Push notifications are your greatest source of power when it comes to communicating effectively with your clients.
You can send push messages directly to everyone with your app. They don't even need to open it to see your message. You get their eyes on exactly what you want, when you want. Without paying a penny. How amazing is that?
You have so much unbridled potential you almost have to rein it in... Here are some best practices for sending push notifications without being too pushy.
Best practices and top tips
One of the easiest ways to grab attention and make a message feel more personal is by chucking in a few emojis. They're known to improve open rates by 20%! 😯 But try not get too emotional, consider these examples below, which one do you prefer?
Give a call-to-action
By clearly telling riders what you expect them to do, they'll intuitively take action. Use prompts such as, "March lessons are available, don't miss out and book your spot now." This creates urgency and gives an incentive to book a lesson now rather than later when they might forget. These types of push notifications receive very high engagement.
Promote news and updates
We like to be in the know, and it's somehow cooler if we're the first to know. Give your app users some exciting or exclusive news and they'll be all over it! Post your latest news in your app with News Management and send a push notification prompting riders to check it out. Or let riders know that you've just added a new event or service to the app.
Include a URL
Take riders to a specific place or page in your app when they open the notification by adding a Target URL. Learn how to find and use your app URLs here.
This works really well if you've given a call-to-action that needs riders to do something in your app as soon as they see the message. It makes it even easier for them to take the desired action with just one tap.
But the awesome thing about URLs is that they can literally go anywhere. You could also use a URL for a YouTube video, Facebook post, or your own website. As soon as riders tap the message, they'll be taken straight there.
Make an announcement
You can also make an announcement that doesn't require any action, you simply want to make riders aware of something. The key difference here is that they don't need to open, click, or engage with this push notification, but they'll still get value from your app by staying informed. Some good examples are:
"Working Hunter has moved to Ring 2 tomorrow."
"Our arenas are getting groomed and will be closed next week."
"We've pushed the start time to 10:00am on Saturday."
"Lessons have been cancelled today."
Don't overdo it
Keep your message short and sweet and don’t ping people multiple times a day. This can harm your notification subscribers as some riders may choose to opt-out if they're finding notifications are too frequent - and it's hard to get them back! Start by sending no more than 1 notification per day and no more than 5 per week. Keep an eye on how many users it was sent to, realistically this number should keep going up (or at least not changing), consider sending fewer notifications if you see this drop!
You're sending your notification to people, right? So you can talk to them like you would talk to a person! In fact, this reinforces your relationship with the rider and can make them more receptive to receiving push notifications from you, keeping your app subscribe rate up. Equestrians have a lot in common and you can share inside jokes that are very relatable, for example:
"WHOA this rain needs to stop! Our first class is still going ahead at 8am tomorrow so giddy-up bright and early."
Send at the right time
Sending push notifications at the right time can improve open rates by 40%! Think about when you are most active on your mobile and more likely to catch up on news, or do little tasks. You might've noticed popular times when you receive the most entries, bookings or engagements on a social post. Use those same times to send your notifications.
Tip: As a general rule of thumb, the best times are between 7-9, morning and night.
Offer a coupon or discount code
We all love shaving some pennies off a price, so another nice notification is one including a special offer. For example, you could send a 10% discount code to be used on any bookings for today only. This will simply sweeten the deal for those riders who were thinking of making a booking, and give them the last bit of encouragement they needed. While for those riders who weren’t considering making a booking, an extra discount will get them to think about it!
Include an image
We know a picture is worth a thousand words and this is super helpful when space is limited. Try adding an image to your push notification to offer a preview of what they'll find in the app, or to capture attention and increase engagement.
Send relevant information
Remember that ALL your app users will receive the notification, so try to make messages relevant to a broad audience and not specific to one person or a small group. For example, sending a notification that entries are open for your next event is great because this will be of interest to many riders. However, sending a notification that a group lesson has been cancelled will only be of interest to a handful of riders and could be confusing for everyone else.
Show appreciation for your app users
No one likes to be bombarded with messages trying to sell something all the time. It's fine to advertise once in a while (especially if it meets the above criteria). But a push notification saying “Thanks for being a part of our community” or “Thank you for using our app” can go a long way and show riders that you do care! You could also mark a special time of the year by wishing them a happy bank holiday.
If you're not sure, ask! Get feedback from your riders and find out what they'd like to see more of, or what you could improve on. You can collect this feedback easily with a customer satisfaction survey using Hoofpick Biz (and link straight to it in the Target URL field!)