Do you view mobile apps as a necessary evil – something you contract out to a third party, check off your to-do list and forget about shortly thereafter? Or is your mobile app a vital part of your marketing program? If you’re like most organizations, you probably fall into the former category. It’s no wonder, then, that 20 percent of apps are used only once, and about 60 percent are opened less than 10 times, according to Localytics.
But with mobile engagement on the rise, and technological advances enabling businesses to integrate apps deeper into their overall marketing strategy than ever before, the time is now to restart the conversation about mobile apps. Specifically, how can you move your app to a “2.0” version that delivers continued value to your customers and provides a superior mobile (and overall) experience?
Take one of my favorite apps, Spotify. The app keeps me engaged and coming back for more by allowing me to discover new artists and download specific albums or tracks for offline listening during my frequent travels. In addition, in-app inbox messages notify me what friends are listening to, exposing me to more great new music. The awesome experience continues onto the desktop app, syncing my preferences seamlessly between devices. And Spotify takes all this data and uses a really smart recommendation algorithm to highlight more music suggestions in its emails, which I almost always open since they’re so relevant.
If you’re still on the fence as to whether moving your mobile app functionality beyond “find the nearest store location” is worth your time and resources, consider some of the potential benefits:
1) Gain a new data source: What actions are contacts taking in your mobile app? Where are your customers right now? And how often do they come to your store? Apps can be rich sources of data that, with the right integrations, can enhance your knowledge of individual customers.
2) Send push notifications: Using mobile touchpoints, such as personalized push notifications, can increase conversion rates by 8.5 percent, according to the Aberdeen Group. Used strategically, these notifications can help you deliver timely, relevant information or offers linked to a customer’s location and behaviors.
3) Get access to a new inbox: The mobile app inbox delivers an all-new destination for marketers to reach – one that sports a new set of benefits (see Spotify example above). Beyond the fact that permission for sending is typically contained in your terms and conditions of usage (and doesn’t provide a traditional email-like opt-out function), in-app inboxes allow marketers to send time-constrained offers and single-use promotional codes to specific users in a true one-to-one manner. Yet because permission is different, marketers need to show restraint in using this new channel.
By taking the time to build and update apps to offer content and value that entices customers to download and repeatedly interact with them, as well as accept push notifications, marketers can tap into a whole new way of more strongly engaging their customers.
If you’re interested in going down this path, here are a few key tactics you can implement to improve mobile app engagement and further integrate your app with your other marketing programs:
- Create a drive-to-app plan: Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come. So, send contacts a “download our mobile app” email invitation and add a similar message to your onboarding program for new email subscribers. Remember to emphasize what’s in it for the customer.
- Repurpose content with a twist: The idea of creating all-new content for a mobile app might seem daunting. Instead, mine your existing channels for content that you could repurpose for your app, then tweak it to take advantage of an app’s unique capabilities while being mindful of mobile context.
- De-silo your app: Feed all those app behaviors you’re capturing into a central marketing database, where you can use them to trigger personalized content and interactions across your emails, website, call centers and more.
By taking steps to improve your in-app experience – and making these improvements a key objective for your marketing team this year – you’ll be on the path to better understanding the behaviors that are manifesting themselves in the mobile app world and using this knowledge to create a more seamless, rewarding customer experience.
1) White paper: 7 Key Marketing Trends for 2015 – and Tactics for Succeeding in the New Year
2) Tip sheet: 10 Tips for Using Email to Drive Mobile Engagement – and Vice-Versa
3) Blog post: A Look Inside My 5 Best Friend Brands