Marketing automation has become a staple of digital marketing in the past few years, and the reason for it is not surprising. Automated marketing campaigns accomplish several different goals: they’re easier to edit and iterate upon, they scale well to large audience sizes, and they’re personalized to the end user. In short, automation makes marketing campaigns more efficient and more effective.
What exactly is marketing automation?
By our definition, it refers to the process of using software to perform repetitive marketing tasks. So, instead of writing out personalized emails to every single person on your mailing list, a marketer can leverage automation to write a single email and automatically personalize the content based on the recipient’s first name or location.
Mobile brings its own unique set of opportunities and challenges to the table when it comes to automation. In some ways, mobile marketing is more flexible and powerful than other forms of digital marketing, because it allows brands to reach their customers wherever they are. However, brands must design their campaigns appropriately in order to make use of the unique opportunities offered by mobile apps.
To help you get started, we’ve compiled these eight tips for automated marketing campaigns. Try one out today, and A/B test the results to see if these tips move you closer to your performance goals.
Curate Your Audience Segments
The easiest way to create an automated marketing campaign is to write an email or push notification, and then blast it out to your entire audience at a scheduled time. However, the easiest way isn’t always the best way.
Segmentation is a powerful technique for crafting more effective messages. Instead of sending the exact same message to every user, you can create different versions for each segment. For instance, a clothing store might promote different items to male and female users. With segmentation, you can ensure that the content of your promotion is 100 percent relevant to the recipient.
Invest in Quality Content
Ultimately, the message is what makes or breaks an automated marketing campaign.
If the content itself is poorly formatted, ambiguously phrased, or otherwise broken in some way, then it doesn’t really matter if the overall campaign is stellar. The campaign will still fall flat if the message doesn’t resonate with users.
This is why we advocate A/B testing for every aspect of your app — not just the core app content, but also your marketing content. Test different subject lines, copy, and images against each other to see which combination drives the most engagement.
In fact, we’ve already studied the trends in push notification copywriting, and we found 120 power words that drive the most message engagement. Read the report to learn how word choice help you turn more heads and score more message opens.
An example of a user profile that can be used for personalized messages.
Personalization is an invaluable part of message content. Segmentation and A/B testing can help optimize your content and ensure that it’s delivered to the right people, but the package isn’t complete without personalization.
Here’s an example of a personalized message. If the goal of your automated marketing campaign is to drive more purchases in a retail app, you might segment your audience and send product recommendations to active users. But what products should you recommend?
For people who recently made a purchase, you could suggest items that pair together, like suggesting a cutting board after the customer buys a set of kitchen knives. Or, for people who haven’t made their first purchase yet, you could suggest popular items in their most searched category. In this way, you can increase the chances of conversion by personalizing your promotions to each individual customer. And if you still aren’t convinced, consider this: Personalized push notifications earn up to 800 percent more opens than their non-personalized counterparts.
Focus on the Goal
Every good campaign begins with picking a sensible and relevant goal.
In business and in life, they say that you improve at what you measure. This means it’s extra important to pick the correct goal for your automated marketing campaigns. Let’s say you’re running a dormant user reactivation campaign to bring people back to the app. You might be tempted to set conversions as the goal for this campaign, because the ultimate goal is to convert these app users into paying customers. But, is that really the goal of every campaign? The immediate goal of a reactivation campaign is to engage your inactive users. Therefore, it makes more sense to set user activity as the goal, rather than conversions.
Of course, long-term goals like conversions are important too, even if they’re part of a separate campaign. In fact, that brings us to the next point.
Plan For the Complete Customer Lifecycle
Continuing with the dormant user reactivation example: When you create a campaign, you should take other campaigns into account and consider where you’re leading your users. Granted, the mere act of reactivating dormant users is still helpful — but it would be even better if you guide them into a second campaign that’s based around engagement and conversions.
So, you could have one campaign to send discounts to inactive users, and another to suggest relevant products to active users. Once a user exits the first campaign and starts using the app again, they would automatically enter the second campaign, which will help you push them to purchase. And if an active user starts using the app less frequently, they’ll eventually drop out of the conversion campaign and into the reactivation campaign.
In other words, the best approach is to have a series of campaigns that cater to each step of the customer lifecycle. The individual goals of each campaign might seem short-term, but the campaigns work together to achieve long-term goals like conversions.
Work With What You Have
Push notifications are powerful, but what if you haven’t secured push permissions from your whole audience?
Don’t let incomplete customer profiles stop your campaign in its tracks. Instead, try creating branches in your automated campaign that divide users based on the amount of contact info you’ve collected. If someone has given your app push permissions, then you can send a push notification promotion — if not, then you can send an email with roughly the same content. If you have neither, then fall back on an in-app message.
The same could be said about personalization. As discussed in point #3, personalized content does outperform non-personalized content. However, there are situations where you can’t collect enough information on a user — perhaps they disabled location sharing, or perhaps they simply haven’t used the app enough to reveal their personal interests. Even if this happens, a standard message is still better than no message at all.
No matter how much (or how little) contact info you have, there’s always a way to reach your users with automated marketing campaigns.
Go Cross-Channel & Multi-Channel
In today’s marketing landscape with countless channels to pick from, it’s important to do your research and pick the right one.
Why pick the single best marketing channel when you can reach your users on all available channels?
Cross-channel marketing is all about picking the right channel(s) for the job and weaving between channels as the campaign goes on. A campaign might begin with a push notification, but if the user doesn’t read the push message, you could follow up with an email instead. Alternatively, the campaign might dynamically select either push or email depending on which one has better open rates for that particular user.
To be clear, cross-channel marketing doesn’t mean that every single message must be sent on every single channel. Rather, it means that you should leverage each channel available to you and use them when the time is right. It’s also important to consider the frequency of messages sent on each channel. It’s unlikely that your customers engage equally on each channel; everyone has one or two channels that they check more frequently than others.
In this case, we recommend segmenting your audience and tuning your message frequency to match their open frequency. Otherwise, you might end up sending too many emails to an audience that only checks their email once per week — or you might end up annoying customers who opt into push notifications but don’t like to receive them every day.
Check & Double-Check the Results
Once you’ve run your automated marketing campaign for long enough, it’s time to look over the results and decide if there’s anything that should be changed.
When analyzing campaign results, remember to look at not just the target metrics, but rather all metrics that were impacted by the campaign. Sometimes, campaigns have unforeseen consequences on metrics that you weren’t even monitoring. For example, a push notification with clickbait copy might score a high open rate, but it might have a negative or neutral impact on your conversions inside the app. At first glance, this campaign might seem like a success, but in reality, it didn’t move the metrics that really matter.
The results of automated marketing campaigns are always unpredictable; that’s why Leanplum’s analytics dashboard displays all statistically significant changes at the end of a campaign, not just the ones you were monitoring. This helps marketers see the true impact of their campaigns, good or bad.
Setting Up an Automated Marketing Campaign
The easiest way to create automated marketing campaigns is with an integrated marketing platform like Leanplum. We offer all the capabilities needed to deliver robust campaigns that keep your users active and engaged — which has a direct impact on ROI. If you’re looking to get started with mobile marketing automation, contact us to schedule a personalized demo.