Notification Segmentation – Five Key Criteria to Consider

Mobile Push Notification Segmentation 5 Key Criteria to Consider

In a relatively short period of time, push notifications have emerged as the preferred medium of customer communication for businesses. Whether it’s transactional, promotional, or customer retention-related messaging, companies across verticals are leveraging push to reach their audiences directly. Yet, only a handful are seeing the level of engagement they had hoped for. What are these businesses doing right to convert their messages to actual orders? The answer lies in customer segmentation.

When it comes to sending mobile push notifications to customers, a one-size-fits-all approach simply does not work. Users are already swamped with messages throughout the day, and do not bother engaging with those that are not relevant to them. By now, most businesses likely know this.They personalize messages by adding small details like the user’s name, etc. or the items they browsed to show the customer they recognize them and value them. While this does add a personal touch, it’s really not enough to catch the user’s attention unless the actual content aligns with their interests. This is achieved through segmentation, where app users are divided into different groups based on parameters such as their age, interests, in-app behavior, their journey stage, location, etc. and then targeted with personalized messages that add real value to them. Segmentation is a key differentiator in the success of a push message, yet many businesses do not go that extra mile. Those that do though get the best results from their mobile push notification service and see next-level customer engagement.

It’s important to understand that users are different people with different tastes, preferences, location, and even at different stages of their unique purchase journey. Not recognizing their differences and blasting the same generic message to all ends up frustrating them. Sure, that tactic may lead to a higher open rate, given that the message is reaching a wider audience. But engagement? Conversions? Doubtful. Rather, there is a real risk of users unsubscribing from receiving notifications or uninstalling the app altogether. The goal should be to increase engagement and build trust by sending relevant messages and this is achieved by segmenting app audiences into different groups. Growth leaders know, for instance, that what works for a young woman interested in fashion may not work for a 70-something man. By reaching their focused group at the right time with the right message, they ensure that their message reaches an audience that is most receptive to them.

5 Top Segmentation Criteria to Consider

When customers download an app and sign up, the registration processes itself gives businesses all sorts of hints about the user, such as their age, gender, location, interests, etc. Also, each time customers interact with an app, the pages they visit, the purchases they make, etc. they leave digital breadcrumbs for savvy businesses to pick up. Companies can glean plenty of valuable data points from these user actions (or inaction) and assign different groups of customers for customized messaging. Some of the key criteria for segmenting customers are as follows:

1) Geographical Segmentation: Savvy businesses with thousands (or millions) of users are mindful of their location and use this knowledge to strategically share content with them. Users are segmented based on the country, region, town, and their postal codes. Businesses use this information not only to make sure messages are sent out at an appropriate time during the day, they also create geofencing campaigns based on where the users are at that moment. For example, they deploy trigger messaging to share hot deals with users who are found to be in the vicinity of their stores. Also, if the users are traveling to some city, the business can guide them to their nearest stores in that city. Location-based segmentation helps businesses:

  • promote local events, restaurants, stores, etc.
  • send alerts at the right time of day
  • help users with valuable information when they travel to a new place

2) Behavioral Segmentation: The user’s in-app behavior is also a valuable basis for segmentation. Businesses can monitor any action taken by users in the app and use this data to craft impactful communication. User behavior to be tracked are:

  • In-App Activity Level – How often are users opening the app, how much time are they spending on the app, how long was their last session?
  • Pages Visited – Which pages are they browsing? Which items are they looking at repeatedly?

Armed with this insight, businesses can split up users into different categories. If, for example, some users are found to be not as active as before, they can all be sent a “We’ve missed you” message along with an exclusive discount to encourage purchases. Again, if some others are seen to be regularly using the app and ordering items, they can be offered special loyalty points or freebies as a mark of gratitude. Customers who are repeatedly viewing a particular item can be grouped together and this segment can be nudged toward purchases with messages announcing sudden price drops. Such strategic messaging keeps customers happy and boosts sales.

3) User Attributes-Based Segmentation: Creating separate user groups based on their age, gender, likes and dislikes, buying habits, etc. is an important consideration. Businesses can:

  • recommend products based on user preferences
  • nudge them to add their favorite items into their carts
  • send them abandoned cart notification messages

4) Value-Based Segmentation: Customers can be segmented into different categories based on the number and value of purchases they have made on the app. High-value customers are a significant contributor to a company’s sale and need to be well taken care of. This special subset of users has the highest lifetime value and needs to be prioritized and accorded special treatment – exclusive discounts, invites to product launches, sneak previews into limited-edition products, dedicated clienteling services, etc. Segmenting these customers and offering them the best there is needs to be a top priority for businesses.

5) Segmentation Based on User’s Unique Journey: Not all app users are at the same stage of their journeys. Some may just have joined, some may be very active, while others may not have engaged at all. It’s important to recognize this difference, and customize messages to that particular group’s journey.

Segmentation can prove to be a game-changer when it comes to a company’s push strategy. However, it’s important to keep refining these criteria from time to time, adding new segments as and when needed. Only then will companies be able to get the most out of their push messaging efforts.

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How to Avoid Getting Your WhatsApp Business Account Banned

How to Avoid Getting Your WhatsApp Business Account Banned

If you are an organization looking to connect with customers by leveraging your WhatsApp Business account, getting the user opt-in to start conversations on WhatsApp is only the beginning. How successfully you can improve your customer relationships on the app depends greatly on the quality rating of your WhatsApp Business number. WhatsApp takes user feedback seriously and ascribes a quality rating to a business phone number based on the feedback shared by users. The more users complain about receiving SPAM, or offensive communication, or block the number, the lower this rating goes.

For businesses, a low rating can have serious repercussions. It limits their ability to share highly structured messages (HSM) with users in a span of 24 hours. On the other hand, a high quality-rating can allow a business to share a greater number of HSM  with users daily. When users find the messages to be relevant and useful, businesses can get upgraded to a higher tier, which allows them to send HSM to more unique customers. So how can you ensure a high rating and send more messages that add real value to your customers’ lives? Read on to find out!

Guidelines for Sending Out HSM

Following these basic guidelines, you can ensure continued high ratings. Here are a few rules to follow with regard to sending HSM:

Get Clearly Stated Consent From Users
To start communicating with users on WhatsApp, you need to obtain consent from them in a clear manner, where they confirm that they have agreed to receiving messages from your business on WhatsApp. The user opt-in must explicitly state your organization’s name and the user’s desire to receive messages on their WhatsApp. This will ensure that you exchange messages only with users who are clearly interested in receiving them.

Provide Clear Instructions for Clients Looking to Unsubscribe
Sometimes, users get tired of receiving endless messages from companies, and want to unsubscribe from receiving updates. However, unsubscribing often involves multiple steps that are tiresome to complete,  so users give up midway and prefer to block the company, which decreases the latter’s quality rating. To avoid this, you should lay down clear and fuss-free steps to enable users to unsubscribe from receiving mailings at any point of time. When users can easily unsubscribe at the click of a button, they will not complain about or block your company, and your ratings will remain unchanged.

Send Out Messages at Opportune Times

Some organizations make the mistake of sending out messages at inopportune times, which users do not appreciate at all. You will do well to refrain from sending messages on weekends, at night, early in the morning, and late in the evening. This will ensure your messages are actually read and attended to.

Use Multiple Numbers for Messaging to Reduce Risks

If your customer base is larger than a single number can handle, you should consider using multiple phone numbers, with each number catering to a separate audience base (say one for English-speaking audiences and another for Spanish-speaking ones), or a separate audience use case. Map each recipient number to a single WhatsApp Business API phone number. You need to understand that once your phone number is launched to send messages, it can’t be taken down. You will need to manage if forever, so be careful to launch only the required set of phone numbers.

Optimize Frequency of Sending Out Messages

Be mindful of your messaging frequency. Sending out too many messages at short intervals might have an opposite effect to what you want. The optimal frequency varies from company to company, so you must carry out your own research based on your marketing goals, the customer’s behavior, and the kind of content you are sharing and decide on the frequency accordingly.

Avoid Sending Messages With Negative Content

Clients do not appreciate receiving messages with a negative connotation, such as reminders of debts, collection of debts, etc. Such messages generate negative reactions and are best avoided or shared on rare occasions.

Share Personalized Messages That Actually Add Value

Ad hoc promotional messages that are not relevant for users are an annoyance and can frustrate them or even provoke them to block your number. It’s vital to share personalized messages that your users will actually find valuable and appealing.

Tell Your Clients Why They Are Receiving a Specific Message

Make it clear to your customers why you are sending them a specific message. Maybe your customer had checked out a sneaker online earlier, and you want to share exclusive discounts on that sneaker with your customer on WhatsApp. You would do well to remind them that they are receiving this message because they had expressed interest in that item earlier. You can also inform your client that he or she previously gave consent to this mailing and that is why they have received this message.

Send Timely Messages That Haven’t Passed Their Sell-by Date

Sometimes, businesses send promotional messages too late. Users who click on them are disappointed to note that the discount is not available or is about to end. This is very annoying for users, and they might react by blocking the number, which is not good for businesses. So make sure you send messages in a timely manner.

Ensure Message Testing for Best Results

Test your content with a small group of users before deploying a broadcast to a large group of recipients.

Guidelines for Exchanging Two-Way Communication

WhatsApp, being a two-way communication platform, supports both inbound and outbound communication. Follow these guidelines regarding two-way communication to keep your account rating high:

Respond to User Queries Quickly

Customers expect super quick responses to their queries on WhatsApp. How quickly your business responds to a customer query will decide whether your customer leaves a positive or a negative feedback. Try responding to customer requests in a time-bound manner, especially if it’s an urgent and important request.

Ensure High-Quality Bot Responses Including Bot-to-Human Routing

While chatbots are designed to make life easier for both customers and businesses, bots sometimes fail miserably in performing simple activities they are designed for. They provide wrong answers, keep repeating same things, or steer the conversation in an entirely different direction than the original question the users want answers to. This irks customers, who often take screenshots of the bot’s malfunctioning and share it online, resulting in not just reputation loss but also poor ratings. Make sure that your chatbot is well-designed so it does not malfunction. It should be able to seamlessly route the conversation to a human agent in case of complex queries. Also, users should be provided with the option of choosing to talk to a human agent.

An example:

How Some Bots Fail

Ensure Respectful and Professional Communication

Most users message a company to resolve simple queries or complete simple tasks. The function of the automated chatbots or the human customer care executives is basically utilitarian. Customers do not appreciate responses that are over friendly or rude. The wrong tone can be a complete damper when it comes to customer experience. You must ensure a professional and respectful tone throughout the conversation.

What to Do If Your Ratings Have Dropped

If by any chance your ratings have dipped, you could follow these guidelines to bring things back on track. We list some basic guidelines:

Check If You Are Strictly Complying With WhatsApp’s Policies

Are you sure you are adhering to WhatsApp’s policies for businesses looking to connect with customers on the channel? WhatsApp is very particular about what kinds of messages it allows organizations to share. For instance, it strictly prohibits sale of drugs (prescription or otherwise), alcohol, unsafe ingestible supplements, animal grooming services, certain medical devices and healthcare products, and so on (for the full list, read this). It also has a full list of terms of service (read this) and expects businesses to comply with it. If a company fails to adhere to these policies, their ratings will surely take a blow and in fact even their account might be “flagged” or “restricted”. In case you see your ratings fall, this could be one of the reasons. By correcting any compliance-related errors, you can get your ratings back on track.

Revise Structured Message Templates Your Users Are Complaining About

Sometimes, your WhatsApp message template might be contributing to your low rating. The template should be specific and clear, appropriately formatted, and checked for spelling. You must first identify the template your users are complaining about and replace it with an alternative if the template is found to be problematic.

See if Users Understand That They Have Given Consent to Receiving Messages

While giving their consent, did your users clearly understand that they were willingly signing up to receive messages from you? Was that information clearly and transparently explained to them? Because if not, then users might have mistakenly opted-in although they did not wish to receive any messages, and these users could block your number when they received any message. So in case your rating has dropped, you should also check your opt-in messaging. Also, sometimes your users lose interest in receiving messages from your brand. So you should regularly check if your users are still interested and want to continue the opt-in.

Revisit Your Mailing Frequency and See If You Are Doing Something Wrong

When it comes to sending messages to customers, more is not always better. Users these days are inundated with messages from various businesses, and if they get too many messages from you, they might simply block you out of annoyance. If you rating has fallen, you must check the frequency of your mails to see if this is ticking off people. Calculate the optimal mailing frequency and don’t send more than that.

Avoid Sending Ad Hoc Messages

Sending ad hoc messages that are irrelevant for users can result in them reporting SPAM or even blocking your number. If your rating has dropped, you must revisit the messages you have sent and check if they are actually relevant. Try to share personalized HSM as much as possible and keep your communication to the point.

See If your Bot is Functioning Well

Make sure that your bot is working correctly and that the bot has the option to transfer to a live operator whenever deemed essential.

You need to really understand your customers well and monitor how they might feel about receiving a message from your brand. Doing this will help you provide stellar customer support with each and every interaction. At edna, we offer continuous consultations to our clients on how best to leverage WhatsApp business.

Interested to connect with your customers via WhatsApp Business API? Get in Touch!