Notifications are essential for each and every website where users create accounts and perform assorted activities. You must keep your users informed about any changes to their account, e.g., password changes or billing updates. One of the best ways to send notifications is through email because most people interact with their emails every day. Note, however, that the primary purpose of an email notification is to inform the user, as opposed to promoting a service which is usually done with marketing emails.
There are specific rules to adhere to when sending email notifications, and this article will introduce you to them.
What Is a Notification Email?
Notification emails are usually sent to inform users about any changes to your website such as new features, scheduled maintenance, adjustments to service terms, etc. In other words, they are the emails that keep your users up to date.
Unlike newsletters that are sent on a rigid schedule and could include many types of information, notification emails are brief and can be sent on occasions or based on the recipient's actions on your website. They are more important because they contain information that the user may need to act on urgently. For instance, may banks notify customers after any transaction on their accounts. They do this so that the user can raise an alarm if they identify one that they didn’t initiate.
Email notifications can be automated or sent manually, although it’s generally skewed towards the former. If you use a social media app, you may notice that you get emails each time you change your credential; this is an automated message. Alternatively, your online payment system’s security dept may contact you manually if they notice unusual activity on your account and need feedback from you.
To set up notifications for your website, you’ll need a suitable email service provider like UniOne.
Why You Should Send Email Notifications
- Notification emails improve your business' record-keeping. They provide a record of communications that you can refer to in future conversations if any issues arise. This comes in handy if you deal with many customers.
- People can read emails as soon as they arrive, so notifications sent through this channel facilitate timely communication.
- It costs you less to deliver notifications via email, compared to other platforms like SMS and push.
- Though it’s not always encouraged, you can take advantage of notification emails to entice customers to sign up for additional services that you offer.
- Email allows you to build long-term relationships with your customers and improve conversion, retention and growth. Engaged customers are more loyal to your brand, and email notifications help you build the engagement.
- Email notifications get more attention from recipients than promotional emails because they contain information that affects the user directly. This gives such messages a higher open rate, which in turn boosts your sender reputation and results in a high deliverability rate.
Best Practices of Email Notifications
Use a Brief and Concise Subject Line
The subject line is the first thing that the email recipient will see, so make it as short and concise as possible. The recipient should easily recognize the email as a notification from your website after reading the subject line. Good subject lines ensure that you’ll get good email open rates.
This advice also applies to the body of your email. Go straight to the point and avoid including irrelevant information. The recipient should know what the notification is about and what further steps to take after a quick glance.
Include a Call-To-Action Button
A call-to-action button is a direct link between your users and your website. Hence, you should include a visible call-to-action button in your notifications that re-directs the recipients to where they’ll perform the action warranted by your notification. An ideal position for the button is at the middle or the end of your text.
Use just one call-to-action button to avoid confusing the recipient. They come in many sizes, shapes and colors but all have a clear goal — to take the user to your website.
Personalization entails sending more targeted emails to customers based on the knowledge you have about them. It makes the recipient feel important and more likely to respond to your message. For example, you can include their name in the subject line or body. You can also adjust your message to their gender, interests, last item purchased, etc. The key is to use only data that the person provided to you directly and consented to receive emails based on them.
The sooner you inform your users about any changes, the better for them. You should send a notification immediately after the user action that it’s meant for occurs. That's when the recipient will be expecting it and the memory of your brand is still fresh in their minds, so they're more likely to respond.
You should pay attention to your branding because that is what sets you apart from the competition. If your emails have the same look and feel as your website, it makes it easy for the recipient to recognize where it’s coming from. Use the same fonts, colors and images that are present on your website because they help the user recall your brand identity. Also, include a logo or any mascot unique to your business.
Include Contact Information
Your notification should include information that will let the customer know how to contact you if they have any questions. For instance, you can include a "contact us" link in the email's footer. Avoid using no-reply addresses and instead use an address that the user can reply to with any inquiries.
You should always include a link or button in your email that lets the customer opt out of receiving notifications from you. Some jurisdictions have made this a law with consequences for violations. Letting the customer control what they can receive from you or not keeps them happy.
Many people read their emails on a mobile phone, so it’s wise to make the contents fit well on a smartphone display just as they do on a PC. Ensure that the images and text aren’t pushed outside the smartphone screen or covered by email app elements.
Email vs. Push Notifications
Push notifications are yet another popular way to alert users to any changes to your website or application. They're mostly used for mobile apps and can appear even if the app isn't active. The technology was first introduced by Apple in 2009 but later has gained traction worldwide for all smartphones and even PCs.
There are key differences between emails and push notifications:
- Email notifications are practically unlimited in size, while push notifications have limited length. You can include as much text and images as you need in your email but push messages are usually limited to between 40 and 75 characters for title and 50 to 225 for descriptions.
- Push notifications have a lower tolerance threshold from your users. People are more likely to unsubscribe when they feel they're getting too many push notifications.
- Push notifications are more likely to grab the attention of your users than emails. This is because users will only see your emails when they open their email client but they’ll see push notifications while using their devices for any activity.
- It's easier to A/B test push notifications because there are fewer variables to tweak compared to emails.
Types of Email Notifications
There are many use cases for notification emails. For instance, you can send a welcome message to anyone who signs up on your website or an activation confirmation when a new user verifies their account.
The efficiency of your email notifications depends on the email service provider you choose, so it’s important to pick a reputable one. UniOne is an option that’s both affordable and able to provide a high deliverability rate. It has a clear and intuitive dashboard that makes it easy to create and send emails and monitor critical metrics like deliverability and open rates.
Below are a few examples of notification emails.
This is an email that you send to a user so that they can confirm their email address. Most websites perform verification by sending a unique link to a new user to ensure that the email address they used to sign up actually belongs to them.
Below is an activation email example that you can learn from. Note the visible call-to-action button that hosts the verification link and re-directs the recipient to the sender’s website when clicked. Also observe the brief and concise message, which is among the tips we provided.
This is another email that you send to people who have just created an account on your website. It presents a great opportunity to introduce your service to users and let them know what to expect from you. The message should be short enough to avert boredom yet long enough to pass on sufficient information to the recipient.
It’s advisable to employ personalization in your welcome emails by including the recipient’s name in the subject line or body text. This makes them feel important and more likely to take your suggested action. Below is a good welcome email example that’s personalized and visually appealing:
Activity Email Notifications
It's often necessary to remind your users of their activity (or inactivity) on your website or application. This helps the recipient keep track of what they do and stay engaged. For instance, if you run a social media app, you should send notifications when a user changes their username or the email address associated with their account. This helps them remain aware of their account activity and raise an alarm if they think their account was tampered with.
You can also send notifications to users who haven't been active for a while to nudge them to re-engage with your platform. Below is an activity email example:
Reports Email Notifications
Some platforms send regular reports to their users in the form of workflows. This mostly applies to business-to-business software that enterprises use to facilitate sales. For example, you can send periodic details of a sales pipeline or an overview of the activities of a team to an assigned administrator within the enterprise.
Report notifications take place on consumer platforms as well. For instance, a fitness app can send regular reports about its users’ exercises to encourage them to do more and keep fit. Below is a good report email example from Fitbit, a well-known company that makes fitness watches:
Two-Factor Authentication and Password Resets
Security is essential for every website, and two-factor authentication is one of the most common security measures. It requires two modes of identification before granting access to a user’s account. If a user enables two-factor authentication using email, you’ll need to send notifications containing a unique code anytime they want to log in.
Sometimes, users forget their passwords and opt for a reset, and you’ll need to send a unique link to their email address that lets them do that. Email notifications play a huge role in securing your platform for users. Below is a good example of a password reset email:
User Invites and Shares
You can use notifications to encourage users to spread the word about your brand. For instance, if you run a social platform, you can encourage users to share your content or invite their friends to try out your platform. If you run an online store, you may send notifications to compel users to share a product on their social media pages and toss in a freebie to incentivize them.
You can also use this type of email within a workplace to invite colleagues to collaborate with you on a project. The main idea is to generate fanfare for your brand or project. Below is a good user invite email example from Shopify, a popular e-commerce platform:
Security Change Email Notifications
It's important to update users if their login details or account credentials get changed. The message confirms the change for the user and enables them to raise an alarm if their account was tampered with. This type of email helps build trust and confidence from your customers, and confident customers generate the most value.
You should personalize this type of email using the customer's name because it makes it look legit. Also use your brand identity (logos, fonts, colors, etc.) to make it easy for the recipient to recognize where it comes from. Below is a security email notification example:
It’s important to send email notifications to stay engaged with your users. There are many types of notification emails, some of which we have listed above. We also provided tips to follow if you want to send the most effective notification emails.
Remember to choose a suitable email service provider (ESP) that’ll enable you to send notifications to your customers with ease, e.g., UniOne.