Langley Foxall
Anthony Fowler

Appy Days

Introduction

If you have an interest in applications, user engagement, and what to think about if you want to make an app, then read on... if you're none of the above, read it anyway, hopefully I can teach you something.

Apps

Apps have been around for what feels like forever and our love for them doesn't look like it's slowing down, whether it be games, utilities, shops, social interaction and everything in between, we (and I use it based on my life) have an app for just about everything

But why...

I can only suggest here but I feel it's a direct result of the ever-increasing pace at which we live our lives, our waning attention span, and our insatiable appetite for information, each is a little gateway to our favourite things, our most useful tools, and our best time killers.

Who benefits...

For users, among other things, it's a way to compartmentalise the important things in our life, quick access to our friends, our money, the stress release and enjoyment of games.

For businesses, apps are a direct route into people's lives, they can gather more information than ever before, analyse this data and use it in ways to understand their customers in incredible depth, knowing everything about someone puts you in somewhat of a powerful position to offer your products and services, therefore it begs the question... why doesn't every company have one?

If you are a business and I've piqued your interest or if you're generally looking at what apps can achieve, let's look at some key subjects:

Do I need an app?

It's a question almost every business owner has or should ask themselves, it's difficult to answer without analysing the way a business operates and how it communicates with its customers.
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Companies who we've found benefit most from an application are often found in the Service, Maintenance & Engineering industries, the control, data sharing and automation you get from using applications can improve the way you handle job management, job sign-off, stock management, and invoicing.
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Essentially, you're taking all the double data entry, administration and manual tasks away from your employees, meaning you can redistribute and utilise your staff in other key areas.
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I've focused on the internal business processes for this section but there's a whole other side to applications that deal with a company's customers, the following sections will go in to detail on using apps to communicate, engage, and analyse your customers.

App Engagement

Effective app engagement is a fine art, it's easy to get it wrong but get it right and you've got yourself a powerful tool. Here's a few basic tips and subjects to consider when creating an app.

Push notifications - next-day retention increases massively using this technique. Push notifications also allows businesses to have a consistent conversation with users and through engagement and research, they can tailor that conversation to maximise effect.

Timing - As with almost everything in social media and the app space, timing is everything if you want to increase engagement, finding the right moments to engage with your audience requires a lot of user profiling and research - or in some cases... luck - Oreo's nailed it during the SuperBowl XLVII blackout with their "you can still dunk in the dark" tweet.

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Visualisation - Catching the attention of your users is getting more and more difficult, strong and attractive visuals will do just that.

Personalisation - The simplicity of personalising messages shouldn't be taken for granted, users want to feel like they're being spoken to directly.

Stylin' & Profilin'

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Styling - Forgive me for poor grammar but if it ain't pretty, it ain't getting used, users are more and more critical of visuals and designs, and they have a lower tolerance for slow or unintuitive user journey's and overall experience. Forsaking design and artwork in an effort to reduce cost shouldn't be a consideration, if you want to engage with your users then make it a pleasurable experience.

User Profiling - Data analytics, user habits, engagement with offers or notifications, click rates, open rates, bounce rate, purchases, family members, interests, the list goes on. Technology has allowed us to mine vast amounts of data on our users, as much from what they do as what they don't do. Utilising and reviewing campaigns, sales, offers, new products and everything in between can give you solid metrics for the next marketing campaign.

Contextual Marketing

Contextual marketing refers to targeted advertising based upon user information, the goal is to present ads to customers representing products and services they are already interested in. The more data you can collect, the better your marketing will be.

If you can tailor the experience to the user, you'll not only hit their interest points (which you know already based on previous behaviour) you'll also have them coming back for more time and time again.

Benefits

Direct marketing - Apps are a mainline in to a user's life, they have instant access to your brand, products and services, similarly - you have instant access to them for your marketing material.

Brand recognition and increased visibility - Your logo is on the user phone, every time they browse their apps you're their staring them in the face. It's possibly the best passive advertising you can get.

Provide Value to Your Customers and Increase loyalty - It's widely understood that it is a lot cheaper to keep a customer than it is to get a new one, use your app to provide value to your users - free stuff, app related bonuses or offers, access to key information, increased rewards for loyalty, it all counts. It's simple - the more you provide, the more loyalty you get

Improve Customer Engagement - Everything I've spoken about is about customer engagement, apps are perfect for connecting with your customers, keep yourself relevant in their world, and ultimately add value to their lives, if you can do that - you've put yourself one step ahead of your competitors and hopefully scored a customer for life.

If anything in this has interested you, do not hesitate to contact us so we can discuss this in further detail.