An effective push notification marketing strategy can outperform email marketing when executed well. Learn how to develop a strategy that users will welcome, while benefiting your brand.
In part one, we reported that Internet browsing on mobile in 2016 surpassed desktops for the first time in history. But not so fast. That is a worldwide statistic. It’s not the case for the USA or the UK.
US-based marketers should consider this statistic:
“In the US, 58% of time spent browsing the Internet is done on desktop or laptop computers.”
That’s good news for marketers sending web push notifications. Desktop browsing is still the majority. If you are not sending web push notifications – you should be.
Example: Web Browser Opt-In for Push Notifications
Further, consumers still appreciate the value they receive from push messaging.
According to a recent survey by Responsys,
“70% or more of consumers found all types of push notifications, including order updates and location-based updates, to be valuable.”
In part one, you learned the best ways to onboard your users. We looked at how to understand your customer journeys and develop the best experiences for your users. We covered the vital practice of personalization and strategies for segmenting your users into appropriate groups. We discussed goals for your push marketing strategy and the importance of aligning your strategy around triggers based upon user activity.
As we continue this article, we will look at 5 additional categories of importance in your push marketing strategy. Let’s dig in…
5. Timing is Everything
The timing of your push notifications is essential. Users appreciate good timing; bad timing is annoying.
Since many of your messages are triggered upon important events, many of your messages will be delivered during an activity by the user.
Some messages need to be delivered at a specific time, such as transactional push notifications. These might occur during a purchase or during an activity where props are necessary.
But what if your push notification is not triggered by a user activity? For example, you want to send out a message about a sale. In other instances, it may be important to drive the user to perform a certain action.
When you’re goal is to engage the user in an activity, these types of notifications are called: “engagement push notifications.”
Engagement push notifications need to be highly relevant. They are most effective when the messages are personalized to the uniqueness of the user. The user uniqueness may be a specific individual or a group segment.
This is where perfect timing on your part is necessary. Getting this wrong is where you can irritate and drive away your users.
How to Time Your Messages
Consider that your users may be on various time schedules and time zones. It is difficult to create a “one time fits all” scenario. Therefore, your strategy here is simple: Send your push message when the user interacts with your app or site.
What if your user is off-site? Your strategy here should be the same. When you detect activity by your user, you know your user is engaged and you can send your message.
6. Content Strategy
Whatever content you create as a push message, it needs to be engaging. Not only that, but as a best practice – keep it brief. Here are some tips to improve your content strategy:
- Make your message informative
- Keep your message short
- Make your message relative
- Create a memorable message
- Make your message entertaining
- Jokes or catchy phrases can attract user’s attention
- Make your message attention-getting
- All messages should include a clear call-to-action
Messages to Boost Sales
3 types of message strategies work well with push notifications:
- Time-constrained offers that will vanish within a certain time period.
- Single-use promotion codes.
- A combination of both promotion codes and a time constraint.
Learn more about creating strong push notification content.
7. Prioritizing Message Frequency
Push notifications are the latest and greatest tool marketers have. But we all know what happened with email. Email marketers began over-mailing… Okay, let’s call it what it is – spamming. Users got wise. As a result, it’s often difficult these days to achieve better than a 10% open rate with email marketing.
The last thing you want to do is repeat the mistakes that email marketers have made. Push messaging is vulnerable to these same errors. If you treat your push messaging like email, you’ll get the same results email markers did – you will drive users away.
The Signposts of Over-Messaging
An increase in uninstalls and/or push notification opt-outs, coinciding with an increase in your push notifications, are clear signals you may be over-messaging. You can use these negative numbers as a gauge to determine if you are over-messaging a particular segment or all users.
Always remember that your messages exist not only to drive your marketing, but to enhance user experience. If you do one without the other, you are likely to drive away users. Let’s look at how to do things right…
Step One: Prioritize Your Messages
Knowing that you don’t want to over message your users, you have to create a list of priorities to limit messages to the essential ones. Your strategy is simple: don’t send more messages than you really need to. Then only send the right messages at the right time.
As discussed earlier, you will have certain messages that trigger upon user actions. These are specific messages that need to occur at specific times. Most of these will be higher priority messages.
Next, you will have more general messages. Some of these will be high-priority and some won’t. The priorities of these general messages can also change during different seasonal activity.
Additionally, if you segment your users, different groups will require different messages – and at different times. What this means is, different groups may also have different priorities for their messages.
How to Prioritize Your Messages
While this may seem like a lot of work on the surface, it really isn’t. All you have to keep in mind are these things:
- Don’t send more messages than absolutely necessary.
- Send messages that are essential to user experience.
- Send messages when the user needs important information – time your messages appropriately.
Step Two: Testing Message Frequency
Keep in mind, different customers will have a different limits for their notification tolerance. This will also vary between user segments, products and brands. As discussed previously, measuring by opt-outs and uninstalls is a good gauge to begin with.
A) Test limiting your messages within a single segment.
This is a good way to optimize your messaging for a particular segment. Once tested, you can set a frequency cap for that segment. Then, repeat the process for other segments.
B) Test limiting messages across all users.
If you are seeing an increase in opt-out across the board, this is a good indicator you need to limit your messaging to all users. Find the acceptable limit, then set a frequency cap.
C) Test limiting message across all users and varying for specific segments.
The frequency limits for specific segments may need to be lower or can go higher than your general frequency cap. Therefore, your strategy would be to create a general frequency cap for all users, then different frequency caps for specific segments.
When To Override Your Frequency Limits
There are certain instances when it may be allowable and beneficial to override your frequency caps. Perhaps some segments have already hit their daily/weekly/monthly limits but – you have a “must-know” notification to send that just cannot wait. Here are a couple of examples where it may be acceptable to override your frequency limits:
A) There is a major problem with your website and/or app. Obviously, this is something users need to know – especially if it is going to affect their usage or user experience.
B) You are running a last-minute offer that is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or deal. This is one you don’t want to overdo more overused. Try to make this a rare instance.
Overall, try to make these exceptions not the rule. Plan ahead and keep overrides of your frequency limits to an absolute minimum.
8. Retention Strategy
Push notifications are a highly personal way to communicate with your users. Far more personal than email in the sense that your message is instant and not filtered (potentially blocked) by email providers.
As such, you need to handle your messaging delicately and maintain a healthy respect for the open door your users have given you. A good strategy will make sure you don’t overstay your welcome.
Not over-messaging your users, as discussed in the previous section, is an essential ingredient in your retention strategy.
Without a doubt, the most important thing you can do towards user retention is to make sure that your messages add value to the user’s experience. If they don’t, what motivation does the user have to keep receiving them?
Next, although the following topics have been covered previously in this article, it’s worth repeating because you also need to consider and utilize these elements in your retention strategy…
Personalizing your push messages can perform double-duty towards addressing what’s important to the user and in building a relationship between the user and you or your company. How and what you communicate to your user builds respect and trust. When your goal is not only to benefit your company, but to first benefit your user – you are building the foundation to a strong relationship.
The second part of personalizing messages is segmenting users into groups. This makes sure different users get the messages that are right for them and get messages they want.
How you decide to segment your users will depend on your business, the types of users you attract, and what you and your users need.
Here are a few ideas for possible segments you might create:
- Based on user knowledge or experience
- Based on user’s position in the sales cycle
- Based on the date user became a customer
- Membership level
- Based on user’s activity or level of engagement
- Based on the number or frequency of purchases
There are many more possibilities depending on your customers, app, website, brand, products or services.
9. Track and Measure Performance
Properly analyzing and measuring the performance of your push notifications will vary depending on your business type and your marketing goals.
Here are some ideas for potential metrics that may be useful in analyzing the performance of your push notifications:
- App installs (if applicable)
- App uninstalls
- App opens
- User activity location: in-app, on-site, off-site
- User activity: pages visited, screens visited, downloads, article reads, etc.
- Purchases: in-app, on-site
- Redemption of promo codes
- Opt-in/content upgrades
- Social media activity
- Response to particular messages based on timing
- Response to particular messages based on content
- Response to particular messages based on offers
In the end, only you can determine which metrics matter to your marketing and monetization strategy. Use the above as guidelines to determine what you should be looking at.
Push Notification Marketing Strategy – Main Takeaways from Parts 1 and 2:
☑ For a complete push notification marketing strategy, you should be sending both mobile and web push notifications.
☑ The most important step in your push notification marketing strategy is getting the opt-in. Using a pre-permission screen, perfectly timed with an enticing message, is the best way to encourage users to opt in.
☑ Understanding the differences between user types and customer journeys are vital to seeing the full picture of how users behave. Full comprehension of user actions allows you to base your messaging around behavior triggers.
☑ Message personalization allows you to delight your users with messages they want at the right time. Message personalization requires understanding user behaviors and activity. Allowing users to set preferences, assists you in developing more personalized messages and timing messages precisely. Grouping or segmenting users is essential to well-implemented personalization.
☑ Timing your push notifications correctly is critical. In many cases, messages will be triggered based on user activity. Allowing users to set preferences will also help you time your messages. Achieving a “one-time-fits-all” is not possible. Therefore, the best choice is to send messages when a user is active. Badly timed messages leads to user attrition.
☑ Prioritizing messages and limiting message frequency is essential for both user experience and user retention. This will require testing and analyzing to determine the most effective and acceptable frequency for different user segments. Increased opt-outs and uninstalls are key signals that you are over-messaging.
☑ Once you have determined your push notification marketing goals, collect and analyze your user activity metrics. Use this information to refine and improve your push notification marketing strategy.
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