Geotargeting (and 4 Other Best Kept Secrets about Push Notifications)

Geotargeting (and 4 Other Best Kept Secrets about Push Notifications)

If you have a church app but aren’t utilizing push notifications, you might be ignoring one of its most powerful features.

Your app is an effective tool, but only if people are using it. If your members don’t open your app, they’re going to miss out on important information and valuable content. Push notifications allow you to message people who have your app—even if they don’t have it open.

Here are some things you may not have realized push notifications allows you to do:

1. Create “actionable” notifications

You’ve just uploaded a video of last Sunday’s sermon, and you want to make sure people get a chance to see it. You can send a push notification that lets them know, with a link to where they can watch it. But if they click on it, it dumps them into your app’s homepage, and then they have to find the video themselves, you’ll lose most of them.

You can create push notifications that point people exactly where you want them to go. Instead of just opening the app, a push notification can send them right to the video—or anywhere you want them to be.

Need to take an emergency offering for a church member in a crisis? A push notification can alert people and bring them right to the giving portion of the app.

2. Send messages to groups

Personalization is the key to engagement. The more generic your message, the less likely people will pay attention. When you tailor specific notifications to distinct groups, your messages will perform much better.

For instance, you can create a group for your board members and send them notifications that they’re more likely to respond to. It could remind them to brush up on bylaws for tonight’s meeting or read a specific blog post in preparation for tonight’s discussion.

3. Scheduled notifications

Success is a lot more likely with deliberate planning, and the ability to schedule push notifications means that you can factor these in as you plan events. As your youth ministry plans the lock-in fundraiser, they can incorporate push notifications in their promotion strategy.

As the steps are laid out, you can write and schedule the push notifications to create excitement around the event. Being able to set it and forget it from the outset ensures that you won’t neglect this communication opportunity when you’re in the middle of the final push to get it off the ground.

4. Send people to a live poll

It’s Thursday night, and you’re in the middle of a board meeting. You’ve been discussing some community service project opportunities, and you’ve narrowed it down to a few ideas—but you have to make a decision tonight. Someone at the table wistfully says, “Too bad we can’t ask the church.”

You can.

It’s as simple as creating a quick poll and sending out a push notification that says, “[church name] would love quick feedback on service projects! Visit this poll to weigh in.” Within minutes you’ll be able to put your finger on the congregation’s preferences.

5. Send messages based on location (geotargeting)

Geotargeting is one of the most underused push notification features. It allows you to send messages to people based on their location. It detects user location and enables you to send messages based on where they are.

Maybe you want to remind everyone within a five-mile radius of downtown about the canvassing and clean-up outreach you have planned this afternoon. You’re going to get a lot more engagement from people close enough to attend than people who have your app and are 30 miles away.

Getting started

If you already have a church app, you can begin exploring new ways to use push notifications. If your church doesn’t have an app, schedule a demo and discover how easy it would be to put an app to work for you!

Jayson D. Bradley

Jayson D. Bradley is a writer and pastor in Bellingham, WA. He’s a regular contributor to Relevant Magazine, and his blog JaysonDBradley.com has been voted one of the 25 Christian blogs you should be reading.