Use the Best Mobile Messaging Channels

“Real marketing seeks to attach to existing or even latent behaviour of our customers by humbly offering up and inserting perfectly placed instants of value, maybe even magic, into the human mix of natural and multiplying mobile behaviours.” – Thom Kennon

In this world of digitization, it would be impossible to find a company and customers who do not have access to mobile devices, apps, and other digital ‘goodies’. This bodes well for companies since they now have a wider range of mobile messaging channels through which to reach their target audience. Apps seem to be most valuable and the preferred way to connect with customers, however, while introducing an app and getting people to download it may be easy, getting them to use it to engage with the company is quite a different ‘ballgame’. The good news is there are several mobile messaging channels through which a company can connect with its audience. It is the onus of a company to stoke and retain their interest, and do whatever it takes to build a strong and long relationship with the customers.

Given that competition is tough and extensive, it would make sense for a company to evaluate which mobile messaging channels would be the best for the company and its customers. Customers are busy, and are exposed constantly to a number of distractions by way of offers and incentives from a number of companies, across industries. In order to gain success, it would make sense to pick the best mobile messaging channels that would help the company to reach a wider audience, in a shorter time frame, and have the desired effect of selling the company’s offerings faster and consistently. It would all depend on the kind of news a company would like to share, while stoking the curiosity and excitement within its existing and prospective customer base.

Mobile messaging channels work well for when companies seek feedback in the form of performance ratings. This is especially useful when companies have managed to get people to download their app, used it, and through it bought the company’s product and or services. Another advantage of using apps as a mobile messaging channel is that a company can deliver real-time information in the form of snippets and as a tool to get users to take some kind of action, such as gaining information about special programs, launches, and promotions. These are push notifications and are easy for the user to read, and take action on. However, not all users who may downloaded the app would receive these notifications – the user should have opted for them. In addition, it is essential for a company to use this mobile messaging channel effectively, as users are quick to perceive irrelevant and unhelpful content, leading them to possibly uninstall the app or at least ‘get-off’ the push notification access.

There is another form of information that users of apps receive – messages within the app that are real-time updates, and would reach the user – these are in-app messages. These messages would have highly effective and targeted messages that would help the customer and would be relevant to the app. Whether a company uses push notifications or in-app messages, would depend on its customer base.

Amongst the oldest, and yet still one of the best mobile messaging channels is text messages. Messages are delivered instantly, and do not require internet or data connection, the downside being that text messages are not as attractive or interactive. The fancy photos and animation that would be possible via other channels is missing from text messaging, but at least it is a way to connect and begin an association with a prospective customer. If the company does not have app, or a customer may not be using it, sending a text message to convey a simple yet urgent and useful message would work just as well.

Most companies do not use their website as one of the mobile messaging channels, however, it is a great way to track the user’s actions and behaviour, while enabling them to take a number of actions. However, websites are not meant to convey messages that would be urgent in nature, and a company must use them as required.

Next up are digital wallet passes – these are easy to distribute, easy for any user to add, and a company can put some kind of branding messages that would ensure users remember and recognize the company. They are better than paper or plastic, and can be used by companies to provide loyalty and payment cards, coupons, and tickets. They are best suited to help a brand engage, especially with the new age customers, who want access to options, but prefer for them to be faster and with less inconvenience to them.

To decide on the best mobile messaging channels, a company must research the data available on the internet with regard to preferences of customers for mobile messaging channels. Based on this data, a company can decide which channel their customers would be most likely to use and want. In addition, it would be a good idea to speak and ask customers their preferences directly. Each customer is different and unique, and in order to understand their preference of the mobile messaging channels and how and when they would like to be contacted, it would be best to ask them directly. Guesswork is never a safe bet.

However, a company decides to connect with customers, the messages it sends must be relevant, interesting, useful, and engaging. It is a good idea to use multiple channels that complement each other to get a message across to customers. If a company understands its customers and their needs, it would know which channel to use and when and when a mix of channels would work more effectively.

Any company would possibly not be able to identify which are the best mobile messaging channels, and hence some amount of research and experimentation would help in understanding customers. Over time, a company would be able to gauge exactly what customers need, and what works with which customer, and what to avoid doing with another. Irrespective of the channel a company uses, the aim would be get the attention of the customers, by ensuring that whatever they receive from the company is valuable and useful to them for a long time. In addition, a company must be clear on the action it expects the users / target audience to take – if an action is warranted, it would be best to use an interactive channel. In addition, urgency is another factor – if the message to be conveyed is urgent a different channel would be required. Additionally, a company would need to ascertain whether the messages being sent are for brand awareness, or to get customers to take action.

Mobile message channels must be used wisely based on the location, user preferences, time, and urgency, and whether whatever being sent would be useful for the receiver. As long as the company’s focus remains on giving its customers and users what they want, any mobile message channel would be the best and most effective. The good thing about technology is that it has afforded companies with many and varied channels to connect with their customers, and each of them play a significant role in delivering content that users would find engaging. It is critical for a company to listen consistently to its users, pay close attention to their needs, and make every effort to deliver exactly what customers want. Has your company been able to assess which mobile messaging channels work best?

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