posted by Dorothy Murach
It’s Thursday night, you’ve just sank into the couch after a long week and you’re binge watching your favorite show. Inevitably, you fall asleep in the middle of an episode and wake up a few hours later. In your daze you shut off the TV and crawl to bed like a proper adult.
You wake up in the morning and go about your business, then as your work day is wrapping up you get a push message from your streaming app reminding you to resume watching your show where you left off. You’re pumped, you’ve got a long train ride home and ready to just check out and watch a few episodes during your commute. And yea, you’ll probably keep watching once you get home too (yes it’s Friday and you’re not going out, and no, you’re not ashamed).
You may not have even thought twice, but that is a prime example of cross-channel marketing. You watched your show on your TV through your streaming service, be it Netflix, Hulu or even your local cable provider. Then you’re sent a reminder on the app about the show, at a time you’re likely to be ready to watch again. This kind of experience is what makes you feel like a brand really gets you, and it brings you right back in. This is the kind of customer engagement that marketers should strive for, and it’s easier to achieve than you might think.
That’s why in this article, we’re laying out best practices and share examples to inspire you to implement cross-channel app promotion.
“Huh? Cross-channel app promotion? That sounds too complicated.”
If this sentiment is running through your head, don’t worry – the concept of cross-channel app marketing is just starting to gain more traction, but it’s not as complex as some might think. In today’s interconnected, mobile driven world, cross-channel app marketing is poised to take off and become a more common way for brands to engage with their customers, so let’s break down what it means.
Cross-channel app marketing is built upon Profiles, which provide organizations with the ability to collect, manage, and share customer data from all marketing channels. And because people are spending more and more time using apps, Profiles help better inform your engagement strategy.
It’s about delivering personalized experiences as people move from your store to your website, and from your website to your app. In short, it’s about bringing a people-centered approach to your customer engagement.
Despite your eagerness to get started right away, take a moment to re-evaluate your marketing objectives and figure out how your app fits into your larger business strategy.
Profiles also open the door for all sorts of new information (that you’re tracking outside the app) to be funneled into your engagement efforts. But don’t pump in everything just for the sake of having more data at your disposal. Isolate the attributes that will be most appropriate to target within your app. For example, information on the gender of your users can lead to better push and in-app messages while hair color probably won’t.
Below, we’ve listed some more profile attributes you can target on. Keep in mind, the importance of these attributes will vary depending on the type of app you have. The main thing is: don’t be a creep and don’t use attributes that are inapplicable to what your app does.
Here is a hypothetical example of how the Profiles field: Income Bracket, is relevant for an app like Zillow, but creepy for an app like PEOPLE Magazine. Zillow can use data from the income-bracket field because it directly correlates with what their app is trying to do (showcase applicable residential listings). On the other hand, income is not a good attribute to target on for PEOPLE Magazine because it doesn’t tie well with their app’s offering and comes off as unnerving.
Profiles are a way for you to consolidate your customer data from other channels and use it in your app marketing. But you can also capture profile information within your app. How? Simple, ask your users to sign up! Then, as people continually engage with your app, you can ask them for additional information (like requesting users to enter in their loyalty card number or to disclose some interests).
Look at how CBS’ app collects profile data (such as social media accounts, email, and gender) right from the get-go. And as I engage more and more with this app, CBS can ask me what my favorite shows or entertainment genres are. It’s like getting to know someone – start with their name and then slowly get more personal.
You’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s nonetheless important enough to mention again. Stop sending everyone with the same, generic marketing messages. Now that you have more profile data on who your users are, you have an increased responsibility to craft your messages so they are personalized, punctual, and to the point.
For example, let’s say I just visited an H&M store and purchased a jacket. A good push and in-app message would incorporate this information and show me other complementary items to buy a few days later:
“Boy do I hope I get blasted with lots of advertising today.” Said no one ever. No matter how much you like a brand; nobody wants to be constantly bombarded with marketing.
How awkward would it be to send someone a push notification that says, “We miss you!” when this person just bought something from your brick-and-mortar store yesterday. You’d come off as too clingy and lose major brownie points with this customer.
Smart brands need to balance their app marketing with their marketing on other channels so they don’t overwhelm customers. Aim for quality, not quantity. Be persistent, but not annoying.
Here’s an example of a well-executed cross-channel app marketing strategy. If Amazon keeps track of when customers open their emails, they can send this information (Profiles field: Recent Email Opened) to their app analytics and marketing vendor. Then, they could schedule a related push message to go out a few days after to nicely tie together their email and app marketing.
The short story with cross-channel app marketing is that it allows you to see your app users as people – real people with wonderfully colorful lives. And this vivid insight can help you connect more deeply with your customers because you’ll better understand what they want, why they want it and what keeps them coming back.
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