Convincing consumers to download your mobile app is difficult — but losing their engagement with that app is easy. Research from Flurry shows that after downloading any given app, 25% of people will use it only once, and over half of all users will stop using the app after three months.
If a mobile app is part of your marketing mix, it’s critical to establish a strong path to conversion — one that users will adopt within the first few weeks. Users who do not engage with your app quickly are likely to uninstall and forget you forever.
Here are five ways to turn your app installers into power users and purchasers.
1. Build Trust to Onboard Effectively
New mobile users need to understand the value of your app — why is it a must-have? Make a great first impression with an informative splash page (an extra screen that pops up the first time a user opens your app). Use this prime real estate to guide the customer through your app’s top features, and to demonstrate the value of opting into push notifications.
Pro tip: On iOS, you are only allowed to officially ask for push permissions once. Don’t waste your only shot by asking for push permissions in a splash page. Instead, start with an informal ask, and only prompt them to the official permission page if they answer “YES.”
New users should also be motivated to create an account within your app. A Kahuna cohort analysis determined that users who have accounts are more likely to stay engaged, and have a higher lifetime value. Accounts also streamline the check-out process and greatly increases their likelihood to make a purchase. To encourage registration, use push or in-app messaging to remind your users of the benefits.
Pro tip: Send an informative notification that highlights the advantages of registering. For example: “Did you know that members have access to exclusive mobile deals? Create an account today!” Include a link to a ‘Sign Up / In with Facebook’ page within your app.
2. Provide Value to Encourage Engagement
Cultivate user engagement and retention by sending marketing messages with relevant, valuable content. Personalized recommendations, based on ‘last brand viewed’ or ‘most recent purchase’, provide value to your users and warm them to your mobile app experience. The key is to target specific segments of users and to incorporate personalization.
Generic push notifications are the junk mail of the mobile world, and do more harm than good. You never want your users to think, “I bet 10,000 other people got this exact same message.”
Pro tip: Use demographics combined with behavior to segment your audience. For example, you might send this push message to females who are between the ages of 18 and 24, live in California, and have recently viewed the ‘shorts’ category on your website or on your mobile app: “Hey <first name>! It’s shorts season in <user home city>, check out these styles from <last designer viewed>!”
3. Inspire Urgency to Drive Mobile Conversion
Once your users are engaged with your brand on mobile, it is time to start encouraging them to make a purchase. Research shows that 48% of users worldwide list mobile as a key media for impacting purchasing decisions (according to Mobile Marketing Watch). Develop a robust cart abandonment strategy that incorporates real-time customer behavior across channels (i.e. if a customer adds an item to their cart on desktop, mobile web, or through your app), and leverages push and in-app messaging to encourage immediate conversion. Make sure to customize your marketing message for each user by referencing the specific item waiting for them in the cart.
Pro tip: Test out several different versions of push message copy to see which one generates the most purchases. Low inventory alerts like this are especially effective: “Low inventory on <last item added to cart>! Get yours today before they’re gone!” Just make sure any incentive message you send is true – mobile customers can sniff out a cheap marketing ploy a mile away.
4. Offer Social Proof to Cultivate Brand Loyalty
Encourage your customers to share on social – this is a great way to transform your customers into brand advocates, and to generate network effect organic user growth. Consider a VIP campaign or special promotion message to encourage your top mobile customers to spread the word to their friends.
Pro tip: Send a push message to your top purchasers: “Super excited about your new <last item purchased>? Let your friends know on Facebook and get 10% off your next purchase!” Not only does this expose your brand to new business, but it encourages repeat purchases from those top customers.
With a strong understanding of your users’ preferences and browsing patterns, it is easy to encourage them to purchase additional items when browsing. In-app messages are a great ways to communicate with your customers when your brand is already on their mind. But use in-app messaging wisely and sparingly — every in-app message you display takes away from your actual application. An in-app message is a pop-up message, and we have all seen these abused on the web.
Pro tip: Use in-app messaging to incentivize those active within your app to make an additional purchase. For example: “Hey <first name>, thought you might like these new arrivals from <last designer viewed> as well.”
5. Find the Right Rhythm to Retain Users
As you continue to engage with your mobile customers, prevent over-messaging by tailoring your push strategy to accommodate each user’s unique time of day preference and message frequency tolerance.
Pro tip: Track the number of app uninstalls as compared to the mobile revenue resulting from each message you send — so you can be sure your push messages are not annoying your users and you are comfortable with the complete ROI picture.
Making sure your app delights and engages your users is a high-stakes game. Today’s mobile shoppers are solidifying their app preferences, and your mobile communications must be strategic and personalized to win their allegiance. The reward is well worth it: making the cut brings with it a level of word-of-mouth marketing that will cause your organic app installs to skyrocket. Identify and optimize your customer’s path to engagement and purchasing, and ensure your app comes out on top in mobile commerce — the future of online shopping.