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Your digital communications strategy: Mobile push notifications complimentary, but Email still king.

Push notifications

I’m sure you may have heard of and are even making use of push notifications for apps installed on your mobile device. For those still living in the dark ages (i.e. prior to 2009), push notifications simply give the app owner the ability to ‘push’ a notification to their users, informing them that some kind of event or message is waiting for them in their app, even when the user does not have the app open. The objective of course, is to increase engagement with the app, so that the app/brand owner, can get their target audience’s full attention and relay a message to them.

There are great benefits for app owners that make use of mobile push notifications. These include increased engagement; higher sales conversion rates; increased insight into customer behavior; low costs; etc.

There is just one little set-back of course (or two, actually). Users have to download the app and opt in to receive push notifications. This is often a very significant barrier to entry for many marketers out there…

Getting back to email

Yes, Email  is often considered old-fashioned and not as exciting as newer technologies out there.

What I have found interesting however, with the onslaught of mobile push notifications in recent years, is how often many of their associated benefits are portrayed as new and exciting. Excuse me? Email has offered these benefits for years! And there’s a far wider reach of course…

Working for a company that specializes in email, I’m pretty well versed when it comes to knowing and understanding the associated benefits of using email as a communication tool. More importantly, I know what our clients need to do to realize those benefits themselves.

Let’s look at a few examples of the benefits of mobile push notifications and compare that to email:

Push notifications are highly targeted;Push notifications are highly targeted

Sure they are, but only if the app owner has done the necessary segmentation pre-work. Likewise with email, if you have taken the time to segment your base and personalize your emails, track the activity, and process the opt-outs, then you will certainly reach a highly targeted audience who want to receive your emails.

Push notifications have high open rates;Push notifications have high open rates;

Well of course they do. You have to download the app and accept push notifications before you will get anything. So if you have gone to that effort already, the chances are you are really interested in that app. However, the onus is still on the app owner to ensure they are reaching the right audience, with the right message, at the right time. Try sending a broadcast message via a push notification, and then send a segmented message via a push notification. The segmented message will blow the broadcast message out the water i.t.o open rates. The same applies to email of course. There are loads of tactics to follow if you want to increase email open rates and you will always have the benefit of a far wider reach.

Push notifications are cheap;Push notifications are cheap;

They certainly are. Often they are even free. But let me just leave you with this statistic:  Email, possibly a little more pricy, has the highest ROI of digital marketing channels, producing $44.25 for every $1 spent on average.

In conclusion, when deciding what goes into your marketing mix when planning your digital communications strategy, the best approach is to use whatever digital channels you have available. Use mobile push notifications; use social media; use instant messaging. But don’t forget about the most important tool of them all – EMAIL.a

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