3 Ways to Keep Customers Engaged with Your Mobile Marketing Apps

opinionThe following is a guest contributed post from Dana Drissel, Vice President of Kaon Interactive.

B2B sales and marketing apps have dramatically increased over the last few years with one-in-five people in the world owning a smartphone and one-in-seventeen people in the world owning a tablet (Source: BI Intelligence). So it’s no wonder that mobile marketing has become a top line item and priority for 2017 as businesses attempt to penetrate the almost 224 million monthly active app users in the US.

As fast as companies are developing these apps, they are also noticing a quick decline in usage. Appsflyer reported that app engagement significantly decreased just 24 hours after the initial install. And by day 30, only 3.3% of Android users and 3.2% of iOS were still engaged with it.

Looking to combat deletion and lack of usage, many marketers have turned to app retention as a metric to gauge how valuable their app is to the consumer. If the goal of the app is to build trusted relationships with customers both pre and post purchase, marketers need to seriously think about relevant and engaging content that enriches user interaction with their brand throughout the ENTIRE buyers’ journey.

Here are three things marketers should think about when developing their mobile app road map:

  1. You are never done. When marketers create an app, there is no “end date.” When an app is released, it is not really complete. It’s always a work in progress. In the “old” days, a marketer would create a brochure, and the project would be complete when the brochure arrived from the printers. But today, when an app is launched, it is no longer “discrete” (i.e. has a start date and an end date) but rather it is an evolving process that requires constant updating, enhancements, and long-term sustenance. This is an advantage, of course, because digital assets are easier to modify and reuse, so their relevance and applicability have a very long “shelf life”. Don’t ever budget for an “one-and-done” app. In doing so, you are under-leveraging the medium and falling into the statistic of almost entirely disengaging customers by day 30.
  1. Apps work best as a system, or platform. In the analog world, many individual events, campaigns, deliverables, and assets can be developed and deployed independently. In the mobile world, users navigate across all channels fluidly (from emails to websites, from social media to different apps, etc.). The most effective way to take advantage of mobile is to think of the entire digital ecosystem as a platform that should have consistent design elements, user interface tools, navigation, and relevant content connections. Apps must allow customers, prospects, employees, and partners to traverse every aspect of the message, solution, and support network in a seamless manner.
  1. Apps need to be all about engagement. The most significant benefit of an app is that it facilitates an interactive user experience, which is an order of magnitude better than simply a vehicle to deliver content. By enabling a rich level of user involvement, the app builds an entirely different (and better) relationship with the audience, because they are actively participating in the process – and it is well established that active participation yields better comprehension, knowledge retention, and positive emotional response.

Engagement — and more importantly re-engagement—is critical for app marketers. If you can achieve all of the above when developing your app; 1.) evolving content 2.) accessible everywhere and 3.) dynamic interactive experience, you should be able to create very targeted information exchanges that drive repeat visits and long term engagement.

In an exclusive interview with CMO.com, CMO of GE Measurement & Control, Marcelo Prado said, “We wanted to approach our customers in a different way. We were typically very tactical and product-focused. We used to go to market talking about our products, how nice and sharp and shiny they are, and [this interactive app allowed us] to change that dialogue.”

GE M&C created an interactive application to arm its sales team and engage their customers. The experience focuses on eight stories–one for each of the customers GE M&C serves in the oil and gas industry–that talks about customers’ operations and major challenges via information gathered from them directly. The app, which was deployed cross platform and can be updated in real-time, is now the core of how GE M&C talks to existing and potential customers and partners both from a sales and marketing capacity.

So remember, the most successful apps are transformational because they deliver continuous engagement platforms for people that matter, at every stage of their journey with your company.