San Francisco-based Autopilot, a provider of marketing automation software, has added an in-product messaging tool called Headsup. It lets users ping or otherwise send a message to their customers through their mobile device or when online.

The message isn’t just randomly sent. Rather, it's sent based on the context of what the customer is doing or has done recently. Perhaps he or she downloaded an application form. The message might say, "Hey, do you need help completing the form?" as one example.

Mike SharkeyOr something along those lines. As part of its product development, Autopilot market tested about 100 designs to see which ones resonated the most with customers, Autopilot CEO and Co-Founder Mike Sharkey told CMSWire. Sharkey and his two brothers, Chris and Peter, founded Autopilot in Austrialia as Bislr in 2012.

Personalized Messages

“We didn’t just want a high conversion rate,” he said. The company was also gunning for a memorable customer experience as well by providing a certain measure of personalization.

The messages are sent from “real” employees at the company — say a product manager for a particular line about which the user had asked. The message would pop up with a headshot and a question or comment.

The actual messages and the scenarios in which are automatically sent — this process is an automated one — are pre-defined in the system.

Autopilot uses tracking codes that can be embedded on marketing properties or pieces of content, such as a blog or a white paper. That tracking code is how Headsup is able to recognize the customer’s context and then retrieve the correct message.

“Any marketing content that has an Autopilot tracking code can send a message through Headsup,” Sharkey said.

Internal Studies Show High Response Rate

An internal study by Autopilot found that recipients of these messages responded at higher engagement rates compared to industry statistics of email marketing engagement rates.

That is, Autopilot compared the engagement rate of a message sent by Headsup on, say, day two of a campaign, to generic email marketing stats for that same day in the cycle. Headsup’s response rates to call-to-action messages where about 14 times higher than emails with the same message sent on the same day, the company claims.

Autopilot, and by extension Headsup, can integrate with Salesforce CRM, Slack, Twilio, Segment and Zapier.

There have been 94 beta customers testing the new messaging tool for the past month.

It is now generally available.