their audiences.

While a best-in-class mobile marketing automation platform is a major asset in reaching, engaging, retaining, and monetizing your audience, it’s not a magic bullet. Companies that charge in blindly are going to get worse results than ones that prepare thoughtfully before getting started, of course.

Over the last four and a half years, Appboy has worked with hundreds of client apps and we’ve seen everything from bumpy implementations to seamless takeoffs—thankfully more of the latter. To help you achieve great results, we’ve identified five steps you can take that will boost the effectiveness of your mobile marketing automation efforts from day one. Take a look!

1) Get a handle on your data


Customer data

It’s always smart to know what information your brand is collecting about its customers. But it’s particularly important when you’re planning to start using a mobile marketing automation platform. Mobile is intimate and mobile marketing works best when it takes advantage of customer data to power personalized messaging and individually targeted outreach.

If you don’t know what information you’re currently collecting, this is the time to find out. And if your brand has already invested in robust analytics, this is a great time to identify potential trouble spots in your data collection and engagement efforts. Whether you’re having a hard time getting reliable retention statistics, or struggling to get customers to complete your app’s onboarding process, having that knowledge makes it easier to fit your mobile data collection to your brand’s actual needs.

If you’re already tracking the right customer activity for your brand, you can use that information to establish clear baselines for engagement, retention, and other important metrics before you start using your mobile marketing platform. That way, you can easily tell whether your use of the platform is resulting in real ROI and adjust as needed.

2) Map out your customer journey and content calendar

Person walking

Before you start messaging customers, make sure that you have a handle on what ultimate goal you’re looking for customers to reach and what steps they need to take along the way. This progression—from downloading your app to becoming an engaged, loyal, long-term user—is your customer journey. And the more completely you understand it, the easier it is to craft responsive, automated messages and campaigns that will encourage customers to carry out key steps and eventually complete that journey.

If you have a good handle on your customer information, use that data to inform your understanding of your app’s specific customer journey and to identify steps where customers are disengaging. For instance, imagine that your brand has a music app that tends to retain customers who have created a playlist, but loses a lot of people who haven’t. That knowledge allows you to pinpoint playlist creation as a major part of your app’s customer journey and focus future messaging on getting new customers to take that step.

If you don’t currently have access to this kind of data, this process will necessarily be based more on intuition at first. But just as your audience data can inform your understanding of the customer journey, having a good handle of your customer journey can give you insight into what audience data you need to be collecting. Expect both of these steps to influence each other as you prepare to start using a mobile marketing automation platform.

As you outline and refine the essential parts of your customer journey, it makes sense to start thinking about how seasons, holidays, and recurring events can be used in your outreach. Adding current references to your outreach is a great way to keep your lifecycle-focused campaigns feeling fresh and putting together a simple content calendar that highlights recurring events (like back to school shopping season, Valentine’s Day, or the Super Bowl) will make it easier to plan ahead effectively when designing your outreach.

3) Think through your brand’s mobile voice

Person speaking

The intimacy of mobile means that your push notifications and in-app messages will likely work best if they’re looser and less formal than your outreach in other mediums, but it’s still important to make sure that the messages you send fit your brand. To get ready, put serious thought into what your brand’s voice should sound like when translated to the highly personalized, character-limited world of mobile.

For instance, if your brand’s image is highly dependent on lush, detailed print and web advertising, channels like in-app messages and email that support rich content are likely to function relatively naturally as an extension of that image. Push notifications, on the other hand, are most effective when they have fewer than 25 characters in length, so simply extending your existing brand image to this channel isn’t likely to pay dividends. Instead, try experimenting with different styles of copy until you find one that feels complementary—and make sure that you’re only sending push notifications when the message you’re looking to convey fits that channel’s strengths.

Once you’ve figured out how your marketing team should present your brand in mobile messages, you can start preparing message templates, finding appropriate images, and brainstorming copy. By planning ahead here, you can make sending that first campaign as easy as possible and help your mobile presence fit with the rest of your brand.

4) Invest in an install attribution tool

Investment chart

While a small number of apps manage to grow a significant audience entirely through word of mouth and other forms of organic acquisition, most brands that move to establish or expand their mobile presence use paid acquisition to build a customer base. If your brand is doing paid acquisition (or planning to), consider finding an install attribution tool to make the most of those efforts.

Install attribution data lets you identify the relevant ad and the platform it ran on for every person acquired this way, giving you insight into these customer’s digital habits and helping you to understand what drew them to your app. Install attribution isn’t free, but then neither is paying for new customers. And if you’re going to spend money to grow your audience, it only makes sense to ensure you’re collecting acquisition data that will inform your mobile marketing efforts and make it easier to retain them as customers over the long haul.

5) Keep your eyes open

Man using binoculars

You can learn a lot from watching others. As you get ready to use your mobile marketing automation platform, make sure to start documenting what your competitors are doing on mobile. Download their apps. Opt in to push notifications and emails. See what kinds of messages they’re sending, figure out which ones work and which ones don’t.

Pay particular attention to their messaging cadence and how they make use of different messaging channels. Are they sending push notification after push notification? Are they using multichannel messaging campaigns? These insights can be incredibly valuable as you start to put together your own mobile messaging strategy.

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