Inviting Users to Create Lasting Mobile Relationships

Today’s post comes from Ed Chater, VP Media Operations at Somo, a full service mobile marketing company. Ed heads up Somo’s mobile media operations, driving efficiencies for clients and defining industry best practices. He is an expert in app distribution strategy and a specialist in mobile search. Ed is one of Media Week’s 30 under 30 in 2012 for his contribution to media.

We love our phones and tablets. We delight in the seductive swipe across the shiny glass of our chosen device. We revel in staring deep into the captivating retina displays of our handsome iPads and we can’t help but flirtatiously tug down on our geeky Galaxy’s notification tray.

Okay, I am going a bit far with the innuendos. But let’s face it...

Most of us touch our phones more than we touch our partners. There is high emotion in how we consume media on these clever devices. The last thing mobile users want is marketers interrupting them at inappropriate moments of their day. Interrupting users without offering real value will drive negative reviews and responses. However, inviting people to engage in a useful or fun ways can lead to delight and ultimately deep engagement. 

In mobile, there’s a temptation to adopt a “spray and pray” approach to advertising—serving ads to as many people as possible and hope they click. This is a disruptive approach and involves a huge amount of waste. Recent advancements in both technical targeting and customer segmentation present you with opportunities to be more sophisticated, enabling your brand to precisely target and engage audiences.

Once you’ve defined a targeting strategy, next look at the experience the user has with your brand. The temptation is to be transactional as opposed to developing a deep relationship with your customers. Through immersive creative experiences leveraging the phone’s native features (e.g., the camera, GPS chip, accelerometer, notification tray, save to calendar, etc.), brands develop lasting mobile relationships that drive both user acquisition and lifetime value. The key to success is to make the experience mobile-specific and invite the user to build a lasting relationship.

The invitation to engage is especially important when looking at apps. Unlike a user who visits a website, an app sits on a device unless a user deletes it. The app is an almost permanent reminder of your brand, and, if you do it right, it allows an ongoing conversation with consumers. Leveraging Mobile Relationship Management tools like in-app messaging, push notifications and email enable you to re-engage with lapsed users or increase the lifetime value of existing users.

However, be mindful not to become interruptive when using these tactics. Upfront consent and easy access for users to regulate the types of content they receive is critical to the completion of a successful user journey.

For example, say you have various product categories on a retail app. Give the user an opportunity to tell you what they are interested in buying and augment this with existing data against past purchases. Then you can target in-app notifications to be relevant to these interests. Give users control to edit these interests at any time and they can easily provide feedback if you accidentally cross the line and become interruptive.

Monitor changes with good analytics and learn from the data. Lastly, make the message relevant and invite the user to engage. Don’t just push broadcast messages, always use your analytics to segment and ensure you are communicating something useful.

Today’s mobile industry offers a range of new and exciting options for marketers to communicate with consumers.  The key to success is to think about how you can best engage to build lasting relationships.