We all deal with push notifications on a daily basis. Apps and websites use them to tell us important things — mostly things that we agreed to be notified about. That’s one of the main benefits of push notifications in comparison to text or email messages: users can’t complain that they didn’t agree to receive them, and they have an easy and simple way to mute them whenever they want.

But that’s not the only benefit of push notifications. They are also a vehicle to more conversions and more user engagement — if used properly. If not, users can opt to ignore them, and all of their benefits will be lost. That’s why it’s essential to have a good push notifications strategy, together with a proper tool, to help you drive your campaign to success.

Different ways of pushing

We all have overflowing inboxes, and we all love spam filters that collect the garbage, leaving only the messages that we need to read. If you’re a marketer, you have to figure out how to get a message reach a massive audience effectively, and by now you should know that sending emails is not the way to go.

Enter push notifications, those clickable pop-up messages that appear on your device’s screen, no matter what app or website you’re in. Push notification can be mainly grouped in these two categories:

  • In-app push notifications
  • Browser push notifications

In-app notifications appear only when triggered by an existing app on your mobile device, while browser notifications can be triggered on any device, as long as the user accepts to receive them.

All push notifications typically consist of a title, a message, an image, and a URL.

The “less is more” principle applies fully to push notifications: text must be concise, both to fit the device’s character limit and to let the user skim it; the image must be understandable and straightforward, and obviously, the whole content must be relevant to the user. There are also rich push notifications, which may add videos and up to three clickable links.

In order to keep the text within the boundaries, and to add charm and appeal to the message, you could replace words with emojis that synthesize a sentiment you intend to share.

Notifications can also be categorized according to their purpose. For example, there are reminder notifications, such as abandoned cart notifications, which are sent to e-commerce users to remind them that they put items on a cart, but they didn’t check out. There are FYI (for-your-information) notifications, used to send relevant news to users that agreed to receive them, such as new job openings, product announcements, and so on. There are triggered notifications: automated messages based on predefined rules and real-time data collected after a subscriber enters a campaign funnel.

If you don’t want to spend all day pushing notifications by yourself, you will need a tool to automate as much of the message-pushing process as possible. Fortunately, there is a handful of tools that extremely simplify the setup and fine-tuning of your message-pushing strategies. Below you can read about the most relevant of them.

OneSignal

Developers can integrate OneSignal push notification tools with less than ten lines of code, using any development environment and the language of their choice. It reportedly takes no more than 15 minutes to set up the service.

Once it is running, you can almost forget about it, because notifications will be triggered based on user behavior. But before forgetting about it, you might want to create an optimal segmentation: OneSignal lets you create personalized messages and send them to the right audiences. The messages will also be intelligently delivered at the optimal time, with the aid of machine learning algorithms that decide when to send each message.

In case your website experiments a big surge in subscribers or your app becomes really popular, OneSignal will scale accordingly — it will send billions of notifications daily if necessary.

Pricing plans include a free option that allows for up to 30K web subscribers and includes all the basic features you might need to start sending notifications. If you need premium features, such as advanced analytics, intelligent delivery, a service level agreement, or a dedicated account manager, you will need to opt for the Starter plan (from $ 99/mo) or the Pro plan (from $ 500/mo).

OneSignal also has a WordPress plugin, which makes it easy to integrate with WP sites.

SendPulse

By adding just one line to your website’s code, you can integrate SendPulse service and immediately begin sending instant web notifications to all popular browsers, even on smartphones.

SendPulse takes care of the automation flow for new subscribers, and the creation of automatic notifications based on RSS feeds. It lets you create custom subscription requests, either by changing its looks or by picking the optimal moment to show them: immediately after a visitor enters your website, after he or she spent some time on it, or after the first click on a link or a button.

A set of professional tools lets you use additional user data to create personalized notifications and segment your subscribers by location or other details. With the use of A/B testing tools, you can put different versions of a notification to the test and see which one produces better results with your audience.

SendPulse service is free of charge if your subscriber’s database has less than 10,000 records. You can even earn money allowing advertisers to send targeted web push ads to your subscribers. If your audience grows beyond 10,000 subscribers, you can choose a paid plan, which also offers more features than the free plan. The price will depend on the number of subscribers.

Subscribers

Subscribers is an easy-to-use notification solution specially designed for marketers. It offers schedulable, dynamic, automatable, and custom push notifications that will keep your visitors coming back, even if they are not online while your message is sent. Notifications allow for rich content, which helps to showcase your products or services with unique imagery and custom action buttons.

The solution includes triggers for notifying specific situations in e-commerce apps or websites, such as abandoned carts, inventory changes, or trending products. Subscribers app also adds some specific marketing tools, such as customer recapture, coupon creation, tracking purchases, and other funnel activities that determine value attribution. Daily analytics complements the solution with easy to understand charts that consolidate all data in one location.

Installation and setup can be done with plugins and guides tailored specifically for WordPress, Wix, Shopify, Google Tag Manager, and more. The service is free for up to 200 subscribers. Paid plans allow for greater subscriber volumes and some premium features, such as the ability to schedule notifications in advance, get advanced customer support, and implement welcome drip campaigns.

VWO Engage

VWO Engage offers to bring back your lost visitors at four times the conversion rate of email campaigns. Besides offering web push notifications, VWO Engage lets you reach customers through mobile notifications — without building an app — or through Facebook Messenger, engaging them via their most trusted network and helping to keep you at the top of mind.

VWO Engage focuses on re-engaging lost customers, bringing them back through personalized cart abandonment campaigns, and tracking unfinished purchases. It also aims to help you get the most of your advertising and marketing budget, by notifying customers about the fresh stock and new arrivals in real-time, promoting time-sensitive deals and saving on paid ads by retargeting visitors with web push notifications and Facebook instant messages.

VWO Engage is part of a bigger thing called the VWO Platform, which also includes VWO Testing, VWO Insights, and VWO Plan. Together, these sets of tools focus on gathering knowledge about visitor behavior, which in turn constitutes aid to conduct surveys, run experiments, and engage visitors.

Pusher Beams

Developers who continuously need critical transactional information could use Beams, a hosted push notifications API designed especially for them. Beams allow for flexible notifications delivery, triggering them automatically with every event in your app, using a single function.

With only one request, notifications can be pushed to iOS or Android devices indistinctly. The complete device token lifecycle is hosted and managed by Pusher Beams.

Beams offers high volume throughput and batch support, together with automatic scaling and support for common edge cases. The API is compatible with server SDKs in PHP, Node, Java, and other languages. A debug console lets you watch your implementation, while an insights dashboard lets you keep an eye on your delivery health. Among these insights, you can get notifications to acknowledge by devices and notifications opened by users.

Four pricing plans offer options for different needs, ranging from a free one, with unlimited push notifications and a limit of 2,000 monthly active devices, to an Enterprise tailored solution, with more than 50,000 monthly active devices, advanced open and delivery insights, and dedicated support.

WonderPush

A full-featured GDPR-compliant push service for web, iOS, and Android, with a single pricing scheme that covers all features, independently of the size of your wallet: a starting price of €1 per month plus €1 for every additional 1000 subscribers.

WonderPush simple setup procedure can get you up and running in no more than 15 minutes. To get the most of your notifications, WonderPush offers an interesting feature set, including real-time analytics that monitors your conversions, behavioral and time-based automation to help you drive users back to your app, segmentation that assures the right message reaches the right audience, and a friendly, fully-documented RESTful API to help developers take care of the fine-tuning with little effort.

WonderPush datacenter is hosted on Google Cloud, keeping European data within the European continent, which helps with GDPR compliance. The SDKs are open source, guaranteeing that the company won’t collect redundant user data. By using WonderPush API, you can determine how long your data will stay on their servers.

Use them wisely

There was a time when people read every email they received. Until marketers started sending emails, indiscriminately, and spam filters became commonplace. Now, push notifications to constitute a modern and far more effective marketing tool, particularly because users can quickly mute and ignore them. That’s why they have to be used carefully.

The push notification tools we mentioned here make it easy to let your messages reach your audience. But that’s just one part of the job. Your part is to employ the knowledge you have of your audience to use these tools wisely, in order to maximize engagement and get the highest possible conversion rates.