While many companies now realize that developing a branded mobile app is an asset, fewer of them actually understand how to leverage them to benefit their brand. As the need for a mobile presence intensifies, businesses need to leverage mobile apps in order to compete in the ever-challenging marketplace.
What goes into making a business mobile app popular with users? Here are some helpful tips for creating and marketing your app to leverage your customer base.
"We were inundated with requests that were like, 'We need an app because somebody within an organization says we need an iPhone app or we need an Android app,'" says Anthony Franco, the president and co-founder of app development agency EffectiveUI. "The conversations are sometimes a little awkward because we asked the very simple question, 'Why?' And there was this struggle, and there’s still a little bit of struggle with articulating the reason behind the mobile app."
In a recent Harris Interactive study commissioned by EffectiveUI, 38 percent of mobile app users were unhappy with the apps available from their favorite brands, suggesting that businesses need to pay more attention to their customers’ mobile preferences.
In order to create and successfully market a custom app, you need to:
1. Know your audience and make the app user-focused.
Identifying your core audience and creating an app that meets their needs is essential to the success of your branded app.
2. Find the right keywords.
Since 63 percent of iOS users search for apps organically, and 83 percent of all iOS apps are “Zombie Apps” that are essentially invisible in an organic App Store search, it means that keyword research and optimization is essential for success.
3. Ensure that your branded app provides utility.
Three-quarters of the respondents in the EffectiveUI study said that a mobile app should do what they want or need it to do, no more, no less. “In other words,” Franco says, “provide me utility. Don’t market to me. Provide me something to get something done."
4. Build a strong landing page.
Building a strong online presence, including a strong landing page, will help guarantee the success of your mobile app. The landing page can highlight user benefits like cost-savings and insider product information, and list the features, with screenshots and promo videos adding to the sale.
5. Create a video highlighting the features of your app for customers.
Short promotional videos highlighting your app are a great way to entice new users to adopt it. Again, make sure to use quality video that reflects the quality of your product.
6. Schedule your launch and use social media to promote it.
When done right, an app launch can result in a rash of downloads. By creating a social media buzz around your launch, you can get the word out to potential users about the new features your app offers.
7. Listen to customer feedback to tweak the app.
Don’t stop the work once you have launched the app. Be sure to integrate customer response into the development and adjustment of the app in order to keep it user friendly and successful.
8. Build around mobile use cases, ensuring that your app does what users want – and nothing more.
Target those tasks that users can and want to accomplish on their smartphones, and use your website for those that are more desktop friendly.
At the same time, mobile apps also should not be:
A marketing campaign.
Franco explained that one major credit card company tried to build a social network around its brand on a mobile app, but it “had nothing to do with their business really, other than to attract eyeballs. And if you looks at the reviews on that app, its: ‘This is an obvious attempt at trying to market me. It’s a well-designed app, it’s pretty, but all it is about deals in my area trying to sell me something.’ Try to stick really closely to what your business does, and provide value.”
A mobile website.
According to the EffectiveUI study, 73 percent of the mobile app users polled said they expect a company’s mobile app to be easier to use than its website. Customers, according to Franco, “don’t want the entire website on a mobile application. They want utility and a very defined set of features that are specifically designed for mobile use cases. Make it easier to use – make it less complex than your website.”
While a lot of companies are building games in the app store, competing is difficult and it’s also hard to determine the ROI for game. Stick to apps that actually engage your customers in your brand and your product and stick to marketing and sponsorship to boost sales.
The results of the study revealed that business owners need to take the channel seriously, because customers who have bad experiences with branded apps will not download other apps from the brand as a result. Put your money where your mouth is, and create a valuable tool that boosts your brand.
Upping your game for developing custom mobile apps will help your business thrive in an era of increasing competition for customers. Highlighting your strengths and eliminating extraneous aspects will make your new app a winner in the marketplace.