Digital marketing seems like an uphill climb against competitors who are continuously trying to acquire your loyal customer base. With fluctuating market standards, brand loyalty, and diminishing returns, it becomes utmost important to engage your prospects better than your rivals. If not done right, you might lose your business to the rivals.
Push notifications are one such digital marketing tools, which have become prominent just a few years ago. However, they have acquired a significant share in the arcade now. In fact, they have become a primary channel to deliver all kinds of marketing communications, retain customers, boost conversions, and get maximum engagement with the brands.
The average push opt-in rate is 53.3% and gives out a click-rate 7x more than marketing emails. They are like back-door entry in to the customers’ inboxes, that too without even knowing their personal details.
You see, there is nothing like a spam filter in push notifications. Your messages are either delivered or not delivered at all. It means, there is a 100% chance that your notifications are delivered to all who have subscribed to your push channel.
However, despite this, some marketers still struggle to get the best out of their push notification campaigns. They fail to acquire the desired level of push notification engagement.
Are you among those marketers?
Do you wonder what’s wrong with your campaigns?
Do you want to know what else could you do with your campaigns?
Keep reading because this article is all about the same. There is no doubt push notifications are the ultimate marketing tools; you just have to use them the right way. So here we go, let’s make them right from the beginning.
1. The Push Notification Title
Let’s admit the truth here. You are doing nothing special by sending push alerts to your prospects. Everyone out there uses this marketing channel and they are probably miles ahead of you.
Just look at your phone’s notification board. Did you notice dozens of notifications already there?
Let’s be honest.
Would you click on every other notification on the board? One, two, or maximum three, and then you would just clear them all out.
That’s what that happens with every other push notification you send to your subscribers. Unlike emails, push might save you from the spam filters, but you still have to win the battle of getting an attention.
Push notifications have a very short attention span as compared to emails. Most of them get a click-through within minutes of the delivery or not get at all. The battle is not about getting a successful delivery but a becoming one or two of those interesting ones that receive the early attention.
That’s what push notification titles do. Draft an interesting title, and bam! You got a click through and you can hope for a better push notification engagement. On the other hand, a boring or a generic title, and your message got cleared off with all those like yours.
Below is how a web push notification looks like on mobile and desktop.
This is how the web push notification title looks like on mobile and desktop
You have a limited number of words to play with the push title. Using your words wisely, you can ensure that your message stands out from the rest in the list, and also gets a definite click through. The goal of your title should always be getting a click-through, leave rest on the other parts of the notification.
Here are some tips to make your push titles click-through friendly:
Tip#1: Curiosity: A title should trigger questions in the mind of the user. It should make them curious to know more about what’s written there. There could be N number of trigger points to induce this curiosity. They differ from brand to brand, product to product, and user to user.
Tip#2: Urgency and FOMO: Giving out a sense of urgency is the best way to induce immediate actions. Write something that creates FOMO (fear of missing out) in real time. For example, a limited time deal or an alert for a surprise flash sale where users might be interested in.
Tip#3: Less is more: You only have a few seconds to get a click-through before the user loses the interest. Keeping your titles short and meaningful is a necessity for grabbing attention in that short span. Deliver a meaningful and self-explanatory title in the fewest words possible.
Tip#4: Special characters & emoji’s: By special character, I mean highlighting the interesting parts in clear yet peculiar way. Say, you can write the words like “FREE” “FLAT OFF”, “SALE” etc. in upper case to highlight them. You can also use emoji’s as they are a proven beacon for attention.
2. The Push Notification Body
If an interesting push title is a must to grab decent click-through, the body encompasses most of the push notification engagements. You must make the body as interesting as your title to get conversions or any positive action.
You see, both mobile and web push notifications display only a portion of the body in the preview before click-through.
Your first preference should be making that preview interesting enough, and then work on the rest of the body content. Use your words wisely as only a few words are shown in the preview. They should carry an equally interesting message as the title.
The best way is to continue from where you left in the title. Don’t repeat what’s already told in the title. The body content should complement the title. Like you can see the push notification example shown above, where the title is revealing the ‘80% sale alert’, and the body is complementing the alert with an information explaining what to do the next, i.e. to make a wish-list.
Few other optimizations that any marketer can make include adding a relevant banner image apart from the regular logo icon in the top left corner. Something like this:
Where banner will complement the message, the brand icon will offer credibility to the information and also an easy brand recognition. It is a great way to make your notifications stand out in the notification board.
Whether you have subscribed to a SaaS push notification service, or hosting your own self-hosted push notification server, make sure it supports the logo icon feature. Make use of the banner image feature if it’s there. Alternatively, shift to an open-source push notification tool and customize it to support images, if your tool does not support it by default. It’s an option, but a useful one.
Next, make sure the body content is not too long. Only the first few words of the notifications get the attention. So it’s better to write the crucial message in the first few words itself.
3. Timing of your push notifications
Now that you have created an awesome title and highly interesting body content with rich images, is it enough to get the desired push notification engagement?
No! It’s enough to make your notifications interesting but engaging. Even the greatest of the notifications fail to deliver the expected engagement if you do not consider the best ‘time’ to send the notifications.
What’s the use of sending an impeccable offer when you have no idea if the user will see it on time? Most of the messages in push notifications are real-time, and they are relevant only during a particular span of time.
Say, you sent an alert for a Flash Sale to happen after 15 minutes. The particular alert will not stay relevant after an hour or two. It’s crucial to identify the best time to send a notification. The time when users are actively using their phones and more likely to notice the alerts in real-time.
So, it’s clear that you should not send time-sensitive alerts at night when everyone is taking a good night sleep. However, there are several other factors as well, which decide the correct time to send the alerts and gain maximum push notification engagement.
Factor#1: Analytics: Analytics on the dashboard of your web push notification tool is a crucial data to consider here. They can tell you about the performance of your previous campaigns. Based on the performances stats, you can decide the perfect time of the day where the campaigns got maximum push notification engagement.
Factor#2: Time Zone: Consider the time zones of your subscribers and send notifications accordingly at the ideal time found in your analytics. You should create different segments of subscribers based on their time-zones. This way you can set the same notification to be triggered to different time-zones at different times of the day.
Caption: Screenshot from PushMaze demo notification scheduling
4. Push Triggers for higher engagement
Manual campaigns are great. However, you should also experiment with automatic triggers. The automatically pushed alerts work in the same way AI-based chatbots work in place of human chat executives.
Some regularly triggered notifications can help you get best push notification engagement as they are highly targeted and triggered based on the user behavior. Here are two scenarios for example to think about setting similar automatic triggers:
- Shopping cart abandonment: Set a time after which a user will receive the automatic notification employing one of the templates set for users abandoning items in the cart. You can also set a follow-up alert to be sent after a specific time of the first alert. Possibly, setting up a discount coupon code in the second alert would encourage the user to complete the purchase.
- Automatic Geo-fencing: Geofencing is a great way to trigger highly relevant alerts based on the user’s real-time location. You can set specific notifications to be triggered only to the users entering a particular geo-location or time-zone.
5. Segment and personalize the right way
Segmentation is the key to any kind of marketing. Even if you are doing it in bulk, you should ensure it’s going to reach a relevant bulk of audience. Segments ensure that a particular communication is being sent to the people who would be more likely to be interested in them. Moreover, you get enough prospects to personalize a notification more sincerely.
I mean, even at a 99% discount, you can’t sell your ‘Bangkok tour packages’ to a guy who already lives in Bangkok. Relevance is compulsory, and segmentation is the easiest way to ensure it in your messages.
I already talked about many important segments in my previous points- time-zone, abandoned carts, and geo-fencing. However, you can create N number of segments based on the N number of many other aspects.
- URL: You can pick the users subscribing from a particular URL and create a separate segment. Users coming on-board from that URL will have some common set of traits and expectations, and a shared notification will serve them all.
- Behavior-based: You can set a definite set of actions and browsing behaviors for sending behavior-based triggers. For example, users landing on the product page, abandoning a cart, leaving a page early, signing up through ‘contact us’ form, placing a product return request, placing a new order, etc.
- Preference-based: You should also experiment with preference-based notifications in place of behavior-based alerts. They are similar to behavior-based alerts, except they are triggered only to the users who have opted to receive the alerts from that particular segment.
Similar to how Facebook allows it’s users to turn-on and turn-off particular types of notifications. It’s more like subscribing and unsubscribing from an email list.
Facebook lets its users opt-in and opt-out of different segments for both in-app and web push notification from the website. Follow a similar approach and let your users decide what they want to receive and what not. It will definitely boost the push notification engagement when they receive the alerts they have opted in for.
Push notification engagement boosting goes one step after another: Segmentation ensures Relevance, and Relevance ensures Personalization, and finally, Personalization ensures Engagement. The best kind of push marketing is one with users’ preferences and micro personalization to adapt accordingly. Maintain a balance between your KPIs and user preferences, you would engage your users aptly without annoying them.