Pairing Push Notifications and Video
The right video makes for a great push.
Video has never been cheaper, easier to watch, or more effective as a marketing tool. But, like any business, video is just one piece of your marketing apparatus, and often pairing different channels together increases the effectiveness of both. This is particularly true of browser-based push notifications. With the right list and the right video, the two can be an incredible marketing tool.
Push And Video
With push and video, it’s a two-fold question to consider. What video do you want to produce, and how will watching this video offer maximum value to your push notification list? Remember, with browser-based push notifications, your customers opt-in for receiving those notifications, meaning you have a highly-motivated group of customers who are perfectly willing to watch a video. And if it’s a quality video, they’re more likely to give a push themselves, sharing it with friends, discussing it online, and otherwise making your work visible.
But that also means the video should be useful to them. Certainly, with some video content, it can just be a bit of fun, and there’s value in a laugh. Dollar Shave Club, early in its launch, put out a charming video that both explained the concept and talked up its advantages, for example. But loyal customers don’t need an introduction, so content should be tilted more towards that audience. For example, if you sell anti-virus software to the consumer market, your customers are probably interested in your discussions of consumer-level online security. Explaining tips and tricks to protect themselves, and explaining how to use the product they own, is a video worth making.
What do your customers want to watch?
Video And Push Notification Best Practices
- Value should be first, before you shoot a frame of video, let alone push it out. Ask yourself what your customers value most, and why they should take the time to watch a video.
- Use professional production values. Videos don’t need skits and fancy transitions, necessarily, but good lighting, clear audio, and smooth editing will make the difference between a video your audience wants to watch and a video they turn off after a few seconds.
- You don’t have to push every video you produce. In fact, an independent video strategy is likely a good call in addition to an independent push campaign, but look for overlaps. If a video is of value and on brand to your audience, push it out.
- Make sure your copy is clear and your customers know you’re asking them to watch a video. Especially with browser-based push, which can arrive on mobile or desktop, they may need to find headphones or a quiet place to watch your video. Be sure to use a website, such as YouTube, that’s easy to access independently.
- Only push short videos, preferably under five minutes. Concision is important not just in your push copy, but in the things you push.
- Timing is particularly important with a video push. Aim for a period when you know your customers will be engaged and have a few minutes to watch.
Video and push are a natural fit, provided you always remember to ensure your audience gets value out of both. To see the power of video and push in action, sign up for a live demo of Pushnami!
What’s The Line Between Engaging And Annoying?
Be what your customers want to you to be.
It’s very easy to be annoying. Depending on the mood of your audience, be they a fellow commuter or your entire customer base, it can be almost effortless. Unfortunately for browser-based push notifications and their marketing, you can’t read the room just by looking at somebody’s face. So how do you know you’re being engaging, not pushing into annoying?
The good news is that if customers are annoyed with you, they will let you know fast with your metrics. If you see an ongoing dive in conversion rates, if your opt-outs are going through the roof, or your opt-ins are slowing to a crawl, that might be an indication that you’re pushing a little too frequently.
That said, you shouldn’t jump to that conclusion immediately. There are a host of reasons these things can shift and it’s important to look at every single factor. For example, if a competitor has shut down, well, you might have just lost an audience reading your copy for clues to your marketing strategy. But if you conclude it’s something you’re doing, then start working on correcting it right away.
The next question to ask is what your frequency is, versus what frequency you promised. If you said every Tuesday, or weekly, or biweekly, and sure enough you’re pushing out on that schedule, then you’re catering to what you offered. But if your frequency is off, the sooner you correct it, the better. Remember, your frequency is part of your value proposition when your customers opted in, so proper frequency is keeping up your end of the bargain.
Customers shouldn’t wonder why you contacted them.
Another question worth asking is how your timing is coming together. As we’ve noted before, the best time and day for contacting your customers can shift over time, as more people discover that particular “golden hour” and wear the sheen right off of it from overuse. If you’re hitting customers consistently at what’s supposed to be a good time, and your metrics aren’t there, it may be a good idea to shift to another time of day and see if that works better.
That said, sometimes the data doesn’t quite have all the clues. Often one of the big challenges for push notifications is that, over time, a brand can shift from one market target to another. Think of Timberland, the outdoor clothing company that spent years being famous for simple no-nonsense outdoor gear which also has an enormous audience in the hip-hop scene. There’s not a lot of marketing overlap for construction workers and tastemakers, and sometimes a brand shift can leave former customers feeling a bit left out. If you know a brand shift is coming, look closely at your current content and approach and consider how you can make the shift more gradual, or at least signpost it clearly.
In the end, this is as much an art as it is a science. Just keep your audience’s needs front and center, listen to what they tell you, and you’ll deliver clear, relevant push notifications every time. To learn more, sign up for a live demo.
Why Active Voice Matters to Your Push Notification Campaigns
Active voice can hold attention, but it’s not the only tool.
Often, when you study copywriting, it feels a bit like you’ve stepped into a time warp and you’re back in English class. There are lots of rules you must abide by, or else, and one of the most important ones is that everything should be in active voice. And while it’s true there’s a lot of virtue in active voice, it’s also worth remembering that there’s also passive voice—and that voice matters and is a bit more complex, than just “use this and not that.”
What Is Active Voice?
To start with, let’s go back to high school and look at active and passive voice. Really, these are just two different ways to structure a sentence. Every sentence usually has three core parts, the subject (who or what it’s about), the object (who or what the subject is acting on) and the verb (what the subject is doing to the object.) Say for example you work for a hardware store, and you’re moving the Lawnmaster line of lawnmowers, you might write “You can buy the Lawnmaster for a limited time!” Your customer is the subject, that lawnmower is the object, and the verb is “buy.”
We wrote that copy in active voice. The subject comes first, then the verb, then the object. An example of passive voice would be “This Lawnmaster can only be bought by you for a limited time.” Not exactly elegant copy, hence why so many copywriting articles will complain about the use of passive voice. But that doesn’t mean you should always avoid passive voice. In fact, sometimes it can even be useful.
How do you hold the room?
What Is Passive Voice?
What’s most important about passive voice, from a copywriting perspective, is that it can be used when the subject is known implicitly. Your customer knows who the subject is, because they opted into being the subject of your copy in the first place. This can even apply to the verb if it’s implicit in your value proposition. Nobody opts into a Daily Deals push notification thinking they’ll be asked to donate money.
Let’s go back to our example of the Lawnmaster. With the above in mind, you could, for example, use copy like “The Lawnmaster, 20% off this week only.” The “You should buy” is understood by your audience since they opted in specifically to learn the best times to buy Lawnmasters from you, so it’s not necessary. This frees you up to all sorts of approaches. “Enjoy a new Lawnmaster” “Tame that yard with a new Lawnmaster.” You can and should use your imagination! Your customers will appreciate the effort, and imagination is what creates a brand more than anything else.
Voice is worth thinking about most in copywriting because rewriting copy in a different voice can give you new ideas. “The Lawnmaster is waiting for you,” for example, might be a fun way to write this copy. Especially when you’re trying to keep copy fresh, being aware of and tweaking the voice in your writing can open up new ways to say similar things. Need to see the power of good copy in action? Get a free trial of Pushnami!
Why Phrasing Matters to Your Push Notification Campaigns
Think about how you’re putting your words together.
We all have our pet peeves when it comes to words. Overused buzzwords, meaningless phrases, industry jargon, there’s always something that just gets on our nerves. And our customers have the same problem. At best, certain phrases just turn your entire notification in background noise; at worst, they actively turn customers off. So, how do you spot these phrases? And how do you keep them out of your notifications?
Why do some phrases drive us nuts? The answer can be found in the phrase that’s also a word and a sentence that’s bedeviled people for twenty years: “Whatever.” Ever since “Clueless” hit theaters in the late ’90s, this phrase has annoyed people the most. It’s a perfect storm of irritating: It denotes acknowledgment, but it also states clearly that the person firing it off doesn’t care what you’re saying enough to respond. It shuts down any further conversation. And if that weren’t enough, think about the context: It’s a use of the word that wants you to know that the person saying it doesn’t care what you think and isn’t going to listen. Most of us have to resort to profanity to get those kinds of results.
But, as obnoxious as it might be to hear in person, it’s a useful lesson as to why we hate certain phrases. They’re not words used to engage, they’re not invitations to listen, they’re blunt objects designed to shut us up so somebody else can talk. Consider something like “Sorry we weren’t able to connect.” In some cases, it makes sense, such as a missed call or an appointment; there’s something to be sorry over. In others, it might feel like an imposition: “You didn’t talk to me, and you should feel bad about that.”
It all comes down to your customers and their needs. Your customers need to feel heard and valued. Stock phrases and annoying jargon don’t meet that need.
Your customers should know you’re listening.
So how do we avoid bad phrasing? The best place to start is the phrases you have an allergy to yourself. It doesn’t have to be a strong aversion, but if somebody opens an email or fires off a tweet with a turn of phrase that makes you go “ugh,” then you’re likely not alone.
Secondly, get your copy together and look for phrases you use over and over again. We all reuse turns of phrase in how we communicate, but your customers may be a little tired of seeing those words. Shake things up, if for no other reason than to boost engagement.
Finally, challenge yourself to write the same copy in different ways. We can too often reach for stock phrases when we’re tired, or busy, or just really want to go home. But taking a moment to stop, look at what you’re really trying to say, and then think of a better way to say it, can pay off enormously. It shows that you care, and your customers will appreciate it. If you’re ready to see the power of great copy in action, sign up for a live demo of Pushnami!
What Matters To Your Push List?
What makes your customers feel heard?
We all, at root, want to be heard. Is there anything more satisfying than explaining something to a person and having them just get it? Being heard is especially important when it comes to browser-based push notifications and customer service, because the more customers feel heard and understood, the better they feel about getting your notifications. So, how can you know what your customers are telling you?
Read Their Emails
The first method is reading customer feedback and asking for it if you want more of it. Likely you receive at least a few customer emails a week, usually discussing customer service, or perhaps there are tweets, voice mails, or other forms of contact. If you want elaboration, you should push out a short survey with a small incentive for their time, and you should consider what they say in your push strategy. There are some drawbacks to suggestion boxes and customer surveys, in some senses. Mostly people only want to weigh in when you are doing something very right, or they’re convinced you’re doing something awful. So, enjoy the praise, and think seriously about the criticism, but don’t let it be the only factor.
Look At Sales
Another question to ask yourself is what your customers buy. It’s not unusual for a certain type of gap to be found between what customers say they want and what they actually buy. For proof, just ask anybody what their taste in music is at a party, and then scroll through their streaming history; we’re sure you’ll find a few bands they left off.
Again, this is an imperfect measure because if your customers don’t want to talk about it, it’s probably not a good idea to bring it up. And sometimes what they buy most is because of need, not desire; few people have a deep affection for nails, but hardware stores sell lots of them.
They may not want a hug, but customers should know you’re listening.
Watch Conversion Rates
In push notifications, specifically, there’s one data point that really tells you what you want to know in terms of customer satisfaction: the conversion rate. There’s not a lot of grey area between “click” and “didn’t click,” after all. If something shows a significant increase in conversion rates, it’s worth following up on.
That said, don’t go by the rate alone. Look at what happens after they click. Do they engage in the action you want them to take on the site? Do they do something else entirely? Do they just click away? The conversions you should most be interested in are the ones that clicked.
Think About Their Goals
Another question to ask yourself is what goals your customers are hoping to achieve with your products. What are they buying and what are they using it for? As well as you might think you know your market, you might be surprised at the uses some people are putting your product to. If some uses stand out, then it’s worth asking why they’re using it that way.
In the end, it’s about listening. If you pay attention to your customers and do right by them, they’ll reward you. To see the power of listening in action, sign up for a live demo of Pushnami!
Make Your Notifications Encouraging
Thinking positive has advantages.
No one enjoys being scolded. Just the word “scolded” probably brought some bad childhood memories flooding back. And yet, sometimes it’s difficult to find the light side of a topic. A dour tone and crisp copy can sometimes come off as a wagging finger. So how can we talk about anything, and keep the positive side?
Let’s start with the difference between “positive” and “upbeat.” We often conflate the two, assuming that all light, airy, silly copy are both, but “positive” is the overall mood of your notification, while “upbeat” is a style of copy. And absolutely, “upbeat” does not always work. In some industries, especially ones with high stakes, there’s no shortage of dourness that can creep into your copy, and sometimes it just may not fit with your tone. Similarly, some brands are just naturally serious. Law firms aren’t going to invite you to look at their flirty collection of spring torts.
But you can still make them positive, with a simple formula: Present a problem commonly faced by your customers, and then present the solution. Take our law firm, for example. Say that they offer divorce services, but understandably don’t want to offer the “Newly Dumped Fall Special.” Instead, they might push out something like “Divorce is painful, but the court proceedings don’t have to hurt too.” It’s not a cheerful message, but it offers a quick, immediate way to either solve the problem or start solving it. If that’s a problem your audience has, that can be a powerful tone to strike.
This formula turns up everywhere. You’ll see it, particularly, with charities, where the charity discusses its mission and then explains how a donation can help. But if you’re not running a charity, how can you keep it positive?
Customers value encouragement.
Being positive in your notifications starts with the problem. What problems do your customers count on you to help them solve? Or, put another way, what do you do, why is it necessary, and how does it help people? Another angle might be to ask what problems your customers come to you with, or talk about with you. Either way, think about the problems they can relate to.
Secondly, how do you solve the problem with your product? Sometimes it’s as simple as a key fitting in a lock, but other times, you should consider more creative approaches. Keep in mind problems have many different aspects. There’s the practical, which we can solve with products and services. But there’s also the emotional: We’ve all had a problem that’s easy to solve but that still looms over our thinking. How does your product address the emotional? How, in other words, can you offer a little peace of mind?
Finally, how does that solution translate into an action your customer can take? Do they need to buy something, donate somewhere, fill out a form? What can they do, right now, to solve this problem or begin solving it?
By thinking about the problems your customers deal with, you’ll push better, more engaging content. And if you want to see the power of positive copy in action, sign up for a live demo of Pushnami!
The Big Power Of Little Words
Short and sweet is the way to go.
We spend our days surrounded by words, and that makes some words fairly easy to write off. We just see them so often that they blend. Words like “off,” “come,” “only,” and so on are part of marketing copy seen literally everywhere. But, it turns out, there’s an excellent reason for that: They work, and even after being used nearly relentlessly, they still have a certain power. But why?
The answer lies in the sense of urgency they create. “Only,” for example, implies that there’s a limit of some form, that it’s only for certain groups of people, only for a certain amount of time, only at a certain price for so long. The same is true of “come,” which is a fairly direct form of action. It’s a word you use when you want somebody to take action, ideally right away. Nobody asks you to mosey over to their sale or to amble into their product demonstration.
And there are plenty of others. Notice that TV services want you to stream or binge a series, not “watch” it. Workout sites and gyms want you to burn, crush, and flex. Food apps want you to bite into something. If you think about it, there are plenty of words for any industry that communicate urgency—it’s just a matter of finding them. This is especially important because browser-based push notifications are all about communicating one clear, vivid idea in short, punchy copy. These words go a long way towards communicating urgency. So, how do you best use them?
Short words have a lot of power.
Short And Sweet
First of all, only use these words when it makes sense in your copy. You can crush a workout, but crushing, say, pipe installation might be stretching the acceptable use of the word. Even for words that do fit, don’t force them into copy just to have them there. If you have to choose between clear copy and a short, urgent word, pick the clearer copy, every time.
Secondly, try to find as many of these words that make sense as possible and rotate them out on a regular basis. If everything is ‘only’ this and ‘off’ that, sooner or later, your copy will feel stale. Shake it up, and try different words. Don’t hesitate to A/B test words you’re not sure about. Seeing how they work can offer valuable insights, whether they’re popular or not.
Finally, remember that the line between clear copy and marketing jargon can be thin. Even short words can be confusing if you’re using them in a way a majority of your audience doesn’t understand. In certain cases, using industry slang makes sense, and there may even be short, urgent words that only make sense to a handful of your segments. But if you’re uncertain your customers will understand what you’re saying with a word, change it.
It may seem odd, at first, but choosing the right word can make a world of difference. Finding your urgent words will boost conversion rates and engage customers in ways that might surprise you. For a taste of how the right words can draw in customers, sign up for a live demo of Pushnami!
The Power Of Synonyms in Push
Variety is the spice of text.
Every writer, whether they’re new to the craft or a seasoned professional, has words and phrases they use over and over again. That’s especially true when writing copy for browser-based push notifications, where you’ve only got so many characters to express yourself. Fortunately, language has a lot of options to express the same idea, so here’s how to keep from being repetitive.
Synonyms Best Practices
- To start, why use a variety of words? Well, when you return to the same well, it, well, feels repetitive. If you use the same word more than one or two times in a sentence or repeat it in the next sentence, your audience is going to notice, and your copy will feel a bit stale and less creative.
- Keep an eye out for different forms of the same word. For example, if we changed “return to the same well” with “when you repeat words,” we’d have “repeat” and “repetitive” in the same sentence.
- That said, don’t worry so much about how often you use a given word across all your notifications. It’s unlikely your customers are scrutinizing your notifications all at once, right in a row, so they’re not going to call you out for using the word “sale” seven times in seven different notifications. Just focus on the copy in a specific notification.
Don’t hesitate to stand out!
- Start with why you’re repeating this word. Is it the same word, used in two different contexts? Take our “well” example up there. If we leave out the folksy bits, cut the second “well,” and remove another uncreative use of words, we’d get a sentence like, “Well, when you repeat words, it feels dull.”
- It’s easy enough to find synonyms—that is, different words with similar meanings, on the internet. The thesaurus might be even more popular than the dictionary. Find a few online that you like, and keep them in your bookmarks when you’re writing.
- That said, don’t use a twenty-dollar word when a dollar one will do. Leaving aside for a moment the character budget that has to go to, say, “pulchritudinous” instead of “beautiful,” how many of your audience will even understand what you’re saying? Copy that sends your readers fleeing for Google, or just running away, period, is bad copy no matter how many words you use.
- Finally, don’t forget that sometimes, the thesaurus is most important for breaking writer’s block instead of writing copy. Using the same words over and over again can frustrate you as a writer as well as annoy your readers. If you’re stuck on writing a specific piece of copy, try hitting the thesaurus and looking at synonyms. Even if you don’t wind up using them, it’s a great way to shake something loose in your brain.
Synonyms can be a powerful tool, they can bust through your writer’s block, and they can also be a lot of fun to use. Just remember that it’s all about your audience, and what value they get from the notification. To see the power of good copy in action, get a free trial of Pushnami!
Should You Use Industry Jargon in Push Notifications?
Using jargon can make certain audiences think “This company gets it!”
The entire idea of language is to communicate, but you’d be forgiven for believing some people haven’t figured that out. For decades, corporate and industry jargon have taken a drubbing, and it’s sometimes been deserved. But that doesn’t mean jargon and industry slang are necessarily bad. It’s just a matter of ensuring you’re being understood.
Jargon and its less formal cousin, slang, happen because groups of people start developing certain vernacular for certain situations. The military is a superb example; to a civilian, the military’s seemingly endless supply of acronyms are utterly baffling. But to somebody actually in the military, those acronyms can be life or death. If you’re targeted by AAA (anti-aircraft artillery) knowing the AS (airspeed) of your AC (aircraft) is something you need to communicate ASAP.
Fortunately, push notifications do not generally go out while you’re being shelled. But there’s still a question of audience. If you say AAA to a driver, they’ll ask if you need a tow. Say AAA to a video game player, and they’ll talk about the latest big game release. Say AAA to a baseball fan, and they’ll think you’re referring to the Minor Leagues.
Therein lies the problem with jargon; different words and concepts mean different things to different people in different contexts, and you need to have a firm grasp of all three of these aspects before you use jargon. It may seem like we’re down on jargon, but that’s only because with browser-based push notifications, you need to be able to jump from mindset to mindset nimbly. Jargon isn’t inherently bad or good—much like a strong spice; it’s all in how you use it. So how can you use it, and when?
The wrong jargon can bore your audience.
Jargon Best Practices
- Only use jargon when no other word will do. Always value clarity above looking “in the know” or any other factor.
- Be sure you understand the jargon you’re using thoroughly. Does it have a different meaning in certain contexts? Might your audience potentially read it in that different context? Remember that words that seem innocent in some contexts can come off much differently.
- Jargon works best with tightly-focused segments. Often jargon is only shared, and thus only understood, in certain groups and subcultures. If you’re not sure your segment will grasp the jargon you’re using, then choose another word.
- Jargon is a great way to personalize messages for certain groups. It’s particularly useful with business-to-business clients, since certain industries have specific language you need to use.
- And notice in the last bullet we spelled out a common bit of jargon, B2B. If you’re thinking about using jargon, consider spending a few more characters to spell out the term and see if it works better for your audience. This might also help you create better, clearer copy.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with jargon in and of itself. The problem is when words become a roadblock to communicating, instead of a better way to do it. If you keep your audience firmly in mind, jargon can be a great way to deliver a more focused message. To see what browser-based push notifications can do for you, sign up for a live demo of Pushnami!
A Serious Discussion Of Jokes In Notifications
Can your notifications take an audience?
Humor is one of the most fundamental forms of communication, and it might be the hardest one—just ask any stand-up comedian. Still, the effort is worth it; we’ve all felt that spark that jumps between two people when they laugh together at the same joke. And your browser-based push notifications can be funny. But to do it right, you have to get serious about comedy.
Our sense of humor is our most human aspect. It’s unique to each of us, but it also lets us connect. When you tell a joke, you’re not just aiming for a laugh; you’re explaining to others what you think is funny, what gets that laugh out of you. Comedians, in other words, crack themselves up first.
So humor adds a degree of connection to your work that might otherwise be missing. Sending out a notification like “20% off all dresses! The price, not the dresses.” tells your customers a little bit about you and who you are as a person. Whether the joke lands or not is almost beside the point.
What’s Your Brand?
Another aspect to consider is what kind of comedy your brand lends itself to. There are very few brands that just have to lack humor in any way, shape or form. It all depends on context; nobody wants an undertaker cracking jokes at a funeral, but a funeral wholesaler might use a gag or two talking with undertakers over dinner. So, consider your brand and what kind of humor fits with it before you launch your comedy adventure.
This sometimes means the joke doesn’t click. And that’s OK, just leave it out and go with more straightforward copy. Nobody kills it with their first gag or even their hundredth gag.
Good jokes are hard to come by.
Who’s Your Audience?
Just like any other marketing message, you have to ask yourself who you’re talking to. “Entropy isn’t what it used to be” will crack up physicists, for example, but most of us are going to have to open up a book and read up on thermodynamics to get that one. Comedy requires a really detailed understanding of your audience, what they care about, what they view you as, and their overall emotional state.
Be Ready To Bomb
No comedian gets a laugh out of every person who hears or reads their work. Yes, comedians have conversion rates, just like you, and just like in push notifications, there’s no such thing as a 100% conversion rate with a joke. The idea is that you eventually get them with one, where the others missed.
But remember; it’s about the action you want people to take and the value they get out of the message. You can wrap fine chocolate in holographic foil or plain brown paper, and it’ll still taste wonderful. So, even if your rates don’t budge, keep at it. No comedian’s at their funniest right when they start out, and with practice, you’ll be able to add that human element to your notifications, even if the joke doesn’t land with everyone. Ready to see how push notifications will more closely connect you with customers? Get a free trial of Pushnami!