To Dominate the Next Big Thing, Build Long-Term Customer Relationships
Mobile is the preferred channel of an increasingly large percentage of consumers–there are over 2 billion smartphones in use and 71% of people sleep with or next to their phones. The opportunity mobile presents is vast and well known, but the rapid changes in mobile tech leave many brands scratching their heads, wondering how to stay ahead of the curve, to leverage each new change and its potentially profound impact on customer behavior. Despite constant industry change one thing remains consistent: brands who can build long-term relationships with their customers will be uniquely positioned to dominate, no matter what comes next.
In the recent weeks alone Facebook has launched Notify, while Google announced it will surface app content, and streaming of that content, directly in mobile search results. In previous months Apple’s search API and Google Now were the newest thing. Brands with mobile apps are asking themselves how these developments will impact their ability to connect directly with their customers, as more and more services impact app content discovery and become part of the fabric of mobile operating systems themselves.
The answer is that it’s more important than ever for brands to start, or better yet continue, to build meaningful relationships with their customers. Every touchpoint matters, so purposeful, quality content and great experiences are required. When it comes time to choose which brand’s link to click on in search results, or which sources of notifications to sign up for in Notify, brands that have earned the trust and attention of their customers–largely through experiences built within their apps or pushed from those apps–will continue to win clicks, sign-ups, and engagement across these new experiences, in addition to more established channels.
So, how can brands build these incredibly important, and durable, relationships? By getting to know their customers, providing relevant content and a great user experience, and becoming a habit in customer’s lives.
Get to Know Your Customers
Brands need to get to the business of learning about their customers from the first time they install an app. Build a profile for each user (whether known, or anonymous) that includes app usage data with all other useful data you may have about that customer, from any source, and in any channel. The more you know about your customers and their preferences, the more likely it is that you can deliver a valuable user experience each and every time you interact with them.
Emphasize opportunities for data capture in onboarding experiences, making it clear how sharing this information will benefit the user. For instance, when a user shares a favorite brand, time of day or medium preference for messages delivered, or home zip code, all of these can drive meaningful personalization down the line. Make it easy to share this information, and the value in sharing it clear, for ongoing success in building user profiles.
Provide Relevant and Contextual Content
Once you build a profile and get to know your customers, the next step is putting those insights to work in the form of relevant and contextual experiences. The expectations of today’s customer are sky high. People expect a lot more from the brands they choose to do business with. They expect brands to know who they are, to know what they like, and to cater to their needs. Each interaction must be purposeful, or else marketers risk losing customers to another brand that does a better job of providing relevant content and experiences. This is especially challenging in mobile, where audiences can be vast and diverse, and also unforgiving. Without warning, a brand can have millions of new customers across the globe, overnight. Localization is vital. In order to be successful at building relationships, brands to get these basics right, and to make customers feel understood. Relationships are a two-way street.
Brands can provide unique personalization components to their marketing by using public and private APIs with local weather, customer product preferences, loyalty information or even just a first name. We’ve found that this type of personalization can be the difference in a 27% increase in conversions associated with push or email.
Become a Ritual
Appboy research shows that consistent engagement is strongly correlated with retention–retention is of course required to build a long-term relationship. Only 55% of individuals who use an app in the first week after download will be retained, but 90% of those who engage weekly for the first month after download are retained, compared to only 23% of people who don’t engage in the second, third and fourth week.
What this means is that it’s imperative to do whatever possible to drive consistent engagement–especially in the early days and weeks after download–to establish a habit and build a mutually beneficial relationship.
Onboarding campaigns that take advantage of multiple channels are a great way to do this. Appboy research also showed that a single push notification during onboarding correlated with a 71% lift in 2-month retention, but that 71% jumps to 130% when two channels are used in onboarding. Combining the right message with the right channel is a necessity. Not all messages warrant a push, and not all compelling or urgent messages will be received if communicated via in-app messaging.
Building long-term relationships is not a one and done affair. It’s getting in it for the long-game, and brands that take the above three steps seriously will be successful for a long time to come.