Congratulations! Your app has been downloaded and push notifications have been enabled! However, now you find yourself in a very precarious situation: To push or not to push?
Push notifications are messages delivered to a mobile user’s home or lock screen when the user is not actively engaged in a mobile app. These messages are often used to drive attention and traffic back to the app. They can be brilliant tools for engaging customers as they offer a 24/7 point of access. In fact, 71% of smartphone owners usually sleep with or next to their mobile phone and 35% check it first thing in the morning, even before their morning cup of Joe, brushing their teeth, or reaching for their significant other.
But with great power, comes great responsibility. Without effectively implementing push notifications, you risk app uninstalls, poor brand perception, and generally annoying your customer. Instead, use these tips to send awesome push notifications to the right person with the right message at the right time.
Offer value each and every time.
You know that co-worker who pops by your desk several times a day, just to say “hi?” Let’s call him “Sean.”
Sean usually stops by when you’re in the middle of writing an important brief or even during a critical meeting. He never really has anything significant to say and his friendliness wears off quickly, leaving you annoyed by his interruptions.
Sean is your irrelevant push notification. Push notifications interrupt a mobile phone user’s normal activities. They show up on lock screens, in notification bars, and sometimes announce themselves by sound or vibration. The quickest way to get your app notifications disabled or, worse, your app uninstalled is to send the “Just saying, ‘Hi!’” notification equivalent.
Offer your customers value each and every time. Whether this comes in the form of truly newsworthy tidbits or promotional offers depends on your business. Regardless, get to know your audience, consider their needs, and understand their preferences to craft your push notifications accordingly.
Determine the correct frequency.
Even if Sean had something valuable or interesting to say each time he visited, you’d still be irritated by his 7th interruption before lunchtime.
This is why it’s important to determine the correct frequency of your push notifications. This frequency will vary based on your type of business. For example, a newspaper app may send several notifications per day while an app for a hair salon may send monthly notifications. One restaurant’s app may require 2-3 notifications per week while others will send occasional notifications based on location proximity.
Frequency will also depend on the type of app you offer and what kind of content app users expect. Is your app called “Shopping Deal of the Day?” If so, daily push notifications are expected when a user downloads your app. If not, consider a weekly or monthly schedule instead.
Respect your customer’s time.
Sean calls you during your commute, texts you in the middle of the night, and stops by your house on the weekends, making you want to change your number and move across town.
Connect with your customers at the right time. While determining a push notification schedule can be somewhat difficult, you should know that it doesn’t include notifications sent in the middle of the night and is entirely reliant on time zones. Push notifications are delivered in real-time. What is a useful coupon for a morning pastry to someone on the east coast is an early morning annoyance for a west coaster.
A 2014 study by Localytics found a 66% higher click rate on push messages sent on weekdays. In particular, Tuesdays and Fridays between 12pm-5pm seem to be the most popular for actual click throughs.
After you’ve arranged the appropriate schedule, monitor engagements and optimize appropriately.
To get it right, know your customer.
Finally, Sean has learned some boundaries! He only stops by your desk occasionally, offering a welcome work break with something interesting to say. One day, he brings you a gift – a steakhouse gift card! Sweet… but you’re a vegetarian.
Before you can effectively market to your customer and offer them something relevant and valuable, you have to know your customer. Use data collected at download and in-app actions to understand your audience and how they engage with your brand. Create audience segments around user demographics and behaviors. No two customers are created alike, so a “one sits fits most” push notification strategy will not work well.
Allow for easy opt-out.
Despite all of his efforts to smooth things out, it’s time to break up with Sean.
Even if you say all the right things at all the right times, some app users will still opt-out of your push notifications. Just as opt-in should be easy (and required), opt-out should too. Instead of hiding opt-out or requiring a several-step process, make this function clear and easy to find in your app settings. Even though your notifications may be disabled, your app will most likely remain installed.
Bottom Line: Push notifications are a valuable tool in any mobile app marketing strategy; however, deployed incorrectly, can do more harm than good. To avoid this, always carefully consider what, when, and to whom you will send your message.