Email marketing has always been one of the best ways to reach and convert your audience, but once in a while something new comes along and makes you wonder if the game has changed.
Web push is new, and from the sounds of it, could be a threat to your email marketing. But is it really? Or is it just another great tool to use to supplement your current email marketing efforts?
In this post, we’ll show you what web push is, how it works and how marketers like you can use it. We’ll also fight the good fight for our old friend email, and prove why email marketing is still king.
Understanding how web push works
Web push is a bit like the notifications you get on your smartphone, except that it works through the notification center of your browser. Right now, Safari is the only browser making use of it, but Chrome and Firefox are slated to use it soon.
Web push works in a fairly painless and simple way.
Let’s say your blog reader arrives on your website. A standard small window pops up to ask if he’d like to get notifications whenever you publish new content. The window is one most internet users are accustomed to seeing to give permission to other apps, so it feels less like marketing. He accepts, clicks on “Allow” and continues reading your content as if nothing had happened.
He doesn’t have to give out a name or email address — it’s just a simple click.
The next day, you publish a new blog post. A notification pops up in his browser that alerts him to the new content. If he clicks on it he will be redirected to your new blog post, but if he ignores it the message simply goes away as if nothing ever happened.
Why web push is a great tool for marketers
Web push is an unobtrusive way to give your readers (and potential long-term loyal fans) real-time updates, and it’s a method that provides marketers with yet another powerful tool to reach their audience.
Web push attracts a marketing-adverse audience
Because web push is a one-click system that doesn’t require a person to enter their email address, it has an impressive opt-in rate of around 15%.
This makes it a great choice for marketers wanting to build their audience, particularly around regularly updated content like blogs. It allows those who are protective of their email address to still subscribe to updates from you, and keeps them coming back to your site and engaging with your content.
Web push isn’t network dependant
Remember, it’s a browser notification. It doesn’t matter if the person has a Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account. If they are online and in their browser, they will receive your notification.
This is good news for marketers as internet users these days practically live in their browsers, however far fewer of them are active on the various social networks.
Why web push will never kill email marketing
Web push sounds both amazing and terrifying from a marketing standpoint.
On one hand it’s a great new way to build your audience and keep people coming back to your content, but on the other hand it can be scary to think that the email list you worked so hard on building will become redundant.
Fortunately for you, this is not going to happen. Here’s why:
Web push is a brief notification
The notifications in the browser are not persistent. Just like a Twitter feed, they are visible if you are in the right place at the right time, but if not they disappear from view.
Although we haven’t been able to find any data on web push click-through rates, we do know the average click-through rate on Twitter is around 0.1%.
Email, on the other hand, has an average click-through rate of around 3% due to the fact it never just disappears from view. Instead, it sits in the inbox until your reader is ready to take action on it (whatever that action may be).
Web push allows for limited content
Web push notifications are quite small, and you only have a few lines of plain text to capture your subscriber’s attention and convince them to click-through and take your offer.
An email marketing campaign, on the other hand, can contain much more information. It can include more detailed copy, images, animations and calls to action that can do a much better job of convincing subscribers to convert than a line or two of text ever can.
Web push opt-ins will decrease over time
Despite the great opt-in rates web push is now seeing, those will likely decrease. Why?
Because it won’t be new and novel forever, and people will slowly switch them off or become immune to them.
Consider this: the first banner ad received an amazing 44% click-through rate. Now, banner ads tend to get about a .04% click-through rate. What happened? People became accustom to them. As more and more marketers begin using web push, the opt-ins will decrease as audiences learn to block them out.
Web push notifications will get lost in the crowd
Think of how many notifications you get already. You might get them for Twitter whenever there’s a new tweet or a mention. You might get new email notifications, or a calendar notification pops up to tell you something is about to start.
As web push notifications increase, people push back and start reducing and pruning them to keep them under control. This will decrease the effectiveness as people become “banner blind” to all of the notifications they see.
Web push is a house of cards
Just like building your business on Facebook is dangerous, building your audience on web push is a house of cards that can come crashing down without warning.
The technology is still in its early days and relies on web browsers like Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari to work.
If adoption of the technology is low or marketers begin to abuse it, these browsers could drop support for the technology moving forward, leaving with you a base of subscribers and no way to send them notifications.
Email on the other hand, is a mature channel supported and used by billions of people worldwide. You completely own your email list and nobody else can take it from you or make it redundant.
While web push is fantastic news for marketers on the lookout to for new ways grow their audience and keep people coming back to their site, it certainly isn’t an email killer.
We’d definitely recommend marketers try web push as a way to help build loyalty and engagement amongst your audience, but don’t give up on building your email list just yet.
Web push is in its infancy, and there are many reasons why email will continue to reign as the supreme channel for many years to come.