Lately, we have been sharing tips and tricks for developing an effective push notification strategy, from adding personal elements to your message to timing its delivery for maximum impact. In many ways, these are the easy parts. The hardest part is often the writing process itself. As a frequent contributor to the Amazon Developer Blog, I can relate! So today, I wanted to share some of my tips for finding—and keeping—creative inspiration.
Pre-writing prep work
Before putting pen to paper, there are some tasks you should complete to help you maintain focus. In our latest eBook, Push Notification Best Practices, we share details on getting to know your audience, so I won’t cover it here. However, if you haven’t read the eBook, it can be summarized as: know your audience!
You should also know thyself, or rather, know thy app. It is a common practice for many marketers to develop a persona for their product. Take some time to think about who your app would be if it were a person? Would they be cheerful? Funny? Full of facts? Overly confident? Robotic? Defining your app’s persona will help keep your writing focused. It also makes the writing process a lot more fun.
Finally, define your goal. Make sure to craft every push notification with a specific reason in mind. Some example goals might include, “to inspire purchasing,” “to complete key onboarding actions,” or “to encourage social sharing.” No matter what it is, make sure you write it down as a reminder.
If you have defined your persona and your goals and are still looking at a blank page, here are some go-to starter ideas to help get those creative juices flowing.
- Use humor: Don’t underestimate the joy of a good pun or well-timed dad joke. And humor doesn’t mean strictly telling jokes. Try being silly. If it makes you giggle, chances are your users will giggle too.
- Put yourself in your users’ shoes: Acknowledging that the struggle is real is a great way to connect with your users. For that brief moment, they will think “they get me!”
- Tap into watercooler chat: Referencing the latest show-du-jour, or hottest meme is a sure-fire way to delight your users.
- Make them feel like they’re the only person in the room: Sure, your message will be delivered to hundreds or thousands of users, but write each one as though they were meant for only one user. Envision that user sitting directly across from you.
Keep a copy bank
If you are doing it right, you will have a laundry list of half-baked copy ideas, bad puns, and nonsensical notes about Game of Thrones you were pretty sure were on-point at the time. Don’t throw these away. Keep them in a copy bank that you can refer to from time to time to help you get inspired. You will be surprised how often a nugget of a thought becomes your next best sentence.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
You will feel compelled to be always come up with creative, new, and fresh ideas. Resist that urge. Chances are, a lot of the copy you have already written is great and compels your users to act. When you find copy that consistently performs well, use it again and again until it stops producing results.
Basics of good copy
A blog on “how to write effectively” would be incomplete without a quick reminder about the basics of good writing. Here are the main four:
- Be concise: While this is a good rule in general, it is also a requirement due to character limitations. Notifications on iOS show only the first 60 characters, and Android notifications show only the first 45 characters. Short, pithy messages perform much better than long, rambling prose. Plus, you don’t want your messages fall victim to unfortunate truncation gaffs.
- Be clear: There is no room to be vague in a push notification. They are short, so make sure users understand what is being said, what you want them to do and, most importantly, why they should do it.
- Be persuasive: Mobile enables instant gratification. Your push notification copy should be compelling enough to inspire your users to act now.
- Be polished: Errors in spelling and grammar are your worst enemy.
Now, make it so! If you want to learn more about Push Notification Best Practices, you can download your free copy here: