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It’s 2016, and as fast as it has come up on us, technology is moving even faster. This year, if you’re not investing in app messaging (also called push notifications) to drive your mobile marketing efforts, along with your customer experience, you’re at a greater risk of losing business.

The days when app messaging was considered invasive are now gone. Instead, these tactics should be evaluated for what they truly do;drive engagement and improve retention.

As an insurance agency owner, I know that the end goal is to create long-term, valuable relationships with our clients – not to just make a buck. As we all know, our money is made over time, so keeping clients happy with our agency is what’s best for our financial future. That’s where tools like push marketing through your agency app, in-app messaging, digital remarketing, and email marketing come into play; without considering a way to actively provide your mobile customers with targeted, relevant and valuable content, you and your agency are giving up on those relationships. Building strong relationships is what keeps clients with your insurance agency.

Think of it this way: securing the right agency app (and one that’s easy for your clients to install for that matter) is key in creating lasting customer engagements. The right agency app has great features and a clear value proposition, both of which are essential in ensuring that your clients are installing it and using it regularly. Regardless, that doesn’t mean that your users are being presented with everything they need, right when they need it. For that to happen, and to create interactions that stick, you need to employ personalized marketing tactics. So let’s back up for one second… with the agency app you’re looking at, does it allow you to see who is downloading your app? If the answer is no, you should move on to another app. The ability to track is very important to your engagement success.

OK, so that’s the “what” – now let’s start to dive into the “why” behind your efforts.

Future App Use: Over 91% of Users Plan to Use More Apps

The competition in the App Store is very overwhelming for most users, because users have an abundance of options and choices of what to put on their devices (smartphones & tablets), and most users have limited storage. Despite so much competition in the app world, our clients a large number of apps on a regular basis. The average number of apps a ubusiness-690675_640ser actively uses on a monthly basis is  18, so the longer that an insurance agency waits to setup their app, the more difficult it’s going to be to get their clients to use it.  That being said, waiting to see if apps are going fade is NOT an option. The average user will try out a new app on average four and half times before they decide to stop using it. The reason they stop using an app, generally speaking, is because the app didn’t meet their needs.It’s key to purchase the right agency app that works for you. What all this means is that apps as a medium, an experience, and a way of creating relationships have been validated. Generally, people are interacting with apps more frequently and spending more time in apps. Apps are not going away so it’s time to embrace them and find a good strategy for utilizing an app in your insurance agency.

Retaining Your Agency App

There are studies showing that 58% of app users churn within the first 30 days of using the app. This number is large, and it goes to show that our insurance agencies have to be able to explain the options our app has, and how our clients can use it effectively. The other way to help your clients understand your app is by creating a YouTube video showing your clients a step by step process on how it works, or how to download it. Without putting time and energy into your app, your retention will decline, with a large number of people churning your app and that is not good for your insurance agency’s bottom line.

Agency Apps that use push notifications and in-app messaging have higher engagement

On average, users (hopefully your clients) who have enabled push notification within their app will open it about 14.7 times per month, and on the flip side, users who haven’t enabled push notifications will only launch an app 5.4 times per month. This represents an enormous increase in app engagement, which is why your agency needs an app that has the ability to send push notifications to your customers.

Essentially, if your agency has an app and has no ability to send push notifications, your engagement is going to be very limited and very unproductive. Please don’t look for the cheapest app, because it will always be cheaper to purchase an app that can’t track who downloads your app, as well as an app that can’t push notify. If you’re not using your app to send push notifications and in-app messaging to create opportunities for personalized engagement, you’re doing it wrong. When done right, these messaging strategies represent your ability to communicate with your clients by providing information, weather updates, content or offers that they are truly interested in, or keeping people safe. Don’t send push notifications to your clients trying to shove more insurance products down their throat –  give them valuable content.

What’s Next is Personalization and Metrics

When it comes to setting up an app for your insurance agency, there’s no time to wait. In addition to utilizing these tools, you need to be creating, optimizing, measuring, and improving key campaigns for your agency.

In the next year, your mobile marketing can’t depend on one-and-done broadcast messages to all app users, because that rarely works in any marketing strategy, whether it’s in mobile or digital marketing. Instead, push notifications and in-app messaging works best when they contain personalized content targeted to individuals or common audiences. Your ability to personalize your message is another key to purchasing the right app for your agency.

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Once you’re insurance agency’s campaigns are up and running, you will see how it affects your agency’s bottom line. Your app needs to have the ability to measure who is using your app, or else there is nothing you can measure. Once you have that right app, you need to go beyond initial metrics like impressions, open rate, and click-through rate to ensure you measure the campaign’s impact on business goals. Measuring your agency app’s marketing success by business impact provides the scalable approach you need to optimize your marketing, so that you are nurturing every client relationship you have for your agency. In 2016, your app needs to be the heart of your marketing strategy.