8 Features You Absolutely Need in a Mobile CRM
“Mobile CRM” – it’s a fairly new term, but as a tool is growing increasingly crucial to marketers, developers and product managers. Your customers are going mobile, interacting with your brand on custom apps that help them get what they need, and sooner. And now, you need a way to:
- Track their in-app behavior & usage
- House their self-identified attributes, including location, gender, preferences, interests, and more
- Create advanced user segments & audiences to draw insights on mobile usage according to their profiles (a combination of behavior and attributes)
- Export, import, report on and share these mobile insights
- Tie together mobile usage and outside-of-the-app interactions (i.e., how your customers interact with your brand across all of your channels)
- Use your analytics to improve user acquisition strategies, such as which organic sources, ad partners, and campaign creatives are the most successful
- Use your analytics to run relevant & targeted app messaging campaigns, including push and in-app notifications, and email marketing campaigns
- Show changes in app behavior, feature usage, engagement & retention, plus lifetime value, overtime
Your mobile CRM of choice should act as home to all of the information you have collected about your app user, plus their interactions across other channels. But it’s more than just an analytics hub – your mobile CRM should also enable you to run strategic engagement campaigns straight from within the tool. Essentially, it should act as both the analytics and the action.
Don’t fall into the trap of buying a system of point solutions for your analytics and marketing. Yes, we’re biased, but the need is real – whether you’re a startup strapped for budget and resources, or an enterprise-level company who needs an efficient and accessible infrastructure, the best way to ensure real-time data and use that to inform your marketing campaigns is by investing in a closed-loop solution.
The first reason is simple: if you have disparate analytics and marketing software, in order to run any targeted marketing campaigns the burden is on you to import and filter the right user data. This not only costs time and resources, but opens the process up to human err, and means your marketing is done in real-time or using the most up-to-date user analytics. Your push and in-app messaging and email campaigns will be less powerful when not rooted in real user behavior, interests and attributes, and you’ll spend more time creating each campaign.
Then, what happens after your campaign is completed? In a point app messaging solution, you’ll have critical metrics like open rate and click-through rate, but you won’t be able to track resulting conversions in-app, or if users in that campaign had subsequent higher retention and engagement rates.
Acquisition management allows you to track the acquisition of users from organic sources, referrals and paid ads on different channels, and, more importantly, allows you to measure the ROI of campaigns and user segments by lifetime value (LTV) – instead of just downloads. Acquisition management and the insights you gain from it help determine the paid channels with the best ROI, and concentrate your acquisition efforts on those areas that have seen the greatest return.
Choose a tool that allows you to record a value with every subscription, every product purchase, and every ad view, so that you can compute a total LTV score for your users, segment that by the same channel sources or campaigns, and shift your ads then to those that are generating the most actual value. Without this form of ROI tracking, you’ll only know which sources drive downloads, and not which ones deliver high-value and long-term users (remember: downloads don’t always turn into new users, or even repeat users).
You’ll want to be able to track:
- Total spend on acquisition campaigns
- Individual campaign budgets
- Individual campaigns by ad partner and creative
- Number of new users
- Number of return users (after 1st app open, 5th, etc. – based on your retention goals)
- Cost per user
- Individual campaign revenue
- Total campaign revenue
- Lifetime value of users generated
Having the right tool in place means you can easily run these campaigns and determine where the value lies in user acquisition programs. Acquisition is so important that tools without it are not complete mobile marketing solutions.
Understanding your app users totally hinges on tracking the metrics that matter. These metrics are also the key to identifying just how well your app is performing, how to improve, and where the growth areas are. You want to choose a robust platform that can track practically everything you want to see, from the download source, to organic usage, to the performance of your app marketing campaigns.
You also want to ensure that all of your data is coming in in real-time, and that your CRM of choice doesn’t use any canned or pre-populated data. That’s a recipe for misinformation, and won’t accurately reflect your app users.
The terminology for app usage and metrics varies from tool to tool, so be careful not to mistake that for competitive advantage. When talking to vendors, be clear in communicating what you want to see from your app analytics, and they can help identify which parts of their tool can accomplish this.
There are a number of metrics you’ll want to track for your app, but essentially, you want to track measures of usage and engagement/impact:
- Number of new users
- Time in app
- Session length
- Session interval
- Usage by user segment
- Feature usage/popular features
- Screen flow
- In-app events & event completions
- Funnel completions
Impact & Engagement
- Abandonment rate
- Organic conversion completions (without app messaging to prompt usage)
- Push & In-App Messaging CTRs
- Push & In-App Messaging conversions
- Email opens
- Email CTRs
- Email conversions
- Customer lifetime value
- Revenue per customer
- Transactions or conversions per customer
In addition to these metrics, look for a tool that allows for the addition of custom dimensions and attributes, such as:
- Operating System
These dimensions add life to your analytics, and give you a granular understanding of your audience. The more information you can gather about your user, and the easier it is to draw insights from their app behavior, the closer you are to knowing your customers in-and-out.
How do you better understand your app users? By understanding their actions and attributes and creating audiences that reflect these.
User segmentation is done based on a series of custom dimensions, some of which are standard within app marketing platforms, and others which you should be able to categorize yourself based on brand goals. Segmentation allows you to identify your audience based on key attributes, like device, location, in-app behavior, retention, and more, and is critical to determining engagement trends.
Segmentation is the underlying factor of all app marketing, as audience insights drive successful campaigns. This is where the closed-loop system becomes more important – when you can use your analytics to launch app marketing initiatives. Once created, dimensions can then be cross-tabulated, filtered or combined to analyze your app usage and discover actionable insights and user segments. All of these user insights work to create more personalized app experiences and to drive app messaging that actually engages users with valuable content.
Your app users don’t exist just within your app – they are real-life people who research, purchase, choose and interact with your brand across other channels. Your app marketing should reflect this, and your mobile CRM should collect all of the relevant information about your users.
You want your mobile CRM to be able to track in-app usage and act as your central system of other customer touch points, such as when a user has interacted with you on the web, in your brick-and-mortar store, or via email. For example, if you have an mCommerce app, user profiles can tell you when an app user has a $30 credit at your store, prompting you to send him or her a mobile notification.
Here are some examples of the kind of data you might want to collect from outside of the app and combine with in-app data.
- Sports Teams = Boston Red Sox, Liverpool FC
- Music Artists = Paul Simon, Dr. John
- Hobbies = Guitar, Marketing, Traveling
- News = World, Technology, Finance
- Birthday = 1982-03-10
- Gender = Female
- Hometown = Checotah, OK
- Annual Income = $200,000
- Subscriber Type = Trial
- Linked Twitter Account = True
- Registered User = False
Outside Channel Attributes:
- In-Store Purchaser = True
- Frequent Buyer Member = False
- Rewards Status = Non-member
These user attributes make your targeting and analysis much more valuable across your web and mobile apps. Ask of your potential vendors: who has user profiles available, or what their plans are for building out this capability in the near-term. This will give you a sense of who is thinking about the convergence of web, mobile and offline user journeys.
Your CRM isn’t just a collection of user data – it’s actionable information for creating better experiences. Even if you don’t think you’ll use tactics like push and in-app messaging anytime soon, there will come a time when you need them to engage your users, and it will save you a lot of time and headaches if those solutions are already built into your analytics and CRM.
Our research shows that push messaging clearly drives app retention, further opens, and interactions – in-app messaging, alternatively, is huge in facilitating engagement with users who are already in the app, and email ensures that you’re reaching out to app users across every relevant communication channel.
In choosing a mobile CRM, think of the best ways you’ll be able to use that data to engage your users. You need a platform that offers push notifications, in-app messaging and email marketing with advanced targeting and testing options.
Marketing automation is a necessary weapon in an app owner’s arsenal. Automation enables you to run targeted marketing without the legwork – and it changes according to user behavior in real-time, even when you’re not there to see it. It’s also valuable to your end user; mobile marketing automation ensures that they are receiving the most relevant content to their interests, immediately. Some things to look for in a tool that claims to have automation are:
- Recurring push messaging and segmentation
- In-app messaging that triggers based on real-time in-app user actions
- Notifications or email campaigns that automate after conversions or purchases
- Ability to define frequency, timing, and content on different automated campaigns
- Frequency capping and the ability to limit the number of messages per campaign or in a given time period
With a little marketing creativity, there are many other automated campaigns that can be run, but these basic functionalities are necessary. Automation makes the ability to measure success and running marketing campaigns a much more robust offering.
Is the platform easy to use, edit, and update? In looking for the right tool, flexibility and ease of use should be top-of-mind. A good question to ask vendors is who the tool was created for. You’ll want to invest in something that everybody could use, so that internal education and implementation is a breeze. Here, it’s important to distinguish between an advanced platform and a complicated platform – look for advanced capabilities paired with usability.
A good mobile marketing platform will allow you to deploy campaigns without any engineering assistance or additional code creation. With the right system is already in place, you won’t have to concern yourself with the technical build of campaigns, or the implementation of redesigns that require a resubmission to the App Store. This way, marketing can run, measure and tweak campaigns often to see what works quickly and efficiently, and can run all programs in-house.
You’ll also want ease-of-use when it comes to generating and pulling reports on user behavior and attributes from your mobile CRM. Email delivery, quick import and export, and the ability to change the date range on reports and save for future use is a hallmark of good CRMs.
Capping it all off: look for constant innovation
This post outlined your must-have features, but there are other mobile CRM considerations to take into account, such as advanced product elements, the team’s roadmap, customer success stories, and the vision of the company. You want to end up with a tool that is constantly being improved upon – where the team is always looking for new ways to help you better understand and engage your app users.