The humble push notification sits at the heart of an ongoing debate in marketing and sales. Do mobile push notifications represent high-touch, high-value communications? Or are they meddlesome messages, likely to be ignored? Find out how member habits are changing and discover both sides of the push notifications debate. 

Why push notifications can be invaluable tools
Digital transformation has had a profound impact on marketing and sales, and on the ways in which people lead their lives. Consumers insist on personalized service, convenience and ease have all become top priorities. As such, they’ve grown accustomed to service-oriented push notifications as a recurring aspect of their everyday lives. Consumers eagerly opt into notifications regarding restaurant delivery orders, meditation reminders, bank balance limits, Buy Now, Pay Later installment reminders and more. Interestingly, the finance and insurance industries account for some of the greatest push notification opt-in rates – as high as 96% for Android and 74% for iOS.

Savvy credit unions leverage highly-targeted information, such as unique member insights and geofencing, to delight members with concierge-style services and offers. 

For example, some of Pulsate customers have achieved incredible results with hyper-local, hyper-personalized push notifications. Some communications are as simple as helping members save time, such as suggesting an alternate, nearby branch or ATM with smaller queues or faster service. 

At other times, they use push notification marketing to remove the guesswork about what members need and when. For instance, sending a personalized loan offer to a member viewing new vehicles at a dealership–while they’re still on the lot. 

Credit unions can harness geofencing and insights to create precisely-targeted offers, combining locations of high purchase intent with such considerations as credit scores, creditworthiness and loan pre-approvals, to get the right offers to members at the right time. 

Respectful push notifications keep members informed and support them with personalized offers based on their individual needs and circumstances. 

They offer unique opportunities for intimate communication in an era when face-to-face, B2C interactions are scarce. It’s a compelling case to send relevant, personalized messages to specific members at strategic times. 

When push notifications go awry
Unfortunately, both push notifications and geofencing are often the subject of well-meaning misconceptions. Some businesses avoid location-based permissions altogether, citing privacy concerns and public perception. However, consumers grant location permissions at an outstanding rate. Research by Radar has found 70-80% of app users will grant location permissions to apps that follow best practices (i.e. trustworthy businesses with genuinely helpful offers). 

What’s more, while geofencing conjures images of Big Brother for some, the technology actually protects consumer rights and privacy. Members can opt in or out, and their whereabouts are only detected once they’ve crossed the threshold of a geofenced location and remain within its boundaries for a specified period of time. Once the member exits those boundaries, their location is no longer known. 

However, push notifications have rightfully earned a rather negative reputation in certain regards. Members lose trust in the companies that bombard them with gratuitous interruptions. Send the wrong message or too many notifications, and opt-in rates plummet. According to Statista, 42% of smartphone users in the U.S. will adjust their notification settings if they feel they’ve received too many push notifications, while 39% will disable all of the app’s notifications. 

Similarly, messages must be truly personalized, going far further than simply referring to members by name. For example, member insights  can be used to personalize offers or services according to specific individual’s needs. Research by Localytics, reveals that personalizing push notifications can lead to a nearly threefold increase in click-through rates.

But like the latest technology, today’s members are savvier than ever. Once trust has been broken, it can be difficult to ask members to revert to more favorable permission settings again. Personalization and a true understanding of their needs are paramount to the success of any push notification strategy.

Keep these considerations in mind:

  • Communication is everything–be clear about your intentions. Members won’t feel as if Big Brother is watching, if they see you use their data to customize the best services and offerings for their needs. 
  • Be conservative about the frequency of your notifications. Use them to deliver important messages that benefit members at particular, timely moments of need.
  • Remember that every unprompted push notification should offer the utmost relevance and value to every consumer. 
  • Explain how you’ll use their data in easy-to-understand, everyday language. Use the data accordingly, never straying from your terms

Effective mobile push notifications
As adept in the friend role as it is as a foe, the push notification is a powerful tool–only as welcome or worthy as the way in which it’s deployed. Disrupt members’ lives with blanket, generic messages and they’ll opt out with speed. 

Send the right message to the right person at the right time, and this intimate form of communication will help you cultivate loyal, lasting relationships while inspiring members to take action.

Push notification marketing is already an established, widely-accepted practice across many markets, including productivity apps, rideshare services, restaurants–and the financial services industry. They focus on timely, relevant messages that add value to members’ lives. In turn, members are eager to opt in.

Meet your members where they are. The glass pane in everyone’s pocket is the new playing field… and for some, the preferred credit union branch.