The days when flyers and catalogues pushed through the letterbox were the most effective means of direct customer engagement are long gone, thanks to the rise of the internet and the new era of marketing it ushered in. However, this new world of marketing is rapidly evolving, and today, even the email newsletter is beginning to appear stale. New, more direct and immediate delivery channels such as text messages, iBeacons and smartwatch push notifications are taking over. It’s important, however, that marketers resist the temptation to abuse these channels – don’t try to grab your customers’ attention when they’re clearly not looking at you.
The question is how much attention is too much? And how can you ensure that your push notifications aren’t too pushy? Here are five tips to help you decide.
1) Content is king
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that marketing and CX engagement is only ever as good as the message it’s conveying. No matter how well-timed or slick, if the announcement isn’t important to the customer there and then, it will immediately be classified as spam. For example, a push notification about a flight delay is clearly relevant content, as it’s personal, time-sensitive and useful. On the other hand, does a new food at the local pet store warrant a text message? Arguably an email might be more appropriate for this.
2) Divide and conquer
Segmenting your customer base is key to successful engagement with push notifications and SMS. If a message is uniquely relevant, the chances of the customer engaging are far higher. Customers are best segmented by age, gender and which products or services they buy from you. Geography is arguably one of the most effective segmentations, allowing you to push relevant regional offers and updates, such as weather-related news. Research has found that smartly segmented push notifications have a click-through rate in excess of 50%, versus 15% for more generic alerts.
3) Be personal, not creepy
Don’t overdo the data mining for opportunities to engage with customers. Overfamiliarity, such as tracking customers’ movements in store with iBeacon, has its pitfalls – these big-data-meets-location services can appear somewhat Big Brother-esque. Ensure that your customers are fully aware of exactly how you might use their data and act responsibly – otherwise it could have a negative impact on the overall CX.
4) Time is of the essence
A well-timed push notification can greatly impact the customer’s receptiveness. Study click-through rates and how the time of day might have impacted on these. If you are sending out a global push notification, make sure you vary the time according to the time zone. For social outreach, try using an engagement-monitoring service such as SocialFlow to monitor engagement. According to mobile company Kahuna, technology that customises scheduled pushes can result in a 325% higher response rate than a standard push.
5) Choose wisely
What works well in an SMS may not work well in an app notification and vice versa. Create messages that fit with the channel. For example, an order confirmation for a pair of shoes is not so urgent that it needs to be sent via SMS or push notification, unless it’s due to arrive in the next hour. Generally, an email would be the best channel for this.
These new Internet-fuelled channels are great for reaching the customer on the go. Push notifications are gaining traction, with 52% of consumers now consenting to them when they download a new app. However, it’s important to use these channels wisely to ensure that you engage with – rather than alienate – your customer base.
By Keith Wilkinson, Vice President, UK&I at Genesys.
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