The push notification is the ‘email’ of the app world, with one vital difference- Emails need to be accessed via the inbox, and is subject to spam filters and other permissions. On the other hand, push notifications can penetrate into the user’s phone screen instantly, and stay there till an action (either it is read or it is cleared) is taken.
With an ability to keep regular, personalized communication with the consumer, push notifications help brands understand customers’ needs better, and in turn deliver the right information at the right time. Push notifications can be used to ignite dormant users, re-engage those who haven’t visited the app for a while and stimulate existing users.
The push notification is a hyper-effective marketing tool capable of offering the customer exactly what they want based on previous shopping history, both in-app and in-store. Dig even deeper and the push notification reveals itself as a proficient tool for gathering insights on customer desires and expectations.
To help you get past these potential pitfalls and into the lucrative land of push notification success, we’ve put together the following 7 rules.
Rule 1: Maximize Push Opt-in Rate:
Before we get started with creating the optimal engagement, you’ll need to make sure you have a healthy amount of users to send the push notifications to. The smart way to ensure a high opt-in rate is to communicate the benefits of receiving push notifications to the user, even before he gets the first push alert on opening your app. By doing this, you get the opportunity to explain why they should hear more often from you. The standard push opt-in a user sees when they open the app for the very first time can be confusing, which makes the user negative about the whole thing. Many hit “no” even before they begin to understand the process.
Rule 2: Stay Relevant & Contextual
A sure way to increase uninstalls is to send push notifications that have zero relevance to a user’s recent activity, or their interests in general. You see, while content is king for email, personalization is king for the push notification, and the absolute reason communication should always be as targeted as possible.
Don’t rush into sending push notifications. Sit down on a weekly basis and map out a strategy based on user behavior and demographics. Use internal data to build a picture of your user base and segment users accordingly. This will allow you to make sure each push speaks to the user in the most relevant, and personalized way possible.
Another important relevance factor is timing. To increase response rate, make sure you send pushes at optimal local time.
Rule 3: Maintain Regular Communication
Marketers have a tendency to be overly cautious when it comes to sending push notifications. Sending too many might scare users off, while sending too few might be perceived as neglectful and inconsistent. Getting caught between these two evils causes action paralysis, and is the core reason why only a few companies end up utilizing the potential of push.
This is where what we like to call “strategic regularity” comes in to play. You need to create a line of communication whereby your user base expects to hear from you, and wants to hear from you at that. If your pushes are perceived as relevant and useful, users will be happy to receive regular notifications.
Just like in the physical world, personalized, regular communication makes for a fruitful relationship. Consider your own relationships. Hearing from a friend on a regular basis who asks genuine, thoughtful questions about your life is a blessing. On the other hand, hearing now and again from a fair-weather friend who asks general, dutiful questions kind of makes you wish they hadn’t bothered.
Set about creating a quarterly roadmap for sending out push notifications, taking into account seasonal events you can capitalize on. By beginning to understand your users, you’ll begin to understand when and what they want to hear from you. For example, if one of your target segments is a 35-year-old stay at home mom, sending out a push alert at 8am on a weekday morning is likely to be ignored amidst the chaos of the school run. Similarly, sending five notifications about your upcoming New Year sale on Christmas Eve is likely to cause annoyance and gift you a stocking full of uninstalls.
If you are in the retail business, you will also need to factor in seasonal peaks and troughs. Use push to maximize engagement at the times people are already thinking about shopping, and minimize seasonal lulls by incentivizing people to return by offering a discount voucher or running time-sensitive promotions such as flash sales.
Don’t be aggressive, but don’t be a stranger either. Keep the communication line warm by maintaining regular consistency and relevance.
Rule 4: Create Exciting and Spontaneous Communications
While it’s positive to be a regular and consistent part of a user’s notifications box, you don’t want to be seen in similar fashion to the “predictable” girlfriend/boyfriend type; you know, the one that gets traded in for someone more exciting and spontaneous.
The reality is, no matter how good a routine, it quickly becomes boring. And this is where those holiday promotions and flash sales come into their own. These are the times when you can ramp up the push action and show just how exciting your brand can be.
As we touched on in the introduction, in terms of deliverability, push notifications have a massive advantage over email. If a user opts-in to receive notifications, they will receive the notifications when they are in the service range. Unlike email, pushes don’t have to navigate spam filters and aren’t subject to server or sender errors.
This means that in the run up to major shopping holidays like Cyber Monday, New Year’s Day and other seasonal sales specific to your industry, you have an immediate line of communication that allows you to conjure up the excitement and steer user behavior towards making purchases.
At such times, think beyond your regular communication stream and methodology. Be creative and spontaneous. Heighten the user shopping experience by creating a sequence of tantalizing pushes. Like the pied piper of push, stimulate your customers’ internal shopping radar and entice their credit cards to follow you all the way to the cart.
Rule 5: Present Clear Instructions & Accurate Details
The truth is in the details, as they say, and there’s no more important place you need to provide the correct details than when communicating with you customer base. Incorrect information, hyperbole and misleading sales talk in general could result in mistrust and high volume uninstalls. Sure, exercise your copywriting skills, but make darn sure you deliver accurately on your promise.
If you want the user to take action, be very clear about what they have to do. For example, not every user will intuitively understand that they need to swipe to visit your store. Be careful not to confuse the user by leaving out key details. If you’re notifying users of an upcoming sale, include the exact start date and time, so as not to excite the user into tapping through to your app and being let down by a sale that hasn’t started yet.
Rule 6: Maintain Seamless Continuity
Creating continuity between the message and the destination is crucial. Consider that the push notification is just the beginning of the chain, and everything that comes after it should build further trust and understanding in the process.
Use deep linking to ensure the user is sent to a page that corresponds to the right offer and provides relevant supporting details that seamlessly build on the foundation created by the push. Sending the user to a generic section of the app such as your home-screen, or an un-associated page on your website, will result in fewer conversions, a higher level of confusion or mistrust and prompt users to seek out competitors who offer a less frustrating experience.
Rule 7: Create an Effortless Workflow
Ever tapped a push notification thinking you were being quickly led in-app for an exciting revelation, only to be sent on a wild goose chase through a series of browser redirects that eventually land you on a page nestled deeply on the company’s website? Yes, it’s extremely annoying.
Push notifications are a method of increasing customer engagement. A push should create a seamless connection between the message and the details, using as few taps as possible and the shortest time possible to load the desired destination. What’s the point of the user downloading your app if you’re going to redirect each tap through their web browser?
Before you send a push notification, consider where the user expects to end up. Should the offer be displayed in an HTML message or a rich inbox, or presented as content within an app page, or simply featured on the app’s home screen?
If you do want to take the user to an unusual destination, be sure to mention the destination in your notification so it doesn’t come as a nasty surprise: “FLASH SALE: 15% off everything for 24 hours! Swipe to claim your discount on our website.”
The reality is that the true potential of your app will never be unleashed unless you utilize push notifications. Statistics show that on average an app receives 40% more monthly app opens for opt-in users versus those who opt out, and 116% higher retention rate for opt-in users versus those who opt-out.
Semaphore Software has a team of highly passionate mobile app developers who aim to offer excellent apps suited to meet your business goals. We work hard to keep your users engaged with our app tactics. To know more about our app services, get in touch with us at email@example.com