Desktop push notifications are clickable messages sent by a website to their subscribers’ browsers. They occupy a unique place among communication channels between a website and its audience, being singularly effective at growing and engaging traffic. They are by default a permission based channel, requiring the user’s explicit agreement to be sent push notifications – which obviously results in a subscriber list of high quality, as all of them are invested and interested in hearing from you.
A push notification comes in many forms and sizes, appearing in the screen’s lower right corner, whenever a website wants to share something with you. There’s a great deal of customization available to optimize them. For example, you can create aimed push notifications that target specific groups who might have seen one URL (product A) but not another (product B) on your site.
All in all, they are an extremely powerful tool in the hands of digital marketers and communication experts, which has been shown to be much more effective than its more traditional alternatives, like email, and much less crude than methods such as unsolicited SMS sending.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Does one need an app to send push notifications? Well, not really. At least not anymore. That is no longer necessary as push notifications can be sent through Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers if website visitors decide to allow them, which add up to a huge portion of the market.
- Are web push notifications really getting people engaged? It might sound surprising at first, but push notifications produce twice as many open rates and click throughs than email. In fact, roughly 70 per cent of adult consumers – and in the case of young adults the percentage climbs even higher – value push notifications and enable them on their favorite brands’ sites.
- Is being on the website a requirement for getting a notification? As long as they’ve been enabled for a particular website and there is an internet connection, users can receive push alerts from it at any time.
How do You Create Push Notifications?
Now all that might have caught your attention, but you’ve been left with a fundamental question: How do you start, how do you create them? There are two paths opening up in front of you. Either do it yourself or pay for professional software. Both choices are viable, but if you are to go with the do it yourself option you better have some basic knowledge of Java, HTML & CSS. Here’s a helpful link to guide you.
As for me, I have always been a big proponent of delegation. You cannot be an expert in all fields, so why not hire one that is and save you a lot of trouble and effort better invested elsewhere? I will just list by name some high quality push notification software for you to check out: MaxTraffic, Pushcrew, PushEngage and WebEngage.
Push Notification Strategy
You’ve installed the appropriate software and are ready to create your first push notifications for your site. As you will soon notice, that is no easy task. You have a strict word limit for the message you are trying to get across, only a small space to add an image and to top it all you have to write a title that holds a viewer’s attention from the get go.
There are a few simple guidelines you can follow that will make your life much easier: Keep it short. Keep it simple. Be crystal clear in your message. Employ influence and psychology tactics to increase the power of its punch. We will give you a few examples, but feel free to use your own creativity and imagination and customize them as necessary for your particular service or product.
- On being simple, short and clear: Instead of writing, ‘Our Summer Sale starts now!” try “Sale! 60% off on everything! Shop now!”. Can you notice how the first phrase is sort of vague whereas the second provides the benefit the user is going to get clearly? That’s what you wanna go for.
- Psychological jiu-jitsu: Renowned author of practical psychology book Influence, Robert Cialdini, advises that we are much more driven by the idea of potential loss than potential gain, an effect otherwise known as the scarcity effect. Try something like, “Limited offer. 10 hours only!” to capitalize on that.
- More psychology: According to Sigmund Freud everything we do is either in pursue of pleasure or avoidance of pain. Use this to your advantage. Give your clients what they want, or offer solutions to the problems or shortcoming haunting them.
- Even more psychology: An easily exploitable phenomenon is the social proof effect, where people essentially give value to something the more widespread its use or appreciation is. IBM’s old marketing slogan, “No one ever got fired for buying IBM”, is an excellent example of social proof.
Another easy to implement yet extremely effective strategy is avoiding giving the chance for your users to say a hard “no” to your push notifications. If they click block, you’ve permanently lost the opportunity to engage them with a web push. Instead, if you aim for a soft ask, even though you might still get a negative answer, you retain your ability to pursue them with further messages in the future and get another opportunity for them to say ‘yes”.
Something to keep in mind is that the spray-and-pray approach simply will not work in website push notifications. One size does not fit all. It is imperative to send your audience highly personalized messages that directly address their preferences, behavior and personalities. A sound way of doing this is well, asking them. What specific type of notifications they’d like to receive.
Somebody who only visits your site to read about politics will likely be uninterested in getting messages about sports or music and vice-versa. Alternatively, and much more subtly, you could categorize your subscribers in different behavioral buckets based on their type of pages viewed, number of views of a particular page and their on-page activities on general.