Whether you’re a small business owner with a mobile app or a seasoned marketer, sending your first push notification can feel a bit like cannon-balling into a pool full of strangers. It’s scary and awkward and somewhat invasive. Why?

  • There are no take-backs. Once it’s sent, it’s sent.
  • It can be tough to nail the timing.
  • You might end up annoying your users, or worse, driving them to uninstall.
  • They deliver front and center to users’ devices.

But clicking “send” doesn’t have to be daunting, and when done right, push notifications are an incredibly effective way to increase customer engagement. Below we’ll share some tips on navigating the push like a pro.

ALSO READ: Push Notification Basics Every Business Needs to Know

1. Avoid being pushy, despite the name.

You’d rather be invited into someone’s house than forced. Now apply that to push notifications. Condense and frame the title; for example: “We’re giving away 15 free pizzas! Click to learn more,” instead of “CLICK HERE for a chance to enter our free pizza contest giveaway!” Remember, it’s a message from you to the consumer and you have a limited amount of characters to work with, so make the most of them. Be human; avoid robotic language and play to the consumer’s interests and benefits, not just your own. Push notifications can serve as a great customer retention tool, but they need to be read! So what would make you click if you were on the receiving end?

2. Hit the right target.

Geofenced push notifications create virtual boundaries (or a “fence”) around a particular area, so only users who travel in and out of the fence for a specified period of time receive the message. You can customize the push notification’s fenced area and duration our platform, sending only to users who enter your chosen hot spots during the span of an hour, a day, a week, etc. This considerably lessens your odds of bugging people with irrelevant notifications. Say a frequent customer is on an out-of-state business trip—they probably won’t care about your half-off appetizers deal, so leave them out of it. Notify people who are most likely to take advantage: the ones nearby.

3. Don’t wake me up, and…

Hopefully we all agree that the wee hours of the morning should be push-free, but there’s a lot more to timing than just that. Since poorly planned push notifications can drive people away just as quickly as they arrived, it’s important to consider the lifestyle and habits of your average user. Studies show the best time to send push notifications is between noon and 5pm on weekdays. Mondays are best avoided, since the average smartphone user tends to be busiest at the start of the week, but Tuesday through Friday you’re golden. Now, this only accounts for the averageuser. If your target demographic works weekends or odd hours, you’ll need to factor that in. The main takeaway? Send your push notifications when users have enough downtime to read them, but don’t disrupt their quiet hours.

4. Appreciate your positioning.

Something remarkable about your small business drove users to download your app. Don’t forget that. Guiding your target audience to profitable decisions has never been easier with today’s technology, so USE IT. With push notifications, you’re already leagues above email marketing.According to research, push notifications see 50% higher open rates than emails—that’s nothing to sneeze at. Wield your power wisely. If users have invited you into their sacred mobile space, respect and appreciate your position.

How do you engage your customers with smart push messaging? Let us know in the comments!