Imagine getting a little tap on the shoulder every time someone wanted to tell you something important. That’s what push notifications are like for your phone or computer – short, quick messages that pop up to give you updates or reminders.
If you own a business and want more people to know about your products or services or simply keep your customers up-to-date, using push notification campaigns to boost engagement can be a great move. However, you have to be very careful with how you use them because one push notification too many and they might start to annoy your users rather than engage them.
So in this article, we’ll tell you more about how these simple pop-ups can make a big difference in getting your customers’ attention and keeping them engaged. But we’ll also mention how to ensure you aren’t overwhelming your users with web or mobile push notifications.
What are push notifications?
Push notifications are simple, clickable pop-up messages that appear on your user’s desktop or mobile screens. You surely get notifications like those every day – new message alerts, flash sales at your favorite store, or app update reminders. That’s precisely a push notification in action! That way, businesses can share news or updates with their users to make sure they don’t miss anything important.
And best of all – users don’t have to open the browser or app to see the updates. As soon as something important happens, the alert will be sent to the user’s device so they can react immediately.
Most of the push notifications we get are text-only and are no more than a sentence or two in length.
To make their notifications stand out and increase their open rates though, businesses can also include images, videos, and sounds to create rich push notifications.
Types of push notifications
Before we get to how you can use push notifications to boost user engagement, let’s quickly look at the various types of push notifications – because there are quite a few of those.
Transactional push messages are sent to customers when you want to inform them of their transaction or order status.
These are gentle reminders about something you planned earlier. A football match on TV, a doctor’s appointment, or even taking meds on time – reminder notifications ensure you don’t forget about those.
Promotional push notifications are a fantastic way to advertise deals or new products. For example, a pizza place might use those to send their loyal customers a special offer for “Buy one, get one free” pizza.
Even better is that with Xtremepush, you can create highly-personalized promotional notifications for each of your users to increase the chance it will pique their interest and they will click on the link.
Another incredibly useful notification type are location-based notifications. Let’s say one of your customers is near your coffee shop. How about sending them a “It’s quite hot today so don’t forget to hydrate. Our iced teas are 15%, so stop in for a cold drink!” notification? With iBeacon & Geofencing features, you can send this type of message to attract nearby customers and bring them to your physical location.
Important: Always ask your customers or app users for permission before using their location data for push notifications. Otherwise, they might consider the push notifications disturbing and avoid your brand instead.
App update notifications
This type of notification is super useful for promoting new features inside your website or app. For example, if you just added an image search option to your ecommerce store, you can use this type of push notification to encourage users to try it out.
Push notifications can also keep users updated about the newest blog articles, sports news, or any other information they subscribed to. Let’s say a user subscribes to regular news about their favorite racing team. They can then keep getting alerts about new race dates, current team positions, or any other information about the team they might be interested in.
All those notifications can be sent either as web push notifications or mobile push notifications, depending on which device your users prefer.
11 best ways to use push notifications for boosting customer engagement
With how many different types of push notifications are there, there are almost endless possibilities and ideas on how you could use those for your own engagement campaigns. Here are a few ideas.
A great way to start your relationship with your new app user or web subscribers is to welcome them and thank them for opting into your notifications via a personalized welcome message. You can use this message to direct the new users to the app tutorial or give them a first-time discount to encourage them to make a purchase. As a part of the onboarding process, you can also send them notifications with daily tips or recommendations.
Plenty of brands in the eCommerce industry use push notification to send promotional offers to their customers or app users. Those work especially well if the offers are personalized – running a highly targeted push notification campaign can give you a click rate as high as 30%!
Plus, creating and sending tailored campaigns shows the users that you’re paying attention to their needs and so you know what offers or products they might like – so brand trust gets a boost as well.
Since push campaigns can be delivered immediately, they are a fantastic way to let your customers know about very short-time offers – for example, one-day flash sales.
You can also use push notifications to collect feedback from customers – especially those that just bought something from you or used your service. For example: “How did you like your recent purchase? Rate us now!” or “How was your support experience with our AI chatbot?” This makes the customers feel valued but also makes it easier for you to gather data on what you should improve.
Another clever way to use push notifications is to send a personalized message to your users whenever they reach a milestone. For instance, if someone has been using your shopping app for a year, you can send them a special message thanking them for shopping with your brand for the year.
Shopping cart reminders
Push notifications are also a great way to gently remind users about the items they have in their carts and encourage them to return to finish the shopping. Since they are delivered directly to the customer’s device, there’s a higher chance that they will see the reminder and decide to complete the purchase.
E-learning apps or website notifications
Push notifications have proved to be extremely useful for education websites or apps as well. For example, a language learning app might say, “Learn the word of the day: ‘Amigo’ means ‘friend’ in Spanish.” or remind the users about their set goals.
Loyalty program updates
Do you have a loyalty program for your customers? Push notifications are a great way to send them special member-only deals or let them know they have hit a new tier.
A message to make them smile
Want to make your customers feel special? Sending them a push notification with a compliment inside is exactly what you might need to put a smile on the customer’s face.
Not many of us are immune to the “Fear Of Missing Out” or FOMO. Whether it’s missing the flash sales or forgetting about watching the newest episode of a series, many of us can be pushed into action just by reminding what we can miss.
A clever way to use FOMO is to alert customers that the products they looked at are low on stock – “Last chance! Only a few bundles left! Grab yours now!”.
If some of your users didn’t open an app or bought anything from you in a while, a re-engaging push message might be exactly the thing you need to bring them back.
8 Best practices for using push notifications
As useful as they can be, push notifications are unfortunately quite tricky to get right. Send one notification too many, and users might turn those off entirely. If the messages aren’t relevant to the users or are sent at the wrong time, they might decide to stop engaging with the brand altogether.
So before you start crafting and sending the notifications, there are a few rules you should know about and follow when sending push notifications to your users or customers.
Get permission first
Always ask users if they want to receive notifications – especially if you’re going to use sensitive data such as their location. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t want someone to visit or call you if you didn’t give them permission to do so right? Getting notifications and offers for which the users didn’t sign up feels the same.
So before sending them any messages, ask them whether they are okay with receiving push notifications from your brand, and if yes, then ask them to enable those.
Respect your users’ choices, and don’t send them notifications unless they’ve given you a green light. This builds trust from the start.
Make them relevant
No one appreciates random, unrelated information popping up on their devices several times a day. So always aim to send notifications that are useful and directly related to what the user is interested in or has opted for. Consider their preferences, user activity, and past behaviors to tailor the content and offers to their liking.
Time them right
When it comes to the best times and days to send push notifications, there are two main considerations. One, sending messages at odd hours, especially late at night or too early in the morning, can quickly turn your users from engaged to annoyed. Second, think about when your users are most likely to see them – during a lunch break, in the early evening after work, or perhaps at the weekend? Getting this right by planning out a weekly schedule of push notification times can maximize the chances the users will read the notification.
Keep it short and easy to understand
Push notifications are meant to be quick and simple nudges, not an essay. So make sure the message is short, clear, and up-to-the-point so that even a quick glance at the notification gives the user a clear idea of what it’s about.
For some cases, using rich push notifications might work far better than pure text. So whenever relevant, incorporate visuals into your content to make it more engaging and attractive.
Limit the frequency
Going back to the tapping on your shoulder analogy from the introduction. If someone was tapping your shoulder non-stop, it’d get pretty annoying, right? The same goes for notifications – sending too many in a short period can overwhelm or irritate users. So keep an eye on how your users react to the messages and lower the amount of notifications sent if you notice users are getting frustrated.
Allow for easy opt-out
People’s preferences can quickly change. So if a user decides they no longer want to receive notifications from you, make sure they can easily opt out from those without jumping through hoops. Giving them an easy way to reduce or disable notifications entirely shows that you respect their choices and makes the users trust you more – and they might just decide to enable push notifications from you at some point again.
Test and learn
Before you manage to find the ideal mix and frequency for your audience, it might take a moment – that’s perfectly normal. So pay attention to which ones get positive responses and which ones don’t and then adapt and refine your strategy,
Xtremepush could make your push campaigns even more effective by giving you all the data you might need to create tailor-made campaigns and know when exactly you should send the messages for the best results. Want to see Xtremepush in action? Schedule a meeting for a demo and see just how much better your push campaigns can be
A push message might be simple and short, but it can be an incredibly powerful tool for businesses. They might be reminding users about something they planned to do, sharing exciting news with them, or just bringing a smile. If you use them wisely, then push campaigns might be one of the best assets of your marketing team. Remember though to always keep what your users like and want in mind (and how many push notifications they are okay with getting) to not have the power of push messages turn against you.