It’s no secret that our world is trending in a mobile direction.

As a marketer, you need to recognize this concept and adapt accordingly. Your customers are using their mobile devices to consume, so that’s where you need to target them.

For those of you out there who developed a mobile app, you’re already heading in the right direction.

In fact, without the app as a platform, you won’t be able to use push notifications as a marketing tactic. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t continue reading if you don’t have a mobile app.

While you may not be able to implement this strategy right now, you’ll be able to do so once your app launches.

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is a push notification?

I’m sure you’ve seen these before, probably on your own mobile devices, even if you didn’t know what they were called. It’s a message that appears on your screen, similar to a text message, but it comes from an app.

This is a great opportunity for you to share information, provide updates, and stay in contact with users who have your app downloaded to their devices.

But with great power comes great responsibility. Overloading on these messages could backfire, which I’ll explain in greater detail as we continue.

Use a limited number of words

It’s important that you clearly understand the difference between texts and push notifications. Even though they are similar and look the same on the screen, they are extremely different.

For example, when someone sends you a text message, the opening lines of the text will appear on your home screen. When you open up the message, you’ll see the full text.

But that’s not the case with a push notification.

When a user opens up a push notification, it brings them to the app, but the message is gone. So if your push notification is too long, part of it may get cut off, and the user won’t even know what you’re trying to say to them.

To prevent this from happening, it’s best to use as few words as possible when crafting your messages. That’s why shorter push notifications are more effective.

As you can see, fewer words lead to higher click rates.

So while you won’t have as much liberty with your word count as you would with a text message, push notifications are still very effective.

SMS messages from businesses can be perceived as spam. But with a push notification, they know exactly where it’s coming from since the app is installed on their device.

Plus, it’s free for users to receive a push notification. But they may have to pay for incoming SMS messages, depending on their plans.

Unsolicited SMS messages are also illegal, so overall, it’s best to just stick with push notifications and keep the word count low to ensure that your entire message gets displayed on the screen.

Send personalized content

So now that you know how long to make your push notifications, it’s time to talk about the content and reasoning behind sending them.

If you just want to say hello and remind your customers who you are, push notifications are not the way to do this.

It’s annoying and will end up hurting you instead of helping, but we’ll talk about that in greater depth shortly.

So what type of content should you send? Personalized messages.

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As you can see from these numbers, your best bet is to stick to content that’s relevant and personalized to the user.

Here some ideas to help you segment your audience so you can deliver content that’s tailored to each user.

  • gender
  • location
  • age
  • interests
  • browsing history
  • purchase history

You’ve got lots of options to choose from.

For example, let’s say your company will be attending an industry event in South Florida. It wouldn’t make sense to send that notification to everyone in the United States who has your app.

Realistically, people aren’t going to travel for something like that. So it’s a waste for you to send something irrelevant to them.

But you could definitely send that notification to app users who live in Florida, especially if you’re offering them an incentive or exclusive offer for attending the event.

This type of push notification is personal and adds value to the recipient.

Don’t be annoying

As I’ve said a few times already, you need to tread carefully with your push notification strategy.

Sending too many push notifications or irrelevant messages will backfire. That’s because users have the option to opt-in and opt-out of your messages.

That’s right. If you annoy a user, they will simply mute your notifications. People already have predetermined feelings about these messages. In fact, 52% of app users say that push notifications are an annoying distraction.

Once you get muted, it’s going to be nearly impossible for you to get the user to turn notifications back on.

You won’t have a way to contact them unless you send them an email. But sending an email begging a user to turn on push notifications isn’t the best look for your brand.

So you’ll be better off just trying to prevent this from happening in the first place by limiting your number of push notifications per week.

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As you can see, even sending more than two push notifications in a week can cause up to 37% of users to disable these messages.

Sending too many push notifications can have an even worse effect than getting muted by the user. More than 30% of users will stop using an app altogether if they receive between six and ten notifications in one week.

So as a rule of thumb, keep your push notifications to one per week at the most. Only send content that adds value to the user, like a discount or an important update.

Promote flash sales

Flash sales are a great opportunity for you to take advantage of push notifications.

These types of promotions create the fear of missing out, better known as FOMO. The user will think that if they don’t buy something fast, they’ll miss out on a great deal.

Consider this. The app user is already interested in your brand. That’s why they downloaded the app in the first place.

They’ve probably purchased something from you in the past. So the flash sale could be enough of a reason for the user to buy something that’s been on their mind.

Flash sales could be just a few hour time window, or potentially up to 24 hours.

Just make sure that you send it out at an appropriate time. Don’t send a notification on Tuesday if the flash sale isn’t until Friday.

Remember, you’re trying to limit the number of weekly push notifications that you send.

Also, don’t send it at 3:00 AM when people are sleeping. This may sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often I see mistakes like this.

If the flash sale is from 1:00 – 4 PM, then send it at 1:00. If you send it too early, then when someone opens up the app they won’t be able to take advantage of the offer yet.

You’d have to rely on them coming back later to buy, which they could easily forget.

Send timely updates

Use push notifications to enhance the customer experience. If they’re waiting for an update on something, tell them via push notification. Here’s a great example of this concept applied by Uber.

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They send a notification to users when their car is arriving.

Users don’t have to keep the app open and track the location of their drivers. They also won’t have to stand outside to wait in the cold, rain, or heat.

Even though this type of message doesn’t offer a discount, it still provides users with a value that improves their experience.

This tactic isn’t just limited for ride-sharing apps. It’s something that can be used for any type of delivery service.

For example, “Your food is here,” is another message that an app user would want to receive.

They won’t have to stand outside to wait for the delivery driver. This also eliminates the need for drivers to make calls, which is a safer and more efficient process for your company as well.

This type of customer service goes a long way. By improving their lives, the customer will be more likely to use your app and spend more money in the future so they can continue to get this type of great service.

Know the difference between Apple and Android

Not all push notifications are created equally.

If you have a mobile application that’s available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, you need to realize how these notifications will look on the user’s screen.

Check this out. Just look at the difference between iOS and Android users in terms of click-through rates.

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With that said, iOS users open their push notifications at a rate that’s seven times faster than users with an Android device.

Why would this happen? It has to do with the differences in the software on each device.

When an Apple user unlocks their phone, the push notification disappears from the screen. But Android users have to manually clear their notifications.

If they don’t clear it manually, they would have to open it to be removed from the notification screen. That’s why Android users have higher open rates, but Apple users open notifications faster.

There are also slight variations between how notifications look on the same platform, but from different devices and software versions.

You need to take all of this into consideration when you’re tracking certain metrics.

Just because the click rates from your Apple users might be lower, it doesn’t mean that those people aren’t interested in your brand. So don’t do something drastic like abandoning your marketing tactics that target those users.

Use geofencing technology

Geofencing relates back to personalization.

The app uses location-based services to target users.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say that you have a chain of physical store locations. If a user has your app downloaded to their device, they can get a notification about a sale when they walk within a couple of blocks of a store.

Check out this example from Vitamin World so you can see what I’m talking about.

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So when an app user enters any of those geofenced areas, they’ll get a discount sent to their phone.

This ensures that your push notifications are timely and relevant. It works great if you have a mobile app for your restaurant business.

If an app user walks by during lunchtime, send them a notification about a discounted lunch promotion.

Even if you don’t have physical locations, you can still use geofencing technology to enhance your push notifications. For example, let’s say that your mobile commerce brand sells equipment for water sports, like surfboards, paddleboards, and wetsuits.

If someone with your app enters a geofenced area by the beach, you could send them a notification.

But it wouldn’t make sense to send this type of promo to someone who is in the desert or in the mountains. Make sense?

Geofencing encourages your customers to spend more money. Once they get a notification, allow them to spend money right away from within your app.

Whether it’s for a product, service, or subscription, you want to make sure that your push notifications are actionable.

Just remember what we talked about earlier. Although geofencing is a great marketing strategy, you don’t want to go overboard. You can still annoy your users and get muted if you send too many of these.


Push notifications are a great way to improve sales from your mobile app. But there are certain things that you need to keep in mind before you send them out.

Limit the number of words per notification. Don’t send push notifications too often.

The content of these messages needs to be timely, relevant, and personalized. Add value to the recipient by offering promotions or flash sales. Use geofencing technology to target app users in a specific area.

Understand how iOS and Android users behave differently when receiving a push notification.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to improve your mobile marketing strategy and increase sales.

What types of push notifications are you sending to your mobile customers?

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