“Push marketing is dead.” You might have heard this a million times. Here are the truth, web push, email, SMS and app push notifications are NOT! You know what is dead? Spam.
The traditional push marketing channels like email, SMS, in-app notifications and the new age web push are as hot as they could ever be. Every once in while, analysts would point out how email is not working any more and how open rates have hit an all-time low but what they consciously skip is the factor of context. Push-based communication continues to be one of the most valuable weapons in the Marketer’s ammunition kit.
Yes, with more spam, the idea of contextual communication has become utmost important. Context or better referred as personalised communication has turned the tables. With open rates of 60% and click-through rates at 35% – push-based communication is anything but dead.
There are three key drivers of personalization –
- Understanding and qualifying user behaviour
- Personalising end-user communication
- Measuring user response and Leveraging Feedback to Further Optimize
Communication channels – including Email, Web Push, App Push, SMS are extremely critical to reach out to new users and drive customer acquisition. The choice of the channel varies as per target audience but fundamentally, it all boils down to giving relevant information to the right people without sounding spammy.
There are 4 main channels for push marketing:
- Web Push Notification
- App Push Notification
It has always been a head-scratching moment deciding which channel suits best for you and which is the best channel altogether, but guess what? Maybe they all are like the different children of the same parents. Have a look at thecomparison chart and you can decide it for yourself.
Now you might have a fair idea about the different channels, but let’s dig a bit deeper and get to know them one on one.
Web Push Notification- A Reminder Directly in your Browser
It’s been quite some time now since web push notifications have started. Back in December 2015, web browser behemoths Safari, Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera (a combined 77% of web browsers market share) introduced ‘Service Worker API’. Along with various functionalities, came a specific one that has tremendous benefits for any e-commerce looking to keep customer engagement high: Website Push Notifications. They have brought in a whole new phase to the marketing arena.
As the world is technologically developing a great amount of innovation has gone through web push notification. Web push was primarily introduced by OS X Mavericks and then Chome 42 started supporting push API. Since then Chrome has been evolving like never before; tweaking and experimenting, bringing forth improved and refined versions of web push.
SMS, emails, and especially in-app push notifications might seem similar to web push notification, but they are entirely different!
- First of all, it functions on websites and does not depend on apps
- Secondly, it can be accessed on mobile, tab and on desktop
Local time website push notification boosts user engagement and helps drive in repeat visitors. They are succinct and crisp notifications which catch your attention within seconds. The whole concept of web push is still new to the users. As for the marketers, they are investing big time as the had foreseen its potential.
- High level of personalization and customization in web push notifications
- No need to download an app
- Hardly any spam rate
- Ability to re-engage users without knowing their contact details
- Lower unsubscribe/ opt-out rates
- In-house inventory, only platform fees
- Not available for safari on phone
- Does not support media content
- Once blocked, won’t prompt for permission again
- Character limit exists (120- 140)
Web push is widely used in the e-commerce sphere once they received humongous positive results as compared to other mediums. E-commerce thrives on gaining new visitors, engaging the existing ones and driving the users back to the site. Web push helps in notifying the users then and there about your brand, no matter what device they are using! With the invent of Progressive web apps, push notifications have become a major part for e-commerce websites.
Web pushes offer a great alternative to money and time-consuming marketing emails, social media ads or dedicated mobile apps that can saturate easily and produce unsatisfactory results over a long period of time. They are simple to implement and monitor, as well as driving positive ROI in terms of customers clicks rates, time spent on pages and sales conversion. It is a comprehensive tool to help you achieve your re-engagement goals and improve the overall customer experience. Browser pushes is a privileged direct channel between your business and your customers.
There are 6 ways to successfully integrate website push notifications to your e-commerce.
Your first impression is critical
Personalizing your opt-in prompt can be determinant in whenever an anonymous visitor will allow you to send him browser notifications. By giving out incentives, like 10% off their first order, for example, you can encourage them to do so. The first impression you make on a visitor is critical in giving you a lead. Because once dismissed, the “show notifications” popup is a hassle for your potential customer to re-setup and agrees with. After their subscription, you will have an easier time tracking down users’ activity history, which will be of the outmost importance in the following steps.
Most browser push notifications solutions like OneSignal or Pushcrew will allow you to personalize your prompt-in with your image and text on top of natively record stats from subscribers. Data gathered can be as broad as on-site behaviour, pages visited and recurrence, items added to cart, geolocation, devices used, first and last connection to the website, pages they bounced off from, etc.
Get to know your audience
The next step towards achieving a relevant web push notification strategy is to generate insight. After subscribing to your notifications, users’ information pile up and produce patterns, also known as actionable insight. After proper analysis, this relevant knowledge will help you build a specific segment of users, to which a personalized push notification can be sent out. Timing will be your best ally, as it is critical to send them at the right time. You can set up short messages to be triggered by subscribers’ specific actions.
For example, you could choose to send browser notifications to past customers after adding a similar product to the one they bought on your website. Or, if you think that you struggle selling a specific one, send out personalized messages about a price drop for a limited amount of time (creating an urgency feeling) to any potential customer having previously visited the product page. Rewarding a part of your audience for past actions with the right incentives can also be a successful strategy.
Tailored marketing messages have become a necessity in today’s day and age. Customers are reluctant to open marketing emails that spam their mailboxes and react negatively to ads imposed without their consent. Web pushes have the advantage of being enabled by the customer himself and produce open rates ranging from 40% up to 80% (below 20% for marketing emails).
Recover abandoned carts
More than 75% of carts never see the ‘thank you page’ of your e-commerce business. As tough as it is to conceive, it represents more than $4 trillion worth of merchandise worldwide each year. But why do 2 out of 3 carts never get to be completed? Well, it’s not rocket science. People are smarter and tend to compare products prices across multiple platforms. That or they just get frightened right before engaging the payment process while sometimes leaving their carts comes from outside distractions.
Website Push Notifications can give you that extra help to drive successful sales. The simple fact of adding an item to cart shows the intent of buying. Sending out web pushes to recover abandoned carts after X amount of time can help you convert with consistency otherwise ‘lost sales’.
For instance, a nudge as low as 5% off or offering free shipping could weigh heavily in a customer’s buying process that has bounced off the website. Then again, try to play on that urgency feeling to convert with more regularity. It’s even more important as you are limited in terms of characters. Using clear, action oriented messages is a requirement to achieve satisfactory results.
Inform customers of order dispatch and delivery
Formally reserved to e-commerce giants equipped with mobile apps, instant feedback notifying customers that their orders have been shipped and will be delivered in the next few days is easily achievable via web push notifications. Updating a customer’s order status in real time has a lot of re-engagement benefits.
Web pushes have the advantage of being instantaneous compared to emails and will help improve tremendously your overall customer relationship management. The fastest you are prompt to inform your customer, the more he will value your business and be likely to repurchase from your platform.
Finally, it will reinforce the link you’ve been building with your customer and foster that one-on-one feeling of personalization and decrease the number of opt-outs.
Retarget after no recent visits
By banking on insights you previously built, coupled with the scheduling powers of web pushes notifications automation, you will be able to send motivational messages to drive back once “lost customers” to your website.
For instance, you could automate and schedule push notifications for past visitors that didn’t visit your website over the last week. After refining that specific segment, you’ll be able to send an automated push message. Once an individual click on the notification, they will be removed from that segment list. Otherwise, they will receive it again on the next set of push notifications.
It allows you to keep contact with visitors that may have lost sight of your e-commerce. Because they still subscribe to your web notifications it is important to keep a contact as they would have otherwise opt-out a long time ago. Web pushes automation gives you a cheap, non-intrusive and effective way to retarget past customers that could drive future sales. Keep in mind that your notifications subscriber list is of high quality, with customer willing to hear from you and your business.
Keep an eye on your metrics
Lastly, tracking results of your push notifications is a priority. Most solutions will offer integrated A/B testing to help you choose which notifications have the most effect on your subscribers upon experimenting with different sets of pushes.
Click-through rate will give you insight into tracking your most effective messages and allow you to establish strategies built around your business goals and website actions you want to foster. To that extent, make sure that the URL you embedded you website notification pushes with are fully traceable, and with the proper UTM parameters to be used in your favourite analytics tool.
Website Push Notifications may not the providential solution for every business types but is a new and exciting direct channel for marketing purposes. Its implementation should result from a matured choice, as to which service provider you will choose from as well as the type of push messages that are relevant to your audience. As of right now, there are plenty of web push notifications solutions available. OneSignal has the merit of being free and pretty easy to handle. AimTell, PushCrew and Pushify are also strong competitors.
Ultimately, your choice will revolve around the type of e-commerce you run and the goals you want to achieve. Integration may require expertise from a web developer, but most solutions provide integrated plug-ins, compatible with every popular CMS.
Using Email to Callback Bounced Users
Every marketer usually sends at least one email every day. Though it has become an vital channel for marketing, it was used for military purpose when email was born. Initially, email marketing wasn’t that popular due to lack of reach. Later on, it went on to become one of the best channels to send elaborate messages. Emails have no text limit and one can easily send relevant information as attachments.
In 2001, the first user behavioural email was incorporated using targeted market products which were relatable to the user. In 2010, 48% of marketers are sending triggered emails according to the customer’s buyer journey. Now people have started using gifs and videos along with emails to make it more interesting and engaging. Drip marketing sends multiple emails to prospective clients and help in lead generation. E-commerce site uses drip marketing to pull back customer to the website reminding them the about an abandoned shopping cart.
Traditional email marketing was all well and new; an opportunity to grab the user’s attention. And then spam happened. With your inbox filled with email that you didn’t want and at the snail’s pace in which internet worked back then it was a nightmare.
In the modern scenario, ‘permission emails’ are the way to go. In permission emails, the users give assent to send them emails related to your products or services. Here, as you can figure out, there is no scope for emails getting spammed. One can send personalised emails and re- engage with the users. Emails are best when you need a feedback or to send a review.
- Amount of information that can be sent is high
- More visual content can be added
- Two-way communication – interactive
- Attachments can be stored for further reference
- Easy to share
- Might get lost in the inbox full of emails.
- Difficult to distinguish between solicited and unsolicited emails
- Attachments might not open due to lack of software in the user’s end.
- Virus Scare
- Requires internet connection
However, emails solely depend on the internet. While emails are used to send a good amount of detailed information, it’s not a good idea when people are in a hurry and they have to go through the entire mail to get the gist of it. It is not a good idea to send emails for notifying the user that your food has arrived or the arrival of your booked vehicle.
Getting Intimate with your Customers via SMS
SMS (Short Message Service) started off in 1992 for customers. It was primarily used for personal communication and then, later on, moved on to promotional texts and for e-commerce endeavours after 1995. SMS has a limit of 160 characteristics and any message that crosses the limit is sent as another text message. Though it was thriving initially, people saw a decline as other modes of communication came by (like WhatsApp and hike, but that again is not applicable for SMS marketing).
SMS is a legitimate marketing channel that is used worldwide. SMS is personal and mobile friendly. In some parts of the world like India, there are some regulations regarding sending promotional SMS.
This provides an instant opportunity to give all the information you need to your users and drive them to your site. SMS is one channel that cannot be ignored by people as they have to manually delete from their inbox. The only problem that they are facing is that if the users place them on the DND (Do Not Disturb) list, then the users will not receive the messages. Now it has become mandatory to get the users consent to send them promotional messages. Sometimes links are embedded in an SMS, but the links should mobile optimised or it will lead to frustrated users, and that is definitely not a good sign.
- Wider reach
- Usually 2 way communication
- No internet connection required
- Download free
- Easily reach a wide range of audience
- Needs cell coverage
- Static – Does not support media content
- Can’t tell if the SMS has been read
In e-commerce website verification code or the OTP is sent through SMS. This is a security code that authenticates the user. Companies like Ola use SMS to send a confirmation message and details of the driver. It also encourages users to open the app once again to locate the cab.
App Push Notifications for Mobile Targeting
With the emergence of smartphones, the way we communicate has gone through a sea change. And then apps were invented to make browsing smoother and to enhance user experience. Marketer wanted to stay with users as long as they could and apps made it easier to do so. App notifications drove users back to the app encourages the user to engage with the brand.
Push notification allows developers to notify users even when they are not active on the app. Initially, e-commerce websites made a huge profit with in app notifications, driving users back to the app encouraging them to make some purchase with exciting offers and discounts. The app notifications are more targeted and purposeful encouraging further user interactions.
It also so happens that many apps have huge user base, they aren’t active on the app. So to drive the user’s back app notifications play an important role. It increases involvement and build users interest.
When it comes to gaming, apps are the best way to go. With the invert of progressive web apps conquering the marketing world second by second, it has now become possible to give the experience of both the app and the website. With active service workers, it also makes it possible to send mobile web push. The plight of being offline has been eliminated with PWA. It is also worth noting down that app have to be made and maintained and it doesn’t happen free of cost.
- Provide essential information
- Cheaper than SMS
- Can be customised according to user
- Overtime chooses customers optimum time and notifies according to their activity
- Can send msg to the entire user base and not just who opted in (can be disabled)
- Doesn’t clutter your phone as it can be dismissed easily
- Building cost and maintenance cost is high
- High churn rate
- Visibility and Discoverability is difficult
- Difficult to get apps approved by iOS
All said and done, every channel has its own set of advantage and disadvantage, but it is still a crucial call to select the best. While some might not be a disadvantage for you, it might be for some. As I said, it all depends upon the organisation you are running and which will suit you best.
Impeccable timing and optimal frequency at which you send should always be taken care of. Just make sure that you don’t overwhelm the user with numerous marketing tactics. Where every brand wants not just to survive but thrive, it’s a close call that you will have to make. In this myriad set of channels, putting one on a higher pedestal doesn’t mean anything. It is almost like comparing oranges to apples. Which is of course absurd!