Push messaging isn't just about getting your message out. It's about interacting with your mobile users in a personal way—on their most personal device—by not only reaching them quickly but also creating a meaningful interaction with your brand.

Ideally, your mobile app will do more with a push message than simply display an "FYI" or reminder.

Sending targeted, relevant messages is no longer a best practice; it's a basic level of engagement that consumers expect. Already, among US consumers, 18% (and rising) expect to engage with brands to get service and information both immediately and in context, according to Forrester Research.

What do I mean by context? It means helping a user instinctively know what you want them to do with their device in the shortest amount of time possible, thus reducing barriers to action. At Bluebridge, (where I work) we've found that the best mobile marketers do exactly that.

Here are five new ways that you may not have considered before for using push and inspiring action.

1. Ask a question

Try drawing users into the app with a question, like the way you might with a subject line of an email.

Piquing their curiosity is a powerful way to entice them into your app to check out details of an event they don't want to miss out on, new content you've launched, or a new feature of the app you're promoting.

To point users to your marketing blog, for example, you might ask, "Have you seen our latest post on successful mobile campaigns?"

2. 'Break' Twitter

Have you ever participated in Jimmy Fallon's "Tonight Show Hashtags" game on Wednesday nights? Hashtags are a clever way to create buzz, and even trends, that point to your brand.

Marketers can attempt to mimic this effect by sending a push message to their audience at an event with a call to action to tweet a certain hashtag. Make it easy by pre-populating the tweet you're looking for and integrating with the one-touch iOS Twitter sharing action. Trend created!

3. Put on a 'flash sale'

Flash sales may or may not be a guilty pleasure of mine, but they're not just for retailers any more. Send a push message that features a limited-time offer for "super early bird" event registration, or offer limited spots to receive access to exclusive content.

People love feeling that they're getting a deal or VIP treatment. Draw them to taking action—like tweeting, filling out a Web form, or contacting your team—in return for receiving the offer.

This tactic is even more effective when you make it clear that your offer has a limit or expiration: "Exclusive whitepaper access for first 200 to tweet," for example, or "Brand new research available for 24 hours only."

4. Use push messaging drip programs

When your app is sharing helpful or educational content, keep engagement high by building a campaign around sharing little tips each day for a week.

If you're using segmented push messaging capabilities, make this a series that mobile app users can opt into, and set expectations that describe how many messages they'll receive (over a set period of time) in the series.

(This idea is inspired by some of Bluebridge's church customers, such as First Federated Church in Iowa, who send members Bible reading reminders via push notification by setting up a series of push notifications ahead of time and scheduling them to be sent on future dates.)

5. Lead them to the proverbial water

One of the most useful things you can do with mobile is to help a customer get to the right place at the right time. That might mean providing easy access to event information or real-time navigation for your audience or event attendees. My company's tourism and destination marketer clients, for example, send push notifications that help users find events or festivals in destinations that might not be familiar to users.

As you remind your users about sessions, sales, meetings, and events through mobile apps, make sure you include a call-to-action that provides turn-by-turn directions and a button to call a member of your team if they're having trouble. The convenience and personal connection won't go unnoticed.

* * *

As someone with a background in email marketing and marketing automation, I've found that some of the best-practices of personalized and relevant email apply just as much to push. Nearly all of the above-noted recommendations can be made even more powerful by adding an element of segmentation to ensure that your push message is being sent to a targeted audience.

Do you have a creative way to go beyond a simple push notification? I'd love to hear it.

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image of Mallory Lee

Mallory Lee is VP of marketing at mobile app solutions provider Bluebridge, where her focus is scalable growth and return on marketing investment.

Twitter: @MalloryRLee

LinkedIn: Mallory Lee