Push Notifications Explained: The Beginner’s Guide for Small Business

Think about the notifications you receive on your phone. What kind of notifications are they? Some of the more common notification types are email, voicemail, missed calls and text messages. Now, think about the notifications you receive when you have a new Facebook message. What type of notification does that fall under? You probably guessed it: push notifications.

Push notifications are messages that appear on mobile devices and are sent directly from one of your downloaded apps. Notifications can alert you of an order status, flash sales, new customer service messages and so on. The great thing about push notifications compared to text messages is that they don’t count toward the monthly allotment of text messages the user (or you) may have. This means you won’t have users complaining that your app’s notifications are essentially stealing from their text message bank. When a customer feels like they are being robbed, they won’t hesitate to uninstall your app and swear off your company. So basically, push notifications help you avoid a lot of drama from upset users.

Businesses can use push notifications to communicate simply with app users. However, businesses make some mistakes that can turn push notifications into negative effects. Here are some tips to keep those push notifications on the helpful, not harmful, side of the business.

1. Watch your wording. 

The last thing a customer wants is a robotic-sounding notification popping up on their phone. Most people hate when they try to contact a company by phone and reach an automated system instead of an actual person. The same is true for push notifications. Keep the messages short but human-sounding.

2. Know your users’ habits.

Only send push notifications on days and at times that your average user isn’t busy or asleep. Nobody likes to wake up in the middle of the night because of a push notification. Also, send notifications that are relevant to the recipients. For example, sending a push notification about an “in-store only” sale at your New York City location to a user who lives in San Francisco is not a smart move. It’s annoying and a waste of your user’s time and patience.

3. Don’t take advantage.

When your app users accept the option to have push notifications sent to them, don’t wear out your welcome. Instead of sending push notifications every day, limit them to once a week or when there is a special event for your app. Taking advantage of the “consent to notify” is the fastest way to lose users and potential customers.

Push notifications can be tricky and sometimes feel like a game of trial and error. But once you have mastered an effective usage strategy, these little messages can boost your business to the next level of success. Done right, they make you a permanent part of your customer’s life, letting them know you consider them an important part of your business’s success. 


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