Push notifications are popup messages that appear in web browsers and mobile devices whenever a website or app updates its content. They are potent marketing tools for news and content sites, as well as online stores. Using push notifications in combination with email is a robust strategy for marketing your business or monetizing your blog.
Getting your website visitors to come back is a great way to build your business’ brand. It grows familiarity and eventually trust. Adding a push notifications plugin to your site can alert subscribers whenever there’s an update. If they choose to view your page, you can display your call to action, email opt-in, or paid ads. See my previous posts about the Familiarity Principle and building a brand for more insight on growing trust with your visitors. In this article, I’ll go over a plan to use notifications together with email marketing.
Push Notification Guide
Dinarys.com lists the pros and cons of email marketing, SMS marketing, and push notifications. They come down hard on SMS because it costs money and has only a medium engagement rate. The article is more favorable towards traditional email marketing for its versatility and low cost, and towards push notification marketing for its equally low cost and much higher engagement.
Furthermore, email posts are somewhat longer lasting, since subscribers can wait for days before opening one. It’s also standard for business websites like online stores and membership sites to require email addresses for logging in and verifying identity. Finally, an email message can be as long as the marketer wants, the better to give a sales pitch.
Push notifications have a fantastic open rate compared to email. SMS texts have great open rates, too, but push has an advantage in conversions, according to the Dinarys article. Dinarys goes on to say push and SMS are best suited for news and time-limited offers. They say:
Making an SMS and push notifications comparison, we’ve found that both have a very high open rate. However, it’s possible to use advanced analytical tools to measure the conversion rate of their push notifications. This remains difficult with SMS.
Another advantage of push notifications is that, simply put, they are less annoying than SMS. Mobile device users see their push notifications appear unobtrusively in the status bar, where they do not interrupt user activity. It’s also easy to delete them. This makes them more convenient, but also renders them suitable only for quick updates and news.
WPExplorer.com recently posted a handy guide to using push notifications on a WordPress website. After listing the benefits of the practice, their first piece of advice is to compose clear and concise messages. A notification is usually only 40 characters long, so limit it to the article headline or landing page title. Emojis are useful in conveying meaning in limited space.
Next, WPExplorer says to segment your audience, meaning you should divide your messages based on topics or readers’ interests. Subscribers’ time is valuable, and if they’re subjected to many pushes daily, they’ll tune you out or unsubscribe. It’s also wise to segment your audience by time zone, so they don’t get messages while they’re asleep.
Finally, one should track the metrics of their notifications. These are click-through-rates, opt in and opt out rates, open rates, and retention rates. Over time, you’ll see what kind of notifications work best and base your sales strategy around them.
For my site, I decided to install the OneSignal Push plugin. OneSignal is a web app that works on several types of sites, including those made with WordPress. First, you create a free account on OneSignal.com, and go through the steps of configuring your own notification opt in form. If you’re going to combine push notifications with email marketing, I suggest you have the OneSignal opt in appear in the lower corner, while placing your email opt in CTA as a banner somewhere inside your web page’s content.
You can install the OneSignal Push plugin for free from the WordPress repository. The OneSignal website will give you both an App ID and API Key to copy and paste into your WordPress plugin. From there, you can follow the plugin’s setup wizard to create your opt in form.
Email Marketing Guide
You can use one of several email marketing services and integrate it into WordPress with a plugin or page builder. I discuss email marketing in my book, Be True, Cut Through, which I will self publish soon (everywhere you can buy ebooks!) For now, it helps to follow this guide by Neil Patel: “A Beginner’s Guide To Successful Email Marketing.”
Neil impresses on us that email marketers are guests in subscribers’ inboxes, so respect and good manners are vital. His first step is to get visitors’ permission to send emails. This is done with an email opt in form that clearly expresses the purposes of the email. Is it a newsletter? Are you giving a free gift or download? Don’t make the visitor go in blind.
Next, you provide great content in the emails. You must deliver on what your opt in says you will, whether its a newsletter, an online training, whatever. If you’re using push notifications, you might choose to email something other than news and updates. Whatever you email, it should be of clear value to the subscriber.
When to give a sales pitch in your emails is a tricky subject. A lot of marketing funnel experts say you should make one sales offer for every 3 pieces of free content you share. Miles Beckler is a successful affiliate marketer and YouTuber, and he encourages storytelling in all of your emails, with previews of the next day’s entry at the end of each one. This prepares the audience for your pitch while keeping it relevant to your other posts.
In whatever email marketing platform you use, it’s helpful to create an autoresponder. This is a series of emails that goes out automatically whenever a new subscriber opts in. Your sales pitch comes after other free content is sent, usually with a link to a landing page.
Push notifications are helpful at the top and middle of your marketing funnel, when visitors are getting to know your brand. Push has a great click-through rate. More committed visitors will likely join your email list, which is where you can engage them further and have a better chance of selling your product or service.