As a CME provider, it is unlikely that your audience will check your app daily unless they are actively searching for accredited activities. Therefore, for every app that is not a popular social media platform, it can be difficult to convey updates and product information to your user base.
That is where push notifications come in.
Push notifications are brief pop-up messages that mobile apps send to users’ devices, even when the app is inactive. These alerts are intended to catch the user's attention and can include reminders, updates, promotions, and more.
While push notifications may resemble SMS text messages and other mobile alerts, they are only sent to users who have downloaded the app. This feature is available across all mobile platforms and service providers.
Push notifications provide a way for app developers to engage with their users directly. They don't get caught by spam filters or left forgotten in inboxes, and their click-through rates are twice as high as email. They can also remind users to use an app they have not opened in a pre-established period of time.
Some of the many CME marketing uses for push notifications are:
- Promoting CME events or special offers to increase activity registration
- Improving user experience
- Converting unknown app users to regular customers
- Sending receipts immediately following transactions
- Prompting users to other marketing channels, such as social networks
Push notifications can be customized for specific app users and targeted to certain segments of your user base. When compared to SMS text messaging, this is a significant benefit. They do, however, necessitate the maintenance of user-identification data. They also require a specific interface for authoring, targeting, and sending messages.
How do push notifications appear to users?
For the most part, users see these notifications as banners or pop-up alerts while they are using their phones or tablets. No matter what the user is doing, the notification will always appear—even if the device is inactive.
Push notifications are displayed in a single window on most mobile operating systems, though it can vary by brand. For the majority of devices, notifications will appear at the top or bottom of the screen while the device is in use; if the device is inactive, push notifications will appear directly on the lock screen, similar to text messages.
How to get started with push notifications
The capacity to engage with attendees via push notifications should be treated as a privilege—not a right. After all, users can easily disable a given app’s push notifications if the developers fail to provide value through them. In worst-case scenarios, users will delete the app altogether.
It is critical to construct engaging push notifications that are useful to both registered and potential attendees.
3 types of push notifications
- Banners — These are brief messages that appear for a set period of time before disappearing. They can contain the first few words of a longer message or a concise CME event alert.
- Badges — They appear in the form of a red circle directly on your app’s icon; many badges will be marked with a white number, which can be used to indicate unread messages or new activities available through your app.
- Alerts — While they appear visually similar to banners, alerts will not disappear until the user manually dismisses them.
4 tips for writing the perfect push advertisement
- Ask yourself the question: do they need this information right now? Push notifications are a tool best used thoughtfully and judiciously.
- Keep your messages short, sweet, and snappy.
- Personalize them for specific users (including elements such as language, time, and specialty).
- Include calls to action to inform users what to do next.
What information is “push-worthy”?
For CME organizers, here are some essential notifications that you may want to consider adopting into your strategy.
Major program changes
This is likely the most important notification you can provide your attendees, as it includes crucial information regarding the CME activity they have already paid for. However, try to keep the updates to a bare minimum, and only include important ones such as room changes or last-minute session cancellations.
For in-person events, greet your attendees and include reminders for time and location. This is also an excellent opportunity to provide them with last-minute arrival information, such as instructions on where they can pick up their badge or simple directions to the location.
For virtual events, you can send a reminder about the start of your conference if you are hosting a livestream. Offer assistance for navigating the event platform if you have noticed a pattern among your users. For pre-recorded activities, send completion reminders to users who have not interacted with an in-progress activity for a long period of time.
Allow your marketing staff to capitalize on the close relationship you have with your users. Send out a special incentive for the next event’s registration, or offer current conference attendees a discount on their membership fee.
Providing a post-event survey is a great way to keep users engaged, even after your latest activity has concluded.
Provide information on upcoming events and their registration dates, especially to users who would find this specific content useful or relevant. You can even offer a sneak peek of the program as well as other details about the next activity.
For example, CME organizers can add all of their events and year-round activities to the eMedEvents website and mobile app in one convenient spot. Notify your users when a new event is added to the platform by sending them a push notification.
Get the most out of your push notification strategy
Higher conversion rates and enhanced user engagement metrics should be the main focus of your push marketing campaign. Establish your KPIs accordingly and utilize mobile marketing indicators to track the efficacy of your campaigns.
For push notifications specifically, you may want to track user interactions within your app and determine the relationship between those figures and your push ads. Keep track of the total amount of notifications sent within a given timeframe. Then, for each marketing campaign, look at your click-through rate and compare it to other campaigns’ CTRs to determine an optimal push notification methodology.
An important factor to consider when it comes to tracking your push notifications is the time of day and the day of the week. Is it better to send notifications first thing in the morning so that the user sees them when they wake up? Or have you noticed a higher number of clicks in the afternoon? Is there a quantifiable difference between weekday and weekend push notifications? These must all be considered when optimizing your push ads.
The dangers of push notification misuse
App users are sensitive to irrelevant and intrusive push alerts. When constructing new campaigns, it is critical to put your users’ experience first. Take care not to let this avenue of communication with your users collapse; after all, once they have unsubscribed from your push notifications, they are unlikely to opt-in again.
You must also guarantee that your campaign workflow is error-free. Some apps have sent out incorrect or improper messages to their whole user base by accident. This is an easy way to damage your brand’s reputation, and attendees may lose trust as a result.
When used correctly, push notifications can be endlessly rewarding. However, without due diligence, they can easily cause more harm than good. Remember that each message much have a valid and useful purpose to your user base.
Sending thoughtful, relevant, and timely notification messages to people who are already interested in your organization is an excellent method of engagement with your audience. Push notifications can be used to enhance app usage, drive registrations, influence conversions, and much more. With proper planning and judicious application, the opportunities are truly limitless.