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A Guide to Getting Started with Push Notifications

A guide to getting started with Push Notifications

Whether you’re fostering leads, trying to win back previous customers, or connecting with your most loyal followers, Push Notification marketing is the marketing channel for customer engagement. It can feel overwhelming when you’re starting out. You need to ensure your Push Notifications are engaging and add value to both you and your customers.


This step-by-step guide takes you through everything you need to know to make your Push Notification campaign effective. Showing you best practices and giving you handy tips to keep your notifications useful and relevant.

Preview of a browser push notification on mobile and desktop

What is Push Notification marketing?

Push Notification marketing is a marketing channel that uses a service worker and the Push API to send notifications to a user’s browser, much like notifications from a native app.

The purpose of Push Notification marketing is to increase customer engagement and it ideally leads to more successful transactions. Therefore, having the ability to measure the impact of your Push Notifications on conversion can be extremely useful for you as (digital) marketer or eCommerce manager.

If someone were to ask you, what is the first thing you do when you get out of bed, it would often be to look at your phone. This is exactly why Push Notification marketing is such a hot topic. Your users can receive Push Notification just like text messages, but they're made relevant for its audience interest.

If you carefully manage your Push Notification channel with these best practices in mind, Push Notification marketing can drastically transform your conversion rate. Push Notification marketing delivers a high ROI with an estimated return on investment of 30%.

Chrome social media web push notification preview on mobile

Making use of the best practices described in this guide will help you avoid the general pitfalls and errors of Push Notification marketing and establish yourself as a valuable notification presence for your users.

Marketing vs. Transactional Notifications

Understanding the difference between transactional and marketing notifications is key to guiding your overall Push Notification marketing strategy. A transactional notification is intended only for the end user and cannot be sent to anyone else. This may be because it contains sensitive information, such as a password reset link or details of their account.

A promotional notification is intended for the end user and is also sent to others. This message often contains information that is relevant for the end user, like special offers, discounts, news, and updates.

Push Notification Marketing vs. Email Newsletters

Another important distinction to understand is the difference between Push Notification marketing versus email marketing. The two approaches are similar, but should not be confused with each other.

An email newsletter shares a selection of news, stories, or other business related updates. Email newsletters are, in general, focused around a story or content whereas Push Notifications focus on a singular, more direct call to action.

Push Notification marketing can be considered more promotional than newsletters and usually has a primary purpose to convert recipients into accomplishing a specific action (e.g. applying a discount code, or visiting a landing page with the ability to make purchases, read blogs, or subscribe to a newsletter). This makes Push Notifications an extremely time efficient, low-cost marketing technique. In addition with Push Notification marketing visitors don't need to fill in an opt-in form, but just a simple button click is enough. This means way higher opt-in rates than email marketing.

Visualisation Push notification marketing vs email marketing

Tip: Push Notification marketing can sometimes be referred to as spam. Although this term can have a negative or discouraging connotation, the use of Push Notifications depends completely on how the user deals with the frequency of sending and what the message is about. Notifications should always be useful, engaging, and appropriate.

How to get started with Push Notification marketing and PushPro

Before you send out a Push Notification marketing campaign, take a step back, and create a Push Notification marketing strategy. Although some Push Notification strategies are identical, most contain the following:

  • Setting goals for the program and determining which metrics are most important to achieve those goals.
  • Check if you can combine other marketing strategies like email marketing or social media marketing with your push messaging strategy.
  • Make sure your PushPro account is ready and set so you can easily schedule messages for the future.
  • Design or customize an opt-in template to create brand consistency.
  • Implementing a pre-send checklist and process to prevent Push Notification marketing mistakes.

Push Notification marketing for small businesses

If you run a small business, Push Notification marketing is one of the most effective and efficient ways to communicate with your visitors and customers. Push Notification marketing for small businesses is an excellent idea for many reasons:

  • Push Notification marketing is much cheaper than online advertising or e-mail marketing. If a visitor has subscribed to your website, you are much closer to a conversion than someone who sees your online ad. Email marketing subscriptions can be really expensive, especially if you choose advanced functionality.
  • It's great for engagement. Stay in touch with your loyal customers by sending them relevant news and promotional offers and build a valuable customer relationship.
  • Push Notifications can generate more website traffic. Your site ‘footfall’ will increase which is great for brand visibility and SEO.

If you're short on budget, prioritizing Push Notification campaigns is a great step to get the most out of your marketing efforts.

Push Notification for enterprise businesses

For large enterprise companies, sending Push Notifications can be a great strategic opportunity. Not only does it provide extra website visitors, conversions, and increased click-through-rates, but it also provides a competitive edge over other companies.

Push Notification marketing for enterprise businesses is an excellent idea for many reasons:

  • It's a scalable investment: Prices are tailored to the volume of traffic. In addition, data is made available on a management level so strategic marketing decisions can be made.
  • User experience at a higher level: When it comes to enterprise companies, you need to be able to stand out from the competition on the smallest details. This contributes to the fact that you can significantly increase user experience in your webshop with Push Notifications. Send automatic messages the way you and your marketing team want.
  • Support your Omnichannel marketing with Push Notifications: What makes the Push Notification technique so strong is that it is a stand-alone tool that can simultaneously support the rest of your marketing activities.

Altogether, the use of Push Notifications is a smart and low cost way of marketing that can provide a big boost within large companies. Therefore, you can excel where your competitors miss out.

Sending your first Push Notification message

Once you've defined a Push Notification strategy, set your goals, and have engaged subscribers, you're ready to start creating your Push Notification marketing campaign!

Real example of a web push notification

Configure your domain first

Before you start sending your first message, make sure you have created a PushPro account. When this is done, configure the desired domain.

Configuring the domain is important to ensure that visitors of your website can receive notifications.

If you want to configure your domain manually, read our step by step installation guide.

Following our installation guide configuration can be done in minutes, by you or your in-house developer. In addition, there are ready-made plugins and extensions for several content management systems (CMS) or SaaS systems to help you install the PushPro and get started in no-time. These include Magento, Wordpress, BigCommerce, and Shopify.

Creating your first Push Notification

Message subject

The notification subject is the first thing your subscriber will read and is a great place to get creative! We’ve noticed that shorter subject lines tend to perform better (3-5 words). A/B testing subject lines is a great way to see what types of messaging perform better with your customers. In addition, making use of Emojis can help you get a better open rate and results 😊.

Message content

The body copy of a Push Notification allows you to go into the details of your promotion, news, or story. While copy elements such as CTAs and subject lines should be interesting and uplifting, the body copy allows you to give more detailed information needed for the story or promotion.

Keep in mind that your message should always be clear and short as it's a Push Notification and not an e-mail. Discuss only the points of interest and use capital letters or phrases if necessary to emphasize certain promotions or stories.

CTA and Destination URL

A call to action (CTA) becomes one of the most critical aspects of your Push Notification message. In most cases, it is the button shown below the message copy.

Check out this example of promotional CTA’s and copy content.

Depending on the subscriber's device, the CTA is designed as a button or simply as a linked piece of text, it is the perfect opportunity for you to convince your subscriber to click through to your targeted web page. Pre-made landing pages help towards better conversion.

Draft and scheduling

Preparing draft versions of push messages is useful for marketers if you first want to discuss the message with your team. These messages can then be set up and scheduled so that they can be sent to your target audience.

Scheduling push messages is useful for marketers who follow a tight schedule or want to prepare things in advance. If you know what's on, e.g., your content schedule, you can set up messages for this and send them automatically on the day and time mentioned.

Segmenting your subscribers

Once you've gathered some subscribers, think about how you can segment them to provide more personalized notifications and increase engagement. As an example, you could create user segments based on their interest in certain pages or products.

Some of the most efficient ways to segment your subscriber groups are:

  • Website interest: Create segments based on page title or page url.
  • Date and time: Send notifications to all subscribers visited your website on date x and time y.
  • Notification interaction: Segment your audience based on earlier opened or clicked notifications.
Abstract visualisation push notification audience segmentation

Tip: Take a look at the complete list of segmentation attributes.

Analyze and report your performance

Analyzing and optimizing your push message performance is essential for future marketing campaigns. By measuring and understanding metrics such as click through rate, open rate, delivery, and various A/B tests, you will quickly find out what does or does not work for you and your customers.

By measuring data, you can also report internally and, where necessary, discuss the results with your team and come up with new strategies together.

What are open rates?

The open rate for a push message is calculated by dividing the number of people who have opened a Push Notification by the total number of Push Notifications sent.

What’s a good open rate?

Open rates vary by industry and business, so it is difficult to give one hard number you should measure. According to our Push Notification results from 2019 in which we have analyzed open rates across all industries, the overall average open rate is 23%.

If you're doing better than that...great job! If your open rate is lower than that, maybe it's time to reassess your sending frequency, content, or segmentation strategy.

What is a click through rate (CTR)

A CleverTap* study reveals that the Click Through Rate for all sectors is 3.32%. With emojis, the average CTR is 4.11% which represents an average increase of 23.49% for the industry as a whole. Web Push Notifications in the business sector that use emojis in their Push Notifications receive an 80% boost in CTR.

How do you grow in Push Notification subscriber base?

Growing the number of subscribers is one of the most important parts of your Push Notification campaign. However, keep in mind that more is not always better. A small list full of highly engaged recipients is much better and more cost effective than loads of subscribers who don’t interact with your messages.

The most effective way to grow your subscriber base is by offering a clear, simple, and convincing opt-in pop up where you politely ask visitors to subscribe to your Push Notification service.

Can I buy web push subscribers?

First of all, buying subscribers is something we strongly recommend not to do. Secondly, it’s not actually possible because subscribers are linked to a specific website, and therefore, cannot receive notifications from other websites (urls).

How to create and optimize your opt-in efficiently

Creating an opt-in isn’t difficult. The tricky part is deciding what call to action to use. We’ve created a few PushPro opt-in templates that will help you to create great customized opt-ins.

Keep the following best practices in mind:

Give an incentive to opt-in. If you run an eCommerce business or sell products & services, trying to win customers by offering discounts and special promotions can be a good start.

Be crystal clear about how frequently you send Push Notifications. Let subscribers know how frequently you will be sending them marketing Push Notifications.

Optimize the look and feel of your opt-in pop up. Keep your opt-in on brand, this will help build confidence that the service your offering is legitimate and will be useful for the customer.

Pro tip: With PushPro, you can place your opt-in pop up in the top left corner. This allows users to quickly access the browsers acceptance prompt.

Send your Push Notifications at optimal times

You might be wondering what is the best time to send a Push Notification. The short answer is that it depends on your business. Most Push Notifications and marketing campaigns are (slightly) different.

Our research suggested the following times worked best:

  • News and updates related Push Notifications between 7:30 AM - 1:00 PM.
  • B2B related Push Notifications on working days between 08:30 AM - 5:30 PM.
  • Discounts and promotions related Push Notifications usually in the evening between 5:00 PM - 0:00 AM and the weekend usually throughout the day.

Note that PushPro messages are sent directly unless you scheduled or created segments for specific countries.

Send Push Notifications at the appropriate frequency

The frequency of Push Notification marketing will vary between different companies and industries. One thing is for sure, over-sending push messages is a quick way to lose subscribers, be careful not to overdo it.

Just like sending time, there isn’t one answer to the question of how often you should send Push Notifications to your audience. Start conservatively and measure your metrics until you've found your sweet spot.

Visualisation scheduled push notification

Keep your subscribers engaged

By sending engaging Push Notifications, you keep your open rates high which leads to higher conversion rates and brand value. The most important thing to remember is to always send relevant Push Notifications to your audience.

If you’re already sending relevant notifications, the following strategies will help you to keep your users engaged:

  • Add your brand logo to your Push Notification.
  • Provide your subscribers with valuable content they can interact with.
  • A/B tests your notifications on a segment to see what best resonates with your subscribers before sending them to your full list.
  • Set Time to Live Push Notifications so that delayed push messages are no longer received by the subscriber.

Increase growth today, get started with PushPro

Now you are packed full of handy tips and strategies, you are ready to go and gather subscribers. Create your opt-in and send your first Push Notification!

Sign up now. If you need any help, our support is here to help you get pushing 🔔.

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