Push notifications, short messages that pop up on your members’ smartphone screens, can be one of the most powerful marketing tools for your club. With push notifications you can alert members of open spots in a class, flash sales of gym services or merchandise and timely club updates. Push notifications are a potent engagement tool--as long as your members stay subscribed. It’s easy to drive your members to unsubscribe by misusing push notifications. Here are the 5 secrets of sending powerful push notifications.
1. Every message should have value, every time
A recent survey found that 69% of people enable push notifications, but 78% would “immediately delete the app or disable the notifications” if they were unhappy with the messages. Members don’t like unnecessary, spammy or annoying notifications. Each message you send needs to give real value to your members to ensure that they don’t unsubscribe.
2. Use urgency to drive action
For your messages to feel like they have value, they should have an inherent sense of urgency about them, especially for sales-related messages. Members will better appreciate messages about flash sales or an opening in a yoga class that begins in ten minutes, rather then a message such as “Check out our store today” or “Sign up for classes next month.” Make sure your messages are important enough to interrupt your member’s screens.
3. Develop a rate and a ratio
While push shouldn’t be overused, it’s just as damaging to not use push notifications enough. If members don’t receive any notifications until you tell them “It’s been 20 days since we’ve seen you” or only receive infrequent advertising messages, your push notifications could be pushing members to unsubscribe or even uninstall the app. Try sending out notifications at different rates (e.g. 1x/week vs 3x/week) and see which rate your members respond best to.
Each club also needs to have a good ratio of sales messages to member support messages. Even if your flash sales and class fill-in specials are providing value to your members, people don’t like to constantly recieve advertisements. Member support messages can be anything that isn’t an advertisement for your services or products. For example, “Due to heavy snow the parking lot is closed” or “Special Holiday Hours Today: 6a.m. to 7p.m.” Try to have at least 1 member support message for each advertising message to not overwhelm your members.
4. Use Geo-Targeting for your notifications
You can use geo-targeting features to send the notifications only to certain smartphones. For example, you can send notifications to only members that have checked-in to your club within the last 45 minutes or to all members within a certain radius of a club location. This enables you to target your messages to very specific member segments. So don’t send “Ted’s Yoga class flash discount--begins in 5 minutes, 50% off” to everyone on the eastern seaboard--just to the members currently inside of your club. The flip side of this is that you can broaden your message for more general notifications, such as a “Happy Holidays” message.
Geo-targeted push notifications have a 30% click-through rate, making it a very powerful tool; especially when compared to a 2% rate for non-geotargeted notifications and the 2.85% rate for general emails.
5. Don't be afraid to show personality in your pushes
While they need to be direct and urgent messages, it’s OK to show a little personality in your pushes. Your members hopefully view your club as a community, and the style and tone of your messages can reflect that. Adding some fun flair to your messages will help your notifications feel personalized and engaging, instead of just another advertising method being shoved at your members.