What Are Push Notifications And How Can They Amplify Your Email Strategy
Given that the typical American smartphone user receives about 45 notifications per day, it's no shock that push notifications are increasingly companies' channel of choice for engaging with subscribers. If your company has an app-based experience - or you are looking to add some new interactions with your desktop experience - you'll want to learn how to incorporate push notifications into your communication strategy. In this episode, I cover how to use push - and how not to use them.
Send questions my way to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listen to the podcast here
What Are Push Notifications And How Can They Amplify Your Email
I hope everyone is well out there and moving right along with best-in-class email marketing. Our episode is dedicated to all of you out there that have an app-based business or those that include an up with your service. Let's chat about push notifications, shall we? As I mentioned in a few episodes, email has two complementary channels, SMS and push. As an email expert, I am always working these two into client strategy.
At the end of the day, we are communication experts. We are trying to get the right messages to the people at the right time, in the right way. In that respect, what are push notifications, and how can they work closely with email? Let's take a few minutes and chat about this. We all use push notifications. They are messages that pop up on a user's mobile or desktop device via a chosen web browser. These little banners slide into view whether or not your app or website is still open.
They are very effective. Why? It’s because push notifications are received front and center and can convey real time updates, transactional messages, reminders, and more. The beauty about push notifications, if we think about it from a human behavior perspective, is that because most folks are on their phones or in the midst of looking at the desktop, a push notification comes in and meets the user where they are. With email, we can miss it. With SMS, we can miss it but with push notifications, it's a little bit harder to miss it.
With that in mind, the typical American smartphone user receives about 45 notifications a day. It's no shock that push notifications are increasingly becoming a company's channel of choice for engaging with subscribers. Unfortunately, as their widespread global popularity grows, so does their rampant misuse. Push notifications can easily overwhelm users if they are used incorrectly and can inadvertently push them to unsubscribe from your site or delete your application. Like with any communication tactic and very similar to SMS, these have to be used wisely.
I want to first go over what not to do and what not to use push notifications for. Here we go. Number one, push notifications are not for acquiring users. A major benefit of push notifications is that they provide a direct engagement channel that increases retention. To receive push notifications from your app, a user must either have your app downloaded or have already visited your website and opted in to receive these notifications. Users must subscribe to push to see your messages. This should not be a part of your acquisition strategy. Think of this as more middle of the funnel or two active users as it relates to communication touchpoints.
Next, you don't want to advertise another product to your base using push notifications. Never ever send a push notification that includes advertisements for another product or service. These types of notifications are strictly prohibited by Google Play Store and wouldn't make sense to send to your subscribers. If you want to advertise another service that you offer beyond your app or site, use another channel, email or Facebook ads or something like that.
Push notification meets the user where they are. With email and SMS, you can easily miss them. But with push notifications, it's harder to miss them.
Next is sharing messages that don't provide value. This is very similar to all the communication channels but we have to be even more considerate when they are coming directly to a device like SMS. You all know by how I actually feel about the topic value. Push notifications should always be relevant to the subscriber and provide information that the recipient can act on.
For example, if you want to send a push notification to say, "Happy Valentine's Day," make sure that there's relevant information outside of wishing them a happy holiday. Reminding them about a reservation they made or flowers they ordered is something that your subscriber would appreciate but remember that a push notification gets sent directly to the phone again. That means that it can have extremely powerful impacts on annoyance or disruptive effects if it lacks value.
Lastly, try not to request app ratings through push. Asking for an app rating with a push notification runs the risk of likely causing users to unsubscribe. Tread carefully when interrupting a user, just to ask them for a positive App Store review since this tactic creates a negative user experience, especially if the user receives the notification when they aren't even engaged with your app in the first place. Make sure your notifications convey content that's actionable and that will benefit them.
Repeat after me, "I will not misuse push notifications by violating any of the above." You said it. We can chat about what to use them for and how they play well with email. The first and foremost that I love is increasing user retention. You know my love for customers. Typically, if your user is actively getting your push notifications, they are a user or a customer. Therefore, this is a great tactic to be able to keep them engaged and retain them.
The power of push notifications comes from the ability to dynamically change the way you engage and retain users. Push is a channel that gives you complete control, contrary to other retention tools. You have the freedom and flexibility to automate notifications based on your user behaviors on your app or site. You can also segment your audiences to ensure that the content you are sending is relevant, timely, and personalized.
If your push notification platform doesn't offer these features, find one that does. These can play well in email programs that are dedicated to meeting someone where they are in their journey. My favorite example is a user that isn’t at risk of churning. Perhaps you are seeing that they are not engaged with email in the last 120 days, and they have app events that show no engagement. You can send an email, and then one day later, ping them in the app. This is a wonderful way to encourage engagement by reiterating the same message via multiple channels.
Push notifications should always be relevant to the subscriber and provide information on which the recipient can act.
Next, similarly to SMS, push is great for providing timely updates or urgent news. You will want to use push notifications to message your users when they might need a reminder about something, AKA shipping, payments, and things like that. People find value in receiving push notifications that alert them of updates or changes to their upcoming travel plans, reservations, deliveries, and other time-sensitive topics.
With push notifications, companies can instantly pass along relevant information to their subscribers so that they are always in the know. As we know, this is similar to best practices for SMS like I mentioned but the fact that it's coming through our phone in a more organic way can make it even more effective, allowing me to tap that push notification and go right into the app, especially for travel. This is great.
Next, you can use push notifications to reduce abandoned carts. It's exciting. If you run an eCommerce app, your most likely dealing with how to best reduce the number of carts that never make it past checkout. Push notifications provide a solution to the problem. With the great push notification platform, eCommerce sites or apps can easily tag users based on the items that they add to their carts. This makes it possible for your site or app to retarget the customer and send a triggered notification, highlighting a sale on a specific item.
If the customer didn't purchase that item before, you now have another chance to remarket that item and send them an offer they can't refuse. These can be integrated alongside your email. This is a wonderful way to use abandoned carts. If you have an eCommerce app experience, I always recommend that the abandoned cart leads with push notifications, and then an email comes in as a secondary form.
Last but not least, one of the best ways to use push notifications is to showcase new content. Push notifications can instantly let your blog or media site subscribers know when you publish new content that they might be interested in. Understand what your users like and dislike using tags, and then you can segment them based on those interests.
For example, if you operate a cooking blog, you can send the latest vegetarian recipes to veggie-loving subscribers. Sending personalized and relevant content is a surefire way to increase your retention and drive traffic to your content. Like my episode on SMS, if you are a company that is nailing it with your app experience or if you want to incorporate push notifications onto your web experience, it is a great way to do it. Make sure that you have thought through the strategy and understand the place that push notifications have in your users' life cycle. As always, if you have any questions, please send them my way at Conversations@EmailGrowthSociety.com. Until next time, everyone. Happy emailing.