It’s been awhile since mobile push notifications have arrived on the mobile marketing scene but not too many marketers out there seem to have exploited its full potential. For now, the channel is used more for blanket messages and communication with very low user engagement results. Just have a look at your own app drawer. We bet there will be at least one from every app on your phone. Now think about the push messages that you click on. You’ve probably clicked on just one or two that seemed relevant and subtly nudged you to open the app. The rest will most likely be just swiped away.
That’s primarily why it makes sense to pause and re-look at your mobile push notifications strategy right away. The last thing you would want is to annoy your app users by pushing untimely or unwarranted notifications to their devices. Here’s a quick 5-point checklist that will help you send Push Notifications that are engaging and eventually help you grow conversions on your app.
1. Are your opt-ins well timed?
Users consider mobile as a very private device and so before going full throttle on a device that helps you connect any time with your users, it is important that you prompt opt-ins. Most apps that ask you to opt-in for push notifications usually do so when you first install the app. That’s probably the worst time one could be asked for an opt-in. Users are yet to figure out if your app is worth their time and more importantly, how often they would be getting those messages once they opt-in. If asked at install, most users are most likely going to decline your opt-in request. Instead, explain the benefits for the user if she were to receive these well-timed and relevant notifications from you.
- Wait a while after users install the app – preferably till they use the app around 4 times. That’s when the user decides to retain your app and will likely be more willing to opt-in for push notifications.
- Make sure you explain the exclusive benefits they will be drawing by opting-in. In addition, also tell them in advance how frequently you plan to push notifications to their devices.
- Even better, if you allow them to decide what kind of notifications they would like to receive – such as price drop, sale or about their order status.
2. Are your push notifications personalized enough?
With all the promotional and marketing notifications that one gets bombarded with, it’s very difficult to catch a user’s attention. It’s needless to say that the “one-size-fits-all” approach is grossly inadequate when it comes to push notifications (and mobile marketing in general). We’ve seen that static push notifications can engage a meager 8% of users
The best way to get a user to read your mobile notification and open your mobile app is relevance. Remember, if your notifications are only meant for promoting your business, you have already lost the game. Instead, focus on sending messages that are relevant to the recipient. So that when they ask the obvious question “What’s in it for me?”, the answer turns out to be mutually beneficial for both of you. How well you do with personalization entirely depends on how well you know your customers – which brings us to the next point.
3. Have we captured and tested enough data about customers?
While marketing, in particular online marketing, has become increasingly data-driven, many mobile marketers tend to shy away from using the data that’s available right there. This data can be about the app user demographics, the kind of products that appeal to them, which messages lead to more app opens and conversions.
Set up workflows to capture and analyze such data. And this should be an ongoing process. Most brands usually test their data no more than once a month or worse even, once every quarter or so. Needless to say, it’s a lapse of epic proportion that ends up giving the impression that the brand doesn’t care enough for their consumers. Using advanced analytics platforms, brands can feedback real-time data analytics to tweak their marketing engagements.
With enough testing, it’s relatively easier to understand how each campaign must be configured and how to retain loyal customers.
4. Customers from different time zones?
Come to think about it, mobile push notification is probably one of the most powerful tools at a mobile marketer’s disposal today. As entrepreneur Ariel Seidman points out on his blog, “For the first time in human history you can tap almost two billion people on the shoulder and say ‘Hey! Pay attention to this!’”
But, sometimes it’s easy to get carried away with such immense power at your disposal. The ease of using mobile push notifications to reach out to all your users simultaneously may sometimes lead marketers to overlook the time zone differences that exist between their targeted users from different countries and regions.
Those irrelevant notifications at ungodly hours that will not just annoy your audience, but might prompt them to uninstall your app as well. Study user behavior and preferences in each of your target geos separately and segment your push notification schedules accordingly. Here’s an article on how the New York Times went about tailoring its push notifications for its international readers.
5. What kind of push notifications do your users actually enjoy?
This is indeed a tough one. Pre-empting the moods and wishes of all your users every time you send a push notification is as challenging as it can get. However, there’s a relatively simple way around this problem.
Just stick to the following rules-of-thumb and you can be sure that your campaigns are well-received.
- Any notification that helps make life easier for the recipient will always be appreciated. For example, the notifications from a travel app that reminds you that you’ve got a flight to catch and now is is the right time to leave your home if you were to make it on time for check-in.
- Notifications that are tailor-made based on the location of the user, but don’t sound creepy. A typical example of this will be those notifications that alert users about special deals and offers in the neighbourhood they’re in.
- Notifications that keep you posted about news and updates are among the well-received ones.
Remember, you must send a Push Notification only if you really have something very important to say to your audience. Feel free to ask us any questions or share your feedback using the comment box below.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.