No doubt, push notifications so far have proven themselves more powerful than any other marketing tool. Especially when it comes to increasing your reachability to the customers, these small chunks of texts are the best way to connect and engage with your prospects.
Before we jump into the discussion of how I leverage push notifications services to boost my eCommerce sales, let’s talk about what they really are for me.
What are push notifications for me?
Push notifications for me are the way to reach out to my prospects on both mobile and desktop without even knowing their email address or contact numbers. I don’t have to spend weeks, months, and years, collecting email data just to find out they are all non-relevant.
These small chunks of clickable messages work just like emailers. I need to get subscribers who would be interested in my communications. Except, the average open-rates and user engagement stats are much better with push marketing than my emailers.
Why use push notifications?
Over time, development in technologies has changed the modus operandi of marketing to the prospects. From posters, billboards, TV Ads, radio commercials, Newspapers classifieds, YouTube Ads, emailers, and SMS to push notifications, it was a long journey. All of these marketing channels still exist, but the engagement stats have changed drastically. I prefer push notifications out of all these channels because-
- I don’t depend on email data anymore.
- I don’t have to worry about email spam filters.
- Subscribers carry their mobile phones everywhere.
- I can reach out to them on their computer browsers too.
- I can engage my subscribers easily than used to do with emailers.
Which type of push notifications to use?
I you ask me, I would suggest a combination of both app push notifications and web push notifications. However, if I have to choose, or I don’t own a mobile app for my eCommerce website, I would prefer web push notifications. It is so because-
- Web push notifications don’t need a mobile app to connect with the users. You can push them through web servers on subscribers’ web browsers.
- I can trigger push alerts on both mobile and desktop web browsers.
- It is easy to get subscribers for web push alerts using a web-based opt-in box.
How effective are push notifications in sales generation?
What do we need for generating sales using any marketing tool?
We need two things-
- People to subscribe to our communication
- Subscribers to engage and stay subscribed.
If this is so, Push notifications are our best bet. Studies have found that these alerts can boost your mobile app open-rates by 25% and app retention by 92%. Additionally, a study by Xtify found that average open rates for push notifications range between 30% -60%, and engagement rates up to 40%. Contrastingly, the emails show an open rate of just 20% and average click-through of 5.4%.
Hence, if the engagement stats for push alerts are more than the most used marketing channel (email), we can say prospects for sales generation would also be higher; two-times more effective to be exact.
Best practices I follow to plan my push campaigns
I plan an opt-in strategy
Using push notifications for marketing is not entirely on me. I can send a push alert only if I have subscribed users. That’s why my foremost task is planning an opt-in strategy.
I don’t have to worry much about opt-ins from my Android app users, as they subscribe to my alerts automatically when installing my Android mobile app. However, I need devising an effective strategy to get opt-ins from iOS app users and for web push notifications alerts on all three platforms.
My strategy is avoiding a mere robotic text and drafting a more human and informative opt-in box message. I give my users a clear choice of what they would get after opting-in and what they would miss if they block the same, rather than the same boring text- “XYZ wants to send you notifications – Allow | Block”.
I tweak the box to say something like in this following example-
By carefully analyzing the products, service, and their relevance to the users, you can devise several creative opt-in boxes addressing the pain points. Why wait for a subscription when you can be useful to your users from the opt-in box itself?
I plan a retention strategy
I cannot even send alerts if users unsubscribe after being subscribed for a few days or even years. I need them to stay on-board as long as push notifications are up and running. Users can just block my notifications with a click or tap. Even the Android app users- who were subscribed automatically can block my alerts with a simple change in the app or phone settings. That’s why I need an effective strategy to keep them engaged.
I need to retain them for as long as I can, which is possible only when my notification is useful, relevant, not-annoying, timed, and in right frequency. Which brings to my next strategy, which I use to boost the app retention.
I give easy options to opt-out
It is tough to let your subscribers go so easily. However, sometimes you need to let them go for a greater good. For any random reason, your subscribers might not want to receive the notifications for some time or for good. However, they might still be interested in your app and prefer to keep it installed.
In such a situation, when they can’t find an easy option to opt-out, they simply uninstall the app to avoid the notifications; you don’t want that. Hence, I always make opt-outs as simple as possible.
- I give them preferences
I don’t simply push a notification of my choice. I do sometimes when I think this notification would be useful for all my subscribers, but I always analyze them before triggering. Except for those universally useful alerts, I prefer giving a choice to my users about what type of notifications they wish to receive. I also give them an option to block those notifications, which they don’t want to receive.
By doing so, I aim at preventing two types of disasters with my push campaigns-
- Preventing users from a complete opt-out from all my notifications.
- Preventing users from uninstalling my app because of unwanted alerts.
This survey by Localytics will clear up why I do this. 58% of users hate behavior-based notifications. These are harassing, annoying and make them use the app even lesser. On the other hand, 49% of users like preference-based alerts. They are useful and cause them to use the app even more. Hence, I use a combination of both wherever they are suitable.
I plan a precise frequency
I don’t bombard notifications on my subscribers. This will only trigger mass opt-outs and app uninstalls. I prefer devising an optimal frequency considering the following aspects-
- Keep a considerable time-gap between consequent notifications.
- Give users enough time to read and act on the previous notifications.
I also consider the stats given in Localytics survey, which explained how many notifications are optimal for a week. This survey explains how threshold frequency changes over time as we enter a new era.
I use self-expiring notifications
Information in some notifications is not meant for a lifetime. Such notifications contain information that loses its validity after a certain period. For example, an alert to inform about a limited period flash-sale would be valid only if users see it before the sale ends. It would only irritate users who see it after the sale. They would even doubt your credibility. For them, there was no sale, and you made a fool out of them.
To avoid such awkward situations, I prefer setting a validity period for all time-sensitive alerts. They call these as self-expiring notifications. I can set a time limit in UTC or any other format after which the notification would get expire and users will not see them.
Other best practices I follow to boost notification-driven sales
- Fear of missing out-I leverage FOMO & trigger time-sensitive offers with texts like “hurry, Limited time-offer, Flash-sale, etc.”
- Being useful– I follow up, remind, and guide my subscribers into the conversion funnel with useful information that addresses their pain points.
- Utility notifications– I don’t sell, I engage my users by being helpful with the information I push. Sometimes, I just push utility information, which is not oriented to sale but engagement boosting.
- Abandoned carts- I don’t give up on my abandoned sales. I set automatic triggers to send various offers and discounts on the products in the cart. To complement it, I link a direct encrypted URL in the notification which takes the customer directly on the cart page to complete the purchase.
What’s your strategy?
This is what I do. What do you do to boost your sales with push notifications? What do you think, is it wise to replace push marketing with email marketing? Or should we use both the channels? Do you use any other marketing channel?
Marry Ann is a branding consultant for PushMaze, a service that lets you send trackable push notifications for users. She mainly passionate about building brands in all aspect of online marketing.