7 Smart Strategies Involving App Push Notifications for Customer Retention

Team MessageFlow
10 min
January 22, 2024

Making customers stick with you isn’t easy but winning new ones is an even taller task. Once you get a client on board, you should have a number of actions planned out, aimed at making them stay. Having a communication strategy is somewhat of a necessity, and Push Notifications constitute an excellent channel for businesses in multiple industries offering mobile apps to convey a variety of messages directly to users’ phones. Today we’re discussing a number of creative ways to use Pushes for customer retention.

In this article we’re discussing:

  • The ideas of opt-in, engagement and retention.

  • Types of Push Notifications you can send to improve customer experience.

  • Benefits of Push Notifications.

  • How you can start sending notifications that make a difference.

The importance of opt-in for Push Notification campaigns

Now, before you get all worked up about all the ways Pushes will serve your purpose, take it back to square one. The initial challenge concerns getting your users to opt in for your mobile app’s Push Notifications in the first place. 

You may be tempted to think that if someone has downloaded the app, they must obviously want to receive Push Notifications as well but this isn’t that simple.

Android enables Pushes by default so in general the platform sees a relatively high opt-in rate, however, iOS asks for permission each time a user gets a new app. The exact global numbers are difficult to pinpoint, as a lot depends on the industry and the brand, but in general the opt-in rate ranges from around 25% to 90%+.

A user can, of course, revoke their permission anytime, so you need to think through the information you’re going to convey on those initial opt-in screens. The ever-green rule of communicating the benefits stemming from an opt-in is as good a starting point as any.

Push Notifications increase engagement vs. retention rate

Another important point worth making is that user engagement, a sort of a defining trait of Pushes, isn’t synonymous with retention. These notifications are highly engaging by design but they’re still just a mere channel. What truly matters is the way you apply it in your specific context.

Doing what many brands do - blasting away discounts and updates on new product drops - can absolutely help you boost sales and increase user engagement but it’s a bit of a short-sighted strategy aimed at generating instant results and not guaranteeing an increase in long-term customer retention rate.

That said, we want to truly deliver on the statement made in the title, focusing on unique and original ways to use Push Notifications for user retention instead of dishing out generic advice. Which of the following ideas will be useful in your business context?

Personalized Push Notification for customer retention

With so much focus being put on activities which are supposed to directly contribute to sales, you may lose sight sometimes of the fact that multiple other aspects of building a customer relation affect the retention. Here’s a bunch of ideas you may want to try out - seven types of notifications you may find useful in boosting customer retention and overall user experience.

1. Milestone celebration 

Dopamine release is such a powerful motor in our daily lives. This neurotransmitter is what makes us feel good and pushes us to take further action. There are plenty of, some being very individual, factors that may trigger it, and the feeling of accomplishment is definitely one of them.  

Achieving whatever goal or milestone you deem important is essential for triggering that dopamine release, which in turn makes you want more of what led you to that spot.

This, of course, is highly applicable in the business context. Whenever your user reaches some sort of a threshold in their journey, send a Push Notification their way, congratulating them and encouraging them to keep going.

With MessageFlow, you can personalize your Pushes so that they refer to the specific user behavior and their recent accomplishment.

💡 I’ll stay to level up.

2. Early access 

Feeling special is another strong emotion people crave that can be harnessed in the business realm. Now, the fact that you offer a mobile app, which has been downloaded by a select group of people, however big or small it may be, already is a form of pre segmentation. This allows you to dig deeper and narrow down a group within you’ll reach out to with an exclusive message.

There’s multiple angles you can take here but the main idea is that there’s likely a user group that may be particularly important to you in some way and thus you may consider showing them extra appreciation by providing early and / or exclusive access to content within the app.

Once you segment your audience according to conditions relevant for you, arrange to send Push Notifications only to the selected few to make them feel special and want to stay with you.

💡 I’ll stay for more exclusivity.

Push notification early access

3. Gamification 

You keep hearing about gamification all the time so it must be played out, right? Well, not necessarily. The size and popularity of the gaming industry at large would beg to differ. Its steady growth across many metrics shows people are very much into playing games, it’s just a matter of designing yours right.

And there’s countless ways to go about it. From the simple collection of points you see in retail loyalty programs, to bringing brand ambassador characters to life, to developing actual brand-related games engaging users’ thumbs on mobile devices.

Once you figure out what will work for you best, Push Notifications can help you increase customers’ immersion and keep them playing.

💡I’ll stay to play some more.

4. Community building

A community is not only what brings people together in the first place, but also what makes them stick around.

Building a community around your brand does require extra effort, but when done right, it promises a big customer retention payoff. To get off the ground, a smaller investment may include setting up a Facebook group or an online forum using any of the dedicated CMS available for it. If you aim higher, consider organizing local, in-person events.

Whichever path you take, mobile app Push Notifications can act as an announcement board and social glue that keeps people informed and in anticipation of the latest community news.

💡I’ll stay for the sense of belonging.

Push notification community building

5. Replenishment reminders

Human capacity for long-term information storage is pretty incredible but in our day-to-day lives we tend to easily forget about certain mundane things.

In some market niches, think broadly understood retail, or supermarket apps in particular, Push Notifications can be a powerful memory enhancer, sending users reminders about stocking up on various items. At the end of the day, it doesn’t have to be about groceries either, as any type of an important reminder will be welcome.

With MessageFlow’s feature for scheduling Push Notifications, you can send your customers reminders at preset times, encouraging them to check if they aren’t running low on certain items, or that they have a crucial date coming up, including a deep link in the message, taking them straight to a product or category page.

💡I’ll stay to not forget about the important stuff.

Push notification replenishment reminder

6. Virtual workshops

Somewhat building on and combining the previously discussed exclusivity and community aspects, virtual workshops are another great way to get customers involved and retain them.

A Push message can be comprehensively used to announce an event, encourage signups, remind of the approaching date, and thank for the participation in an online workshop.

💡I’ll stay to acquire more useful information.

7. Random acts of kindness 

A lot of business messaging is driven by a very specific purpose. But what if, we know it’s wild but hear us out, you reached out to your customers from time to time at random, offering some nice words and not really expecting much in (immediate) return?

Going completely unscheduled may be one approach raising the surprise bar, but you can also introduce some structure to your actions and send birthday wishes, for example. Here a lot will depend on the type of data points you collect at registration or are able to obtain from customers later on.

MessageFlow offers diverse formats, including Rich Media Push Notifications, that allow you to include images or action buttons, which may be perfect for unexpected customer engagement and greater retention down the line.

💡I’ll stay because of the human side of this business.

Push notification random act of kindness

Powerful API for perfect Push Notification strategies

Advanced Programming Interfaces offer extensive opportunities for enhancing the capabilities of a messaging platform like ours. In order to facilitate the delivery of custom Push campaigns and collection of detailed insights, MessageFlow provides:

  • Interactive API documentation for both iOS and Android, including code snippets 

  • Regularly updated, pre-built SDKs

  • In-app event submission for advanced tracking 

  • Testing environment 

All of this is intended to improve customer retention rate via:

Scalability: By allowing you to define Push Notification throughput individually per campaign (up to 6 million messages per hour).

Insights: With real-time results being passed on via webhooks.

Security: With advanced encryption and authentication facilitating safe transfer of data.

Send Push Notifications to increase retention and customer loyalty 

It’s widely understood that customer retention is cheaper than acquisition. Obviously this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a strategy for the latter in place, but as you constantly chase all sorts of growth metrics, you may end up neglecting instead of nurturing what you already have.

The idea of customer retention directly translates into your business sustainability. Long-term user loyalty contributes to a steady and predictable cash flow, which in turn helps you plan and grow.

Push messages emerge as a versatile communication channel you can use to engage customers and make them stay with you. When planning your next user activation strategy, consider Pushes as a part of it. If you’d like to learn more about how MessageFlow can help you set up a Push Notification campaign or have any other questions related to mobile messaging, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Also, you may be interested in learning more about Building comprehensive mobile Push Notification marketing strategy.

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