In an increasingly mobile-centric world where having an effective communication with your audience is key for getting more engagement and more app downloads, push notifications have become a powerful Marketing tool for many businesses. Of course, some may see them as something intrusive and annoying – however, it is important to clear out that the problem isn’t the tool itself but the way companies are misusing it. For this reason, today we will see some of the most essential push notification best practices that you need to apply in order to deliver an effective message to your audience.
What are push notifications?
Before we immerse in our push notification best practices, let’s make a brief overview of what a push notification exactly is. And why it can be a powerful tool for communicating with your audience on a more direct and personalized level.
Push notifications are clickable pop-up messages that show up on your users’ browsers irrespective of which device they use or which browser they are on. Independently from where users are on the browser, they can still receive these messages as long as they are online – or have their browser open and running on their electronic device.
Having said this, it is important to keep in mind that browser notifications are different from in-app ones. The second type is typically triggered by an existing application on the users’ device, while the first one is triggered by the browser as long as the user has given his consent to receive such notifications.
Compared to other existing Digital Marketing channels, push notifications are relatively new, and companies are still testing out different applications and use cases in order to establish an effective strategic implementation of this tool.
What are the benefits of push notifications?
There are numerous benefits of implementing push notifications within your Marketing strategy, including:
- Customer engagement – as opposed to other channels, push notifications are a much more direct way to reach your audience. They can be very effecitve for delivering the right information and updates to the right users at the right time.
- Conversion rate – another huge benefit of using push notifications as a direct communication channel is that, when used correctly, they can significantly improve your conversion rates. They allow you to send discounts, offers, product announcements and insights right on the spot.
- Less competition – compared to other Marketing channels, such as Display or Google Search, you also have a lot less competition. Basically, you are only competing for the users’ attention with other apps – with Display, for example, you compete with millions of other apps and websites at the same time.
- High quality audience – because push notifications are targeting users who are already familiar with your app (remember that they are triggered by apps that already exist on the electronic device), you can reach a high quality audience that is likely to purchase from you. In comparison, other Digital Marketing channels are only reaching the very top of the funnel of people who don’t really know you yet.
- Track key performance metrics – push notifications, combined with powerful app analytics tools, can help you track your ongoing app performance and get valuable insights into consumer behaviour. By getting to know your audience, you can personalize your communication even more.
And now that we know the benefits of this Marketing tool, let’s jump right into our push notification best practices:
9 Push Notification Best Practices
As we mentioned previously, push notifications can easily become annoying and intrusive if you are not using them the right way. Many companies send way too many, or not enough, or are not delivering the right message to the right customer. For example, imagine sending a notification to an already paying customer that they should upgrade from a free to a paid plan. Doesn’t seem quite personalized, right?
Sending such a message to customers who are already paying ones will not only deliver you zero results, but may also annoy them to the point that they will simply turn off their notifications. You will lose their attention, and will not be able to communicate with them directly any longer.
To avoid cases like these, let’s take a look at some of the most important push notification best practices that companies should take into account when implementing them within their Marketing strategy:
1. Optimize your timing
One of the best data-driven forms of personalization when it comes to push notifications is to make sure that you are sending them at the best possible time for the user. Keep in mind that this timing may vary from user to user.
One way to personalize this timing is to leverage data from the users’ calendar to make sure that you avoid any possible interruptions during important events. This can be very annoying, especially if they are using their phone to watch the event. Another way to syncronize with your audience is to analyze the habitual use of their device to discover the most appropriate times to connect with them, and to discard the ones that you should avoid at all costs.
2. Leverage geolocation data
Next on our list of push notification best practices is to leverage geolocation data to make sure that you are efficiently segmenting your user base. You can use this information to assess what time zone your audience lives in not only to continue optimizing your timing, but also to adjust your offers and promotions to the correct location.
For example, if you offer a specific promotion that is exclusively available for the USA, you can use geolocation to avoid sending push notifications within Europe where the promotion doesn’t apply.
You can leverage the power of geolocation data with different tools and technologies including geofencing, geotargeting and geoframing. For more information about them, check this article from netcorecloud.com.
3. Pre-Permission Notification
Once the user has downloaded your app (or accessed your URL if we are talking about progressive web apps), you can start sending them push notifications right away. However, if you have an iOS native mobile app, there is one extra step that you need to take to ensure that your audience has given their clear consent to receive notifications from you.
For this reason, next on our list of push notification best practices is to make sure that you have included a pre-permission notification so that users can opt-in before you can continue sending any other messages. However, this is exclusively for iOS – Android users receive notifications by default and should proactively opt-out if they don’t want to receive them. The same happens with progressive web apps.
4. Send a welcome notification
One of the most important push notification best practices that all businesses should implement is to send a welcome notification as soon as the user is done with their app onboarding. This is a great way to start a direct communication with your audience, and you can also combine it with a pre-permission notification (for iOS) to make sure that you have received the users’ consent right away.
You can also take advantage of your welcome notification to include an offer or a discount on a product that you are selling through your app (or on the app itself, if it has a premium plan).
5. Send relevant content
Next on our list of push notification best practices is relevant content – in other words, how valuable is your message to your audience? Sending random notifications just to say hi, and without delivering any value, will most probably annoy your users. And if it goes too far, they will directly uninstall or app, or never visit it again.
You can leverage your app analytics to learn more about your users’ behavior, what pages they visit, and what kind of content would they be interested to receive updates on. For example, if you see that users have a couple of products marked as favourite on their app, and they visit their shopping cart often, this could mean that they need a little push in the form of an extra discount to finish the purchase. So, you can send a push notification with 10% or 15% off your products.
In another scenario, let’s say that you have a sports app, and you see that a good percentage of your audience visits mainly football pages. In this case, you can send them new and updates exclusively related to football, and not just about any sport.
6. Provide live updates in real time
Next on our list of push notification best practices is to deliver accurate, up-to-date information in real time. For example, if you have a Sports app, you can keep users informed of scores, or simply deliver the latest news related to their favourite team. Or if you have an entertainment app, you can use push notifications to send relevant updates of upcoming shows and podcasts that users might be interested in.
Providing live updates in real time gets even easier with a Drag & Drop web app builder such as Beezer. Our advanced features not only allow you to send push notifications right away, but you can also update the content and features of your app instantly. Just do your modifications, hit the Publish button, and your audience will see the updated content immediately! You won’t have to go through the hassle of app store updates any longer.
7. Show appreciation of your audience
Another key element when it comes to push notification best practices is to make users feel appreciated. Many companies fall into the trap of using push notifications as a one-way communication channel in which they only try to sell their products or market their app. And let’s be honest – nobody likes being constantly bombarded with commercial messages that don’t deliver any actual value.
Besides from providing valuable content and insights, make sure that you make your audience feel appreciated. Sending a simple message such as “Thank you for being a part of the community” or “Thank you for using our app” can go a long way – or you can mark a special time of the year by wishing them a happy new year.
8. Obtain valuable feedback
Every company that cares about delivering the best service to its customers knows that getting user feedback is extremely valuable for improving in the long run. In many cases, you may find out that your audience is churning because of something that actually has an easy fix. The problem is, many people will prefer to leave or uninstall your app instead of letting you know what is wrong with it.
For this reason, you can use push notifications to reach out to your audience proactively, and get their feedback before it’s too late and you’ve lost them forever. You can also leverage your app analytics to identify at-risk users and invite them to share their app experience with you. In many occasions, they will appreciate your proactiveness, and it could also make them feel more invested in your app, sharing their thoughts and opinions in all honesty.
In the worst scenario, you might still lose some of your audience (this is a completely normal part of the process), but at least you will obtain valuable feedback that you can use to further improve app experience.
9. Offer a coupon or a discount
Next on our list of push notification best practices is to use push notifications as a way to offer promotional codes, discounts or coupons for your audience. Of course, without going overboard (it could be considered spammy), and they should always be relevant to the audience’s interests, needs and behaviour.
Keep in mind that a user who purchases as easly as possible when onboarding your app is more likely to continue purchasing from you in the long run. For example, you could send a limited 10% discount on your app or a product that you are selling within your app. This action will simply sweeten the deal for those users who have been thinking of making a purchase.
And for those users who weren’t considering buying anything at this point, an extra discount will always make them contemplate a possible purchase.
And these were some of the most important push notification best practices that companies should know about! Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below! And if you don’t have an app yet, we invite you to try Beezer 30 days for free! Start building awesome apps without the need for any coding skills – just drag and drop your favourite features and establish your mobile presence right away!
Awesome post! Thanks for posting such informative stuff. Really I’m overwhelmed to see such depth article on push notification.
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