Have you ever visited a website and noticed a pop-up asking if you want to receive push notifications?

An even better question: as a digital marketer, have you ever asked if push notifications are right for your business?

In this article, we’ll go over the basics of push notifications and look at some use cases. Then, you can decide whether or not push notifications should be a part of your marketing efforts.

What Are Push Notifications?

Push notifications appear as little pop-ups on the browser window.

That might seem like nothing new, but there’s a distinction with a big difference. A push notification from a website can appear on the user’s browser even when that user isn’t visiting the website.

In other words, you can get a push notification pop-up from xyz.com while you’re visiting abc.com. That’s the basic difference between a push notification and a standard pop-up which you’ve seen countless times.

They’re Interrupters

Push notifications are a classic case of interruption marketing.

Why? Because they appear when people are doing something else. In fact, they often appear when people are doing something completely unrelated to the website that sent the notification.

If you’re thinking about sending push notifications to people in your target market, you’d better make sure that they’re okay with interruption marketing. Otherwise, you might alienate the very people that you’re trying to attract.

Mobile Support for Push Notifications

Push notifications are supported on mobile devices. There’s more to the story, though.

On Android devices, there’s usually no problem. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that iOS devices give push notification developers headaches. That’s because Apple requires developers to obtain a license and register to send notifications.

It’s ugly.

Some push notification services have already gone through all the hassles required by Apple so they can send notifications to iOS devices on your behalf. If a significant part of your target market is using iOS, then you should sign on with one of those services.


Many push notification solutions allow visitors to opt in to receive notifications with just a single click. However, the site must use the HTTPS protocol in that case.

Otherwise, visitors will have to opt in with a couple of clicks.

Since you want to make it as easy as possible for your visitors to subscribe to your notifications, it’s best equip your site with the HTTPS protocol if you haven’t already done so.

Of course, you’ll also enjoy certain SEO benefits if you do that.

Implementing Push Notifications

There’s some sophisticated technological wizardry behind push notifications. You may need to hire a developer if you want to implement it on your website.

That developer should also be able to help with moving your site to the HTTPS protocol if that’s necessary.

If you’re running a WordPress site, you might be able to “go it alone” if you’d like to save some money on development costs. That’s because there are WordPress plugins that offer push notifications.

Push Notifications for WordPress by PushAssist is one such plugin. Expect to spend some money on the service, but you’ll get iOS support for your investment.

OneSignal is another option. Unlike the previous solution, OneSignal is free with some premium support options.

Using Push Notifications

There are several different ways that you can use push notifications for marketing purposes. Here are some alternatives:

  • “Limited Time Offer” notifications – Offer a nice discount on a popular product for a limited amount of time with a push notification. Be sure to go with the “Hurry! Supplies are limited!” angle.
  • Personalized notifications – Segment your notification recipients by interests. Then send personalized marketing messages to the different segments.
  • New content notifications – Send a push notification whenever you publish a new blog post. Please note: if you’re publishing several blog posts every day, it’s best to limit your push notifications to only one or two per day.
  • Abandoned shopping cart notifications – You’ve undoubtedly had to deal with abandoned shopping carts on more than one occasion if you run an ecommerce site. Use a push notification to offer a coupon code to people who’ve dropped out of the checkout process.
  • Upsell and cross-sell notifications – Don’t just focus on getting new customers, market to your existing customers as well. Use push notifications to promote upsell and cross-sell offers.
  • Request for feedback notifications – If you want to know what customers think about your business, ask them. You can do that with push notifications.

Get Started Now (If You Dare)

Push notifications aren’t right for every business, but they could be right for yours. Exercise the due diligence necessary to be sure that people in your target market will respond well to push notifications. Then, invest in the best solution and send out notifications that are suited to your business model.