How to Use Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s MobilePush

By Chester Bullock, Mark Pollard

The Salesforce Marketing Cloud MobilePush app lets you send messages through your existing mobile app. Many consumer-facing businesses already have mobile apps even if they don’t have a larger-scale mobile marketing plan. A mobile app can be almost as simple as your corporate website, offering information as basic as your store’s location and hours of operation.

Mobile app development is relatively simple and straightforward these days. After you design the functionality of your mobile app, you can probably find a firm to develop it for you in short order.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud MobilePush
Create a message in the MobilePush interface to send to customers via your mobile app.

General messages

Once you integrate your mobile app with MobilePush, subscribers who get the app will accept conditions during the installation process, such as the following:

  • “This app would like to send you notifications”
  • “This app would like to send you badges”

By giving your app these permissions, subscribers agree to let you push them messages through the app. For example, a newspaper app on your phone might use MobilePush to alert you to a breaking news story by sending you a synopsis of the story.

You integrate your app with MobilePush by using a tool called a Software Development Kit (SDK). The SDK is a group of files that make it easier for developers to integrate the systems. You can have your development organization download the SDK from the Salesforce developer site.

Your company’s app has to have slightly different flavors for iPhones versus Android phones, and the integrations between these apps and MobilePush are also slightly different. Separate SDKs are available from the preceding URL for iOS and Android.

Location-specific messages

MobilePush supports location-based messages as well. You define the borders of your location, and when a mobile device with your app enters a border, you send a message.

One technique for sending location-specific messages is geofencing. Geofencing uses the same kinds of satellites your navigation or mapping device might use. However, that kind of location technology is probably not specific enough for your in-store needs. Satellites are better at knowing which city block users are on than which kiosk they are near. In addition, users often disable this functionality on their phones because it drains the battery faster.

The technique you’re more likely to want to use is a beacon. A beacon is a special piece of hardware that uses Bluetooth technology to detect when a mobile device is nearby.

When a subscriber comes close, you can send a greeting or an exclusive offer. With beacon technology, you might even be able to send department-specific messages. For example, when users approach sporting goods, you could alert them to a sale on treadmills.

Location-based messages can backfire if you don’t craft them carefully and warn your customers in advance. When customers realize that you know exactly where they are in the store, they might find it more creepy than cool.