Crafting Non-pushy Push Notifications


How to craft non-pushy push notifications for your magazine app.


Push notifications are a great way to remind your audience not only that your app exists, but that it’s chock full of awesome. That said, writing a good push notification can be tricky. You’ve only got about 100 characters to work with. If your message is intrusive or pushy, you could lose audience. They might change their settings to stop getting push notifications, or they might — gasp! — delete your app altogether.

So what makes a good push notification? Have you ever had someone hold a door open for you when your arms were full to bursting or thrust a cup of coffee into your hand just when you were barely able to keep your eyes open? Didn’t you totally want to kiss that person — or at least give them a high five and be thankful they’re on your side?

That’s what you should be trying to do for your readers with push notifications. Give your audience exactly what they want, when they want it.

Keep this image in your mind — of actually pushing something useful right into the hands of your audience — as you read about the qualities of good push notifications:

  • Rare.  Don’t send a push notification just for the sake of sending one. Yes, all the marketers are telling you to send them. But, don’t do it until there’s a compelling reason. The more often you send notifications, the pushier your brand will be perceived.
  • Relevant. Some relevant reasons to send notifications include:
    • breaking news your audience cares about;
    • a great, time limited product offer;
    • something your customers desperately wanted is back in stock;
    • a new edition of your digital mag is ready and it includes this article that’s already going viral.

Here’s a not-so-relevant reason: “Hey, we were really hoping to improve our stats today so we’re just saying ‘Hi’ to get you to CLICK HERE.”

  • Readable. This may seem totally obvious, but think how many times you’ve stumbled over clunky phrasing? Push messages need to be super clear and succinct. Use short, powerful words and save the fifty cent words for someplace else.
  • Inspires feeling. What do you want the reader to feel after reading your message? Should they feel excited because it’s the deal they’ve been waiting for? Worried because you’ve got details on the latest climate change study? Angry because a politician said something stupid? Keeping a desired reaction in mind will help you decide on messaging.
  • Actionable. This answers the question “what should I do with this feeling?” that you hopefully created in the reader. Your calls to action should use words proven to help click-through rates such as “come,” “only,” and “off.”

Every time you write a push notification, create at least six different drafts. Then pick two or three that you like the best and test them. You’ll quickly get a feel for the type of message that performs best for your specific audience — rather like figuring out how they take their coffee.

Our app making tools, Designd and Semble, are free to download. Start creating push-worthy content today.