Browser Push Notifications: Best practices to build a powerful Sales Engine.


Summary

1. Everyone hates Push Notifications
2. It starts with Opt-in & Opt-outs.
3. Timing is Everything.
4. How’s your writing?
4. Segment and personalize.
6. Follow-through with a good landing.



Everyone hates push notifications.

You’re a marketer, but you’ve been there too – annoyed by incessant pop-ups on your desktop and phone, from random clothing sales to “breaking” news that is barely news at all.

Did you know 35% of push notifications are generic “broadcast” blasts to all users? It’s easy to see that a lack of relevancy plays a major role in it’s bad image.

But Web Push Notifications are far from dead. At Vizury, we’ve seen how some of the top marketing organizations at large ecommerce, media, financial services and healthcare brands use browser push notifications to deliver genuine value to their customers without being an intrusion in the browsing experiences.


Below, I outline those findings, show you some examples and reveal the six-step framework we’ve developed to help our customers “re-think” about Push Notifications as a powerful sales engine

Breaking it down


Optimizing Opt-in Rates

  • Increase Subscription Rates
  • Reduce Unsubscribes


Optimizing Push Notifications

  • Timing
  • Content
  • Target
  • Settings


Optimizing Opt-in rates


A. Increase Subscription Rates


For the best brands web push opt-in rates lie between 12-15%.

Just as any marketing channel, converting a user to subscriber is always the biggest challenge. Keep this number as your north star. If you can improve this, only then can you employ other strategies of engaging with users.


Q. “When” to ask users to subscribe to push notifications?

Don’t rush into triggering an opt-in as soon as a user lands on your website. Always wait for the user to get confidence on your website. Vizury’s soft-opt in allows you to trigger customized opt-in notification after a calculated time delay. Below are the cases which can help you pick the right time for showing the Opt-In message:


1. Based on User Activity

If your site is a blog or news site, show your push notification opt-in only when a user has read one of your articles or a portion of the article. Similarly, for e-commerce websites, show opt-in if the user has viewed the product or browsed through multiple products. This will indicate that the user is interested in your content and then if you show opt-in, the chances of subscribing increase.


2. Based on Time Spent

Put a minimum delay of 10 seconds before showing push notification opt-in. Give the user some time to know your website before showing opt-in. Once the user has browsed through the minimum number of pages or categories, then you trigger the push notification opt-in. We recommend you to test different opt-in timings to get the right time to show opt-in to your website.



Q. “Where” to ask users to subscribe to push notifications?

It is important for marketers to seek opt-in permission on the right page –   that is, on the page which has the highest traffic and also engages the users the most. For example, if you’re seeking opt-in permission on the homepage of the website, while user engagement is maximum on the product page, then push notification subscribers will be low. Pages with high opt-in rates include –


1. Tracking Page

2. Out of Stock Pages

3. Pricing Page

4. Checkout Page


5. Realtime Updates page


Q. “How” to ask for permissions for Push Notifications?

There are two ways to do this. “Single Step Opt-in” or “Two Step Opt-in”

“Single Step Opt-in process can outperform the 2 step process by as much as 150%”

To improve your single step-opt in, the messaging on your website should be strong enough for a user to “Allow” push notifications.

To improve messaging on opt-in check for the following points.

Benefits of push notification
Privacy
Your Website Logo
CTA
Placement of the Opt-in Box


Q. How to convert “users who have denied opt-in” in the first place?


Once a user clicks “Deny”, the opt-in is not shown. However, you can even convert those users with a simple
Blocked User Opt-in available with Vizury. This will appear only to these users who’ve denied opt-ins.

You should  edit the title for your widget. For e.g., if your benefit is to offer Discount to your subscriber, then mention “Get Discount” or “Flash Sale” as a pop-up title.



B. Reduce Unsubscribes


After putting a lot of effort into getting subscribers, you do not want to  lose them. However, high unsubscribe rates in Web Push has been the elephant in the room for the industry. To insure low opt-outs your push notifications need to be targeted, relevant and frequent.

Our recommendation on preventing unsubscribes are covered in the “Optimizing Push Notification” section


Optimizing Push Notifications


A. Timing


Website Push Notifications, by their very nature, require an instant response on the part of the receiver. If a notification is not sent at the right time, it may lead to low CTRs and user unsubscribes. There are three ways to perfect the timing of your push notifications.

1. Follow local time zone of the user

Consider you are running a sale – 12 AM 12thFeb to 12 AM 16th Feb. The time zones will be different for different countries. So create separate push notifications for your subscribers in different regions.

2. Identify Periods of High Activity

To increase chances of engagement you should send the push notification out to users in the high activity duration during the day based on the attributes of the user. Eg: For a college student the most active time to surf your website might be after 5PM or late night. 

“Most of the top industries currently prefer to send notifications between 2 PM, on weekdays”


3. Balance the Frequency

Send too many notifications, and your subscribers will unsubscribe. Send too less, and your subscribers might just forget about you. If the frequency is just right, then goldilocks (your subscribers) will eat the porridge (click on your notification and convert).

The optimal frequency for most industries lies between 1 to 5 every day. Here is an industry-wise breakdown.

4. Use Send time optimization on Vizury

Vizury Send time optimization sends notifications to a user at a time that is best suited for her, within a select period. This is done by collecting historical information on a user’s online activity patterns. Using this information, the tool calculates the best time of the day or week when a push notification should be sent. This is the time when the probability of the user opening the notification is the highest.

B. Content


All push notification tools have a limit on the number of characters you can put and hence the copy you write becomes much more important. You have to squeeze your message into a small package while still retaining its effectiveness. Remember, people will only click on the notification if they find it valuable.

“It’s a good practice to keep your push notification message at about 40 characters”


1. Be action oriented

Your subscribers have busy schedules and do not have time for vague messages. Do not test their patience by making them think. A clear message will have a greater click rate by the very virtue of the fact that it is action-oriented.

2. Be crisp in your copy

A self applied limit of 40 characters means that you need to identify the one most important value proposition of your message and let that shine through in the notification copy.

3. Use limited time offers, create urgency

We are more motivated by the idea of potential loss than of potential gain. That is, if we find that an opportunity is closing, we want it that much more. 

4. Use Social Proof

We want what others have – “4000 people have already downloaded this report”, use social proof to spark interest and drive action. Keep in mind, though, that this is not the 80s and internet users have access to all the information they need. It is important to not go overboard with claims and only write stuff that is credible.


5. Use Images and Rich Media

Adding images will help your notification stand out. With Vizury, you also have the option of including multiple products on your push notification. Adding emojis to notifications can also help grab a user’s attention. These should be used sparingly and tastefully depending on your content.


C. Targeting


As marketers, personalized messages are nothing new for us. We know they work. However, it is very critical to not follow a mass messaging approach when it comes to website push notifications, because opting-out is so easy here and then it’s excruciatingly painful to get those unsubscribers to subscribe again.

Your subscriber base can be segmented based on –

Demographics
Geo-Location
Device
Behavior (Cart Abandonment, Purchase History, Browsing History etc.)


D. Settings


1. Deep Linking

It’s very important to ensure your user lands on the “absolutely relevant page” once they click on the Push Notification. If the notification is about a product, then the user needs to land on the product page and not the category page.

2. Expiry

Users are not online always and will not receive any notifications. So what happens when a user comes online?

He will be bombarded with all the notifications, expired events, discount offers everything. This most probably is going to get them to unsubscribe. You should stop this by mentioning the expiry date of your notification. So if the customer doesn’t view the notification within the expiry date, the notification will expire and won’t appear in the browser.


Conclusion


Last few years saw Web Push Notifications grow in terms of rich and smart features. They are, now, a powerful tool to have in your Marketing Stack if you’re looking to send out automated and personalized communications. However, there’s a lot of room of improvement in the way they are being used. We hope that the insights shared in this report will help you lay down an effective Push Notification Strategy.

Create a step-process to review your push notifications campaigns on all of the above criteria before sending out and definitely see an uptick in the kind of business this channel is able to drive for you.

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