Hung Up on Opt-Outs? Time to Opt In to a New Mobile Messaging Mindset


Hung Up on Opt-Outs? Time to Opt In to a New Mobile Messaging Mindset

By Special Guest
Ramsey Masri, CEO of OtherLevels
  |  August 17, 2015

Here’s a piece of advice for marketers who are either new to the mobile environment or eager to boost the engagement levels and success of their existing mobile marketing campaigns: Pay more attention to your customers who have already opted in, and worry less about those who might opt out.

It’s apparent that today’s marketers are under a lot of pressure to produce more sales, attract more customers, support the bottom line, generate leads, and figure out the increasingly critical omnichannel marketing environment.

But in their approaches to mobile messaging, some marketers are operating out of a concern or fear that some of their mobile customers might say no to push notifications – when in fact, marketers should be leveraging the more valuable, opted-in customers who have already raised their collective hands and signaled, “We’re in! Talk to us on our smartphones!”

What OtherLevels hears from some marketers are these kinds of justifications for scaled-back mobile messaging strategies:

  • “We have to be careful about sending push notifications because we don’t want to offend or upset our customers by sending too many.”
  • “Yes, we send push notifications, but very infrequently because we don’t want our customers to say no and opt out.”

It’s important to understand that when marketing campaigns give consumers a choice to opt in, about half will agree and the other half will say no, either because they’re not interested at that point in time, not interested in a particular product, or because they always say no to new products. That 50-50 opt-in/opt-out split is an accepted marketing statistic.

Understanding the Pyramid of Churn

Our data and findings from mobile marketing campaigns for the gaming, retail, and hospitality industries, for example, show that the top 5 percent of opt-in customers are the true spenders – the most valuable subgroup for ongoing and future engagement. They’re already interested, already spending, and eager for deeper, ongoing engagement. The next 15 percent to 20 percent are repeat visitors who are easy to convert to spenders because of their willingness to engage. Those two top-tier customer groups should be the primary focus of a mobile marketer’s activities, campaigns, and mobile messages. They’re already valuable to the brand, and data already exists that makes it easy for marketers to send the right mobile message to the right person at the right time.

The remaining 75 percent – those who are first- or second-time visitors to a brand’s mobile app, low-interest customers, or those who churn out of the franchise by not downloading the app – can be targeted later. Why later? Because their relative brand value pales in comparison to the groups that are already engaged and on board, ready for mobile conversations.

New Messaging Strategies and Data Points

Armed with a new approach to mobile engagement, marketers can use a variety of strategies to communicate with their opted-in customers, including messages based on:

  • Known Data: Leverage customer data, loyalty program data, purchase preferences, known interests, frequency and recency of app usage, shopping cart status and other data that emerges from the mobile environment. Use information to pamper your opted-in customers with messages and offers that are personal, relevant, and timely.
  • Loyalty: Use loyalty as a pivot point to reinforce brand affinity, deepen member engagement, and encourage more spending and activity. Members-only promotions or incentives that encourage loyalty program members to reach higher tiers are good examples.
  • Peer-to-peer influence: Word-of-mouth behavior and peer influence can be turned loose in some apps by allowing users to communicate with known social-media connections, such as friends on Facebook (News - Alert) or other platforms. Craft messages that build on the power of the network to reinforce activity, reward user successes, and create opportunities for social-powered endorsements.

Final Reminders about Mobile Messaging

Two other reminders about mobile marketing are important in this opt-in vs. opt-out debate.

First, marketers need to understand that they can use other types of messages, including emails, in-app alerts, or interstitials, to remind customers of additional opportunities to re-engage or opt back in. The mobile marketer’s toolbox contains more than push notifications in the mobile environment.

And secondly, just because a consumer originally said no to push notifications, the decision is not necessarily final. Some customers, even high-engagement and premium consumers, opt out initially because they always say no to push notifications when they download new apps. Once they’ve established strong usage patterns, it’s possible to prompt them to return with interstitials, reminders, or in-app alerts that welcome them back, help them move beyond an app obstacle, or encourage them to reconsider and rejoin.

Today’s mobile marketers are better primed for success if they focus their energy, messages, and conversations on the 20 percent to 25 percent of committed customers who are already committed to engage in mobile conversations. Make the chatter personal, timely, and relevant – and save some for the opt-out crowd who might want to join the conversation at a later date.

Ramsey Masri, CEO of OtherLevels

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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