Locating the fine line between being helpful and being a nuisance is critical to cultivating a healthy relationship between buyer and seller. Unlike in the past when the most annoying part of advertising was seeing or hearing a commercial too much, now it’s reaching your potential buyer through too many outlets.

 

Just consider how many avenues a marketer can go to reach their audience. They can reach them via social media, their email inbox, their search engines, websites they frequent, text message, and now even their mobile apps, through push notifications.

 

Now this is where the fine line is truly tested. Because push notifications can either be an extremely helpful tool that can maximize conversions when used correctly, or a reminder to that app’s users to never buy anything from that company again.

 

For those who don’t know, push notifications are those little messages that  pop up on your phone promoting something from an app. For example, I have an app that encourages me to write every day, so I set a reminder within the app to send at a certain time that pops up on my phone at that time.

 

But when used by a brand, it can be a promotional selling point. Those who opt-in to push notifications with your app can receive exclusive deals or sneak previews of products offered solely to the people who receive those notifications.

 

Unfortunately, push notifications have received a bad rap, often justified, because of how misused they are by those who ultimately decide its content, frequency and timing. According to Marketingland.com, “a whopping 52% of consumers view push messages and in-app messages as an annoying distraction.”

 

Just like with all things marketing, you have to know and understand your audience before you develop a strategy to reach out to them. Find out what they like, what they don’t like, what they’ll be receptive to, when they’re awake, when they’re sleeping, and when they’re most likely to buy. However, few things may be more important when it comes to sending a push notification that works than literally knowing who they are:

 

 

Take a look at this example from Business2community.com:

 

 

Success through personalizing push notifications is no different from social media or email marketing campaigns. Users are far more receptive to ads when it’s directed to them, rather than a generic message that’s blasted out to thousands of people connected through the same interests.

 

But don’t think simply personalizing a message is everything you need. A strategy, naturally, still needs to be implemented:

 

“Personalization depends on a solid segmentation strategy. You can start by segmenting users based on their in-app behaviors or known information about them from your CRM (Customer Relationship Management).”

 

Your users aren’t a monolith. They’re all special in their own little way and want to be treated as such. We’re here to make conversions and if that means coddling each and every individual to nurture them into following through, then do so.

 

Also consider the frequency and timing of your notifications. Once again, it’s time to step into the shoes of your audience to understand their tendencies and behaviors. Consider local time zones and the time of the day.

 

Is your audience going to be interested in buying your product at 7AM when they first wake up, or at 7PM when they’re unwinding from a day at work? Also, if you send a notification at 7PM to your eastern time zone audience, consider that your west coast audience receives it at 4PM, when they’ll still likely be working. It’s up to you to develop a method to stagger the timing of the deliveries to fully optimize your notifications.

 

The benefits of a successful notification strategy can be extremely rewarding, with “users who enable push notifications [being] far more engaged than users who don’t. The study found that push-enabled app users logged 53% more monthly sessions compared with users who had not engaged with a push message.”

 

They’re also more likely to use your app over a longer period of time:

 

“Push-enabled users have higher longevity rates. After three months, 41% of push-enabled users were still using the app, far exceeding the 18% of push-disabled users who were still using the app.”

 

Of course, you have to first entice your users into receiving push notifications. There has to be an added incentive other than the occasional offer or reminder. A solution to this could be making the app’s experience worthwhile only if the user accepts push notifications:

 

“Companies often think of push notifications only as a means to re-engage inactive users. What if you changed your perception to seeing push as not just an integrated part of your communication strategy, but an integrated part of a user’s mobile experience with your brand?”

 

There has to be value to your notification if you want people to stay interested. Make it engaging by including a product image, the product’s name, the price info, and a CTA that are deeply linked with product views within your app.

 

Even better, be unique and spontaneous:

 

“Identify niche mobile use cases and channel them through push. Some examples include location-based offers, price drop alerts, time-sensitive offers. Think of push notifications only when you you want to tell your users about something that’s useful in their NOW.”

What do you think of push notifications? Let us know on our Facebook or give us a call!