The App Advantage
By Adam Boyden, president, Conduit
Apps are great marketing tools. Done right, they are a compelling, interactive method for engaging end-users with your content, functionality and brand. Getting your app noticed is the challenge.
The quote, “If you build it, they will come,” doesn’t really apply to most apps. You need to be sure when building your app, that it has a gripping user experience and meets the goals of your business.
Before you begin building, ask yourself some key questions:
- What would you like to accomplish through this app? Brand awareness? Engagement? Customer acquisition?
- What is the best content on your website? Breaking news? E-commerce? Social media?
- For what topics can your organization claim industry expertise?
- What kind of functionality could better communicate your content, for example, podcasts, games, chat, or feeds?
- What is the best deployment option for your app? Is your functionality location-based? Or do you have functionality that interacts well with web content (like coupons on an e-tail site)? Your answer will determine if you must use software developers to build your app or if you can do it yourself on a cross-browser platform like Conduit or Widgetbox.
Next, you will need a marketing strategy for your app. Here are some key elements to keep in mind:
- Customer acquisition: How are you making your app more visible to your target audience? Consider some of the ways to promote your app:
- Put the app on the home page of your website. That should be a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many apps are buried within a website. Think like a first-time site visitor.
- For even broader reach, apps can be shared via many online app stores, such as Add-ons for Firefox, Apple Web Apps, Google Apps Marketplace, the Chrome Web Store and the Conduit App Marketplace.
- Spread the word via other marketing channels, such as email marketing campaigns and social media networks. Include bit.ly or other trackable links to your app download page in your dispatches.
- Packaging: Imagine you’ve got the attention of a potential user; how can you best convey the advantages your app has to offer?
- This is the time to make sure you have the app “elevator pitch” packaged in an easy to digest, visually-pleasing format.
- In today’s world, browser-based apps are either deployed alongside or in place of more entrenched marketing and social media vehicles, so be sure to clearly communicate that the app complements the existing functions (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, site-specific offerings, etc.)
- Consider including a convenient link to an App FAQ. Offering reassurances that the app is safe in regards to privacy and IT concerns is vital for many users.
- Promotions: Have you considered promotions to drive app downloads?
- Freebies resonate with many users, so think about what you have to offer and start there. For instance incentives in the form of virtual currency are a win-win for many gaming companies.
- Some marketers have even created contests to promote their apps, inviting users to download an app for a chance to win a coveted prize.
- Carry the promotion across all your marketing channels, so whether it’s a contest, free currency, or a membership of some sort, remember to integrate your app with your website, Facebook, blogs, Twitter, forums, etc.
Finally, make a habit of regularly assessing how your app is serving your business goals. After all, your app was designed to support specific aspects of your business, such as customer retention and/or brand recognition. Thus, keeping your strategic goals and app execution in alignment is an essential practice. Hopefully this sparked some thoughts on realizing the app advantage for your business.