Proactive customer outreach plays a significant role in increasing customer engagement with a product or service. However, there are hundreds of other businesses competing for your customers' time and attention every day. To maximize the impact of the messages you send to your customers, those messages must be sent through each customer's preferred channel, and must contain content that is personalized and relevant.
The most common channels for customer outreach are email, mobile push notifications, SMS (text messages), and in-app messages. With each of these channels, you can use customer segments and analytics data to personalize the message and ensure that it is relevant to the recipient.
Email is an ideal channel for rich, long-form content. Our sample app, All Things Sports, sends a daily news digest by email that lists the top headlines for each customer's favorite sports teams. Recipients can click through any of the links in this digest email to read the full article.
Customizing your email to include the news that is most relevant to each customer will improve the open rate of your emails and, in turn, the retention rate for your app. On the other hand, a generic email is likely to be ignored by customers, which will decrease customer engagement.
Mobile push notifications
Push notifications are a great way to send time-sensitive information to mobile customers. The All Things Sports app sends push notifications to alert customers of things that are happening right now; contrast this with the email digests sent by email, which inform customers of things that happened in the past.
It is important to use this channel carefully, and to ensure that the notifications your customers receive are relevant. When customers receive too many notifications that are not relevant to their interests, they get annoyed. Annoying your customers can lead to several bad outcomes: they could start ignoring notifications from your app, they could disable all notifications from your app, or they could delete your app altogether. If your usage metrics indicate that more than 50% of your customers have disabled push notifications, you should take this as a clear sign that your customers are not engaged with the content you're sending.
SMS text messages
SMS is useful for sending concise, important messages, as well as for performing identity verification and multi-factor authentication. Messages received through this channel are received almost immediately, even when customers have spotty access to wireless data. SMS messages are also difficult to ignore, making them a powerful method of conveying urgent information. However, this power can also work against you; as with mobile push notifications, if you send too many SMS messages that your customers do not find useful or relevant, they could opt out of the SMS channel. At the same time, many countries and jurisdictions impose harsh penalties for sending unsolicited SMS messages, so it is vital that you obtain customers' permission to send SMS messages, and that you ensure those messages are useful to your recipients.
Our All Things Sports app uses the SMS channel to alert customers to limited-time offers on products that they have expressed an interest in. It also uses SMS to send a one-time password that customers can use to recover a forgotten password.
In-app messaging is useful for conveying information that is important but not urgent to customers who are already in your app.
Our All Things Sports app uses in-app messaging to inform users of new features, or to draw attention to features that users may not have discovered. It also uses this channel to prompt users to rate the app on the App Store or share the app with their friends, both of which can lead to organic growth of your user base.
Personalized multi-channel messaging with Amazon Pinpoint
Amazon Pinpoint uses advanced analytics to help you understand your customers' interactions with your applications. It also allows you to create highly-targeted customer segments for your email, SMS, and push communications. Combined, these features help you better connect with customers using personalized messaging.
Amazon Pinpoint also provides insight into the performance of your messages by providing push notification delivery and open metrics, email open and click metrics, SMS delivery metrics, and overall cost metrics so you can measure the effectiveness of your engagements across channels.
Personalized messaging empowers product and business owners to communicate useful information to customers, through the channels each customer prefers.