To engage your audience, you’ll have to be able to capture their attention in meaningful ways. This isn’t always an easy task, however, especially when there are so many distractions on their mobile devices.
Fortunately, push notifications offer an effective solution. Push notifications are a way for publishers and other businesses to deliver direct, real-time messages to their audiences, in order to help promote engagement and drive traffic.
In this post, we’ll discuss what push notifications are, and explain the benefits of using them. We’ll also walk you through four tips for how to use push notifications to build repeat traffic, and discuss setting them up on your WordPress site. Let’s get started!
The Benefits of Using Push Notifications
Push notifications are clickable popup messages that can be used on browsers or mobile devices and apps. They’re a form of instant, real-time, direct communication.
By using push notifications, publishers can:
- Reach their readers where they spend most of their time, on their mobile devices
- Add a new channel they control directly, which is similar to a newsletter, but with higher open and click-through rates
- Drive engagement and return visits, helping turn casual visitors into loyal readers and creating habits
News and content publishers in particular stand to benefit from push notifications. After all, they offer an effective way to deliver time-sensitive content, stories, and updates to readers. Push notifications can also fill the same role as a newsletter when it comes to building a base of loyal readers.
Another benefit of push notifications is the simplicity of the opt-in process. For example, first-time visitors to your site or mobile app will only need to select Allow when prompted, and can then be added to your subscriber list.
Mobile app push notifications especially have high opt-in rates. According to research, nearly 60 percent of internet traffic comes from mobile devices, with the opt-in rate for mobile app push notifications being 43.9 percent for iOS users and 91.1 percent for Android users (since the process is automatic on the latter platform).
Now that we’ve covered the usefulness of push notifications, let’s look at four tips for using them to build repeat traffic to your blog or news site.
1. Create Clear, Concise Messages and Use Emojis
Push notifications are short. You typically only have about 40 characters to grab users’ attention and get your message across. Therefore, it’s recommended that you use simple, direct language.
Be sure to choose topics that are relevant to your readers. It’s also helpful to frame your message in a way that instills a sense of urgency and inspires action. For news publishers, one way to capture attention would be to include a term like “BREAKING NEWS” in a push notification for a timely and important story.
In addition, you’ll want to try and use catchy one-liners and Calls to Action (CTAs). Research has also found that using emojis in push notifications can increase engagement significantly.
Emojis can help to convey a certain emotion or tone in your message. Plus, they can improve the overall appearance of the notification.
It’s also important to create an enticing opt-in message. Unlike web notifications that only use ‘allow’ or ‘block’ opt-in messages, mobile push notifications let you personalize the message you send.
When crafting your opt-in message, consider telling the reader the value of opting in and explaining what they’ll get (breaking news stories, the latest updates, special promotions, etc.) You can also customize the “Allow” and “Don’t Allow” buttons to be a bit more personable, using terms such as “Yes!” or “Maybe Later”.
2. Segment Your Audience
People don’t want to be constantly bombarded with messages, especially ones that aren’t relevant to them. Using a generalized, broadcast approach to push notifications can result in your subscribers getting annoyed and opting out.
According to research, segmenting your audience for push notifications can increase CTRs by 218 percent. By identifying your subscribers based on their interests, you can deliver messages that are personalized to each individual. In turn, this should increase the chance that they’ll open the messages.
There are a number of ways you can categorize your subscribers. For example, news publishers can segment users based on what categories of content the reader is interested in receiving. Other segmentation options include time zone, location, and device type.
Mobile apps also enable content publishers to let their subscribers choose what type of notifications they want to receive and when. This lets the user feel more in control, and less bombarded with unnecessary messages.
An example of this technique in action can be seen in The New York Times push notification settings for its mobile app.
Content and news publishers can use these settings to create valuable messages for their audiences. You can learn which stories your audience is interested in receiving push notifications for, and customize them accordingly.
3. Be Mindful of Message Timing and Frequency
One study found that nearly 40 percent of users say they opt out of push notifications because they disturb them at the wrong time. In addition, more than half said they opted out because they found the push notifications irritating.
Research has shown that the highest click rates for push notifications occur on Tuesdays and during non-working hours. However, this is of course a generalization. Determining the most effective times and frequency for your push notifications may take some experimentation.
This is another reason why segmentation is key; it can help you determine when to send messages to each category of subscribers. For example, e-commerce sites can use push notifications to address shopping cart abandonment.
Additionally, segmenting your audience lets you tailor messages based on their time zones and locations. If half of your audience is in a different time zone than you are, you don’t want to send messages that they’ll get in the middle of the night.
News, blogs, and other content publishers can often benefit from sending messages first thing in the morning. For example, The New York Times sends a “Morning Briefing” push notification each day.
4. Track the Right Metrics
As with any marketing strategy, tracking the performance of your push notifications is essential if you want to see what does and doesn’t work. It may take some time to establish what kind of messaging and timing your audience responds to.
There are certain metrics to pay attention to that can help you evaluate push notification performance, including:
- Opt-in and opt-out rates
- Open rates
- Retention rates
The best methods of capturing and analyzing the data vary, depending on the platforms and systems you’re using to send notifications. However, the important thing is that your tracking strategy remains consistent, so you can continuously optimize and improve your push notifications.
How to Send Push Notifications Using WordPress
It’s important to understand that there are some differences between web and mobile push notifications. Web notifications don’t offer the personalization options for opt-in messages that mobile notifications do, for example. They also don’t let you reach iOS users. What’s more, research has found that mobile app push notifications have higher open and click-through rates.
There are several ways you can send push notifications of either type using WordPress. To send web notifications, for example, you can use a tool such as OneSignal.
To install this WordPress plugin, go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Plugins > Add New. Search for the OneSignal plugin, and then install and activate it. From there, you can reference our handy guide to add push notifications to WordPress for further instructions.
If you want to send mobile push notifications, on the other hand, you can create a mobile app version of your website using a service like MobiLoud.
their free plugin helps to simply the process of turning your WordPress site into an app which you can then use to send notifications. With MobiLoud you create and automatically send push notifications directly from your WordPress dashboard. It also provides an option for readers to decide which topics they want to receive push notifications for. This is ideal for blogs, news sites, and other content publishers who want to increase engagement.
In this crowded digital environment, you only have so many opportunities to engage visitors and persuade them to return. Push notifications offer an effective way to do just that.
Fortunately, creating web and mobile push notifications via WordPress is easy. When doing so, keep these four tips in mind:
- Craft clear, catchy, and concise messages with emojis to increase engagement.
- Use a mobile app to segment your audience and create targeted messages.
- Be mindful of the timing and frequency of notification delivery.
- Track the metrics that are most important to your business, in order to optimize and improve your push notification strategy.
Do you have any questions about using push notifications? Let us know in the comments section below!