Thanks to technology, there are several ways to reach customers. If you are on the business side, you will find this opportunity very interesting. However, if you are on the customer side, you know how annoying it is to receive ads and messages through whatever you interact with during a day.
There needs to be a balance, and respect for the user’s privacy and choice. Although you as a marketer or business developer might have access to your users through dozens of channels, you need to be careful and make sure you just used the ones users like and allow you to. In order for this to happen, you need to know what your options are.
Some of these channels are ways to interact with users specifically through messages. These channels, if not used wisely, can be terribly annoying for users and lead to their churn.
This is the most popular and oldest messaging channel between businesses and their users and customers. Emails are usually used to sign up for a service, which means that it is data that businesses have easy access to. Moreover, the costs of having an email marketing or email automation tool are not very high and affordable for many businesses. All of these make emails one of the perfect ways to communicate with users.
To elaborate more upon the cons of emailing, we can mention that they are not limited to a specific number of characters or a size; which makes them a good option when the message we want to deliver is long. Emails support rich media content and in-depth copy. Moreover, people check their emails regularly and this to the business’s advantage.
Although very popular, email marketing has its own downsides. People use email mostly for formal matters like work. This is why they do not want to be distracted with promotional messages when they are going through their inbox. So, if you are using this channel you want to be as precise and punctual as possible. You also need to stay away from things that might put your message directly in their spam folder; otherwise, they will probably not get your message.
We mentioned that emails are used to sign up for a service; but, this does not mean that they can be used however we want at any circumstances. You need to ask your users if they want to receive your emails or not, and unsubscribe them from the mailing list when they are no longer interested in receiving your messages via email. There are strict laws about data usage and data protection, especially in Europe. So, be considerate.
Short message service or SMS can be used as a messaging channel to communicate with users. This type of messaging is normally used for security purposes (like when you want to reset passwords or when you sign in to your bank account) and are just for notifying the user. This is because they are costly and limited to a specific number of characters. Since people nowadays are always holding on to their phones and never letting it go out of sight, this channel is good if you need immediate attention to your message.
Push notifications are short messages that can reach people anywhere and at any time. A push notification is a message that pops up on a mobile device and is the most important communication channel used between apps and their users. When an app is installed on a device, users are asked the question of whether they want to receive notifications or not and they can decide if they want this to be a communication channel for the very app. Usually less than 50% of people opt-in for receiving notifications.
There are different types of push notification. From text-only to rich-media notifications, you can send whatever message you have to the users. They are real-time, can prevent users from churning, and can be personalized based on user’s behavior
Because push notifications appear even if a customer isn’t currently using your product, they’re a great way to send urgent information; for example, to let a customer know that they have reached their credit limit, or that their favorite singer just released a new song. Same as emails, these messages can irritate users and force them to block your notifications. Be careful not to send too many communication messages through this channel.
How to know which messaging channel to choose
It all depends on your user database. You need to test on a controlled group and see which channel works best for your users and try to stick to that. Keep in mind that if a channel is not working for you right now, it does not mean that it will never work in the future either. Based on what stage your business is in, the profitability of channels may differ.
Think about your intentions
Why do you want to send that message to the user? Is it because you want to keep them engaged and staying on top of their mind? Or is it because you need to immediately inform them about something?
If your message is urgent or needs attention, you need to contact them via SMS or push notification to make sure your users are aware of them. Keep these messages as succinct as possible and stay to the point, because you don’t want to irritate your users. On the other hand, if you are planning to catch the attention of your users or to send them your newsletter, emails would be the way to go at it.
Think about your budget
Is it ok for you to spend a lot of money? Or is your marketing budget limited? SMS messaging is going to cost you more than email and push notification. If you have a limited budget, think about push notifications. However, don’t overuse a channel, because you will lose your user’s interest in your messages — leading to probably losing the user themselves.
Think about each channel’s potential
If you want to send a message that includes more than just text, you should forget about SMS. Images, videos, GIFs, and voice messages can be sent via push notification. You can also add graphic designs to your emails to make them look more eye-catching.
How to send messages through each channel
You can send your messages through your own developed panel, or use tools that have been built by other companies. Obviously the first option is going to put a huge workload on your technical team, writing the codes to make it possible for you to send out different messages.
There are many technological tools that help you deliver your message.