Push notifications are the messages you receive from any app installed on your device to the locked or home screen of your handset. They are used on mobile devices to inform or update the user.
This could be anything from *insert name* has posted a photo of you on Facebook – that you tentatively open as you wonder how embarrassed you will be by it or @soandso has retweeted the funny tweet you posted on Twitter. But this could also include (depending on who you follow) news updates, restaurant offers, money off at your favourite clothes shop and so on.
When a consumer downloads your app, it opens up new possibilities for engagement, primarily these push notifications. They are great for marketing if done right, as they require the user to take immediate action by opening the application. However, if they are done wrong they could have the opposite effect and actually alienate the user, resulting in them turning off push notifications or deleting the app completely.
So, how should you use push notifications to market your business?
Don’t become an annoyance
The customer already has an interest in you as they have downloaded your app and therefore, one would assume, they use it. They expect to receive these notifications, but if they start receiving them too often, even if they are interesting, they will start to get annoying – which would be a main reason for deleting it, even if it is an app they originally wanted.
Your message needs to catch their eye
The goal is for users to look forward to receiving your push notifications.
You want your message to catch their eye – so that yours stand out among the stream of notifications they may be receiving. It is important to think about the way you word it – how can you grab their attention? Put the most important information first because, if they see 2 FOR 1 at the start of the message for example, they are likely to continue reading to see what the great offer is for.
The time they are received is very important
If a local restaurant sends a push notification at 6pm to inform the user that they have 2-for-1 on all main meals – they are more likely to use it as they will be hungry and thinking about dinner. However, if that restaurant sends the same message at 11pm when the user has already eaten and is not thinking about food, they probably won’t pay any attention to the message, making sending it pointless.
Consider your audience
When sending your notifications be aware of who will be receiving them and how they will be perceived. You may want to try and be clever and memorable but do this with caution. You don’t want your message to be taken the wrong way, especially if the app is designed for younger children.
Don’t JUST use push notifications
Push notifications can be used as part of your overall marketing campaign. Social, e-mail and text messages, particularly receiving SMS online services, can all be used as a reminder of the initial notification and provide an opportunity to go into more detail. These will also enable you, after the customer has received the initial information, to have a two-way conversation with them, following on from it.