A few years ago, text messages, emails and Facebook notifications were in limelight. In 2009, Apple launched Apple Push Notification Service (APNS). Ever since then, marketers have been trying to use push notifications to evoke reward-seeking behavioral response from prospects.
Unfortunately and lamentably, marketers are gifted with abilities to spoil and destroy almost every communication channel. For the past couple of years, a vast majority of marketers resorted to the practice of bombarding users with unnecessary emails. Today, they are bombarding users with too many mobile and web push notifications.
Now that almost every digital marketer is talking about mobile push notification services and web push notifications, it’s important to understand the different types of creative push messages that audiences resonate well with.
Type #1: Push notifications that encourage personalization
Brands like Sephora have mastered the art and science of sending relevant and timely messages to customers. For instance, it sends push messages to remind prospects of various items they have browsed but not bought. If there are any impressive discounts and offers in nearby stores, Sephora keeps its users informed.
Pro tip #1: Location and in-app behavior based personalized push notifications can multiply your sales.
Type #2: Push notifications that motivate users
This may seem trivial but push notifications shouldn’t judge users. Let me share my personal experience. I exercise almost every day for about 30 minutes. One day, I had to travel from Los Angeles to New York. Owing to my busy schedule, I couldn’t exercise. My activity tracking bracelet sent me this de-motivating message:
You have been ignoring your health. It’s time to be active and fit.
To be upfront and honest, I was never ignoring my health. I know, push messages are automated. But being judgmental is never desirable. What if a prospect fails to exercise due to flu or fever? I can only imagine his / her frustration with such push messages.
Thanks to such bad push messages, health & fitness apps have very less opt-in rates for push messages.
But there are quite a few smart apps, like 12 Minute Athlete, that enable users to schedule their workout sessions. If you are feeling uncomfortable due to flu or fever, you don’t have to schedule any workout session.
Pro tip #2: Push messages should never de-motivate users. Most importantly, they shouldn’t be judgmental
Type #3: Push notifications that engage people
Most digital marketers fail to realize that push notifications are a technique. They aren’t a strategy. Focus should be on engaging users. If engagement is done right, sales will automatically multiply. Very often, brands find themselves guilty of sending overly-sales push messages. It’s important to establish engaging tone of voice.
Let’s look at how Cubbies, the US apparel brand is using push messages to its advantage.
We did it. Finally! Shorts that cure baldness
Crazy to think Thomas Edison wouldn’t have been able to invent the light bulb without this sweatshirt (Available 9-10 am PST)
A free blanket to the guy who values America, fleece, cuddling, family & pepperoni pizza – not necessarily in that order.
Pro tip #3: Overly-sales push messages play a spoilsport. Focus should be on customer engagement
Type #4: Push notifications that excite people
Can you say no to coffee?
Let me ask you another question – Can you say no to Starbucks coffee? No!
We all love coffee. The guys at Starbucks know that customers cannot refrain themselves from consuming coffee. Hence, they generously reward users who own their app with coupons, freebies and discounts.
There is this travel app called Kayak which lets users decide various parameters for receiving notifications. For instance, users can get notifications based on criteria such as destination, date, price etc. If there are any offers pertinent to destinations and trips that are in line with customer preferences, customers are delighted.
Now, there are many travel apps that send push notifications, but messages are mostly out of context. Let’s say, I am interested in embarking on a trip to Thailand. If travel apps offer me deep or subtle discounts on Dubai tour packages, they are of no use.
I follow quite a few influencers on Medium. For your information, Medium is a reputed online publishing platform. Whenever an influencer publishes a new post, I get a notification almost immediately.
But herein lies an often ignored problem – Let’s say, I follow 100 influencers. Let’s go with this assumption – Every influencer publishes 1 blog every day. Let’s do the math – 100 influencers publish 100 posts. Don’t you think 100 notifications per day are over-whelming? Too many notifications do more harm than good.
Medium is well aware of this fact. There is a provision for users to let Medium decide the top 5 posts in each category. They can receive notifications only for those posts which Medium recommends. Please be informed that Medium takes your search history into consideration before recommending you anything.
Pro tip #4: The agony of irrelevant push messages is inexpressible. Send relevant push messages that excite your prospects.
Type #5: Push notifications that grab attention with multimedia
Prior to iOS 10, messages were text-heavy. Today, it’s a different scenario. By all means, push messages can have videos, images, audio, etc.
Are push messages with multimedia elements impactful? The answer is in the affirmative. A proportionate combination of videos, images, audio and text can effectively and clearly convey the meaning.
According to a study by Urban Airship, push messages with an embedded image registered more than 56% direct open rate. So, there is no denying that a picture is indeed worth 1000 words.
Pro tip #5: Use rich multimedia in push messages
Now that you are acquainted with different types of push notifications and how companies are adapting to various trends, it’s important to choose the best tools that provide diverse push notification services.
Here is a check-list of criteria definitely worth your attention:
- Should work seamlessly on Apple, Google, Fire OS, and Windows platforms
- Time zone support
- In-app messaging
- Multi-language push
- A / B test
- Language targeting
- Campaign scheduling
- Custom Segments
- Transactional API
Popular push notification services
- Firebase Cloud Messaging
- Urban Airship
Found this post useful and informative? Please share your feedback in the comments. If you have any queries or concerns, shoot them in the comments. I shall reply in a day or two. Keep watching this space for more insights on mobile push notification services. I can help you with strategy and campaign execution. Cheers!