Gone are the days of buying lists and bombarding unsuspecting people with unsolicited advertising. Today, consumers have the power to allow (or block) marketing. As a result, companies have to first earn the right to communicate with their customers. In the mobile realm, apps win attention by intelligently employing the three pivotal P’s: persuasion, presentation, and people skills.
When a person installs your app, they are implicitly agreeing to receive in-app messages as a natural part of the app experience, but not push notifications. Think of it this way: when you walk into a store, you expect to be approached by a sales rep or run into promotional signs. However, afterwards, you do not envision getting flyers from the store delivered to your home without your consent. That would be an intrusive marketing tactic.
In the same vein, app users expect to see occasional in-app messages when they are actively using your app, but you have to earn their buy-in to send them push notifications when they aren’t interacting with your app. And because push has the unique ability to re-engage people even after they’ve left your app, it is essential to master the three P’s and convince users to say “yes” to these communications. Let’s look more closely at how persuasion, presentation, and people skills can help mobile marketers get app users to opt-in to push messages.
App marketers need to first demonstrate the value of their app’s push notifications and assure users that these push messages will appear in a structured (not sporadic) manner. In other words, to be persuasive you have to ensure reciprocity exists and commit to consistency.
When people download your app (or after they’ve first used it), ask them to opt-in to push notifications and specify exactly what they will gain from turning them on. You want to highlight the types of push notifications your app will send, how they will benefit the user, and what scenarios will trigger the alerts. For example, Yahoo’s Weather app persuades its users to subscribe to push notifications by concisely stating the advantage (never miss the forecast) and being clear about the timing (morning and night).
Never underestimate the strong impact that visual design can have on your app’s ability to sway users. It’s not just about what you say, it’s also about how you present it. Almost every app sends push notifications, but the innovative ones earn the most subscribers. Take a look at the difference between how Walmart asks its users to opt-in versus Timehop. Walmart sticks to the simple, default design whereas Timehop uses clever imagery and pops of color to make their request warmer and more appealing.
Even though an app is a piece of software, it is created and used by people. Therefore, an app needs to be likeable and relatable. This is especially important when mobile marketers are trying to convince users to do something (like opt into push messages).
If your app speaks in a canned, robotic, and monotonous voice, you will alienate people. Conversely, if your app speaks in the same language as its users, you will earn subscribers. This is also a good chance to showcase your brand’s well-cultivated voice and personality, which will be prevalent in your push messages. Going back to the previous example, compare the out-of-the-box text Walmart uses versus the casual, informal, and lightweight words used by Timehop. Which app seems more friendly and human? Which app would you want to hear from more?
The three pivotal P’s of getting people to opt-in to push messages revolve around one point: don’t push people; aim to please them instead. Today, consumers often say their smartphones are something they can’t imagine living without. Therefore, consumers are careful about what apps they install and what alerts they allow on this very personal and special device. As a result, mobile marketers need to be tactful when asking people to subscribe to push notifications.
In the near future, smartphones operating on iOS 8 or Android will have push notifications enabled by default, but a user who doesn’t want these alerts can still easily opt-out right away! Mobile marketers should always ensure they first gain their users’ permission to send them push notifications, and then ensure their app’s push messages truly solve a problem or provide a benefit.
And based on the fact that 70% of consumers find all types of push notifications to be valuable, the hardest part is still getting people to say yes in the first place. So, use the three P’s to persuade, visually amaze, and verbally charm your app users into subscribing. And then keep pleasing them with stellar push marketing campaigns.
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