Push Notifications — Guide To Reaching 80% Response Rate

We have a number of stories and references of churches reaching an 87% open rate on their Push notifications. And others only reaching 4% tops.

What are the churches reaching 80% doing differently? That’s what we hope to answer in this article.

Apollo Apps — Church App Push Notification Guide

1. Fundamentals of a Push Notification

A Push Notification is not a text, it’s not a tweet, and it’s not an email. It’s a notification. A unique opportunity to reach people in an instant, without them ever needing to open their messages, their email or twitter app.

This is important because every form of contact serves a different purpose, and thus it’s communication style must be different.

2. Why You Want Users To Open Your App

When users open your app at least once a week, we estimate they are about 150% less likely to delete your app in the near future than a users who only open the app once a month.

You also increase time spent on the app, which increases the trust users have in your app and raises the percentage of giving done through the app vs your website.

3. What To Send — The Communication Style of a Push Notification

Like a tweet, your characters are limited on a push notification. Also like a tweet, this is actually an advantage.


When you are forced to limit what you say, you must identify the bare bones and leave something to be wondered; which emotionally reinforces your prompt.


With a Push Notification you can’t just summarize, like you would an email title or text, because you need to encourage an immediate action. You don’t want to give everything away in the push notification either, otherwise why open it? For example…

“Tomorrow at 11:30am at the church we’re hosting a lunch for pastors, it’s free so be there!” is a great, informative, push notification, but there’s no reason to open it.


Push Formula: [Attention] + [Teaser] + [Prompt] = Action.


“Happy Monday! Tomorrow we’re hosting a special service, swipe right now to learn what it’s for…” follows this formula.

As does something like this: “Tomorrow is the day! We’re finally launching our first ever…swipe right to learn more” or “Morning! We got some really important info for you — swipe to check it out!”

You might feel like this doesn’t give the user a chance to really understand what they’re opening. But if social networking has taught us anything, it’s that we’re addicted to curiosity. “Tom Hardy just posted a comment” instils such an emotional need to know exactly what Tom Hardy just posted.

4. Positive Reward Reinforces Open Rates

Create an article section called News & Updates. Then when you create your push notification, under “Select Action” choose the article section, and then the specific update or article. So when they swipe, instantly they see what they’re promised.


The more “rewarding” the result is of swiping the more a user will swipe.


So for example, if they open the notification to see a bunch of text on a white background, they aren’t likely to open much more.

Reinforce the users choice to open the notification by using colorful photos, graphics and easy to read content. The greater the reward, the more often they will open the notifications.

Think about Instagram, it is the 3rd most opened app of all time. Because before even opening the app a users brain knows there are plenty of colorful experiences (rewards) inside.

5. Conclusion

There are so many more creative ways you can increase your church’s open rate. But we hope this guide helps you get a good foundation.

Feel free to reach out at apolloapps.com/church or info@apolloapps.com for more ideas and assistance.

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