Guide to Mobile Apps for Brands – Part 3

In Part 1 and Part 2 of the Guide to Mobile Apps for Brands series, you learned how to determine if your brand needs a mobile app and how to conduct market research to ensure you develop a branded mobile app that gets downloaded and used frequently. In Part 3, you learn how to create a strategy to develop a mobile app that has a chance at helping you reach your goals.

mobile apps for brandsSet Your Budget

Of course, your first step in developing your mobile app is identifying your budget. Mobile app development costs can range from a few thousand dollars to six figures. You need to create a useful app, but it needs to fit within the budget dollars you have available to invest.

If you can’t afford to develop a useful app, it would be better for you to invest that money into another marketing initiative. You wouldn’t place ads on a random group of websites or television shows just because you can afford them, and you shouldn’t invest in a mobile app just because it’s the only one you could afford.

Set Your Goals

You also need to set your goals at the beginning of the mobile app development process. Are you creating a mobile app to drive sales or another kind of conversion? If so, you need to develop an app that serves that purpose. However, if you’re developing a mobile app to increase brand awareness, engagement, and word-of-mouth marketing, your mobile app can be very different from a lead-generation app.

nestle purina petcentric mobile appFor example, the Starbucks brand mobile app makes it easy for people to purchase Starbucks coffee when they’re in a Starbucks location. On the other hand, the Nestle Purina Petcentric app provides location-based information about pet services providers and pet-friendly locations such as hotels, dog parks, veterinarians, groomers, and more. Users can add and review locations, share and view photos in the photo gallery, view top pet videos, find local events, and read pet tips. It’s a great brand experience for users that successfully boosts awareness and loyalty to the Nestle Purina brand, engages consumers, and increases word-of-mouth marketing.

Review Your Research

Next, review the research data you collected (as discussed in Part 2 of this series) about consumers and competitors, and identify a way you can provide brand utility to consumers on-the-go while evoking consumer emotions at the same time.

Most mobile apps tap into an emotional trigger. The most popular mobile apps do one of three things: make life easier, help people save money (or feel like they’re getting a deal), or offer entertainment. Each of these types of apps taps into the emotional triggers that copywriters leverage when creating marketing messages.

Developing your Mobile App Strategy

Once you’ve gathered all of the information you need, it’s time to develop your mobile app strategy. Remember, your app should be developed for consumers, not for you. People download and use apps because they make it easy to do things at anytime and from anyplace. Whether those things are making a purchase, consuming information, saving time or money, or having fun, your mobile app needs to offer consumers a relevant brand experience that they can’t get elsewhere.

Furthermore, your app should keep on giving. Frequency of use is a critical component of mobile app success, so identify what consumers can use your app for again and again, and create a strategy that leverages that functionality. In other words, your app should add value to consumers’ lives anytime they open it up.

Once you identify what your mobile app will look like, how it will work, and how it will help you reach your goals, you need to develop it and put together a plan to market it. Mobile app marketing includes both marketing to encourage people to download it and marketing to encourage people to keep using it and tell their friends about it. That’s the topic of Part 4 of the Guide to Mobile Apps for Brands series, so stay tuned.

If you missed previous parts of the series, follow the links below to read them now:

Image: Sean MacEntee, Purina Petcentric

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius, MBA is a 25-year marketing and branding expert and President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She is the author of 10 books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. She is also the Founder and Editor in Chief of WomenOnBusiness.com, an award-winning blog for business women.