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Boxed's 5 Easy(ish) Ways to Increase Mobile Engagement

Activate brought innovative marketers together to discuss a wide range of growth-related topics. Among them was the recurring challenge we marketers face when trying to increase mobile engagement.

Our friends at Boxed, a one-stop shop for stocking up on supplies for home, for work, and for life, put together a great presentation sharing five tips that helped them build a rich mobile experience.

Inside this Activate recap, Allie Donovan, Director of CRM & Retention at Boxed, shares their own five-step approach to delivering a simple and purposeful strategy to increase mobile engagement.

1. Segment Your Audience

Before you can deliver the perfect customer experience, you have to understand what your customers want from your product or service. To learn that, you need a comprehensive understanding of what your customers are buying, browsing, and regularly interacting with; you must study their behaviors if you hope to understand their intent.

For Boxed, their path to understanding started by looking at the different behaviors of customer demographic segments, including income, gender, living situations, and much more. By looking at the products that different segments were browsing and buying, they were enriching their persona cohorts with product data.

This exercise helped them better predict the types of products their customers wanted without searching for them. Next, they worked closely with their data science team in building predictive models to recommend the items that would appeal most to individuals based on their different segments.

Determining what your customers want lays a solid foundation for you to start making the incremental process changes that lead to more engaging (and revenue-increasing) experiences. Delivering the customer experiences your users actually want requires segment-specific insight.

2. Cut Through the Noise

Consumers are more empowered than ever before when it comes to getting what they want. Retailers line up and await the moment when the next consumer is thinking about buying something. In a crowded market, retailers must differentiate and stand out from the crowd.

Boxed found they were able to cut through the noise most effectively by upping their personalization game. They went beyond simplistic measures of first names and opted for feeding back the unique information they were learning about each of their customers.

Some of their most effective campaigns stemmed from simply sharing their growing compilations of individual stats with their customers: how many times they had made a purchase, most frequently purchased products, and other simple, interest-piquing user stats.

Another effective way that Boxed engages their customers is by applying that same level of personalization across different channels. Technology has not only made personalization easier than ever, but it’s also simplified how effectively marketers can target and automate the process.

Whether they send a personalized push message, a direct mail flyer, or even a branded giveaway, the message contained inside works as a highly-effective reminder of the helpful experiences Boxed has provided them in the past. Personalization is a powerful way to emote feelings and leveraging it effectively is a great way to rise above the rest.

3. Advertise Your App

If you’ve invested time in building an app, you want to make sure your customers are using it. Apps offer a controlled environment where every customer action can warrant an equally responsive action (when designed intuitively, of course). Effective apps naturally increase mobile engagement, and Boxed found this out first-hand—they found that customers using their app had a 4x retention rate over those who didn’t.

If your brand maintains its own app but you aren’t prioritizing it in your marketing strategy, then you’re missing out on a powerful engagement tool. One of the quickest ways to drive installs is by incorporating an app download CTA inside your email campaigns; sometimes that’s as easy as adding the Apple App Store or Google Play Store button into your email.

Boxed also keys in on communicating app-related changes in order to drive downloads. Events like app updates or new app content are delivered via email—this has proven especially effective when targeting audience segments which previously installed but then deleted the app.

Communicating meaningful information to customers is your responsibility and you can help yourself by taking advantage of lifecycle automation to get customers engaged with your app.

Once customers start interacting more regularly, consider sending an app download CTA into your messaging stream. Whether it’s a content block or a standalone email, use the goodwill you’ve nurtured and encourage them to enhance their own experience using the app.

4. Get Rewarding

Marketers are guilty of falling into the habit of garnering engagement regardless of cost; case in point, think about a reward strategy. When done correctly, we appropriately reward our loyal and developing customers for choosing us as their partner. But…

When we mess up, we’re actively rewarding bad behaviors and inviting customers to game our coupon system. If a cart is abandoned or a customer is lapsing, we won’t necessarily shy away from sending a coupon to get them back. We’re guilty of training our customers to be the worst versions of themselves.

How do we fix that? Simple. Reward only when customers are performing the actions we actually want them to. Rethink your offer strategy and highlight the moments where a little extra recognition adds shine to the customer experience: special offers for downloading or even using your app, making first or multiple purchases, or bolt-on bonuses for ongoing loyalty.

It’s up to marketers to shape the customer experience, and a reward strategy that is equally customer- and business-friendly can be a valuable, engagement-earning asset. There’s a multitude of creative ways to encourage your customers to walk different paths of the customer journey and a positive behavior-nurturing carrot is the perfect lead.

5. Experiment

Marketers don’t have to be mad scientists in order to discover new ways of engaging their audiences. Trying new things is at the core of growth marketing! Whether you’re putting a new spin on a high-performing message or taking a shot in the dark at trying something new, every experiment is a learning experience chock full of new data.

Boxed sparked a chain of interesting findings when they sent out an experimental “mystery deal” campaign. They sent a mystery discount to their customers where the CTA instructed recipients to click in order to reveal the deal—this campaign drove a 110% increase in clicks sent to their website!

Who would have thought that something as simple as asking for an extra click could drive 2x the amount of website traffic on a given day? As you might have guessed, results like these kickstarted a whole slew of additional experiments.

Building a culture of testing and experimentation paves the way for new insights. Whether you’re just testing the waters or refining advanced variables, take confidence in knowing you’re working toward a better customer experience.

Re-Activate the Insight to Increase Mobile Engagement

In this abridged version of the Boxed presentation, we were only able to highlight the big picture ideas they shared. We highly recommend checking out the full presentation to learn more about their journey and how they were able to increase mobile engagement.

Allie Donovan talks mobile engagement at Activate

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