If you don’t have a specific mobile strategy in 2014, you’re quickly falling further and further behind the curve. In the past, a brand was considered cutting edge if their website was mobile-optimized, but those days are long gone. Read on to learn more about bringing your marketing strategy to a mobile app.
2014 has marked the first year that mobile internet usage surpassed that of desktop browsing, signaling that audiences are receptive to mobile engagement like never before.
This growth in mobile usage has created a fundamental shift in the way brands can communicate with their consumers. Previously, marketers only had contact with consumers for the duration of their visit to the brand’s website, and lost contact when they logged off, regardless of whether it was a visit from their desktop or mobile device. But as mobile use skyrocketed, marketers realized that the benefits of a natively built app greatly surpass those of any website. Some of the greatest benefits include having full control over a user’s experience, deeper access to demographic information, and, most importantly, a constant line of communication with their users. But these benefits depend on creating an app experience more engaging than a desktop experience could ever be.
The Greatest Challenge
The benefits you’ll take from mobile are dependent upon users engaging with it over a period of time, rather than a single visit. According to a recent study, 20% of apps are used only once, and you should do everything possible to keep from becoming a part of that statistic.
One of the biggest mistakes still being made in the industry is approaching your app with the goal of replicating your website, but following these five tips will help you create an app experience that’s fresh and responsive to what your users want.
1. Think Mobile! This seems obvious, but it’s still the most important tip to keep in mind. Rather than just mixing in any features you think a user might want and serving it over mobile, you’ll need to conceive your app from a mobile perspective from the start. Consider the characteristics your favorite apps all share; most likely they are easy to use, reliable and offer intuitive navigation. Regardless of their function they’re all fundamentally “mobile.” When your users are on the go, what will drive them to pick up their phone and visit your app? These are the features that should drive your design and functionality.
Let’s use a hotel as an example. Is your app intended to somehow make the booking process easier for guests? Considering how rarely most people book hotels, and the research they do beforehand, it’d probably be a better choice to focus your limited budget on improving their actual hotel experience. Because traveling guests will already be “mobile,” why not focus on delivering content they might need during their stay. Try introducing available amenities, upcoming events and local hot spots, and maybe develop a one-touch button that dials the front desk for concierge service. Remember, adding content that users request is a better end experience than providing too much from the get go and trying to simplify on the fly.
2. Easy Navigation Mobile’s smaller screens simply can’t convey as much information as a computer screen, and users won’t want it to. Focus your design and navigation around serving content that’s digestible on the go and quickly accessible. As a rule of thumb, users should be able to open your app and navigate to their desired content without having to make more than 3 selections, and it should be even easier to return to the home navigation. An app that is a labyrinth will make your brand look out of touch and leaves users quite frustrated. The flow through your app should be clear and intuitive so that users enjoy the experience, and the best way to ensure this is testing it yourself. With Mobile Roadie Connect, you can preview what your users are seeing, swiping and experiencing to perfect the feel of your app.
3. Visuals are key Again, because users are looking at a smaller screen, your visual aesthetics are one of the most important factors for success. Make your app visually immersive, so that navigating it feels fluid as users swipe, pinch, and type. The hands on interaction created by touch screens is another strength unique to mobile and can help make your experience even more intimate to users. Including bold and beautiful pictures will make your app pop, so focus on utilizing contrasting colors and images when possible. Strong design is quite compelling for first time users as they navigate new content. Even if they don’t yet understand how they’ll use the app on its initial launch, a great design conveys a quality experience and compels users to keep interacting and learning more. It’s also important to remember that graphics formatted for desktop may not be legible on mobile, so edit images with this in mind. If you’re on the Mobile Roadie platform, request our home screen design guide, or find out if one of our design packages might be a good fit for your app. There’s no need to feel overwhelmed, we’re invested in your success and happy to help!
4. Learn your mobile tools Mobile has a unique engagement toolbox that makes marketing quite different from what you’ve learned on desktop. One of the most important tools are push notifications, which can be learned about here. Geofencing is similar to push messaging from a user point of view, but is implemented in different situations, so be sure to know the difference. Certain traditional web tools have been translated to mobile as well. For example you can create and update polls for users as frequently as you want. Don’t forget to utilize community building tools like a discussion board, user to user messaging, and leaderboards to engage users without relying on new content.
5. Get creative with monetization methods If you’re looking to monetize your app, do so carefully. With all of the noise in the app store, people are becoming less willing to pay upfront for apps. When deciding whether your app will be free or paid, consider the fact that there are still monetization opportunities available if your app is free. In-app purchases of special content or add-ons are one solution. If you offer strong free content, allowing users to engage on a deeper level with additional, exclusive paid content can generate strong revenue. In addition, apps promoting events, venues, and teams can work on incorporating sponsorships on branded app sections allowing you to turn your marketing success into revenue.
One in every five people in the world own a smartphone, so don’t miss out on effectively connecting with your consumers through your app. These five suggestions are important to remember as you bring your web marketing experience into the mobile sphere.
How did you design your app with user experience in mind? Were there any additional areas you focused on? Comment and let us know!