Take a look at your calendar. Chances are, your month is already packed with meetings, projects, and report-pulling that needs to happen. It seems there's already relatively little time to make actual improvements on anything.
Our schedule fills up quickly, and it can become difficult to make real, impactful marketing changes when there's so much to do to just keep the ship moving. But when it comes to your app, you need to be watching, analyzing and optimizing on an ongoing basis.
So what can you accomplish in one month? We've put together a comprehensive list of some tried, true (and tested) tips for creating a better app in 30 days.
1. Launch a mini-orientation for new users
When someone downloads a new or updated app, identifying the key features and how to best use it can be confusing. A warm welcome can make the entire experience more enjoyable and less frustrating for the user. Create a few screens with simple explanations about key features and how to nvaigate the app. This will improve new user retention and ensure that their crucial first 60 seconds in app are educational.
2. Build a custom opt-in screen
Upon open, all new app users are prompted to enable push messages on their device. There is the standard push opt-in screen that is the same across most apps, and many marketers use it because it's easy. But you can boost opt-ins by creating a custom screen which details the benefits of enabling push messages, including what kind of content the user will recieve, how frequently, and any other important information.
3. Create an easy way to register an account
You want to make it exceedingly simple for new users to register for an account and experience the best of what your app has to offer. When new users open your app, ask them whether they are an existing customer or a casual explorer. Then, guide the casual explorer through the cool features of your subscription and showcase how your app can make their life easier. Think of ways that registering an account would be beneficial, highlight them, and optimize the registration process for fewer drop offs.
4. Segment your users
If you're not segmenting app users, you're not getting the full value of your analytics. Not only do segments enhance your analytics and help you bet- ter understand your app users, they are also the foundation for running great app marketing, particularly through push and in-app messaging. You can (and should) target your marketing campaigns to specific user segments, using offers customized to that segment to boost a particular event or conversion.
5. Make social sharing easier
Social sharing isn’t just for news and media apps. Whether it’s “liking” an app on Facebook or tweeting your tracked run time, social and email sharing the going-ons in your app experience have be- come commonplace. Include social sharing buttons on relevant content in your app, encourage users to connect with you across various networks, and perhaps even create a way for users to share their in-app results.
6. Offer mobile-specific rewards
Fifty percent of people say the #1 reason they download apps are to receive discounts and special offers. If you have a segment of users who don’t use the app regularly, it could be a sign that they aren’t engaging because they’re missing the mobile-only exclusivity. You could create a purchasing program or points system that users can engage with regularly to receive great offers, or just divirsify what you offer online and in-store from in the app.
7. Garner user feedback
Great apps are bi-directional, and rely on user data and feedback to create a continually better experience. Not only does running an in-app survey help you determine where your app needs to improve (and which features are user favorites), but a survey also lets your users know that their input is essential to the success of your app. Much like with allowing for opt-ins, prompting survey participation makes users feel valued as an integral part of growing your app.
8. Send push messages in the afternoon
Push notifications that are sent in the afternoon have a higher click rate than those sent in the morning and evenings, yet most marketers send them in the evenging. Experiment with yours by sending them primarily between 12pm-5pm and see if that has any effect on the click rates and app opens. You can even A/B test messages within that time frame to pinpoint which hour of the day does best!
9. Update your ASO
App Store Optimization is a basic (but important) tactic in creating an app store listing that users can find. Do a check to make sure your page title, description, screenshots, and designated categories are still up to date, and update anything that's proving ineffective. If you've launched a new app version, make sure all of the features are listed appropriately, and take the chance to read user reviews.
10. Use deep linking with app messages
Deep linking is the practice of linking to a specific screen relevant to your app message instead of just opening the app or the home screen. It saves the user time searching for the relevant screen, engaging them immediately with the subject matter at hand and negating navigation confusion. Make sure your app messages aren't sending users to the starting point when they should be putting them in the right place.
11. Source a feature idea from a different department
We're all mobile users with a wide array of access to different types of apps. If you're looking for inspiration, simply ask around. You could find great ideas in the unlikeliest of places, and everyone who works for your business has thoughts on how to improve it. Chances are, there are truly awesome ideas floating around that you can harness to better your app.
12. Establish your app "voice"
Using push and in-app messaging, you're communicating with users regularly. By establishing a consistent voice that is used in this marketing (be it humorous, straight-forward, or through a specific character or mascot) is one of the easiest ways to engage a user with your brand. It lends a bit of personality, and sets you apart from other apps competing for user attention.
13. Run an in-store promotion
Your users exists across a variety of channels, so your app marketing should be cross-channel. Creating a better app is all about engaging users - so try engaging in-store customer with your app to grow your base of users. Running an in-store promotion can grow awareness for your app, drive usage, and work as part of your larger marketing strategy (which should be cohesive and incorporate all channels).
14. Check for performance issues
Bugs, outages and network latency issues are more than just a nuisance, they can be a permanent deterent to users. Monitoring app performance regularly allows you to immediately address, prioritize and troubleshoot prominent app issues, ensuring that those key first few seconds upon app open go smoothly. Do a big app-wide sweep to make sure you're not missing anything big.
15. Implement a loyalty program
Apps allow users to regularly interact with your brand, and even if your app is your only brand channel, it still represents an important relationship with your customers. Consider implementing a loyalty program that further encourages users to interact with your app and rewards frequent users. Users will feel that their time is worth something, and that they're being actively appreciated!
16. Test a new feature
One of the hardest things to do today as an app owner is to discover and deliver the features your users want most (because sometimes, they don't even know what those are). Try experimenting by beta launching a potential new feature to a select group of users and seeing how they respond - it doesn't even have to be a fully developed feature. Let your users guide your decision making.
17. Ask for app store reviews
You already know that your app store listings should be optimized for search and discovery, but a key part of that is garnering positive reviews from your power users. Segment your loyal users and send them an in-app message prompting them to complete an NPS survey. If they complete it positively, prompt them to then review your app on its listing page.
18. Research apps from other industries
Some app verticals are more successful in engaging users than others by providing more obvious value. Travel and lifestyle apps, for example, typically see a much higher click rate on push messages than game or retail apps. Download a couple of apps from outside of your industry and see what it feels like to be a user - are there any techniques you can borrow?
19. Improve your ad spend
Tracking the success of your ad acquisition campaigns based on just impressions and click throughs? What about downloads and new users? That's still not enough information to get the big picture. Track the lifetime value and spending habits of users across all of your campaigns to see which ads deliver the most long-term benefit.
20. Write a blog post
Your brand is made up of a host of different accessible channels - why limit your app marketing to just one? Write a blog post that points to the app, or that complements an app feature (for example, Drync, a wine ordering app, wrote a blog post on great wines for Labor Day picnics and created a banner image pointing to it in the app).
21. Set up an automated campaign
Automation allows you to create marketing flows and trigger app messages that immediately engage your users. Segment your users and determine what kind of messages you want to send them. Then, "chain" the messages together to trigger based on an in-app action. Automation also allows you to auto-enroll new users as they qualify for particular segments (so they'll become part of the campaign without having to be manually added!).
22. Manually test a random screen flow
Apps exists to make completing a certain task easier. One way to keep your app great is to continue improving the user screen flow to eliminate bottlenecks and improve the ease of completion. Try navigating a random flow in your app - check for performance issues and consider how it could be made more efficient.
23. Use these keywords in a push campaign
As we've covered, app users love receiving mobile-specific offers. So not surprisingly, we've found that push messaging keywords like "offer," "deal," "ends," and "super" boast a higher click rate than any others. If applicable, use these keywords in a campaign and see how users respond. While just peppering in these words won't necessarily boost click rate, using promotional messages or key phrases are more likely to have stronger engagement for your push campaign.
24. Add a help section
Frustrated users aren't going to call or email you about app issues. More likely, they'll simply leave and never return. Adding an easy-to-access help & support section to your app can negate this by providing information immediately and solving the issue at hand. Plus, you can see in your analytics how many users access this page, and which issues they view most, giving you a better sense of what's problematic.
25. Try a Facebook ad
We've found that users acquired from Facebook ads have just as high an engagement rate as organic users, which means the ad network is delivering high-value users. If you haven't already, try devoting a portion of your ad spend to Facebook and measure the outcome. Track Facebook-acquired users in-app and determine their retention rate. Compare this to organic users or users acquired from other campaigns, and see if it's worthwhile to continue the investment.
26. Take a page from your inbound marketing playbook
Email, SEO, content creation - all of these inbound marketing tactics map to your app marketing, with clear ways to use similar strategies for success across different mediums. Inbound marketing principles can help your app get found, nurture and convert users, and grow your social reach. Use marketing techniques that have worked for you this year and translate them into your app.
27. Supercharge your A/B testing
Best practices will only get you so far. Eventually, you have to employ granual testing to see what resonates with users (and what turns them off). Colors, copy, features, UI - all are elements you can and should A/B test. Start small by trying two different CTAs on a push campaign, or by changing the color of a particular conversion screen.
28. Identify important drop-off points
Your app funnels represent the in-app actions you want users to take and the ultimate conversion events you want them to complete (like the all-important checkout process). Funnels don’t just provide you with conversion numbers, they provide you with insight into how your users behave. Dig in to your funnels and find where the biggest drop-offs are happening. Knowing this pain point will help you create better retention campaigns.
29. Build a microsite
Consider building a microsite for your app to showcase what it can do. This microsite should also contain a micro-blog to drive links and traffic to your app’s product page in app stores (which collects users). This will drive awareness and create an online presence to complement your mobile plan. Plus, it gives mobile web browsers a way to discover your app outside of app stores.
30. Adjust for seasonality
Upcoming holidays or changes in season are the perfect excuse to try something new, run specific promotions, or add fun features. Whether it's changing your visuals to be holiday-themed or creating particular campaigns, you can infuse timeliness into your app and capture user attention. The holidays can be competitive, but also lucrative, so optimizing yours to stand out can win you big points.
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