4 Signs Media & Entertainment Marketers Need to Up Their Messaging Game

There’s more to great customer messaging than a blast email once a month

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It can be a little scary to be a media brand these days.

There are so many distractions out there, and technology has made it easier than ever for people to switch between different apps and websites, allowing them dip in and consume an article or a video or a song, and then go on their merry way. Convincing those one-off and occasional readers, viewers, and listeners to engage again and become regular users takes thoughtful planning and the right tools. And if you accomplish that, there’s a new struggle just around the corner—holding onto those new customers over the long term.

Whether your brand focuses on video, music, or written content, one of the best ways to keep current reader/viewers/listeners engaged is thoughtful, responsive customer messaging. By reaching out to customers with messages that provide value and are relevant to their interests, marketers can build durable relationships with their audience, boosting ongoing engagement with their content, while simultaneously increasing retention and making monetization easier.

A lot of media brands aren’t quite there yet. To help out, we’ve put together a list of four signs that your brand might not be using your messaging capabilities to their full potential, as well as four important steps that brands can take to improve the results they see from their outreach. Take a look!

4 signs that you need to up your messaging game

1. You don’t send customers any messages

Anything’s possible. Maybe your customers will find their way to that new album or just-released video on their own. Maybe they’ll learn how to create a playlist or how to add content to their favorites section without any outside guidance. Maybe they’ll even decide to invite their friends to visit your website or download your app without a nudge from your marketing team. But if your brand isn’t sending messages to its users, the truth is that you’re leaving a lot of important things up to chance.

2. You send your customers messages, but only in one channel
Web and mobile messaging chanels

There’s nothing wrong with mobile push notifications or email. But every messaging channel has its strengths and weaknesses, and if you’re relying on one channel to reach every one of your users in every kind of situation, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Mobile and web push notifications require customers to opt in to receive them; users have to choose to join your email list; and in-app and in-browser messages (and News Feed Cards, for that matter) are only visible to users who are actively viewing your app or website. Multichannel messaging doesn’t just increase the odds that a customer actually sees the messages you send—it can also increase the odds that they’re retained by 131%.

2. You send messages, but only once a month or less

Sending your customers too many or too frequent messages is a real problem with real consequences for brands that do it, including irritated customers, increased push notification opt-outs and email unsubscribes, and spiking app uninstalls. But sending too few messages too infrequently can undermine the effectiveness of your customer outreach, too. If you send push notifications once a month or less, for instance, there’s a strong chance that recipients of that first message will have forgotten that they ever opted in to receive push and will opt out or uninstall your app. There’s a middle ground between pestering your users with endless messages and ignoring them for weeks at a time—find it by testing cadences and monitoring engagement rates and your feedback channels.

4. Your messaging campaigns are all blasts to your entire audience

Sometimes it makes sense to send the exact same message to your whole user base. Maybe you’re a news brand and there was just a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or other event that it’s essential to let everybody know about. Maybe your brand just merged with another company and all of your users now need to download a different app to keep getting your content. But in most situations, you’re going to see better results if the outreach you send is targeted exclusively to the members of your audience who are likely to be interested in and engage with that particular message. In fact, research carried out by Appboy (that’s us!) has found that sending targeted messages to receptive customers can increase engagement by up to 200%!

4 big steps that media brands can take to improve their messaging results

1. Ensure that your brand is tracking customer data effectively

 Mobile data collection

Today’s best marketing is build on customer data. The intimacy and ever present nature of mobile devices, along with the web’s tracking capabilities, makes it possible for marketers to gather nuanced information on their audience’s preferences, interests, and engagement with their brand faster and more accurately than ever before. But that kind of customer data collection doesn’t just happen—brands need to think through their audience’s customer journey and take steps to ensure that they’re collecting the data they need to provide their customers with outreach that adds value and nudges them toward stronger engagement.

2. Use customer data to personalize the outreach you send

Media Personalization example

Message personalization is a powerful way to make your outreach more appealing and valuable to the people receiving it—in fact, using personalization tools to individually customize the content of customer messages has been shown to increase conversions by 27.5%. And this tool is particularly useful for media brands. If, for instance, you’re looking to promote albums that have recently been added to your streaming service, you’re going to get better results sending messages to your customers that highlight new music from an artist that they’ve recently listened to or have added to their favorites list, rather than just choosing an artist at random. By taking advantage of the customer data at your disposal to improve the relevance and value of your messages, you can demonstrate to your users both that you value their time and attention and that you understand them and their preferences. That’s the kind of thing strong customer/brand relationships are built on.

3. Trigger messaging based on user actions

For media brands, consistent customer engagement with their content is at the core of their business. And one of the best ways to encourage your readers/viewers/listeners to keep engaging on a regular basis is to automatically trigger messages when they carry out (or fail to carry out) certain actions. Imagine, for example, that your video streaming service has all eight Harry Potter movies available to stream. If a viewer watches two of the movies and then doesn’t watch any of the other ones during the next week, you could automatically trigger a push notification highlighting their recent viewing and encouraging them to check out Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This kind of deeply relevant, responsive messaging doesn’t just encourage deeper engagement with your content—it gives customers a reason to keep coming back again and again.

4. Establish a regular messaging cadence

Once you’ve shown your audience that you understand their tastes and can provide them with relevant content that fits their needs, your brand has a real opportunity to convince them to make a habit of visiting your website or app, significantly increasing the chances that they stay engaged with your brand over the long haul. A great way to do that is by establishing a regular messaging cadence for your non-triggered campaigns. If you’re a news app, maybe that means sending a morning news round-up highlighting stories that each customer is likely to want to read. If, on the other hand, your brand focuses on streaming movies, you might want to send customers messages on a particular day of the week to let them know about the films that their previous viewing indicates they’d like. That consistency will likely lead your users to expect—and look forward to—outreach from your brand at certain times, encouraging them to engage with your content on a regular schedule and making it easier to retain them.

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