The online world is constantly evolving, which means businesses have to adapt accordingly. At one time, email marketing was the Holy Grail, but it is becoming less and less effective, particularly with the younger generation. Users have short attention spans, and they are impatient, which is making it difficult to reach them over email.
Push notifications are a great way to grow one’s audience, contact users directly using visible messages, and attract their attention. It is a great way to continue a relationship with your existing subscribers.
Previously RSS feeds were a way to alert users of new content being published / special offers etc, but with RSS feeds almost being obsolete in 2018, push notifications are a great way to do this.
Here we will discuss the basics of web push notifications, the criteria for creating successful push notifications, and the benefits of using them.
What are they?
Web push notifications are similar to mobile push notifications. Essentially, they work the same way, but web push notifications are sent to a user through their desktop web and mobile web rather than natively to their phone. They are messages that appear in the top right corner or bottom right corner of user’s screen.
Similar to mobile push notifications, they include the following:
- Browser Icon: The browser’s icon is always included on the notifications sent to users. It cannot be removed or altered.
- Notification Title: Many companies simply include their brand name here.
- Notification URL: The domain sending the web notification.
- Notification Content: This is the message being sent to the user. Typically they are only a few characters as the user is more receptive to shorter messages.
- Notification Icon: Usually an image or a brand logo.
The three criteria for successful push notifications
In order for push notifications to be effective, they must be precise, timely, and relevant to the user. It is important that your notifications incorporate these three criteria.
For your message to be precise, it should be succinct and to the point. The wording you choose is important to ensure users act on the notification. If they want more details, they will click the notification.
A timely message should prompt the user to act immediately. If there is no sense of urgency to your message, then users could decide to ignore it, or come back to it later, in which case they may forget.
Finally, your message should be relevant to users. If it is not something they care about, your notification will not be successful. You probably shouldn’t be pushing garcinia cambogia offers to your finance website subscribers.
Why should you use web push notifications?
Contact users directly and grab their attention
Push notifications are a great way to contact your users directly. While email is the most used medium to send messages to audiences, they pose many challenges when connecting to your subscribers. Users also have many messages in their inbox, which means you are competing for their attention. Push notifications are used much more sparingly (at least currently) and so you’re more likely to grab the users attention.
By using web push notifications, you will not be competing for your users’ attention. Since the message is delivered in real-time right on their screen, your message has the most visibility. It is almost impossible for your notification to go unnoticed when using web push notifications.
With email, you are waiting for people to check their inbox, and when they do, it’s very easy for them to simply ignore your messages. Think of how many emails you receive every day that you open and do not bother reading – this is what people do with most of the emails they receive.
Using push notifications, you ensure they see the message right on their screens when they open their browser, which is probably more often than they will check their inbox. Even if their browsers are not opened, your notification will appear the next time they open it.
Reach your distracted subscribers
Finally, using push notifications creates a more engaging experience for your users. People’s attention span can be short, and they have competing priorities. Even if people are interested in your website, they may get distracted. In this case, push notifications are very useful to draw people back in. They act as a reminder to subscribers to go back and visit your website.
A perfectly crafted message in your notification is a persuasive way to grab your subscriber’s attention. For example, if your push notification has a sense of urgency, or has news for your users, they are more inclined to return to your website.
Grow your audience
Another benefit of web push notifications is that it is extremely easy for users to subscribe. With the click of a button, they can sign up, whereas email list subscriptions require more effort for consumers. They have to enter their name, email address, then return to their inbox to opt in. Although it only involves a few more steps, the extra work it creates will deter users from signing up.
With push notifications, you ensure that you can catch all users. The ones who are more impatient and unwilling to take the extra steps to sign up via email are more likely to subscribe when the process is simplified for them.
This is particularly effective when trying to get younger users to subscribe. They grew up in the digital age, so they are inherently less patient when it comes to all things technology related. You have a better chance of winning over your younger audience by applying a one-step subscription process.
The simplified process of web push notification means you will get more subscribers and in turn, grow your audience.
What are the disadvantages?
They are only effective with loyal users
Web push notifications are only really effective when people are interested in what your company has to offer. If users like your brand and they want to stay connected, push notifications are great. However, if you are trying to bring in new customers, web push notifications will not help you.
If a user is browsing your website for the first time, they are still making their mind up about your brand. Seeing notifications pop up in the corner of their screens may annoy them, especially if they are not interested in your company.
They are similar to pop ups
A lot of people hate pop ups because they think they are annoying and invasive. Unfortunately, push notifications function in a similar manner, which can work against you if you use them.
Additionally, they may not work on your audience. For example, if you target older generations, chances are they will not take to the notifications well. Firstly, unlike younger generations who would rather subscribe using a one step process, older generations tend to prefer a thorough sign-up process. Many people like a bit more information before they subscribe, and this is something web push notification opt-in lacks.
As you can see, web push notifications are an excellent way to keep in touch with your subscribers, grab their attention, and even grow your audience. However, it is important to note that they will not work with all audiences. As illustrated above, certain users will not receive them as well as others. For example, older generations will not take to them as well as younger ones will. With this in mind, you should evaluate whether web push notifications are a good idea for your target audience.
All in all, using push notifications in tandem with other marketing techniques such as email marketing and Facebook ads can help you reach the most users.