Attracting new users is a challenge that all marketing teams and entrepreneurs face. However, the battle doesn't end there. Often times, it can be even harder to retain existing users and convince them to keep coming back to your website or mobile application.

OneSignal offers a comprehensive solution for designing, managing, and delivering push notifications across platforms. They are responsible for sending over 4 billion notifications each day and are trusted by many of the top Fortune 500 companies.

With so many distractions online, sometimes users need a gentle reminder to stay engaged. That's where the magic of push notifications comes into play. Whether on a phone, tablet, or computer, a push notification will alert a user with a custom message or call to action. This gives marketing teams and entrepreneurs another avenue of communication with their users to actively engage, retain and pull their users back to their website or mobile application. The following are some of the best practices for encouraging users to subscribe to push notifications.

1. Find the Right Frequency

Push notifications have the potential to add a lot of value to your organization and offer a high return on investment (ROI). Studies have shown that 65% of mobile users will return to a smartphone app if they have enabled notifications for it. Otherwise they may uninstall it or forget about it entirely.

It is important to note that push notifications function as an interruption. They appear on a user's device or browser regardless of what activity they are currently engaged in. This means that every push notification you send should offer something of value and make the interruption worthwhile.

For example, in Europe, KFC has implemented push notifications into their marketing strategy and now uses them to alert subscribers about promotions in new and innovative ways. One such strategy is the use of "bounce back coupons", which are sent through their mobile app-based loyalty program. Customers who use the app for the first time receive an in-app coupon that is viable for 7 days after their first visit. This has resulted in 27% of guests returning to KFC after their first visit and even increased the restaurant's incremental revenue by 1.5% per month!

2. Time the Mobile Opportunity

With so many consumers using a smartphone as their primary internet device, companies need to look to gain notification subscribers through their mobile presence. That way, alerts can be sent regardless of whether the application is actually open on a phone.

The iOS and Android operating systems allow developers only one chance to prompt users to enable notifications. If the user declines, they have to manually enable it through their phone's settings. For this reason, it is critical to pick the right time to display the subscription prompt for the best chance to get the user to subscribe.

A company like CashApp, which has 7 million users worldwide, is a good example of how mobile notifications can succeed. CashApp is used to pay, receive and keep track of money that friends, family or acquaintances may send you. When a user signs up to use the service, the application explains why push notifications will help them and then displays the prompt after that. Keeping users informed as to why push notifications can help them rather than interrupt them is crucial for users to understand and agree to subscribing.

Keep in mind that mobile users also have the option to determine how notifications are handled on their device. Some may choose to configure sound or lockscreen settings. Push notification services like OneSignal allow for the customization of your notifications so that they never go stale.

3. Consider the Language Factor

New push notifications that appear on a mobile device or browser only have a small amount of screen real estate allotted to them. In addition, they are typically set to disappear after a certain period of time. OneSignal offers features like "Time To Live", which schedules a time for notifications to expire so your users never see push notifications with expired promotions.

When time and space are scarce, it’s important to use simplicity in your communication. Clear, direct communication is one of the best practices for push notifications. You don't want your users guessing what your message means when they're reading it on their phone!

But what about foreign languages? Most online companies are looking to target customers from more than one country, which means you have to be prepared for people who speak different languages. If you display a push notification to a user in a language they don't understand, they will likely hide the alerts or uninstall the app entirely.

Companies like Uber that base their notifications around localization need to be aware of the language factor. For example in Brazil, Uber sends alerts to users through OneSignal when their driver is en route, and after a ride to solicit a driver review. This allows for Uber to remain in constant communication with it's user so that they won't forget that there's a driver waiting for them and for them to remember to give their driver that 5 star review for a smooth ride!

4. Don't Forget About Email

As mentioned before, having a mobile strategy for push notifications is essential for online marketing. However, that doesn't mean that other forms of communication should be ignored, especially email. Many consumers still rely on email as their primary form of online interaction.

With OneSignal, companies can now synchronize their push notifications with their email service provider. A single dashboard can be used to generate a new alert and determine how and when it should be sent. This allows you to maintain a consistent brand across all forms of official communication.

For example, for a company like Car Rental which uses email as their main system of record, syncing nearly all of the best email marketing services with OneSignal they can now use push notifications to keep their users informed and engaged with. Users may receive alerts on their mobile device as their reservation day approaches and another alert when it's time to return their rental.

The Bottom Line

When trying to attract new customers, online companies have to employ a range of marketing strategies to get people to visit their website or install their mobile application. Tools like search engine optimization (SEO) can help to build awareness of your online presence.

But the job does not end there. New users are always at risk of losing interest and becoming disengaged with your brand. Push notifications provide a solution to prevent that, and OneSignal has emerged as one of the leading platforms in browser and mobile alerting.

The end goal is to make users excited to see a push notification appear on the screen from your site or app. They should be eager to read the content of the alert and take action on it. As you track responses to push notifications, you'll gain a sense of how engaged your users really are.