Mobile app marketing: strategies to generate the highest ROI

Mobile app marketing is a growing way for companies to reach out to consumers at the right time. Consumers spend about five hours a day on mobile devices, which makes mobile a prime place to share information about your products or services. However, mobile app-based marketing does have its limitations. A major part of mobile app marketing success is driven by adoption. People have to use, and like, your app in order for it to provide a significant ROI.

mobile app-based marketingThat use is probably the biggest barrier to unlocking the full potential of your app. You need to think of mobile app marketing as a marathon, not a sprint. If you expect to eventually usher users through the sales funnel, you must be prepared to continuously engage with them. Generating the highest ROI in mobile app marketing requires gaining the user’s trust with a feature-driven app so that they’ll come to your business when they’re ready to make a purchase.

Increasing Opting-In by Offering Better Apps

Mobile app marketing is unique as it gives the consumer a lot of control. They must agree to let you run your app on their phone and give you permission to access their information for advertisements targeted to them. Considering that about 65% of consumers skip online ads, you need to offer more content than ads. You need to give consumers a reason to opt-in. Some reasons consumers may choose an app is because it is:

  • Targeted: Nix the scattershot and go for a targeted audience. Because 86% of marketers report that personalization improves conversion, target those users who best match your ideal consumer when offering an app to users.
  • Useful: Users need to get something out of an app, whether that’s information, rewards, or entertainment. No one is going to download an app that just shows ads and provides nothing in return.
  • Technologically sound: A full 44% of users will delete an app immediately if it freezes, glitches, or causes any issues with their phone, and 96% said they would write a bad review. Your app can offer the best rewards in the world and tightly target the right demographic, but that won’t mean anything if user experience is poor.

Your opt-ins act as the initial user base for your app. They will be the ones who leave reviews and get others to try out your app. That means you need to target the right groups in your initial app offering and ensure that they see the value in using it. Opt-ins alone, however, aren’t enough. You also need to get those users to engage with the app regularly.

Encouraging Regular Use of Your Mobile App

While a high adoption number is good, it’s only useful if your average daily user figure is equally high. It doesn’t matter if you have 10,000 downloads if only one person uses the app on a regular basis. That’s why one-off app campaigns—where you offer a coupon or discount for downloading your app—don’t work. The user simply downloads the app long enough to get the deal and then never opens it again. Give the user a reason to keep engaging with your app on their mobile device.

  • Use strategically timed reminders: It’s possible for consumers to forget they have an app installed, which is why yours should offer occasional reminders that it’s available and useful. Think of the case with the Shopkick shopping rewards app. When a user is near a store that offers rewards for walking in or scanning products, they get a notification that they are near an opportunity to receive a reward. This drives them to open the app and use it in-store.
  • Make it fun: Gamification is the key to getting your customers to use the app regularly. There needs to be a fun component to the app that encourages users to interact with it on a regular basis.
  • Offer a challenge: If you choose an app designed to offer rewards or discounts, you need to strike a balance between making it too easy to gain rewards and too hard. If it’s too easy, the user gets bored; too hard and they get frustrated. Allowing users to collect rewards points is a strategy that works because it doesn’t immediately give them something, yet still acknowledges their use and rewards that good behavior.
  • Don’t be disruptive: While most successful apps incorporate reminder notifications, you need to be careful about how often these are sent. If consumers get too many notifications, they will view the app as disruptive and uninstall it. Aim for just one notification per event, like when a customer enters a location or approaches a participating product.

Having a highly-engaged user base is a good sign that your app is resonating with consumers. On top of that, those regular users could help you to increase adoption by evangelizing your app.

Engaging Existing Users for Growth

Your users can be your app’s best advertisers. Sharing their experiences with your app can encourage their followers on social media and other sites to try it out. You can incentivize these users to get them to share your app a number of ways:

  • Offer referral bonuses: Any time one of your users gets someone else to download the app, you can offer them a bonus of some kind, in the form of rewards points, premium features, or discounts.
  • Create social media events: You can use social media to encourage users to share information about events that happen within your app, whether that’s sales and promotions or Easter eggs. You can use such events as an opportunity for users to gain referral bonuses or even be entered into a lottery for free points.
  • Recognize your most influential users: Your most influential users act as advocates and brand ambassadors and encourage others to use your app. Find a way to recognize these users, whether it’s a shout out on social media or a discount or deal curated just for them.

Encourage your current users to share their experiences with your app—both good and bad—so you can see what drives people to download and use it. This works to spread word-of-mouth about your app while also creating a customer connection that you can build on to eventually usher users through the sales funnel.

Taking a Feature-First Approach to Mobile App Marketing

Most mCommerce apps typically focus on getting consumers to purchase items on mobile, but for some retailers, that’s not the primary goal of their app. Instead, the app is more focused on improving the in-store experience. In fact, retailers who use mobile apps to improve in-store retail experiences could see up to 146% sales growth in 2018.

Sephora’s is a good example of an app that’s focused on functionality rather than exclusively mobile commerce. The Sephora Virtual Artist app allows users to virtually “try on” products, even with little to no makeup experience. Once the user finds something they like, they can then see what products were used and buy them either online or in-store.

Sephora’s app is a good example of how to take an experience-first approach rather than focus solely on the mobile commerce part of the sale. mCommerce is part of the app—not the entire app in and of itself. That means that individuals who may never have considered buying anything at Sephora—like someone who has never used its makeup—can become familiar with the company. They come to rely on it for makeup advice. When it comes time to buy, those individuals are far more likely to go to Sephora to make their purchase.

The utility-first approach to mobile app marketing can increase brand awareness and credibility among new audiences.

The utility-first approach to mobile app marketing can increase brand awareness and credibility among new audiences. It also helps retailers and brands stand out over those that use their apps solely as an mCommerce platform. Of course, as mCommerce becomes increasingly desirable to customers, brands and retailers also need to make sure their mobile purchasing experience is optimized.,  One way to gain the best of both worlds—pleasing existing customers and gaining new ones—is to work with a third-party app provider to reach out to a new market segment.

Offering a Third-Party App to Your Customers

One way that a retailer can maintain its existing app while reaching out to new customers is through a third-party app, like a shopping app. Shopping apps offer a lot of benefits for building new customer relationships.

  • Reach new market segments: When a retailer partners with a third-party shopping app, they are more likely to reach market segments they haven’t reached before. Think of it this way: Someone who has the “Mike’s Grocery Store” app on their phone is already an existing Mike’s Grocery Store customer. They’ve heard of Mike’s and are already familiar with its offerings. However, someone on a shopping app may not have heard of Mike’s Grocery Store—until they see an offer from Mike’s within the shopping app they already use. Suddenly, their curiosity about the retailer is piqued.
  • Increased value from existing customers: Shopping apps are able to incentivize behaviors such as increased basket size and visit frequency from existing customers, making them more valuable and loyal.
  • Reduce reliance on discounts: Some of the best shopping apps are rewards points driven. That means that users must save up their points before they can cash them in for a deal, which encourages regular, ongoing use of the app. Discounts, on the other hand, train shoppers to buy on price, rather than brand affinity.
  • Use multiple marketing methods: Users of shopping apps can often participate in those apps a number of ways, from finding products in-store to watching videos or shopping online.
  • Encourage extended use with variety: Unlike retailer specific apps, shopping apps offer a variety of products and services. Users can look for groceries, find clothing, seek out services, and find nearby restaurants all from one app. When the app offers a wide range of features, usage increases.
  • Leverage timely notifications: A user of a retailer-specific app is going to open it only when they want to buy something, then they close the app. A shopping app is different because it can proactively reach out to the consumer when they’re near a location. For example, if a consumer is walking past a drugstore, they can be reached with a notification to alert them that rewards are available in-store, either for visiting or engaging with a specific product.  
  • Adapt for offline and online shopping: When most people think of a retailer-specific app, they’re generally thinking of mCommerce. That puts them in a mindset that they’re going to buy online rather than go to a brick-and-mortar location. However, a shopping app can be useful for driving consumers to brick-and-mortar locations or it can be used to encourage an mCommerce visit.
  • Cater to regular shoppers: Shopping apps are designed specifically for people who shop regularly. In most households, one person is responsible for picking up groceries and other necessities. Shopping apps reach out to these individuals specifically, meaning that your company is reaching the decision maker in the household when they are in the shopping mindset.

Partnering with a third-party app can help close gaps in your mobile app marketing campaign, supporting your mCommerce initiatives, and helping you reach a new market of users without offering costly discounts. It can be used to reach people at the right time, in today’s seemingly endless shopping aisle, preparing to make a purchase decision.

A good shopping app can provide you with highly-engaged active users who have already opted to receive retailer messages. It provides a platform that consumers want to use by taking a feature-first approach to mobile marketing. These apps encompass all the mobile app marketing strategies that will offer you the highest ROI.

Shopkick can help you reach new customers by driving traffic and product engagement both in-store and online. To learn more, contact us.

Image courtesy pinkypills



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Mobile app marketing: strategies to generate the highest ROI



Shopkick is the fun and easy way to earn free gift cards for the shopping you already do. Download the app now!

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