Create Better Push Notifications Your Customers & Prospects Want to Receive – Part One

by | Oct 10, 2016 | Blog, Mobile Application, Push Notifications, Small Business

Push Notifications

Here is an old statistic (by Internet Standards).  In 2014, mobile commerce grew by 47% percent, and revenue from mobile commerce will equal 50%  of all digital (online) commerce in the United States by 2017.  Meaning, half, of all E-Commerce will be mobile whether to purchase products or services.

We’ve reached a point of critical mass on mobile. People are spending more time on a mobile device (phone or tablet) than any other device.  So this means, that if a business has NOT rebuilt their website so that it is mobile ready, and if that same business has not investigated whether or not they should be selling, booking appointments, or taking payments via their customer’s mobile devices, chances are they are missing out on revenue.

If you are rebuilding your website, building a mobile website, or building a mobile application for your business, the goal should be to be prevalent in your customer’s and prospect’s lives as often as possible.  Reality tells us that a user can have dozens or even hundreds of applications on their device.  I have at least 100, and many of them are infrequently used, and are there “just in case” I have a need.  However, the average user only uses about 20 apps on their phone frequently.  Ideally, you want your app to be in that top 20 slot.  Secondarily, there will be a subset of apps that people will use less frequently, but use periodically as they need to.  An example would be, to make an appointment with your stylist at your favorite hair salon, manicure/pedicure, massage, etc.   Another one might be a yoga studio, personal trainer, crossfit, etc. to check their schedule and reserve your spot for a class.  These are just examples, but I am sure you get the picture.  Sometimes, the services you offer can dictate how often the customer uses your mobile application

How do you get attention, though, with all those apps on all those smartphones?  How do you get routine interaction with your customer or prospect when they are distracted by all those apps, not to mention their daily lives?  I’ll tell you, Push Notifications…

Push notifications are like tweets.  Short, effective, attention grabbing, and help to keep you top of mind with your app’s users.  Push notifications, when crafted correctly, can help you create a more fluid path back to your brand, and engage your user in what they are interested in.

Before jumping right in to help you understand how to craft the most perfect push notifications for your users as you can, let’s take a step back and understand how a user actually interacts with a mobile application.  Let’s define a few user types so we have some reference going forward:

  1. New Users – As you would assume, these are new users of your mobile application.  They are looking at your appointment schedule, perusing your mobile commerce store, checking out your loyalty program, etc.  They are going to quickly decide whether your app has some use for them or not.  If not, then chances are they’ll turn into “The Window Shopper,” or become “The Coma User.”  Your job as the business manager or owner is to help them become a more engaged user of your app.
  2. The Window Shopper – You know this guy… This guy walks by your business, stares in the window, walks into your shop, peruses everything and then walks out… We call them window shoppers… They may come by a couple times, you think they’re going to buy, but then walk out the door again.  The same concept can be said of mobile app users.  23% of consumers will use an app a few times, but then possibly delete it or let it slide into a comma, never to be used again on that phone.  These users stopped using your app in early stage use, probably because it did not hold enough “value” for them.  There was some engagement, but the app might have been lacking that one thing that could keep their attention.  There are two benefits of The Window Shopper:
    1. They are a litmus test for users that will keep your app on their phone or not.
    2. Chances are these are also customers or prospects, so you may want to poll/survey them prior to building your app or after your app is built to see what type of features would keep them engaged.
  3. The Engaged User – These are the addressable market within your customer and prospect list that see value in your mobile application, and will use it consistently.  Using the Yoga Studio example, a yoga student/practitioner, may use the app frequently to book their yoga classes, check out workshops, and other events a couple of times a week.  This is an engaged user.  Events, even once a month are a great way to keep a user engaged.
  4. The Coma User – These are the users that download your app, use it a few times, see limited value in it, and keep it on their mobile device for whatever reason they think they will need it.  I have a few apps on my phone that I keep there just for the push notifications.  I have assumed that at some point, the business will send me a compelling reason to open the app and use it.  These to me, lend themselves to be “lifestyle” apps of sorts.  MTailor, Drync, Wayfair, RetailMeNot, Steelers (I’m a Pittsburgh Steelers fan), and several others.  I actually like the Steeler’s app.  It rarely gets opened, but I get gameday push notifications of plays, scores, etc. if I cannot watch or listen to the game… So I do enjoy it’s updates.  That said, how many apps do you have on your phone that you don’t open and are in Coma status?  The goal here is to reinspire the user to start using your app again so you can get them to do business with you.

In every user case, the goal is to keep engagement.  Segmenting your users should be part of your overall “App Engagement Strategy” over the long run of your app ownership.  A critical piece of your App Engagement Strategy will be designing compelling Push Notifications that help drive your user’s engagement.

Chew on this for a couple of days, and think about surveying your customer base if you are looking at building a mobile application or have one you want deeper engagement with.  Ask them what might be important to them when using a mobile application of yours.  Is it discount coupons, schedule updates, weather related open/closed information, daily or weekly specials, etc?  All of these mentioned areas of interest can be marketed via push notifications, and all these areas can help you drive deeper app engagement, as well as more business and profits.

In part two of this brief series on push notifications, we’ll delve into leveraging your data and crafting customer centric push notifications.

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