How to Optimize Your In-App Messaging Strategy

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Ideas and Strategies for Real-Time Personalization
How to Optimize Your In-App Messaging Strategy

May 28, 2015 by

In-app messaging presents a big opportunity for software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies and any company with a logged-in customer experience. Focused on acquisition and ‘growth,’ it’s common for marketers to spend the bulk of their time finding customers. The problem, however, is that many applications have steep learning curves and low adoption rates. Some trial users and new customers drop off before they’ve even had a chance to get started.

In an ideal world, support teams could give every customer a tailored onboarding experience. The problem, however, is that the account management model doesn’t scale. That’s where an in-app messaging strategy comes in—create micro-content that responds to every user’s ‘in-the-moment’ needs.

To succeed with in-app messaging, you’ll need more than a few simple pop-up windows. You’ll need custom-tailored messaging for every individual user. Here are 3 ways to make more of an impact with every customer touchpoint.

1. Personalize experiences through data

A growing customer base is a good problem to have—it means that a wide variety of people find value in your product. With diversity, however, comes additional marketing challenges in that one-size-fits-all marketing messages won’t work anymore. Segmentation through a CRM or marketing automation software might not be precise enough either.

Endurance International Group, a cloud hosting provider, recently experienced this pain point. Relying heavily on email campaigns, the company was struggling to personalize its messaging. The company knew that they would need to create an inventory of user data—and then act upon this information through custom-tailored engagement campaigns.

The company has centered its personalization strategy around unobtrusive in-app surveys and proactive customer support to better understand needs and pain points. Using this information, Endurance’s marketers have created a systematic approach to targeted in-app messaging and promotions.

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One of the company’s brands, HostGator, identified common technical issues and served up tips and suggestions with relevant self-help articles. Endurance has estimated that it has redirected thousands of calls by using personalized  self-help content.

From a revenue standpoint, Endurance’s in-app messaging strategy beat its email conversion rates for an upgrade offer by 4-5 times. And compared to a control group that did not receive the personalized in-app offer, Endurance saw a 71 percent increase in the conversion rate.

2. Be education oriented

The last thing that customers want is to feel bombarded with aggressive upsell messaging at the wrong time. All messages—especially ones that are sales focused—should be positioned as opportunities to help your customers succeed, learn, and make more out of your software. The more you focus on teaching and empowering your customers, the more likely they are to trust your brand.

Brainshark, a sales enablement technology company, recently put this idea to the test with its freemium product. Wanting to drive more value from its ‘trial’ product, the company implemented a strategy to (1) understand how users were engaging with its products and (2) identify opportunities to promote 30-day trials for paid software. Rather than blasting a sales pitch to every single user, Brainshark instead sought opportunities to reach audiences who would be interested in learning more about paid products.

Following this targeted messaging approach, Brainshark has generated more than $1.1M in pipeline while increasing its year-over-year overall pipeline value. The company has also increased its webinar registrations by 15%, trial sign-ups by 150%, and sales inquiries by 9x.

Drive Engagement

With a customer-centric approach, education and sales can go hand-in-hand.

3. Integrate multiple data sources

One of the most valuable assets that marketers have at their disposal is data. The challenge, however, is that information often lives in different systems—in silos. An important step that marketers should take is to consolidate this information for a unified customer view.

TeamSupport, a cloud-based customer support and helpdesk solution, went through the process of consolidating its website browsing data with its CRM. Using this global data view, the company set up real-time email alerts to track each of its segments.

Team members now have access to customer information, on the aggregate level, when they want it. At any given time, any team members can have cross-sectional insight into key customer trends—and predict signs of churn.

This strategy, coupled with other optimizations, helped TeamSupport achieve a 25% increase in new trial activity and a 15% uptick in free trial conversions.

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Final thoughts

Each of these companies shares a common commitment to listening and learning. Marketers must listen to their customers before deploying any initiative or program. An understanding of your customers’ needs will bring clear direction to your content,education and communication strategy. This level of empathy will be your optimization powertool.

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