Those pop-up messages that are designed to get your attention on mobile devices and desktop apps can be called many things. Broadcasts. Alerts. Push Notifications. And you probably find them very handy for getting information that you want and need in your everyday life.
For most employee communicators, though, it’s still new territory.
But why should external marketers grab all the real-time attention and increased engagement? It’s time to bring push notifications into the corporate setting to help you connect with employees and perhaps nudge them to take desired actions.
As you incorporate this powerful new generation of comms capability into your organization, though, keep in mind that old strategies won’t cut it on this channel. Remember, your messages will be landing on everything from desktop apps to wearable devices.
So, it’s important to consider how to make those pop-up messages, well, pop. It’s worth the extra energy to get them just right. After all, you know these messages won’t be getting hung up in an inbox or buried in the monthly newsletter.
But gaining and keeping this level of attention is a privilege you’ll need to earn, over and over, by providing value and relevancy. (No pressure!) If you don’t – just like with all the other apps on employees’ phones – your push notifications will be ignored, turned off, or your app completely uninstalled.
Since this is probably new territory, you’ll want to test different approaches to your messaging to find out what works best for your employees. Consider different days of the week, times of day and tone of voice to see what resonates. Think about the time required to consume the information once an employee clicks the notification. Always keep in mind that your employees have a limited amount of time to read company messages, too.
Here are some other considerations as you blend push notifications into your employee communication strategy:
- Offer breaking news: Use push notifications to reveal major company developments such as leadership changes, product recalls, re-org announcements and other important updates inside the company. The result is these employees will be the first among their peers to have the most up-to-date, accurate company information. That will encourage others to add push notifications to their devices.
- Make it relevant and valuable: Whenever you send a push notification, it must offer value for your employees. The pop-up on the device or desktop will introduce at least a momentary disruption to whatever they were doing or working on, so make sure the resulting news or update is meaningful to them and warrants their attention. Make the interruption worth their time.
- Get creative: Push notifications work in a pretty tiny space in a little window on a mobile device home screen or corner of a desktop. So, consider your push notification messaging carefully. It needs to be clear, compelling, concise and capable of capturing attention. Think of your wording like a good article headline – short, sweet, intriguing. You want to grab the interest of the employee. All you’re looking for is the click-through. You can provide all the words necessary on the other side. You can even experiment with humor or emojis in your push notification messages, which can create a surprising lift in open rates in the right setting.
- Look for Opportunities: Explore your weekly editorial calendar to consider what planned communications might make for good push notifications. Examples include new leadership appointments, deadlines, upcoming events, registration reminders, and operational changes. If possible, schedule your broadcasts ahead of time. It can help you stay on course. But don’t overlook the power of broadcasts for announcements in the moment, too. Use them to stomp out the rumor mill or make employees aware of last-minute decisions and opportunities that could impact conversations with customers.
- Educate employees: Be sure to introduce the app and availability of push notifications as new employees go through onboarding. Also, continually remind employees in regular posts on how to configure their app settings to receive timely push notifications.
- Keep up the pace: Experiment to find the right number of weekly push notifications for your organization. But a good rule of thumb is to start with three or four per week. Sending too few leaves value and opportunity on the table. On the other hand, sending too many will result in employees feeling annoyed and opting out.
Complementing your strategic communication plan with timely, relevant, valuable push notifications will allow your employees to focus on their work while also knowing that they won’t miss important updates.
It truly is the best of both worlds.
Work them into your team’s strategy and watch the impact they have on your organization.