Web push notifications is a topic that is unfamiliar to a lot of business owners and marketers. Many people don’t even know what they are, much less how they can be used profitably, but push notifications are an amazing way to reach your potential readers or customers because it makes those people your captive audience.

Web push notifications are far better for lead generation than email marketing. Users must opt-in to receive notifications, but when they do they receive your messages straight to their phone, tablet, or even their desktop computer. In this post, you’re going to learn a bit more about what push notifications actually are as well as how to use them to increase traffic, conversions, and sales. Let’s get started.

What Are Push Notifications?
Push notifications are notifications that are passively displayed on your computer or mobile device. They can come from an app or from a website. Successful companies like CNN and Facebook use push notifications to get their visitors to come back to consume new content. App developers use them to keep people using their app and to notify people of important developments like sales and new features.

Users must opt-in to receive push notifications, so they can’t be used for spam, but that’s a good thing. People who opt-in have done so because they want to hear from you. In this post, we are specifically going to focus on web push notifications rather than app notifications, because pretty much anyone who has an app understands what they are and how to use them but website owners often don’t even realize they can use them, much less how to do it.

Why Use Push Notifications?
There are many reasons to use push notifications but one of the biggest reasons is that push notifications have been found to have an average opt-in rate of about 40% which is about ten times the average rate of opt-ins to email lists. They also work when your visitors leave your website, so they are more effective than things like popups and other on-site tactics.

Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular ways to use web push notifications for your business.

Get Return Traffic
The most obvious reason to use push notifications is simply to bring users back to your website or blog. When people visit your website, you can automatically prompt them for permission to subscribe to your web push notifications. When they subscribe, you’ll be able to send them web push notifications or even use ‘RSS to push notification’ to send regular updates every time you make a new post on your blog. This works much better than standard RSS because conventional RSS isn’t as popular as it once was and most people no longer use RSS feed readers.

No Double-Optin Process
Web push notifications are also more effective than email marketing because there is no requirement for a user to reconfirm their opt-in and people do not have to check their email to receive notifications. This means they can receive notifications almost instantly, as long as they have their web browser open.

Send Time-Sensitive Information
Another benefit of that near-instantaneous nature is that you can use push notifications for time-sensitive promotions. Let’s say you have a sale running that lasts only a short time, or you have a popular product that is almost out of stock. You can use push notifications to let people know information like this before it’s too late whereas other methods such as email might not reach them in time or at all.

Deliver Targeted Discounts
Web push notifications are also great for delivering targeted information in a timely fashion. For example, let’s say you’re selling books on your website and a viewer takes a look at books that are about business but does not buy. You could send a web push notification that says: “Like business books? We’ve got X book on sale for just $6.99!”. This serves the purpose of enticing people to come back to your site to make a purchase. You can even have these notifications show up as soon as the user leaves the website, which can bring them back or you could give them a discount on the product they looked at, but didn’t buy, but only for the next hour. This helps reduce shopping cart abandonment.

Bring Shoppers Back To Your Site
Not only can you give targeted discounts to shoppers to bring them back, you could also bring back shoppers in other ways.

For example:

  • Remind them they have items in their cart
  • Give them a limited time discount on their entire cart
  • Give them free shipping if they order in the next hour

Sell More Products
You can also use push notifications for upselling and cross-selling by pushing information about products similar to things they have bought in the past or products they have looked at. For example, if you have two products that are very highly related and a customer buys one of them, you could send out a push notification that says something like: “Hey! Did you know that we have the XYZ widget in black in addition to the red one you bought? If you buy the black one today, we’ll give you 10% off!”.

You can use this for all sorts of related merchandising. Here are some ways to do this:

  • Recommend new products related to products a customer has already bought.
  • Let a customer know when an item they added to their cart but didn’t buy is almost out of stock.
  • Let users know when popular items that were sold out have arrived back in stock.
  • Give them other recommendations based on their browsing and/or buying histories.

These are just a few ways you can use push notifications to increase your sales and conversions.

Writing Push Notification Copy
You may think writing push notification copy is just like writing any other copy, but you have to keep in mind that push notifications have a character limit of between 40 and 120 characters, depending on the platform. That’s even smaller than Twitter! This means you must learn to write truly succinct messages in order to get maximum effectiveness.

The first thing to keep in mind is that your copy absolutely must be actionable. Don’t just tell people about a sale but tell them to “Shop Now Before The Sale Ends!”. Don’t just tell them you have a new product in stock, tell them to “Get It Before It Sells Out!”.

Next, make sure your copy has a high degree of specification. Don’t say you’re having a huge sale. Tell users something like, “Up to 50% off everything in the store!”.

Finally, be certain you’re identifying the most important thing you want to say and focusing only on that message. You have so little space to say what you need to say. Make sure to use it wisely. For example, don’t try to stuff a bunch of features into your copy. Don’t say, “ Our newest backpack is lightweight, durable, made of waterproof fabric, and holds more stuff than ever!”. Instead, say, “Our newest backpack is so light you’ll forget you’re even carrying it!”. Over time, you’ll learn how to craft the most concise messages for the highest conversions, but for now, just focus on being as specific as possible while keeping your message brief and making sure you let users know exactly what they should do take action.

Push Notification Providers
These days, there is a nearly endless sea of providers who can help you send push notifications to your website visitors, but there are a few that really stand out from the crowd.

PushCrew: https://www.PushCrew.com
PushCrew is one of the most well-known and respected services in the push notifications marketplace. PushCrew is extremely reasonable with their pricing. You can have up to 2500 subscribers for free, and after that it scales based on how many subscribers you have, starting at just $25 per month. It’s quite affordable for such an effective platform and even costs less than some of the popular email marketing systems.

OneSignal: https://onesignal.com/webpush
OneSignal helps you push notifications through all three major browsers namely Safari, Firefox, and Chrome. Their service is “free and unlimited” and “trusted by thousands of leading developers”. They have a lot of advanced features, including A/B split testing, real-time tracking of your conversions, intelligent delivery, and segmentation targeting. We highly recommend this one because we actually use it here at SiriusTraffic.com.

AimTell: https://www.aimtell.com
AimTell is one of the more popular push notification providers, and they offer a slew of advanced features at a very reasonable price. They also offer a 14-day trial so you can see if the service is right for you. You can even run AimTell on an unlimited number of sites with the same account, which is very handy if you’re running a lot of websites.

Other Providers
There are other providers out there, but many services focus specifically on mobile app push notifications rather than web push notifications. The ones listed previously all offer website push notifications specifically. Some services charge you per notification and others charge monthly fees that are quite high. It’s best to really shop around before deciding on the provider you want to use. If you’re interested in push notifications for apps, or you just haven’t found what you’re looking for in the ones we listed, here are some more that you can take a look at:

https://www.batch.com
https://www.foxpush.com
https://www.vizury.com

Conclusion
Web push notifications are a remarkable way to increase your website visits, conversions, and sales. These notifications make it easy to stay in contact with your website visitors and customers no matter where they are or what they are doing. As long as they are using their web browser they can receive notifications. They don’t even need to check their email or be on your website. This makes web push notifications much more effective than traditional marketing methods such as popups and email marketing. With the plethora of providers to choose from, many free or inexpensive, there’s no reason for you to not to use web push notifications.

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Also published on Medium.