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For marketers, mobile apps present an unprecedented opportunity to always be a mere arm's length away from our customers. And we can know more about them than ever possible before: where they are right now and where they've been—and even the direction and speed at which they are traveling.

But the battle for screen time is fierce, and the cost of entry for a lasting mobile relationship transcends campaign-style thinking.

So, how do you get mobile right? You have to start with de-emphasizing old measures of success such as open rates and time spent, and you have to end with adopting a service-first, sales-later mentality that allows you to continually deliver delight on the most personal, and arguably most valuable, real estate in the world—each customer's individual smartphone or tablet home screen.

Push notifications are the peanut butter to mobile apps' chocolate, making apps more sticky and delicious by not requiring them to be open in order to provide value to users.

Push notifications are opt-in messages that arrive on the home screen of mobile devices and can be customized with unique sounds and multimedia, including video and form fields. And they come in a variety of flavors—customer service alerts, social updates, new content availability notices, relevant and requested offers, breaking news alerts, weather alerts, traffic alerts, reminders, and location-specific alerts.

But not all push messages are created equal and the personal nature of mobile devices demands that marketers treat this newest communications channel as a privilege.

Through our extensive interactions with push-enabled apps and with consumers, we've created a set of best-practices that we call the Seven Rules of Good Push. They are a Bill of Rights of sorts for customers who have trusted you by opting in to receive your messages. We've written these rules from your customers' point of view.

1. Good push fits into my ever-changing schedule

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Brent Hieggelke is the CMO of Urban Airship, a globally deployed high-performance push messaging platform that enables top brands to deliver exceptional customer service experiences and grow mobile engagement.