3 Strategies for Increasing Customer Engagement

Michael Lavoie Chief Solutions Officer

Mobile apps have become a crucial touchpoint for connecting with customers in today’s digital landscape. However, with millions of apps vying for attention, merely having a functional app is not enough. Brands must leverage continuous engagement strategies to keep customers interested, improve their experience, earn loyalty and drive business success. Continuous engagement refers to the process of keeping your app users active over time. At Airship, we track engagement with an Engagement Score, which measures how many of your monthly active users return on a daily basis (DAU / MAU).

Having a high Engagement Score is always great, but the score itself doesn’t tell you enough about your performance. The Engagement Score’s value surfaces when you compare it to other brands’ scores in your app category or your own score over time.

What’s your Engagement Score? You can easily find it on Airship’s App Health Dashboard. 

Now that you know your Engagement Score, how it’s trending over time, and how well you’re performing relative to your category cohort, what then? If the data shows you can improve your score, it’s time to take action. To stimulate app visits, you should promote your app in your general advertising, content marketing, and physical locations if you have them; but the most direct and measurable way to increase app traffic is through outreach channels — push notifications, email and SMS.

Let’s start by determining how much of the audience is reachable via push notifications. The App Health Dashboard is a great source for this information. It provides an at-a-glance view of your opt-in rate and opted-in audience and how those trend over time. 

Once armed with this foundational information,  you can take action. Here are 3 strategies for driving continuous app engagement.

Always Be Communicating (ABC)
Your Engagement Score is your baseline of monthly active users returning on a daily basis. You’ll need to hold your customers’ attention to increase this score. Regularly communicating will build an engagement cadence. Creating compelling content, offers and calls to action will result in app visits.

  • Tailor your communications to your app’s typical visitation sequence. Daily communication might make sense for a coffee or health and fitness app;  for a commerce app, daily communication might be too frequent unless you’re running a multi-day promotion or event.
  • Align communications with customer value. If the message doesn’t show value, customers are unlikely to act on it, and they may become fatigued with future communications.
  • Personalize the communication to the individual. Sure, using a first name can be helpful (sometimes it’s not), but customers expect you to know them. You can personalize by integrating contextual elements, such as recent interactions or shared preferences.

Meet Them Where They Are
The decision to use push notifications is natural when looking to drive app visits, but not all customers have opted into notifications. Also, some communications perform better when amplified through multiple channels. Integrating email and SMS messaging into your communication plan grants customers more options to determine how they’d like to communicate, and it expands the number of channels available.

  • Integrate a preference center for collecting profile data. A preference center allows customers to define the types and frequency of messages they want to receive and their preferred channels. It’s an excellent tool for managing opt-ins and expanding your customer reach.
  • Preference centers are also an excellent vehicle for collecting deeper customer profile information, which you can use to personalize and contextualize your communications further. Collecting information on interests, product or content categories, time horizons, and social or community interests will enable deeper segmentation and analysis.
  • Make the preference center easy to find in your app so customers can continually update their profile as their interests evolve or as you add new options.

Adopt a Culture of Experimentation
Many variables go into crafting effective communications, including copy, content, timing, layout, imagery, subject line and, of course, the value proposition or offer. Improving your app engagement requires traffic-driving communications to resonate with your audience. Not all will be effective, but knowing how to improve them is essential. With an experimentation and testing plan, it will be easier to tell if a particular communication missed the mark entirely or if a minor tweak would have generated different results. The same is true for high-performing messages. Could minor adjustments make them even better?

  • Set goals for your messages to establish performance levels.
  • Test multiple message variants to measure performance and identify which variables influence your results.
  • Consider establishing holdout groups to measure marketing’s entire impact.

Generating repeat traffic to your app is the first step to realizing maximum customer value. A regular, multi-channel, orchestrated messaging plan is the path to driving repeat traffic and improving your Engagement Score. 

Airship’s App Health Dashboard is a great starting point for identifying opportunities. Combined with our out-of-the-box Preference Center and Experimentation Hub, you have robust tools to drive multi-channel opt-ins, increase your addressable audience and refine your message performance. 

If you haven’t spoken with your account manager about these marketer-friendly tools or want to learn more about our integrated email and SMS capabilities, click here, and we’ll help coordinate a demonstration.

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