4 Dating Tips and How They Can Help You Woo New Customers

Todd Grennan By Todd Grennan Dec 11, 2015

You walk into a restaurant. Nervous. Carrying flowers. There’s someone waiting for you in the back, the person your friend described. You think: maybe this is someone I’ll spend the rest of my life with. Or maybe I’ll never see them again.

All that promise and uncertainty. That’s what a new customer’s first few sessions are like, too. Some will like what they see and grow into loyal members of your audience. Others will churn immediately, or drift away. Their early experiences set the tone for your brand/customer relationship. If you can win over a customer during that first session and build a connection over the days and week that follow, you’re well on your way to creating the kind of consistent engagement that leads to retention. If you alienate them, the odds get a lot longer.

So how do you woo them, make them see all that you have to offer? To find out, we sat down with Appboy’s resident Solutions Consulting expert Dave Wisdom, who identified four essential elements of a good date—which, as someone who regularly takes his wife ballroom dancing, he’s kind of an expert about, too—and how to apply their underlying principles to your marketing:

1) Body language

A woman waves off an amorous man

If you walk into a restaurant and your date glances your way, then immediately starts staring at the menu, it’s probably going to be a tough night. When you see someone in person, their body languagetheir posture, how they move their arms, how close they are, and more—can tell you all sorts of things before they ever open their mouth. And even though you’re not interacting in person, the same applies to new customers: before they ever actually engage with your app, there’s a lot you can learn about them.

Install attribution

If your brand uses mobile ads as part of its customer acquisition efforts, install attribution can help you size up new customers. Install attribution data tells you whether a customer came to you from an ad displayed on a particular platform (whether that’s a social network, a mobile ad network, or other content outlet), giving you insight into their digital habits and helping you understand what drew each customer to your brand. For example, you can separate people brought in by the advertisement offering free delivery from those swayed by the ad discussing your subscription plan, allowing you to match your outreach to their interest.

Word of mouth

For a lot of apps, a major source of new customers is the audience they already have. The loyal, satisfied people in your audience are particularly likely to evangelize to friends, and the new customers who arrive this way are usually primed to have a good experience, since they come in with advance knowledge about your app and how to use it.

One way to identify these promising newbies is to offer your audience incentives to invite friends to the app, then track whether new customers signed up using a promotional code associated with a current user. Once you know a customer arrived via word of mouth, you can use that information to inform how you reach out to them. If your app has a social element, for instance, you can use activity messaging to let them know when their friend has reached out to them, or is doing something of interest.

Other channels

With today’s technologies, “you have the ability to collect [information] not only on mobile, but also to integrate data from before,” Wisdom says, in cases where customers are new to you app but not to your brand. “Maybe they began their experience with you in one channel, so if they have a history of purchases, if they have a history of downloads [or] if you’re a media company and they’ve read a lot of articles,” that’s information that you can make use of to better understand and engage that customer. “Anything you have at hand that can be brought forward is very helpful.”

2) Eye contact

A woman holding coffee and gazing at a man

Eye contact is intimate, and so is mobile. Each offers ways of communicating that work best if both sides are actively engaged. When you’re on a date with someone new, “you know that [they’re] listening to you,” Wisdom explains, “because [they’re] making eye contact. And I think the same thing is true for brands … if you see a positive signal and you start to interact” in a responsive way, you’re showing the customer that you care about their wants and needs.


A customer who chooses to download and try out your app is signalling that they’re interested in engaging with your brand. But letting them enter that first session without helping them to understanding your app’s value and how to achieve it is the marketing equivalent of looking at your feet when your date smiles at you. You’re telling that customer that you don’t care enough about their continued engagement to take the time to encourage them with an effective onboarding process. That’s going to turn off a lot of people, making it harder to retain them over the long term. Return the eye contact. Create an onboarding experience that rewards new customers’ curiosity and you’ll reap the benefits going forward.

Customer behavior and preferences

If you’re on a date and the only time you lock eyes is when you first introduce yourselves, it’s probably not a very engaging date. The same goes for a customer’s first sessions in your app: it isn’t enough for your engagement with your customers to be two-sided; it needs to be consistent and responsive, too.

Imagine that your brand runs a music app and you have a customer who hasn’t yet created their first playlist—something you’ve identified as an indicator of future engagement. You can use the data you’ve collected on their in-app activity to send a personalized message that deep links them to a landing page that explains the benefits of building a playlist. If they do create one, Wisdom says, “we might say, ‘Did you know that we have curated playlists?’” to encourage them to keep exploring your app. But if they need more encouragement, you can follow up with a message “saying ‘We’d love to help you, here are a few more resources,’” Wisdom suggests. “You might even fire off an email with a step-by-step guide.” By responding to customer behavior in a respectful, personalized way, you can nudge them to engage more deeply.

3) Tone of voice

A couple laughing on a date

Conversation is a give and take. If your date laughs at the goofy things you say, that’s a sign that they’re connecting with what you’re saying; if they keep frowning and changing the subject, your tone probably isn’t a good fit. It can be hard to know what tone to strike, especially when you don’t know the person you’re speaking to well. Marketers face the same challenge when reaching out to new customers. To be successful, your brand needs to be able to make ongoing adjustments to its outreach as you learn more about each customer and what sort of messaging they respond to.

Audience profiles

Customer data is at the core of the modern, personalized, mobile-driven customer experience. Personalized outreach can be very effective—brands that send individually customized messages see 27% more conversions than brands that don’t—but you can’t fit your messages to each individual if you don’t have information about those customers’ behaviors and preferences.

Wisdom recommends that marketers focus on finding a voice that fits their brand, then tweak it as they learn more about each customer: “I think there’s a greater willingness on the part of customers to engage with a brand [that uses] a more organic voice. It can can come across as a little odd sometimes, when a brand reaches out to you in a tone you’re not used to,” but that’s part of the process. Once you know how a customer is using your app, you can use that information to communicate with them more effectively.

Testing and analytics

In order to adjust and improve your messaging over time, you have to be able to tell whether the outreach you’re sending is resonating with customers and helping your brand reach its business goals. “The only true way you can get to know what works is to test” different messages and learn from them, Wisdom explains. “So that maybe you can say, this type of message, or this type of voice, is drawing a lot of engagement, whereas this type of message is drawing lots of conversions.” To do that, you need to do two things: use multivariate testing and predictive analytics to make sure that you’re sending the best, most effective messages you can; and keep a close eye on campaign results to see how each message performs.

4) Thoughtful pauses

A woman and a man at dinner

It’s usually a bad sign when one person does all the talking during a date. It suggests that the other person isn’t interested enough in what’s being discussed to weigh in, or, even worse, that the person speaking is so unconcerned with their date’s opinion that they’re not giving them opportunities to participate.

While regular outreach is an important part of the customer/brand relationship, you don’t want your audience to feel like they’re getting an endless blast of messages from you that will continue whether they respond to them or not. Your outreach should be part of a one-on-one conversation with customers, not something you’re imposing blindly from above. And sometimes that means being willing to slow down or even temporarily pause your messaging.


When a customer has carried out an action that you’ve encouraged them to take, that’s a big deal. By checking out a feature that you’ve highlighted for them, or making a purchase you suggested, that customer is signalling that the outreach you’ve sent is meaningful and persuasive to them. That’s especially true when the conversion is a high-dollar purchase. “I think some marketers might tend to be aggressive,” Wisdom notes, “and say, ‘All right, now they’re a purchasing or paying customer, let’s keep capitalizing on that.’ But that might honestly be the fastest way to lose them.”

Customer don’t want to be treated like they’re just a wallet. And hitting them up immediately to buy something else can make them feel that way. Consider taking a breather after a major conversion, especially if it’s something—like buying a new TV—that they’re unlikely to do again anytime soon. When you do message them, focus on providing value: if someone just bought a sweater from you, Wisdom suggests, “maybe generate content around how you care for sweaters, how do you store them properly when spring comes around … try to be really focused on not just the commercial aspect, but also being helpful.”

Self-selected cadences

One of the struggles when you’re messaging customers is knowing how frequently to reach out. Send too many messages and you risk turning off customers. Send too few and customers who could have been retained might disappear. The fact that too many messages for one customer could be too few for another one compounds the problem.

There’s a solution. “Check in … once a quarter,” Wisdom recommends, “and say, ‘We noticed your preferences are this for email, we noticed you’re not opted in for push—how often would you like to hear from us? What is the tempo at which you want to receive messaging?’ We have systems now that can collect that kind of information very easily.” By allowing customers to have input into the messages they receive, you’re demonstrating that their preferences matter to you, and that you’re willing to listen as well as talk.

From first date to long-term relationship

Whether you’re looking to get a second date or to convince a new customer to return to your app for another session, the basic principles are the same. Listen as well as talk. Pay attention to the cues and signals they’re sending you, and keep that information in mind when you’re communicating with them. Find out what they like and how they want to be treated, then honor those feelings whenever possible. “That’s what many consumers are expecting right now,” Wisdom says, “to have that deeper relationship, to include more and more interactions in their day-to-day [life] with brands they trust.”

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Todd Grennan

Todd Grennan

Todd Grennan is a New York-based writer and editor. When he's not writing about mobile marketing, customer retention and emerging technologies for Braze, you can find him trying to read his way through every Wikipedia article related to World War II.

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