How to use mobile push notifications to boost engagement and sales

12 min

Picture this: You’re scrolling through your phone, and a little notification pops up. It’s a reminder from your favorite fitness app about a new personalized workout plan just for you. Intrigued, you tap on it, and within seconds, you’re exploring the latest features and getting excited about your new workout routine. 

That’s the magic of mobile push notifications. They’re timely, attention-grabbing messages that keep users in the loop about their favorite apps. 

Our ultimate guide will explore what mobile app push notifications are, how they work, and how to use them to keep your audience engaged.

What is a mobile push notification?

This is a message that pops up on your customer’s mobile phone from an app, even when they’re not actively using the phone. It can be anything from a reminder or update to a special offer or alert. The best part? Users can tweak the settings to decide how and when they get these nudges, so they don’t become annoying.

Mobile notifications shouldn’t be confused with other types of push notifications, like in-app alerts and web pushes. 

In-app alerts appear within the app while someone’s actively using it. Web push notifications, on the other hand, pop up on a web browser after a user opts in to stay updated with the latest news from websites

How do mobile push notifications work?

First off, users need to give the green light to receive notifications. When they install your app, they’ll get a friendly prompt asking if they’d like to get push messages. They must accept this for the notifications to work.

Once they’re on board, you can create the push message using your app’s backend server or third-party software. When it’s ready to roll, it gets sent to a notification service, like the Apple Push Notification service (APNs) for iOS devices or Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) for Android devices. These services then whisk the notification away to users’ devices.

The phone’s operating system receives the message and flashes it to the user, either as a popup, an alert, or an app icon. When they tap on it, they’re instantly taken to specific content within the application.

Most push notification services come with some pretty detailed analytics. You get to see how users engage with your push alerts by tracking open rates, click-through rates, and other metrics. This means you can tweak and perfect your strategy for maximum impact. More on this later.

Benefits of adding mobile push notifications to your cross-channel marketing strategy

Did you know that 75% of Americans check their phones within just five minutes of getting a notification? This surprising fact from shows just how powerful mobile notifications are at grabbing attention and potentially boosting customer engagement.

Let’s dive deeper into the perks of incorporating push notifications into your cross-channel strategy.

Instant engagement

Push notifications allow you to reach customers with relevant updates right on their lock screens. This drives users to engage with your offers instantly, boosting customer interactions and conversion rates.

Personalized user experiences

Personalization efforts result in improved customer retention for 62% of businesses, according to Twilio Segment’s 2023 State of Personalization report. 

Mobile notifications let you craft super personalized messages based on user behavior, preferences, and even location. This tailored approach enhances the customer experience, so shoppers are more likely to stick with your brand.

Seamless integration with other channels

Push notification campaigns aren’t solo tunes; you can integrate them with your existing marketing strategies to create a unified symphony of messages across web, email, and mobile channels. This integrated approach not only maximizes revenue but also supercharges your campaign performance.

Here’s an example. Let’s say your clothing app rolls out a new feature for personalized outfit plans. You can send a push notification to announce the latest functionality to immediately capture users’ attention and drive them to explore it within the application. 

This can be part of a larger campaign where you also send detailed emails explaining the benefits of the new feature and share engaging posts on social media featuring your customer testimonials.

The push notification acts as an instant call to action while other channels fill in the gaps. With this kind of approach, customers get to discover the new functionality through every touchpoint, boosting their engagement and satisfaction.

Cost-effective and flexible

Mobile push notifications aren’t just effective — they’re budget-friendly, too. They also offer customization options that let you tailor your messages to fit your marketing goals and audience preferences.

Enhanced analytics and insights

Good marketing automation platforms that offer push notifications also handle email marketing and may even offer SMS and social media features. This allows you to analyze the performance of your push messages alongside your other marketing campaigns.

As a result, you can compare the success of all of your campaigns and make data-driven decisions that enhance your marketing strategies.

Pssst, we’re thrilled to announce that GetResponse much-anticipated feature, mobile push notifications, is now available!

Mobile push notifications from GetResponse

Mobile push notifications from GetResponse

Mobile push notification best practices

Mobile notifications can seriously level up your marketing game. But to get a high score on your ROI, you need to follow some best practices. Let’s look at 5 key tips to make sure your push messages boost engagement and drive conversions.

1. Segment your audience for targeted messaging

Segmentation lets you send personalized messages to each individual. The Twilio Segment report reveals that 56% of shoppers become repeat customers when brands tailor their experiences.

To segment your audience, analyze their behavior, preferences, and past interactions. Then, group them based on common traits, like location, level of loyalty, purchase history and style (think impulse buyers versus deal seekers), or even operating system (iOS or Android users). This way, you can craft notifications that hit home for each group.

For instance, if you run an ecommerce business, you can split your audience into frequent buyers, occasional shoppers, and those who haven’t bought anything yet.

Frequent buyers might appreciate notifications about exclusive deals, while a special discount code might entice occasional shoppers. For those who are yet to purchase, highlight popular products or new arrivals to spark interest.

2. Send your notifications strategically

Timing is everything. Experiment with your send frequency and volume and see how your audience reacts. Keep an eye on open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscriptions to find the sweet spot.

Think about the nature of your content, too. If you’re sharing time-sensitive info, like flash sales or breaking news, frequent notifications might be appropriate. But for evergreen content, like weekly tips or monthly updates, less is more.

3. Keep your headers short

Short headers grab attention and make your message clear at a glance, which increases the likelihood of users tapping on them.

To create effective headers, focus on the core message you want to deliver. Use powerful, action-packed words to convey the benefit or purpose of the notification. 

For example, instead of, “Check out our new collection now available in the app,” you can say, “New Collection Out!” This header is clear and direct and immediately tells the user what to expect.

4. Keep your content concise and actionable

People are busy and often check their notifications quickly, so keeping your content concise respects their time.

Use clear, direct language that gets straight to the point. Rather than saying, “We are excited to announce that we have launched a new feature in our app that we think you will love,” just say, “New live feature! Check it out now.”

Also, don’t forget to add a clear CTA that tells users exactly what to do next. Whether it’s “Shop Now,” “Learn More,” or “Get Started,” a strong CTA guides customers toward the next step, which boosts conversions.

5. A/B test your notifications

A/B testing helps you determine what resonates best with users. So, create multiple variations of a notification, tweaking one element at a time — like the header, content, or CTA. You can test a short header against a slightly longer one or a CTA that says “Shop Now” versus “Learn More.”

Send these variations to different segments and watch the results. Metrics like open rates, click-throughs, and conversions will show you what’s working. Use these insights to refine your notifications and keep doing what works best for your audience.

How to use push notifications to engage your audience and boost ROI and sales

We’ve already established that mobile notifications can help you deliver messages that get users excited and drive conversions. But how do you make them work their magic?

Here are some use cases for using push messages to hit your marketing goals. Plus, we’ll showcase companies rocking these strategies.

1. Promote sales and discounts with timely notifications

Creating urgency and FOMO (fear of missing out) can work wonders. Imagine telling your audience about a flash sale — they’ll rush to grab the deal before it’s gone, which increases your sales.

Domino’s Pizza does this perfectly.

Mobile push notification from Domino's Pizza.

 Mobile push notification from Domino’s Pizza.

The pizza company pings hungry users around lunch or dinner time with special deals and discounts just when they’re thinking about food. This maximizes the brand’s chances of skyrocketing its sales.

2. Announce new product launches and feature updates

New stuff always piques people’s curiosity. So, when you announce product launches or app updates via notifications, users flock to check them out.

Spotify nails this by alerting fans about new music releases.

Mobile push notification from Spotify.

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ALT: Mobile push notification from Spotify.

When a popular artist or group releases a new album, Spotify sends a push notification to fans, encouraging them to listen right away. 

It also notifies app users about new features, such as improved playlists or updated interfaces. As a result, music lovers can’t resist diving in to explore the latest tunes or functionalities. 

3. Provide content updates and event reminders

Content updates ensure your audience receives all the important information, which keeps your app top of mind and encourages continuous user engagement with your platform.

Coursera is a pro at this. 

The online course provider uses push notifications to inform learners about new courses, upcoming deadlines, and live events. When a new course that aligns with a learner’s interests becomes available, Coursera sends a message to encourage enrollment. 
It also gives users a heads-up on assignment deadlines and live Q&A sessions with instructors. These timely updates keep learners on track and make the whole learning experience more engaging and satisfying, which helps the company maintain high course completion rates.

What’s more, it allows users to opt in to specific notification categories, so they’re only getting the types of messages they want:

Mobile push notification options from Coursera.

Mobile push notification from Coursera.

4. Offer personalized product recommendations

Everyone loves a personal touch. So, using customer data to send tailored product recommendations that match each person’s interests can make a huge difference. It boosts your chances of making a sale because people are more likely to buy products that are relevant to them.

Amazon, an online marketplace, is a master of this craft.

Mobile push notification from Amazon.

Mobile push notification from Amazon.

The multinational company uses push notifications to deliver personalized product recommendations based on a user’s browsing history, previous purchases, and wish list items. 

For instance, if someone recently viewed anti-aging skincare products, Amazon might notify them about deals on related items, like the Eva Naturals Face Serum in the example above. Spot-on suggestions like these make it hard for shoppers to resist clicking through and making a purchase.

5. Send order confirmations and payment reminders

A little reassurance goes a long way in building customer trust. Order confirmations give shoppers peace of mind, knowing their purchase was successful. Payment reminders are equally valuable, as they help them stay on top of upcoming charges, like monthly subscriptions.

Uber Eats uses this approach quite well. 

Mobile push notification from Uber Eats.

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Mobile push notification from Uber Eats.

When a user places an order on the platform, they receive a push message confirming that the order has been received. The message also includes updates on the status of the delivery, such as when it’s been picked up or when the driver is almost to the dropoff point. 

Also, if there’s a balance due or a need for payment verification, Uber Eats sends a quick reminder to keep things running smoothly. These notifications keep customers in the loop, improving their experience and encouraging them to come back for more.

6. Re-engage inactive users with special offers

Inactive users might have been distracted by other options, but you can bring them back with personalized offers, such as discounts, exclusive deals, or limited-time promotions. Such offers remind them of why they loved your brand in the first place and give them a reason to open up your app.

Sephora shines in this area.

Mobile push notification from Sephora.

Image Source
Mobile push notification from Sephora.

The beauty retailer sends push notifications to users who haven’t engaged with its app in a while, offering special discounts or exclusive access to specific products.

The app might ping a customer with a 20% off deal on their favorite beauty products or a special offer on a new line. This clever tactic pulls inactive users back in, encourages them to shop, and boosts Sephora’s sales and customer loyalty.

7. Remind shoppers about abandoned carts

The average cart abandonment rate in 2024 is a whopping 70.19%, based on a Baymard Institute analysis of multiple reports. That’s a lot of potential sales slipping through the cracks and significant revenue loss for online retailers.

Reminding customers of their abandoned carts can help recover these potentially lost sales, as they may only need a gentle nudge to return and finalize their transactions.

1-800-Flowers knows this well.

Mobile push notification from 1-800-Flowers.

The floral gift retailer nudges users who’ve left items in their cart with friendly reminders, like “Forgetting something? Come back…” — often sweetened with a discount or using FOMO to add a sense of urgency. These playful prompts tempt many customers to finish their purchase, which boosts cart recovery rates and bumps up sales.

Use mobile push notifications to boost ROI and sales

Mobile app push notifications can add some zing to your marketing campaigns. They deliver personalized messages straight to customers’ phones in real-time, which boosts user retention and engagement.

But push notifications are just one piece of the puzzle. To really wow your audience, you need a comprehensive strategy that seamlessly integrates multiple channels. That’s where GetResponse MAX comes in. 

As an all-in-one marketing automation platform, we empower you to create a cohesive cross-channel strategy that blends the strengths of email marketing, SMS, social media, and push notifications.