Frequently unaware of the value that mobile apps can have on their bottom line, marketers are still reluctant to dabble in mobile development. Only 27% of marketers surveyed by Chief Marketer this year said they offered at least one mobile app, whereas over 32% said that they had none and no plans to launch any.
While marketing leaders appreciate the importance of mobility, many postpone launching mobile apps due to a lack of mobile expertise or insufficient resources. Still, other marketers are simply too risk-averse to plunge into mobile apps outright; so instead, they focus on building a mobile website. And yet, mobile apps are inexorably capturing the space.
In May, comScore data revealed that 82% of mobile media time was spent in apps. According to Flurry’s chief product officer, Prashant Fuloria, the industry is seeing explosive growth in app usage:
Better user experiences are going to win, and right now, those better experiences are – for better or worse – in mobile apps.
So, how should a risk-averse marketer go about mobile apps?
A Marketer’s 4-Step Guide to Successful Mobile Apps
Here is our proven, low-threshold blueprint for marketers to launch great mobile apps – and take steps to become an expert mobility strategist in their organization:
1. Investigate your mobile audience
Are your mobile users more apt to use their web browser to search for and make purchases? Or are they more likely to tap on one of the icons on the screen to book a flight, move money into a bank account or ‘like’ a friend’s status update? Which of the actions are they more likely to perform via a mobile app? As Fuloria succinctly puts it:
If they come to my mobile site, they are a visitor, whereas if they use my mobile app, they are a customer.
Research the apps your competitors are offering, and look at the user feedback they receive. Realizing how your target audience engages in mobile, and what they expect from mobile apps, will help you come up with a ton of potentially successful app use-cases.
2. Develop a great mobile use-case
Successful mobile apps are all about creating compelling use-cases. Here are some easy tips from the MobileSmith app strategy experts on how to get started:
- Start with a LONG list!
Think of your initial wish list of features as a “dump” – put down everything you would ever want in your app! Go nuts; brainstorm with your entire team. Great ideas pop up in heated discussions among creative, dynamic teams of marketing experts. Don’t forget to think of ways to gamify your app to make it “sticky” and more appealing to the users!
- Trim it down
As soon as your creative power hits the wall, it’s time to whittle your list down to a reasonable size. Diluted apps are not user-friendly and may confuse your customer. Go through your wish list and identify the top three most important/effective functions. To facilitate selection, think of an “elevator pitch” for your future app. Can you describe its value to the user in less than 30 seconds?
Follow this up with a few secondary functions, and then bookmark the rest for potential future use.
- Think of a multi-app strategy
Chances are, you will find that some of your initial ideas are simply too good to be dumped or postponed. That’s how new use-cases are born! We know that three or four streamlined, focused apps beat a single, unwieldy, diluted use-case. They may also generate more revenue! So, you may want to start building a multi-app strategy before you even build your first app.
- Wireframe and mockup
A wireframe is a drawing of what you want your app to look like – tabs, buttons and all. Draw all of your pages, map transitions, and explain in detail how elements on each page behave. Describe all the bells and whistles in as much detail as possible. Then tap through your wireframe and make sure your key user goals can be achieved in less than five clicks. Show your wireframes to a person on your team least accustomed to mobile and ask them to tap through it. You can glean a lot of valuable insights!
Once you are fairly certain that you have a great wireframe, providing seamless user experience, have your designer create Photoshop mockups for all your pages. For more tips on how to develop your use-case, wireframe, and mockup, watch our Do-It-Yourself Mobile Apps webinar.
After an internal review and approval, your mockup is ready for development!
3. Take advantage of code-free, DIY mobile app tools
Who better to know your brand than you? By using code-free, do-it-yourself tools, marketing managers can direct their efforts to their niche audience. The key to selecting the right tool is determining how much control over your project it puts into your hands:
- Does it allow you to build native apps for the mobile platforms most of your customers use?
- Can you test your prototype live on mobile devices?
- Can you dynamically manage and update your apps without disrupting the end user experience?
- And, most importantly, does it save you time and money at mockup, prototype, and build stages?
MobileSmith makes all of this possible with an enterprise-class, easy-to-use mobile app platform, giving marketing execs the power to create custom native apps for smartphones and most recently, the iPad.
The beauty is rooted in the fact that you can have an idea for a custom native app; then you can take that idea all the way to creation – and reinvention – without having to know a single line of code. This puts the creative power directly in your hands, putting you one step closer to successfully engaging with your audience.
4. Ensure user retention and ROI
Statistically, 1 in 4 apps will get dumped after just one use. Almost 95 % will be discarded after the tenth use. As a marketer, your success with mobile apps will be measured, among other things, by how well they perform with your customers in the long-term.
A well-thought out app upgrade strategy is crucial for user retention. Think about how your use-cases will evolve, and make sure that your mobile apps allow for such evolution. Continuously reinventing your apps helps you incorporate your customers’ feedback, increase their loyalty, and maximize the ROI from your mobile app strategy.
Mobile Apps Will Impact your Bottom Line
The fact remains – mobile consumers play a crucial role in the success of companies. As a marketer, you need to investigate how your customers interact with your brand and how your value proposition can be translated into a satisfying and mutually rewarding mobile experience.
Harnessing the power of mobile apps means having more than just awareness; it means making a difference in all your marketing KPIs. Furthermore, mobile apps can be designed, customized and implemented within budget, across all major mobile platforms. Marketers just have to know where to look.
To learn how you can spearhead your company’s mobile app strategy with MobileSmith, contact us for a free strategy session; and we will gladly plot it with you!