Almost as alarming as when a brand says, “Let’s make a viral video” is “We need a mobile app.” There’s no doubt how critical it is for marketers to reach mobile audiences. But the means to do so shouldn’t default to launching an app – that’s not a marketing strategy. (when it calls for an app, here are 6 questions to ask before…)
utility not advertising.
Utility makes doing something materially easier. Simply building an app that mirrors your website doesn’t add value. Ask yourself: What core customer need is this app solving for?
2. Keep it
An app is like a tool in a toolbox – you use it when you need (or want) it. When developing your app, it’ll be tempting to dump all sorts of things into it, however a “catch all” app dilutes its purpose and confuses users. Ask yourself: How will we describe this app in one short sentence?
3. Design for
Since we’re often on-the-go, there’s not a lot of time (or patience) to hunt and peck for things. The best mobile user experiences are when something great happens at a mere touch of a button. Leverage the full canvas and technical capabilities of the device on which the app is being built. Ask yourself: Is our UX designed in a way that people will just know how (and love) to use it?
it’s ownable to your brand.
If you’re going to launch a branded app, its very DNA should be the essence of your brand, else there’s nothing unique about it – It’s simply a generic app that provides very little marketing value. Ask yourself: Could another brand put their logo on our app and pass it off as their own?
5. Budget for
Getting the app out into the world is all too often an afterthought. Brands who spend all of their budgets trying to develop the perfect app, will be surprised with minimal downloads because nobody knows about it. It takes a lot more than a couple of Tweets and Facebook posts to activate an app. Leverage your existing marketing channels as well as native advertising designed for app activation. Ask yourself: How are we making it as easy as possible for people to download our app?
success by repeat usage not downloads.
While big publicity (and advertising dollars) often spikes downloads, the real measure of your app’s true appeal, is whether or not people use it over and over again. Brands who are under the gun to “meet their download goals” (so they can report good news to their boss) can easily spend money to achieve them. But you can’t “force” what really matters: People actually using the app. Ask yourself: Does my measurement plan include repeat users and active users?
The big question (that sums up all of the above) to ask yourself before you spend any money developing an app is, why would my customers take time to download and use this app? And if you cannot confidently, eloquently, and succinctly answer the question, rethink your mobile strategy and invest those dollars in other ways to reach your audience on mobile.