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4 Reasons Your Brand Is Behind on Mobile - And How to Catch Up Companies that fail to maximizing their mobile presence put the future of their business at risk. But that doesn't have to be you.

By Momchil Kyurkchiev Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Fotos593 | Shutterstock

Mobile is the undeniable future of commerce. However, many brands, from small businesses to enterprises, consistently miss the mark. They fall short of tapping into mobile's potential to build meaningful relationships with consumers, gathering insights into those audiences, and maximizing return on investment (ROI). Mobile is more than a channel; it's the power to create personalized customer experiences that keep people coming back. While some may view mobile as a challenge, companies that only rely on desktop can't stay competitive for long.

But it isn't too late to reverse course and build a valuable mobile presence. Here are four reasons why your brand is trailing behind -- and how you can catch up.

1. Your data isn't guiding you. Learn from churn.

Churn rates are a constant thorn in marketers' sides, and not just on mobile. They often lead marketers into a reactive tailspin rather than fostering proactive marketing innovation. While some churn is expected, the key is to learn from it in a systematic, scientific way by taking a hard look at the customer data your app collects.

First, understand the churn itself: which users are abandoning your app and when? Zero in on that and find some trends in user behavior, demographic segments, etc. That data will show you where you've gone wrong and lead you to engage with content your users want.

If you're a smaller or newer business, you may believe you don't have access to the same volume of customer data from which to gather insights. However, you'd be surprised how much data your user base will offer, and what it will teach you. From there, make tweaks to your user interface or your messaging strategies, A/B testing the changes with certain user segments as you go.

Related: The Science Behind Customer Churn

2. Users don't understand your app value. Show it to them.

People spend 85 percent of their time on smartphones inside apps, but they won't stay if they don't immediately grasp the value of your app. As such, show them up front how to get the most out of it.

A large part of this will happen in onboarding. This first engagement with the app is "do or die," as three in 10 users will abandon an app after the first use. To make the most of onboarding, the user flow should be seamless and intuitive, with very little work required of the user. You have to design tutorials that are short and focused, and test variables of page design for optimal flow. If users do stop halfway through onboarding, don't be afraid to remind them to register with a push notification — it's an important part of the sales funnel.

Related: 6 Time-Tested Tips for Designing a Killer App for Your Brand

Speaking of push …

3. You're not getting push opt-Ins. Change your approach.

Push notifications are another important part of the mobile customer journey, but most brands fail to get user permissions. There's a reason only 42 percent of app users opt into push notifications — because brands blast them out without context. But utility is exactly what gets consumers to allow and engage with push notifications.

In order to gain back that 58 percent, you have to explain why your push notifications benefit the in-app experience. Some mobile marketing tools enable you to suppress the default iOS prompt, which appears when a user first opens the app, and display a request when that person is more engaged. This request can display a custom message demonstrating the value of push, like alerting customers when a wish list item is on sale. Push is an important app engagement tool, so you can't afford to lose your chance with a standardized requests that only tell part of the story.

Related: 6 Time-Tested Tips for Designing a Killer App for Your Brand.

4. You don't treat your users like individuals. Personalize your approach.

Above all else, marketers must remember their audience is comprised of unique individuals, and build mobile strategies around that idea. In engaging users, marketers fail to take into account their lives — their work and play, school and sleep, country and culture. In fact, 63 percent of marketers send messages to users at the wrong time. And that's only the beginning of mobile personalization, which should factor in preferences, behaviors, lifecycle, and more.

With a diverse customer base, it may seem daunting, but the key is automation. Mobile apps hold so much data about who users are and what makes them tick. Marketers need to harness that data to personalize both the in-app experience and mobile messaging, with automated campaigns, continually tested and perfected.

Related: What They Haven't Told You About Mobile-First Marketing

Mobile is more than a channel. It's the hub for your customer relationships, with unlimited engagement opportunities. Though mobile may seem like a lot to handle, there are strategies everyone can take to successfully market an app, without need for an in-house team of developers or even much tech savvy. That's the way to tackle mobile: with an approach built for marketers, that scales as you do.

Momchil Kyurkchiev

CEO and Co-founder of Leanplum

Momchil Kyurkchiev is the CEO and co-founder of Leanplum, an integrated optimization solution for mobile apps that makes it easy for non-techie marketers to better engage customers and sell more through mobile. It utilizes real customer analytics and automates the process from A/B testing to in-app marketing. Prior to Leanplum, Kyurkchiev was a tech lead at Google where he optimized video ads. Follow the company at or on Twitter @leanplum and @mkyurkchiev.

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