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Push Notification Opt-in Best Practices

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Push Notification Opt-in Best Practices

Every curious marketer has this question. No matter whether they are actually interested in setting up push notifications or using this channel for marketing but everyone is generally curious about what it takes to create a delightful subscription experience. By clicking on “Allow” the user gives the marketer a license to interrupt them. And this is why marketers need to go the extra mile to win the trust of their site visitors.

How should you approach this?

3 very simple rules for crafting a delightful opt-in experience for your visitors. 

  1. If you are interrupting someone - do so nicely. 
  2. If are asking for a commitment - give them a clear reason to do so   
  3. Once you have the commitment - deliver on it. 

Nothing more. Nothing less.

Sounds cliched. Sounds boring. But really - in a world where everyone is trying to sell something or the other, keeping it simple does the trick.

Let’s take deep dive on how to apply these principles to your push notification opt-in experience 

1. Interrupting Nicely 

If you interrupt, and as marketers, we must, it is our job to make the interruption pleasant. This means -

Timing It Right - Asking users to commit to anything the moment they land on the website is a bad idea. Simply because someone arrived on your website does not mean that you get to ask them to give you their email Id or opt-in to push notifications. Give your readers time to breathe. Let them see, scroll, watch, read and then interrupt them with your prompt. Here is how you can translate these into triggers

  •    Scroll - Using Google Tag Manager, you can set triggers and show the push notification opt-in once the user has scrolled through 50% of the page.
  •    Watch - Got a video on your home page? Great. Trigger the opt-in when the user has viewed 50% of the video. Again, doable using Google tag manager. 
  •    Read - Users land on blog posts or article pages all the time. Once they are through with the article, place a call to action button at the end of the article asking them to subscribe. 
  •    Just Browsing- Users land, scroll up and down, click on a few links and decide to leave. I have done this and I am sure you have done this as well. Trigger the push notification opt-in at exit intent. Not the best experience but still better than most of the others out there. 

2. Tell Them Why They Should Opt-in 

Now that you have decided to interrupt the user, make sure it is worth it. Tell them in as many words - why they should subscribe. Got a hook? Great. Add it here. Offering a discount on subscription? Tell them they will get a discount if they opt-in. But don’t forget to mention what it is that they will get if they opt-in to receive these notifications. Will they get a notification for every single story? Will you only send notifications once a day? or it once in a blue moon? Tell them upfront so that there are no surprises for your readers.

3. Deliver The Promise You Made

Did you promise them a coupon? If yes, send a notification right away and thank them. If you promised that you won’t send too many notifications, don’t send too many. Either way, do exactly what you told them and you will have a fair shot at retaining most of your subscribers. I’ll be honest here - subscriber churn is real. I have seen brands build an audience and not send a notification for 30 days, only to see a 30% churn on the day they push their first campaign. Users unsubscribe all the time because they forget. Don’t use push notifications if you want to communicate once in a while. Push notifications work great for fast-paced communication with high frequency. 

Follow these and your subscriber retention cohort will start looking better than the last month. Check out this permission UX report to know what prompts work the best and what brands have been doing to crack opt-in rates.

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Founder at Datability Solutions. Second Venture. Writes about technology, entrepreneurship and mobile. Avid cyclist.

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