It’s almost unanimously agreed that having an app can only add weight to your marketing efforts. The thing is, you might have the most impressive app in the world – but unless people are using it, you’re likely to see very limited benefit – and therefore ROI.
So, you’re thinking about having a development company create an app for you – but what is it going to offer? How will customer use turn into business for your brand? To get a feel for what it might offer, you’re going to need to rethink what many people think about why we use apps…
Where’s the benefit?
People love apps – but don’t be under some kind of illusion that you’ll create an app and people will magically start to download it and use it. If you want to see serious user numbers, you need to make your offering appealing to use.
Now, this is going to be easy if you’ve already got a solid brand with some decent market traction – since people will essentially see it as a bookmark to an already good service that you provide on your website. The benefit here? People don’t have to open their browser and punch in yourdomain.com every time they want to book/order/etc.
But what happens if you don’t have that kind of traction?
Well, you’re going to need to put the horse before the cart and work out a way of bringing people to your business because of your app rather than because of what your business offers.
Don’t be – it’s fairly simple – so let’s use Facebook as an example.
The Facebook business
Facebook is a great service – but we don’t sign up to use it because of how it operates as a business.
At its core, Facebook is a marketing platform – used to collect user data which provides an attractive advertising opportunity for businesses the world over.
Now, the trouble is, if you asked someone if they’d like to sign up to a service that targets you with adverts in exchange for a world of personal information, pictures, and connections – you’re probably going to say no. So, it needs to be dressed up a little more attractively than that.
And Facebook is.
As you’re probably well aware, Facebook connects you with your friends and family, it offers instant messenger services, a marketplace, small business management tools, it gives you an insight into your favourite brands and celebrities – and that’s just scratching the surface. There’s almost no end to what Facebook offers free users.
This part of Facebook is the part that’s appealing – and therefore, it’s the part that they market. Who downloads Facebook purely to give away their personal data and help them grow their business? No one. Who downloads Facebook to connect with their friends and watch funny videos? Well… 2.41 billion people to be exact.
Building your features
The message is simple then – make the next Facebook.
Joking aside, there’s a big lesson to learn from this. Create an attractive function first, and make it work for your business behind the scenes.
Now, that’s easier said than done of course, but that’s why most apps never break into being downloaded more than a few hundred times. If you want an app that’s going to drive your brand forward, you need to focus on what your typical customer is looking for.
Since Facebook is a concept too huge to even comprehend when you’re looking at creating an app, it’s useful to think of some examples that follow a similar appealing-function-first kind of approach.
Let’s say you’re a restaurant. Rather than expecting people to download your app to look at your menu or make a booking, why not create an app that walks people through how to make 10 of your most-loved recipes? Or perhaps you’re a digital marketing business? Why not give people app-only access to some helpful tools, guides, or resources? Maybe you’re a local computer/phone repair service? Why not give people walk-through guides on common problems that you fix?
Do those things sound risky? Like you might be doing yourself out of business?
Well, you might be – but it’s highly unlikely.
The truth is, there are a world of benefits outside the most obvious parts of having an app. In fact, just like the Facebook example, most of the business benefit will come from elements that your customer just won’t be thinking about as they follow their recipes or read your guides.
Having an app doesn’t help your marketing efforts in one defined way – it opens the door to a world of brand-building possibilities:
Simply having your brand’s app showing in the app stores offers a potentially big boost. With over 500 million weekly users, you’re putting your company in front of a huge audience.
An app builds trust – and users don’t even have to open it for you to benefit from that trust. There’s the legitimacy that an app offers your business – and, studies show that users are likely to consider your brand more trustworthy than your competitors if they’ve even just downloaded your app to their device.
Loyalty schemes are some of the most effective at keeping people coming back to your business. By setting an objective (let’s say, making 5 orders), you effectively ‘gamify’ your business, setting a goal that your customer will want to achieve. Apps like Wish do this incredibly well – encouraging daily opens by offering tiny discounts when a certain number of days have been amassed.
Directly contacting your users
Apps unlock the world of push-notifications – the noise and on-screen alert that your user gets when your app has something to tell them. The thing is, you can decide that your app has something to tell them – so this becomes a direct channel that allows you to contact specific users, groups of users – or all users at once.
When you’ve got people through the door and your app is on their device – there’s a world of brand positive perks you’ll unlock…