*This is Part 1 of the blog post series about which notifications will illuminate the visitor’s journey, where to place notifications on your website, and which strategy is best to pair with a notification.
50% of users find notifications irritating, while the other 50% tend to see them as helpful. If you’re concerned with which category your audience falls into, you’re not alone. The majority of marketers often hesitate to implement web notifications because they are afraid to irritate their users, to come across as spammy or to cause visitors to leave.
But fear not - there’s a solution.
Visitors will engage with your notifications and convert into customers once they appreciate what you have to tell them and how you tell it. In Part 1 of the blog series around notifications, we discuss which types of web notifications your users actually want to receive, and how you can also benefit from these notifications.
Why Web Notifications?
Mobile notifications have proven to be a solid marketing tactic for customer acquisition and retention. When done right, mobile notifications influence customer engagement and improve retention rates. Their value is becoming non-negotiable in marketing circles.
eCommerce marketers can’t afford to exclude web notifications from their tactics list. 42% of total internet time still comes from a desktop. Moreover, small and medium companies are experiencing a larger reach with their websites when compared to apps. Web notifications deserve an important place in your marketing agenda in order to attract, convert, and retain your customer if they are:
The following scenario is all too familiar: a visitor lands on your website, browses a few of your products, even adds some items to the cart and…leaves. This sequence of events is often discouraging to marketers. As a study by the Baymard Institute suggests, two out of three carts are abandoned.
There’s no one to blame - active digital lifestyles hinder the ability of customers to focus for extended periods of time. Plus, our attention span keeps getting shorter - no wonder your customer is prone to jump to a different website (or two) and get distracted.
Where was I?
Helpful notifications to the rescue! Determine the returning visitor, and help customers pick up exactly where they left off. Pay attention to any conversation obstacle your data suggests, whether it’s an abandoned cart, an extra long session or an unsuccessful product search, and send notifications that help your user overcome them.
Helpful notifications increase your chances to gently nudge a customer to the next step in your sales funnel. This type of notification clears any frustration your visitor may face at each step of the buyer journey.
Helpful Web Notification Example (bottom overlay)
We all need that light tap on the shoulder sometimes, and so do your customers.
Encourage them on any action that is crucial to your conversion process. Did your customers add an item that is nearly out of stock? Congratulate them on the lucky potential purchase. Did they perform a specific action on the website which made them eligible for a discount coupon? Let them know.
The key here is to not go overboard with the number of encouraging messages per session. Limit messaging to one or two throughout the conversion funnel, focusing on the areas that are challenging for most customers (data analysis will come in handy here).
Avoid laying on the guilt for leaving your website or abandoning a cart. These techniques don’t bode well. For example, health and fitness apps are known to have the lowest notifications opt-in rate - they often use pushy messages that leave their visitors feeling ashamed for not completing a certain action. Stay positive.
Sending notifications in an encouraging manner helps build brand loyalty and increases the likability of your business, which results in customers purchasing from you.
(Have I mentioned increased conversion rates, yet?)
Encouraging Web Notification Example (top inline)
Conversion rates speak for themselves. Users are three times more likely to respond to a notification that directly affects them, as opposed to a notification targeting a general audience.
You’ve likely already allocated the time and money for personalized notifications in your digital marketing strategy. Based on EConsultancy’s 2016 Conversion Rate Optimization Report, 96% of organizations rated marketing personalization as a “highly” or “quite” valuable method for improving their conversion rates. Your customers agree on this one. Three in every four of online customers (74%) get discouraged with websites showing them irrelevant content, whether it was an ad, offer, promotion etc. Staying relevant to the customer is key.
There’s a catch - personalized notifications don’t always work. The MIT study on targeted marketing provides us a curious observation:
“When online shoppers were simply looking at a product category, ads that matched their prior web browsing interests were ineffective. However, after consumers had visited a review site to seek out information about product details -- and were closer to a purchase -- then personalized ads became more effective than generic ads intended for a mass audience. "
To ensure that your personalization will not come across as repulsive, rely on data. Take a close look at the customer journey to identify the right point of decision, and aim your personalization efforts there. Knowing the customer’s current state and purchase history will also help you to identify the right level of personalization.
Now that you’re supplied with data and have identified the best fitting level of personalization, get creative. You can mix different types of personalized messaging on your website and find a perfect recipe. It’s worth knowing that customers are showing a strong preference to some of them. For example:
- “A special offer based on my preferences" was the #1 preferred type of push notification in 2015. Match the product your customer has purchased or reviewed with a flattering combination.
- When Localytics asked users which type of push notifications they preferred the most, 34% responded with “a special offer based on my location”. It was the third most popular notification mentioned in the study. Use this opportunity to remind your customer that their geolocation is eligible for free or discounted shipping. This type of notification is specifically useful, since 35.7% abandonments occur due to shipping costs.
Personal Web Notification Example (overlay)
Real-time marketing is not a new trend in the marketing world. Almost 60% of marketers report that real-time marketing helps to increase customer satisfaction and a brand’s overall image. At the same time, according to an Adobe study, 60% of respondents note they struggle to personalize content in real-time, yet believe real-time personalization is crucial.
Create a notification campaign that triggers real-time messages once the visitor is eligible for your message due to their on-site behavior. Offer a discount, cross-sell relevant items, guide them through a sales funnel - it’s your call based on your goals and your data. Not only you will catch your customers’ attention with the real-time interaction, but you will also appear more human to them as a brand.
Real-time notifications help you to interact with your audience. In this way, you have a timely, powerful influence on their purchasing behavior.
Real-time Notification Example (bottom inline)
Scarcity creates urgency. Customers like what appears to be valuable and time-sensitive. That explains why travel and transportation companies have one of the highest opt-in rates for push notifications (78%) - they are pros at creating an urgency around their offers of tickets or bookings.
Speaking of value, productivity applications and websites have the second highest opt-in rate (70%). In this case, consumers understand that notifications drive value by letting them know if and when certain actions are required.
The idea of potential loss motivates us more than the idea of potential gain, according to Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. We crave the opportunities that are closing in. This is also referred to as FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Rely on this psychological principle when writing your notifications copy. This is your opportunity as a marketer to drive traffic to particular offers and products you deem effective for conversion. For example, for the sale that is coming up on your website, send a notification that says something like, “6 Hours Only - Extreme Sale!”
Ensure that each message you send is timely and contextually relevant - keep in mind your buying persona and their position in your sales funnel. Sending a message that is outdated, even by just a few minutes, will disengage users with your website.
Predictive notifications help you notify your customers about any relevant offers or actions they should take based on their individual consumer fingerprint. It becomes possible due to machine learning and AI, which are confidently dominating B2C verticals.
To benefit from predictive notifications, try segmenting your visitors into different buckets, as narrowly defined as possible. An effective way of doing this is to go for behavioral segmentation, i.e. putting your users into different segments according to their on-page activities, such as type of pages viewed, number of views of a particular page, items in cart, etc. By applying machine learning, you can use the model to predict whether you should offer a discount to your visitor based on the probability of this discount influencing the eventual purchase.
Predictive Web Notification Example (top inline)
Identity is core to marketing. By collecting data with every customer interaction and looking at visitor analytics, you can parse, track, and understand what your visitors are up to, in order to proactively engage them.
Think of a pianist: when a musician plays the instrument, the right hand in most cases is leading the melody, while the left one is accompanying the main theme. Your customer is the right hand, and your notification campaign is the left. Not the other way around.
Keep in mind to make your notifications appear in a graceful manner and be safe from your customer’s disapproval. Failing to do so makes you a target for any ad or notification blocking software, and hinders your online presence.
Accompanying Web Notification Example (Embedded, highlighted)
Part 2 of this blog series will focus on where to place your notifications, depending on different goals you may have, and what you may expect from it (based on what we learned from our clients). Stay tuned!
Intrigued to see these types of notifications in action? Let me show you lift they bring during a short demo!