Introducing PushCrew’s Blog: The Marketer’s Last Mile
When I started up Wingify back in 2010, I knew I had hit upon a problem that needed solving.
Visual Website Optimizer, now known widely as just VWO, our first product, wanted to help marketers build better websites. First, the product did just A/B Testing. Today, it is a complete conversion optimisation software, doing almost everything a modern marketer would need. I remember how VWO evolved along with our own marketing: we knew what our customers needed because we were using the product ourselves. It made building the product, thinking about the roadmap, and figuring out the user experience incredibly easy.
One of the things that helped us take VWO to a bigger audience was writing about it. In the beginning, I wrote extensively about what I was building, why I was building it, who it would benefit, how to use it better and so on. I realized I enjoyed writing, and of course, getting read. As VWO grew, we grew this into a content engine that helped our customers and our audience.
The Writer’s Dilemma
And this was when we stumbled on to a problem writers face: how to get people to come back to your site, and read more. Newsletters are okay, tweets are great, Facebook posts too, but these are all dependent on readers being on that particular platform — email, Twitter, or Facebook. What else could we do? What other channels are there?
The problem extrapolated itself in my head over time. If we were so obsessed with getting customers to return to our blog to read, we realized how important this would be to other marketers too.
This idea stayed in my head for a while, until I discovered web browser notifications. I saw that smarter marketers at organisations had already caught on. We saw the potential, the opportunity, and rushed to make an MVP that would actually solve this problem for everyone who needed this.
It worked. We built PushCrew. Customers saw that we had built something useful. They came.
And now, as the team works on making PushCrew better and bigger, I took a step back to think about the product, and what it was actually doing: the longer view, if you will. It didn’t take long for me and the team to figure out that the problem we were trying to solve was massive, that the scale of this was ridiculous, and that we were trying to paint a fence with a toothbrush.
We realized that PushCrew is not just sending notifications: It’s trying to solve the most fundamental marketing problem there is — communication, contact: the marketer’s last mile.
Push Notifications – Driving the Last Mile
Anyone who has ever done any sort of marketing knows that this is the clincher. As Entrepreneur magazine put it in 2014, “The last mile in marketing connects a customer to the seller through communication that occurs close to the point of purchase.” This is when the customer turns around, chooses to return, and gives you the money.
Push notifications were able to solve this exact problem. For example, if I had landed on the website of a particular magazine I’d liked — science journal Nautilus, for instance, which I do subscribe to. And if something had come up making me move on, I would forget what I was reading. I could even have left in the middle of filling up billing information on the subscriber form.
And there’s the use case: A push notification from Nautilus may take me straight back to the website, and I can finish what I started – reading or buying.
Which is what makes push notifications interesting, and what made us build this in the first place — its immediacy, that instantaneous stimuli to take an action.
Isn’t that what a marketer yearns for?
Your other marketing is important
But again, push notifications, as we suspected, and have discovered, don’t work in a vacuum. Your other marketing is important; it has an effect on how your push notifications perform. Your brand is important, what you mean to your customer is important. I will definitely click on a notification from Nautilus, but will I agree to be sent notifications from a spammy 3-notifications-an-hour service company in the first place? No.
Which makes sending push notifications and collecting subscribers an art, almost, quite like advertising and web design. At PushCrew we use our experience with earlier customers to help our newer ones understand how to use this new channel, and how to extract maximum ROI. We try to educate our customers so they don’t become that spammy service company. We help them become a brand whose notifications customers actually look forward to.
What we have here is a medium with immense scope in personalisation. Nautilus could easily bring me back to their website through a push notification about an essay I was reading.
As a follower, I greedily go through their topics on Economics and Aerodynamics. Not so much for Anthropology. So, a notification which tells me that there’s a new piece on the Aerodynamics of a Soccer Ball entices me more than a notification on Dressing for Success does. And, this is exactly the next step for PushCrew: enabling notifications which are intelligent and empathetic.
But as we said before, this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
PushCrew is going to address a much bigger problem, that of the last mile, that of communication itself.
Push notifications are just where we are beginning. We are thinking about more channels, more automation, and machine learning — can your notifications figure out when to go out based on data? We want to give you a platform with which you can reach your customers in more ways than one, and which gets smarter and smarter the more you use it.
The Marketer’s Last Mile
Welcome to The Marketer’s Last Mile, a brand new publication from PushCrew.
We use the word publication knowing full well the associations that word brings along. TMLM is being planned, written, edited, and published like a magazine. It will be referred to as a blog more often than not but we are investing research, fact-checking, and giving our writers enough backing and time to tell you important, meaningful stories.
TMLM is a result of all this time and effort, it is a result of our exploration of marketing ideas, it is a result of a full fledged search for great stories, and all of what we unearth and narrate is going into the vision we have for PushCrew. We will explore here the past, present, and future of marketing communications. In the following weeks, we will tell you great stories about how marketers are using PR as a last mile. We will narrate a brief history of push notifications. We will tell you about the psychology of having two McDonald’s hoardings in close proximity to each other.
It’s going to be fun.
Of course, there will also be PushCrew related stuff – new releases, exciting updates, but the focus is on making you, the marketer, not just more efficient and effective, but also smarter.
You can subscribe to us right here, and we’ll send you new posts in your email. You can of course, subscribe to our push notifications. But if you are a LinkedIn or a Medium person, you can also subscribe to us there. We’ll share new posts on Twitter and Facebook too.
Watch this space. You’ll get something great to read.
Illustrations by Richa Arora