Building a Better Push Notification Strategy
“What is my push notification strategy?” That is often the first question businesses that are new to push notifications ask. While every strategy will be different, there are a few overarching themes that every successful browser push notification strategy follows.
In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about building a successful push strategy, from defining your goals, to conducting a SWOT analysis, to lead nurturing and driving conversions. Finally, we’ll dive into the “staircase” strategy, and see how it applies to push notifications. The end result is a more effective way to connect with your customers, one push at a time. So, let’s get started!
It starts with where you want to go. Businesses get into push notifications for a variety of reasons. You could be looking to prompt customers to pick up abandoned carts, to boost overall business, to drive more sales, or simply to bring a larger audience to your blog. It is important to pick a few goals early as the foundation of your strategy. You can configure a push notification for anything you want, but you can only do that once you truly know what it is that you want.
When Should You Push?
The next step is to figure out how often to push. Push notifications sent too frequently can quickly become just another form of spam to your audience. Fortunately, browser-based notifications are different in that your audience has to agree to them and opt-in. So, ask yourself where you most want people to look, and figure out what your audience is already focusing on.
A good example of this is pricing. Push notifications are ideal for price tracking and sales, and many of your customers will likely appreciate a simple tool that lets them track costs as they go about their day. Be upfront about frequency and, when possible, let your customers determine the frequency and timing of notifications. Your customers will appreciate it.
When deciding what to push and where, remember that first you need to segment your audience. In a lot of ways, this work is already done for you. You know what pages of your website draw the most traffic, what gets the most attention on social media, and other data that lets you segment your audience. For sites selling products, for example, some simple segments include wholesale vs. retail, regular customers who buy from you on a set schedule, and infrequent customers you might see once or twice a year.
Here are some examples of how to segment your audience. You could set up push notifications to remind regular customers of when to re-order. Alternately, when you notice increased traffic from infrequent customers, offer to push them a coupon to see if you can prompt conversion and thereby increase your revenue. How you choose to segment your push notifications will depend on your business and goals.
Push notifications are short. However, as Twitter and text messaging have proven, punchy copy fits into any character limit. While not every push notification lends itself to a joke or an insight, your customers react better to messages with a distinctly human touch. Creative push notifications give an appealing face to your business.
Once you’ve defined your goals, it’s helpful to take a step back and observe your organization as a whole. One of the most powerful tools for evaluating your marketing and customer service approaches — as well as your entire business entity — is with a SWOT analysis.
Conducting a Push SWOT Analysis
SWOT, or Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, is a highly useful way of thinking about your business and your approach to it. We don’t often ask ourselves the hard questions, and that’s simply human nature: We focus on the positives. A SWOT analysis makes you consider those strengths in the context of your possible concerns, and work to repair them. It also helps to refocus our expectations to form more sensible strategies. So how do you apply it to your browser-based push notification strategy?
How It’s Done
To get started, divide a piece of paper or a whiteboard into four quadrants. Have a copy of your goals handy, both for your push strategy and your overall marketing strategy. Give yourself plenty of room to write in each quadrant, label them with the appropriate tag, and get to work.
This is the part we all enjoy. Take a good look at what you’ve been doing well, and try to be objective about it. It’s a good idea to back it up with data. Consider this both from a perspective of achievements and one of maintenance. For example, if your timing and frequency of your notifications are on point, that’s a strength. If you have high conversion rates, that’s another.
What could be improved? What’s holding you back? This is the place to consider points like soft or plateauing numbers, concerns about opt-ins lagging or opt-outs ticking upwards, certain segments lagging from where you want them to be, and so on. Think in the recent and immediate, here.
Look at your strengths and weaknesses and ask yourself where they could lead long-term. It pays to be more conservative here. For example, while it would be great for conversion rates to rise in perpetuity forever, even if they did that, you can’t have a conversion rate higher than 100%, and there’s no such thing as a 100% conversion rate. So be optimistic, but also realistic.
Conversely, where do you see your weaknesses taking you if they thrive unaddressed, versus repairing them? Again, it pays not to be a doomsayer here; a 0% conversion or opt-in rate is possible, but so is being struck by lightning; a little common sense goes a long way towards protecting you, in both cases. But take a stern view of the future based on your weaknesses.
Once you’ve got all that in one place, here’s where the analysis comes in. How can you augment your strengths to meet those opportunities, and how can you mitigate your weaknesses to reduce those threats? Don’t forget, either, that these are not in a vacuum from each other; how you build on a strength might reduce or intensify a weakness, or how you reach a goal might force you to let a weakness slide, for now.
Also, remember that this is a snapshot of a moment in time. Your strengths and weaknesses a month, six months, or a year from now, might be entirely different. New opportunities and threats may have emerged that you would never have expected. You should regularly do this both to get a broader view of your push notification strategy and to take a breath and get a realistic overview of where you are and what you’re doing.
Building A Nurturing Strategy with Push
As competition intensifies across all industries, it’s becoming more important to offer a more focused approach to each individual customer. Marketing for a broad swath of customers, which used to be the only way to market your company, has been replaced by a more targeted approach. It’s called lead nurturing, and done right, it’s a powerful approach with browser-based push as a key part of it.
What Is Lead Nurturing?
You’ll quickly notice an unusual phenomenon as your push strategy takes off: Opt-ins who aren’t customers, but still sign up for your push alerts. Perhaps they buy from you once, and then go silent, or perhaps they follow you on social media. They’re strong leads, interested in your products, but, for a multitude of reasons, they’re not quite ready to commit.
Lead nurturing is all about building a relationship and working prospects towards buying from you more regularly. Effective nurturing has a consistent set of characteristics:
- It’s personalized, as much as possible, to cater to the interests of your customer.
- It’s more at ease and more conversational, within the bounds of your brand, of course.
- And it’s tied to your other channels. For example, if they’re interested in a particular use of a product, you push out a blog entry discussing its uses in that area.
It’s true you can’t sit down with every single customer and have a detailed heart-to-heart about everything they want and need. But, in truth, most customers don’t need that degree of focus. What they do need is an idea of how what you sell matters to them, and why it makes sense to buy it, and lead nurturing is designed to give them that idea. So, how to use it in push notifications?
Lead Nurturing Best Practices
- Lead nurturing is a multi-channel approach; pushes should lead to blogs, social media posts, podcasts, and other channels that make sense. Think of it as handing somebody who’s not sure some literature to consider.
- Lead nurturing is about patience. Your leads may take quite a while to mature into loyal customers thanks to anything from a lack of budget to personal concerns. It might even start as purely aspirational; look at how many people follow musical instrument brands on social media, as one example. Simply ease them through the funnel at their pace.
- Lead nurturing is built on personalization, as much as possible, so be sure to incorporate whatever data you have to the best of your ability. Even something as simple as recommending products related to the products they’ve bought, or considered buying, can be an effective motivator.
- Tightly focused segmentation can help with lead nurturing. What similarities do your leads have with your other customers? What conclusions can you draw from the other data you have?
Remember that, fundamentally, any lead wants to buy from you. It’s simply a matter of finding the challenges they face, or concerns they have, and addressing them as best you can. Push notifications can help you keep in constant contact, nurturing every lead.
The Staircase Strategy
Browser-based push notifications can be a great tool for marketing your business, but at first, it might be difficult to see how they align with another key marketing channel: guest blogs. But there is a highly effective way to do it, called the “staircase” strategy, and push is a key part of it.
As any professional writer can tell you, when you start out, you are generally not getting in the door of the biggest markets out there. The New York Times has plenty of writers happy to work for it, so even if you’re brilliantly talented, you might not get anyone’s attention. So you start small, like your local paper, and work your way upwards.
The same is true of guest blogging. Small businesses especially are not going to capture the big markets right away, and the truth of guest blogging is that it has to be mutually beneficial. This is where browser-based push notifications come in. Because they’re opt-in, it means you have a list of customers most interested in what you have to say on a particular topic, especially if you have a blog they’ve signed up to receive notifications about. So, as you can see, you push out your guest blog to your list, and you create a virtuous circle: The guest blog draws in more customers who opt-in, the blog gets more traffic, you get more sales.
The staircase comes in because after you’ve done a few guest blogs, you can step up to the next level of sites. After all, you can prove you have an audience with a strong interest in your topic, so that makes you more appealing. Keep repeating it and soon, you’ll be at the top of the staircase.
Staircase Strategy Best Practices
- Above all, the value for your customers needs to be foremost. Look for blogs to guest for that you know your customers engage with and are interested in, and ask yourself what your guest blog brings to the table in terms of value for both your customers and that blog’s readers.
- Push to customers that view this as something they’d be interested in. If you’ve automated your invoices to push out an alert, you shouldn’t use that as an invitation to sell yourself in a way that set of customers may not care about.
- Work closely with any blog you guest post on to ensure that you’re meeting their needs, particularly in terms of tone and approach to the particular topic. The operative word is “guest,” so don’t get too wrapped up in staying “on brand.”
- Choose the best advocate for the topic of your guest blog, especially one you’re going to push out. For example, if you’re writing about information security in your industry, your CIO or the leader of your pen testing team will be the best person to weigh in.
Done well, guest blogs can capture attention, and push notifications ensure your best customers see your articles, share them, and react to them.
By clarifying your business goals and conducting a SWOT analysis, you can get a better idea of where your organization is at and where push notifications fit into the equation. You can then use these notifications to nurture leads, build loyalty, and drive conversions, one push at a time. Finally, you can use the staircase strategy to generate share-worthy content across the web and get the word out about your posts through push notifications.
As you can tell by this guide, a creative push notification strategy can provide a major boost to several aspects of your company. Used right, your push notification campaigns will drive brand visibility and improve conversion rates. To find out what the true potential of push notifications is for your brand, try a demo of Pushnami today.