Product notifications are a mission-critical component of your product that can’t be left to chance. However, notification channels are ever-evolving, and you need to keep up in order to reach users when, where, and how they prefer to be reached.
A future-proof multichannel notifications strategy helps you stay in touch with your users without coming off as intrusive, non-responsive, or antiquated.
A multichannel notifications system is designed to seamlessly route and deliver messages about product-related events to users across multiple channels and providers.
For companies that require a detailed and wide-ranging strategy to reach customers and potential users, a multichannel notifications system can help your company reach out to users in the way they prefer to be contacted. One of our clients, Bluecrew, a W-2 staffing platform that connects hourly workers with employers, recorded a 55% improvement in job application rates after scaling their notifications infrastructure with Courier.
With multiple communication options, businesses need to think about how they’ll communicate different events to their users, including:
- Transactions: notifications that provide a summary of transactional updates
- Alerts: notifications that require high assurances of deliverability and visibility
- User activities: notifications that update users about key activities within their accounts or profiles
- Required actions: notifications that proactively let users know when action is needed
- Digests: notifications that deliver a dynamic summary of events To do notifications well, a company/product requires a multichannel notifications strategy that can adjust with the times.
There are two traditional approaches to managing the notifications strategy for your apps: limited channel notifications and custom channel support.
This is a notifications strategy that supports a handful of channels that are the only means of communicating with users, irrespective of the user’s needs or preferences. A strategy that supports a limited number of channels is common in legacy solutions with ancient codebases that are best left undisturbed.
However, many newer products and services might unwittingly end up with a limited number of channels after a few years. Sometimes, product managers don’t consider how they’ll support notifications until the last minute. Then you are forced to choose whatever notification channel seems to work best at that time. The challenge with this approach is that you may never quite get around to introducing new channels, and it becomes impractical to make changes as your codebase grows.
In contrast, a multichannel product notifications strategy that begins during product development allows you to bake agility into your plans to add new channels over time.
This is a notifications strategy in which the company actively works to support new channels as needs arise. This custom-channel notifications strategy is especially common with startups because they tend to move fast. Many startups, for instance, adopt the blitzscaling product development approach that prioritizes speed over efficiency. In this case, you’d probably lean toward writing code to support new channels as the need arises instead of thinking strategically about how to manage notifications in the future.
In the early days, the development team might power through the night or weekend to update your code so it can support a new notification channel, and it’s common to do this every time there’s an additional notification channel that needs support.
While this ad-hoc approach might work in the short term, it eventually becomes unsustainable as your business grows. As your product development process matures, decision-making requires input across cross-functional teams. It’s not as easy to adapt on a whim.
A notifications strategy that takes into consideration that we live in a multichannel world is future-proof. It is designed to adapt to the dynamic needs of modern communication without being slow, expensive, or outdated for your stakeholders.
A future-proof multichannel notifications strategy should let you notify users across channels, integrate with your existing tech, and reroute messages to different channels, all while being easy to use and scaling with your company.
A multichannel notifications strategy lets you switch across channels to meet the needs of your users.
For instance, SMS is a popular notification channel in the United States, but there’s a strong preference for WhatsApp in emerging markets. For example, 96.4% of Brazil’s digital population, 95.4% of South Africa’s digital population, and 95.2% of the digital population in Argentina actively use WhatsApp monthly.
Similarly, WeChat is the leading communication channel in Asia with 1.26 billion monthly active users, and emails seem to be the preferred communication channel in Europe with 72% of respondents preferring emails over WhatsApp, SMS, or other communication channels. Your product notifications system must be robust enough to deliver notifications across all these channels.
You also need to be able to pivot the delivery of notifications through different providers within a channel as providers compete on features, pricing, and other metrics.
The benefits of being able to integrate with multiple providers accross a notifications channel include having a fallback option to ensure delivery of one provider has a downtime. Another benefit is that you might be able to shop around fo the best price per message based on the price offering of different providers in different countries.
Therefore, you may want to be able to integrate with the following providers (and potentially more) across all the communication channels.
- For emails: SendGrid, Mailgun, Amazon SES, SparkPost
- For SMS: Twilio, MessageBird, Plivo, Telnyx
- For chat: WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams, Slack, FB Messenger
- For push: Firebase, OneSignal, Airship, Expo
The preferences and needs of users are dynamic; therefore, users who only want email notifications today might later decide they want push notifications.
The challenge with changing user preferences is that notification formats differ across channels. For instance, a notification requiring a user action sent by email needs a button, whereas the same notification sent as an SMS needs a hyperlink.
Your product notifications strategy should enable forward compatibility to integrate with new channels and providers as they emerge.
Right now, Zoom and Microsoft Teams are the leading business communication tools, but that could change in five years; after all, Skype used to be the standard some 10 years ago. When developing your product notifications strategy, you should insist on simple, elegant, and potentially modular code that can be easily updated to support new channels.
As your business grows, your notifications strategy should accommodate your company’s size, from startup to enterprise and beyond. For instance, Gojek, a transport and logistics company in Southeast Asia, says it delivers more than 1 million push notifications per hour.
While your products may not need to send 1 million notifications per hour, you need to think about how the architecture of your product notifications system is designed to initiate, send, and deliver (and, where necessary, store) thousands of notifications as easily as it handles hundreds of notifications per day.
Building a custom multichannel strategy that adapts to a multichannel and fast-changing communication infrastructure is slow, expensive, and frustrating. Courier is on a mission to improve software-to-human communications with APIs. Courier helps you handle the notifications experience in your products, so you can focus on building your business.
Courier empowers you to future-proof your multichannel product notifications strategy with shortened development time, dynamic templates, and analytics.
Courier shortens the time it takes to build a multichannel notifications strategy by providing you with APIs and SDKs, so you don’t have to start writing code from scratch. Our APIs can be integrated into all communication channels, from push to emails, and you can get support for more than 60 providers in a single API. Courier’s APIs also handle user data, templates, preferences, and message orchestration for a seamless product notification experience.
Additionally, we provide SDKs for all major languages to enable you to implement geographical-based localization in the delivery of your notifications.
If you develop your templates manually, it might be difficult to manage the different variations of the templates as you add new channels and providers. Courier’s templating system has an omnichannel architecture. Courier Studio supports drag-and-drop designs, and you can use JSON-based templates to produce templates efficiently. Courier automatically generates notification templates that fit the format of each delivery channel before routing the messages through the right provider(s).
Courier is also outfitted with analytics that helps you understand the notification experience of your users. Visibility into the quality of their experience also provides you with insights on how to optimize the notification experience across all the channels and providers you support.
Courier’s modular model enables you to add new channels, replace providers, and route messages across channels in a unified system. Courier also functions as a low-code solution. So anybody on your team with minimal technical skills can add channels in minutes without a developer or knowing how to write code.
Are you a PM who needs to establish or improve their app’s notification system? Check out our ebook about what it takes to build a great notification system or just learn more about Courier by scheduling a demo.