Website Push Notifications: A New Way to Follow Up with Website Visitors (Without Getting Their Contact Information)

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June 17,2016 by
Anand Kansal

Have you been seeing these lately?…

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They’re called website push notifications and they’re a new way to:

  • Convert your website visitors into regular visitors.
  • Convert regular visitors into leads.
  • Convert leads into customers.

Savvy marketers have added this to their arsenal of follow-up tactics including:

Let’s get you started with a brief intro.

What are Website Push Notifications?

Website push notifications are clickable messages that a website can send to their subscribers, directly on their desktop or mobile device. Subscribers that click on a push notification can be sent to (among other things):

  • Content – Send them to a new blog post, podcast or video.
  • Offers – Announce a new offer or sale.
  • Shopping Cart – Bring them back to an abandoned shopping cart.
  • Survey/Poll – Solicit feedback from subscribers.

In this example, DigitalMarketer is sending push notification subscribers to a new blog post:

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They work in a very similar fashion to mobile app push notifications, except they work on websites instead of apps, and can be pushed to both desktop and mobile devices.

There are two steps to website push notifications:

Step 1: Triggered Opt-In Box

As soon as someone arrives on a website, an opt-in box is triggered.

If the visitor clicks on “Allow,” he/she is added to your subscriber list.

Please note that this simple one-click opt-in is currently available only for HTTPS websites. The opt-in process for HTTP website is 2-click.

(To compare the two different opt-ins, you can go through these couple of links here and here).

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Step 2: Send Push Notifications

When a “visitor” becomes a “subscriber,” you can send them push notifications that will arrive directly on their browsers, be it on desktop or mobile.

These notifications will arrive in real-time. Clicking on the notification will take the subscriber to the URL specified at the time of sending notification.

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So, what do you actually use it for?

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How to Use Website Push Notifications

Most of you reading this will already have figured out some ways to use website push notification to further boost your website’s numbers.

So, I’ll skip the most obvious use cases, which are already familiar to anyone who deals in content marketing and eCommerce marketing—sending the latest articles on your blog, content offers to subscribers, sending your old-high performing content, announcing latest products.

Instead, I’ll touch upon some innovative ways you can use website push notifications which you may not have used through other marketing channels.

How to Use Website Push Notifications #1: Send Time-bound Offers and Deals

Website push notifications have the great advantage over other communication channels like email and social media in that the notification appears in front of the user in real-time, and it encourages an immediate response to the user’s part.

This comes in great use when you want to increase urgency by giving time-bound offers and deals to your audience such as the one below.

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The inherent nature of website push notifications makes it a great medium to promote limited offers and discounts.

For example, look at how this eCommerce website got an average click rate of 10.12% when promoting deals through push notifications.

How to Use Website Push Notifications #2: Deliver Personalized Offers Based on On-Site Behavior

Delivering personalized offers based on website behavior is a great way to get lost visitors back.

For example, if a user has spent a few minutes on a particular product page, you can send him/her a push notification saying that a 20% discount is available on the product for the next 60 minutes.

Or, if the user has bounced off after browsing some latest critically-acclaimed novels, direct him via notification to the latest Booker Prize winner, similar to the example below.

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This is useful for eCommerce and SaaS websites because the notifications can be set up in such a way that they are sent immediately after the user drops off the page.

This makes it more useful than other channels since there is no delay between the bounce and the message — consequently, the user is more likely to come back to the website.

How to Use Website Push Notifications #3: Automate Your Blog Readership Through RSS-to-Push

This one is particularly useful for bloggers.

Most, if not all, bloggers are familiar with RSS-to-email, which is a mechanism by which your newsletter subscribers get an automated email every time you publish something new on the blog.

You can implement something similar called RSS-to-Push, which, you guessed it right, sends an automated push to your push notification subscribers whenever a new post is published to your blog.

As more sites adopt push notification technology, it is becoming apparent content consumers are more receptive to receiving content through a low-touch real-time medium like push notifications compared to a email.

For example, the VWO blog found out that a series of blog posts, sent as both push notifications and emails, resulted in the push notification CTR trouncing email CTR by a whooping 331%.

You can read about it here.

How to Use Website Push Notifications #4: Recover Abandoned Carts

You can even recover abandoned carts through website push notifications.

There are a couple of reasons why this may work better than other marketing channels.

Firstly, if the customer has bounced off the checkout page to compare the price on other websites, he/she may actually forget about the cart once they are done comparing.

A push notification, say, 15 minutes after the abandonment may serve to remind the customer of the cart and lead to an actual purchase, like the example below.

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Also, the customer may have abandoned the cart due to getting distracted by something during the checkout process. In this case, a push notifications circumvents the distraction and leads to the purchase going through.

How to Use Website Push Notifications #5: Upsell and Cross-sell

Upselling and cross-selling based on a customer’s past purchases is a great way to get repeat purchases.

To do this, you may have to segment your subscribers into various buckets based on their purchase and behavioral data and then send them targeted recommendations through push notifications on their web browser.

Using push notifications like this requires a high degree of segmentation — the narrower your segments are, the more personalized recommendations you can send.

However, if you do this in a smart manner, you’ll collect a ton of loyalty from your customers who’ll start trusting you to curate products for them and then send them notifications about those products. This will save the customer from having to do any research. Here’s an example…

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Imagine what kind of power that gives you over your sales!

How to Use Website Push Notifications #6: Collect Feedback

Another great use case for website push notifications is to get feedback.

Website push notifications have certain unique capabilities, which distinguish them from other common feedback methods, such as email and on-site surveys.

  • Web push notifications have a great opt-in rate compared to email. The opt-in rate for push notifications has been observed to be close to 40%, which is approximately 10X the rate at which an average email rate builds. This makes your notification subscribers a much better representation of your overall audience compared to email subscribers.
  • One of the great advantages of website push notifications is that they work even if the website has been closed. Thus, you can get feedback from your visitors when they have spent some time away from your website, which will make their responses much more balanced and objective. On the other hand, on-site feedback methods usually suffer from a degree of bias due to the recency effect.

Writing Push Notification Copy: Best Practices

Now, let’s talk about something which plays a big role in the effectiveness of push notifications — the push notification copy.

Push notifications generally have character limits in the range of 40-120 characters (this varies according to the platform).

Due to the character limitation on the title and the message, the copywriting becomes that much more important since you have to squeeze your message into a small package while still retaining effectiveness.

I would suggest two broad principles that you should keep at the back of your mind while write push notification copy…

Website Push Notification Copy Best Practice #1: Clear and Action-Oriented Copy

All of us are inundated with more messages and marketing communications than we can absorb.

In such a situation, writing vague copy which does not provide a direct benefit to the user only serves to add your notification to the long list of marketing messages that are read once and forgotten the next second.

To differentiate yourself, write messages that persuade the user to take an action by providing the customer with a clear benefit they’ll derive from the offer. The example below effectively does this…

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Website Push Notification Copy Best Practice #2: Identify the One Key Message

It’s essential for push notification copywriters to practice writing crisp, concise messages, which capture the essence they are trying to communicate.

This usually means identifying the most important feature of your offer/communication your users would like to know and would induce them to click on the message.

Avoid trying to write a summary of your larger message inside the push notification copy. Instead, identify what will make the user interested in the page behind the notification, and create the copy based on that insight, which is demonstrated in the example below.

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How to Measure Your Push Notification Performance

If you’re only tracking how many folks clicked on your push notifications, you’re missing out on the actual conversions and value created by your push notification campaigns.

As marketers, we tend to focus too strongly on immediate numbers.

However, we need to be wary of vanity metrics, which make you feel good but do not help you in making business decisions.

The right way to measure the performance of your push notification marketing is to first decide on the website actions that you consider most important.

These will include…

  • purchases
  • free trials
  • form fills
  • ad clicks

…among others.

Then, sift through the data in Google Analytics and other analytics tools you are using to find out how many people who are arriving on your website via push notifications are actually performing the actions that you deem most important.

Evaluating your campaigns like this is the only way you’ll be able to truly determine whether push messaging is working for you or not.

Ready to get started with push notifications? Check out the DigitalMarketer Lab Member Deal and get a lifetime deal of 10% off!

Digital Marketer Lab Member Extra

Access your ‘[Tool Demo] PushCrew: A New Way to Reach Your Audience’ Office Hours in Digital Marketer Lab.

Learn the new method to notify users no matter where they are on the web.

Click here to access your Execution Plan

Not a Lab member? Click here to learn more about DM Lab


Anand Kansal

About Anand Kansal

Anand Kansal is the Marketing Manager of PushCrew -- a new website push notification technology system allowing businesses to send notifications to users, even when they're not on your website. Connect with Anand on Twitter.

View all Posts by Anand Kansal